|Sputnik Returns To Glory: A WatchItExplode 2019|
I hope I’m not alone when I say that I feel Sputnikmusic made a strong resurgence in 2019. Despite low user numbers, those who remain are extremely active. Interactions with others are generally good-natured and fun. Shitposting remains a site staple but is less contentious. The current user base is generally welcoming of diverse opinions and is mature enough to disregard nonsense and rabid vitriol from our resident trolls and sad sacks. User contributions have been of higher quality than at any other point in my memory, serving as a symbol of the community’s vitality. The site is functioning how I’ve always envisioned it should, with a diverse cast of music lovers turning each other on to great tunes. New users came in and had an immediate impact with strong writing, great recs, and winning attitudes. OG users resurfaced, perhaps encouraged by the state of Sputnikmusic in 2019 (including the prophesized return of a certain headphone-clad kitty). I rekindled my love of discovering great new music this year. I listened to more new releases than at perhaps any other point in my life and found favorites I’ll carry with me into the new decade. This little music community and the good tunes and good times we shared were an absolute source of joy for me in 2019. I truly wish everyone here peace, prosperity, and good health in the new year. Cheers!
List is 2019 music currently remaining in my library.
The Black Album
Frustrating album from possibly the most frustrating band of all time. I was surprised that I even kept it in my library and almost deleted it when I found out. Guess it just reflects how conflicted I am about this band in general.
GTFU was an unwelcome assault on my ears. Rap Song Tutorial was pleasant and educational.
Juice B Crypts
Nice to be enjoying Battles Again. Fort Green Park is great.
|62||Tropical Fuck Storm|
Did not make my anxiety spiral out of control. A step down.
A Pyrrhic Existence
I like doom now.
Remembering the Rockets
I don't even remember what this sounds like, honestly. It's on the post-list chopping block.
|59||Said the Whale|
I don’t know if no one listened or just didn’t like it, but this was a nice little slice of indie folk/pop gently tugging at genre seams. Plus, Love Don’t Ask became the anthem for direct and honest communication between my wife and I. “Love, don’t ask me. Love, tell me what to do…and I’ll do anything you ask me”.
Appropriately uneven with a couple jams like Mouthbreather and Sediment. Perhaps the second most frustrating band ever.
The dueling vocals were real nice but this wore off big time. Should probs delete as I’m not likely to revisit.
Leak 04-13 (Bait Ones)
Bookends are incredible.
The House With No Doorbell
Life is bittersweet and we are all deeply flawed humans. I identify with that but I also wear brightly colored golf shirts year round ya’ know? Also, why would you re-work songs for a band that doesn’t tour only to create shittier versions of once incredible tunes?
Incredibly sensual tunes that lured me in with a sense a mystery and longing. Check Diamond Day, Heroin song, and Forgotten Ghosts. I’m about 80% sure that is Potsy on the cover btw.
Tripped out Tobacco production makes Aesop tolerable to me for the first time.
The Battle of Yaldabaoth
Utterly ridiculous. Completely rips.
We will Summon The Demon.
A minimalist pop album featuring ten tracks of playful electronics, skeletal beats, and hushed melodies that hint at something deeper beyond A Skeleton's softly shimmering veneer. Check t/t.
Just go listen to “Thrash Metal Cassette”. Or read my super lame review.
Till I Burn Up
Instrumental rock for radio commercials. In a good way, I promise.
Take this over Old any day, uknowhatimsayin?
|46||The Appleseed Cast|
The Fleeting Light of Impermanence
A return to form. Light and airy rock for untethered heads.
Sounds like someone threw a Sega down the garbage disposal wile scratching a record of airplane take-offs and landings. Recommended.
I Spent the Winter Writing Songs About Getting Bet
A fresh perspective elevates a good pop punk to great music
When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
This rules and Phinneas is a genius, I don’t even care.
This has a wonderful sort of slipshod urgency going on. I also enjoy the vocal fits when they show up.
"Oh, what a purpose."
Death is a Warm Blanket
The new Chevelle. See the band page.
When I say to you Black Lightning
Not as crazy on this as most of you but Central Booking and UUU are special songs.
It’s really just a matter of time before Lucy releases something truly special.
A Different Shade of Blue
Ferocious tunes with a low end you can feel in your spine.
The Smokeless Fires
Nice chugging riffage, sweet leads, engaging acoustic passages, vox with a hint of goth and a bit of power cheese thrown in a box and wrapped up in a black bow.
All My Heroes Are Cornballs
“Heard white people like beer”.
Cut and Stitch
“Sometimes we have to get back to basics. Sometimes we have to ask ourselves difficult questions”.
|33||Buke and Gase|
Mini metallic insects sing sweetly of secret scenes and superfluous strings.
