The end of the year means end-of-year lists. Here’s the start of my Albums Of The Year.
We’ve put our favourite song from each of our selections into a Spotify playlist. Here it is.
20. The St Pierre Snake Invasion – Caprice Enchanté
It’s always tricky deciding what gets the number 20 slot – it’s the record that blocks entry into your list for anything else.
This year, the honour goes to this gem of a record from a band with a silly name but an ear for banging hardcore. This album is mad, and its magnificent, Chariot-like, chaos is right up my Sesame.
19. Coilguns – Watchwinders
There are a few people on my social feeds to whom I pay attention when they recommend new music. One of them is fellow Palm Reader nut Elaine (@alienbeekeeper), who regularly helps me decide what to listen to on a Friday morning when all the new releases are out.
Earlier this year she bigged up this dirty, rumbling smorgasbord of an album and it just clicked with my ears. Lovely stuff – thanks Elaine!
18. Minors – Abject Bodies
Much as I like nuanced, soaring, progressive and captivating music, sometimes you just need something hard, fast and loud. Minors delivers on all three. Banging.
17. Frail Body – A Brief Memoriam
Shout-out to Riot Act podcast for bringing this one into my life as part of their 2019 catch-up of albums you might have missed. This album is cut from the same cloth of Touché Amoré’s masterpiece Stage Four; it’s heartfelt, emotional, narrative-led hardcore, and it is a joy.
16. Venom Prison – Samsara
I’m fully aware this is a record that deserves to much higher up my list – it is an exceptional album, I just have 15 other albums I prefer this year. That being said, there’s no denying this pounding, twisted savagery that death metal’s hottest band has put out.
I’m champing at the bit to see this live and am floored at step Venom Prison have made from their previous record. Big things are on the horizon for this lot.
15. Nervus – Tough Crowd
There is something about the way Em from Nervus writes her songs that just get in my head. As with their previous two records, Tough Crowd is full of complete and utter earworms, and I have the loveliest of lovely times singing along loudly and badly to them. A great band, and three great records so far – excellent.
14. Petrol Girls – Cut & Stitch
Petrol Girls is exactly the type of band we need in 2019 and they have made great strides on this, their second full-length. Whereas their debut was packed full of shoutable slogans, Cut & Stitch is the kind of powerful, poignant and political album that punk bands don’t make regularly enough.
13. Microwave – Death Is A Warm Blanket
The high dynamic range on this record is bonkers – how many other albums have you heard this year than can go from sounding like a grunge revivalist on one song, to a Norma Jean-esque heavyweight riff machine on the next? I’m still enjoying this record more and more with each listen.
12. Jamie Lenman – Shuffle
Covers albums are tricky to get right; for every Garage Inc. there’s a load of guff. But, Jamie Lenman is a man to rely on. This autobiographical romp is a fine reflection on the character of the man behind it, and a fascinating look into the mind of one of our scene’s biggest heroes.
The song choices are unusual – 90s classics, unknown gems and the Popeye theme all feature – but they are all delivered with Lenman’s typical panache and stomp. Now, how about a new record of original stuff in 2020 please, Jamie?
11. We Never Learned To Live – The Sleepwalker Transmissions
When a band that deals in undulating, soaring epics gets it right, the result is usually right in my wheelhouse. We Never Learned To Live have absolutely nailed it here, with a record that has been on my heavy rotation list since it dropped in the spring. There are plenty of high, life-affirming moments on this one. It’s a cracker.