Sorry to those of you that saw one of your favorite metal bands go soft, but I prefer this approach to their previous progressive tendencies.
Thoughts And Prayers
This is exactly my shit since BR can't be assed to make worthwhile literate melo-punk in 2k19.
Any Human Friend
An open door and an implied invitation. Feels voyeuristic and I’m into it.
|27||Dance Gavin Dance|
Acceptance Speech 2.0
I thought I had outgrown this band but couldn’t help but have a heck of a good time with this re-recording.
How We Got By
Touching tunes of love and loss.
The Last Rain
The goblin march halfway through Celestrial Horizon is a LOTR fever dream and one of my favorite musical moments from the whole year.
|24||Billy Woods, Kenny Segal|
Didn’t listen to enough hip-hop this year but Billy never disappoints.
|23||He Is Legend|
I kind of like(d) that.
Late addition: Thanks Sandwich. Blown out in infinite expanse like so many asteroid belts.
Late addition: Thanks Anatelier.
|20||Cult of Luna|
A Dawn to Fear
It's strengths are well documented.
Giving it the nod over COL. The riffs are just too good.
Universally celebrated indie-folk. I resisted my contrarian tendencies.
Late addition: Thanks Luc. Bouncy neon pop-punk with tapping and stuff.
In The Parlance of Our Times
Late addition: Thanks Atari, Chan.
|15||King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard|
Infest The Rats' Nest
I will happily listen to this song a dozen times, thank you.
|14||We Are Only Human Once|
The Prettiest Boys in Town
Kinda feels like stumbling upon someone's bedroom concert but you sit outside the door to listen because it happens to rule.
Happily singing along to “I hope the world explodes. I hope that we all DIE. We can watch the highlights in hell, I hope they’re televised.”
This rules so hard. Been trying to get people to listen all year without success but I’ll try one more time. Anyone disappointed by this year’s Amon Amarth release NEEDS to hear this. Riffs upon riffs and soaring leads will hold your attention throughout. It’s also one of the best sounding albums of the year production-wise (to my ears anyway).
Supporting evidence that Sputnik returned to glory in 2019, as the site collectively recognized Bayside as a good band.
Your favorite pervy uncle continues to craft intimate and endearing vignettes of sordid soirees in falsetto. NYC as a backdrop adds color and familiarity.
Rarely does indie rock this much. These guys have done their homework and sprinkle their high-energy cocktail liberally with tricks borrowed from indie and alt greats of yesteryear. Sounds a bit early 2000s euro, but with enough bite and creativity to be relevant in 2019. Check You Look Like Death or School’s Out.
Oh Uncertainty! A Universe Despairs
I love how this subverts expectations from Happy Birthday while retaining much of the charm from that album. Tug of war between comfort and alienation.
|7||Tyler, the Creator|
Tyler, the ARTIST comes into his own. A complete album and a fantastic experience.
|6||Wicca Phase Springs Eternal|
Over the past few years I’ve realized just how much I love an acoustic guitar strummed by a broken man bleeding heartsick laments on mic. The hip-hop beats are nice too.
|5||Prince Daddy and The Hyena|
Cosmic Thrill Seekers
Once you strip away the glass-gargling vocals you’re left with an impressive plate of well-crafted power pop.
Green and Gray
This blew my damn head off.  I was even inspired to write my first review in years. A strange and tumultuous beast of an album. Just hit play and open yourself to a journey without destination.
The First Glass Beach Album
Wildly experimental turned deeply familiar. Childhood memories of Christmas through a kaleidoscopic lens. Fractal emotions without anchor. You might have been part of the skyline, I can’t recall.
Four of Arrows
My great grandpa was a smelterman. He was a classy dude who wore cardigans and let me beat him at poker for real money so that I could afford to buy my first bicycle. He always made certain that his fridge was stocked with mini cans of Tree-top apple juice and ginger ale for our Friday visits. He is the only person I have known that I do not have a single unpleasant memory of. Listening to Four of Arrows does not feel altogether dissimilar from thinking about my great grandpa. There is reverence for life experiences I cannot share but nonetheless feel. A general sense of healing benevolence. A meditation yielding to a cavalcade of my own formative life events.
Four of Arrows
My great grandpa and Four of Arrows remind me that the person I was in 1994 still resides somewhere in my subconscious. That spark of joy first discovered in albums by Weezer, Stone Temple Pilots, The Cranberries, Tom Petty, and many more is rekindled here with an album that would have felt perfectly at home amongst the landmark alternative of that time. This release, much like memories of my grandpa “Bubs”, makes me want to recapture some of the wonder I lost along the trying climb to adulthood. Great Grandpa is a reminder that even when straining to see beyond the darkness you can always shift your prism to let more light in.