My 15 Favorite Albums of 2019 So Far

MMC Writers look back at the last six months in music.

Indie/Alternative

Julia Jacklin: Crushing {Review}

I was incredibly excited for JJ’s second LP after her impressive debut, and I’m extremely pleased to report that it didn’t disappoint in the slightest.

Stella Donnelly: Beware of the Dogs {Review}

Donnelly’s musicianship is very, very much punk disguised in a quirky indie-rock façade. Her selections of anecdotes are wincingly blunt and unapologetic, spun into song with her incredible vocal athleticism.

Better Oblivion Community Center: Better Oblivion Community Center {Review}

What do you get when you put Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst in a room? Inevitable alternative-folk-rock greatness.

Big Thief: U.F.O.F. {Review}

It’s hard to dock any points from this hypnotic indie-folk outfit. On their third LP, the Brooklyn quartet detach themselves from Adrianne Lenker’s dark ruminations from records past and begin to explore the unknown.

Crumb: Jinx

Speaking of hypnotic (and Brooklyn-based quartets), I’m in love with the vibe in Crumb’s first full length record. The band has taken what they’ve done best on their previous two EPs—a little bit of indie-rock, R&B and neo-soul—and resolutely expanded their repertoire with some solid tracks.

Ariel Posen: How Long

As a guitar player and gear nerd myself, I’m proud to say that Ariel Posen (of The Bros. Landreth and Andertons fame) is undoubtedly one of my favourite string-slingers out there. It’s impossible not to feel inspired by any track on Posen’s tasty debut.

R&B/Soul

Jordan Rakei: Origin

Rakei’s third studio album positively drips with his characteristic groove and soul. Origin is definitely his most accessible and “dance-y” record to date, but that’s not a bad thing in the slightest.

Ella Haber: Clay EP

Haber’s outstanding vocal performance on Clay is painfully reminiscent of the late and great Amy Winehouse. Produced by none other than Jordan Rakei (see above), the five-track EP is a stunning glimpse into some of Australia’s best up-and-coming talent.

Tiana Khasi: Meghalaya EP

Speaking of which, Tiana Khasi—both tour and label-mates with Haber—is another artist to keep your eyes open and ears out for. Meghalaya dips its toes into R&B, jazz and neo-soul, powered by Khasi’s dynamic vocals and Sampology’s masterful production.

Jazz

Snarky Puppy: Immigrance

Recently, I was fortunate enough to attend a masterclass with Michael League, bass player and ringleader of Snarky Puppy. What followed in those three hours was pure jaw-dropping insight into the band’s myriad of inter-continental influences. It’s always a riot with a Snarky Puppy record, and Immigrance is no exception.

Julian Lage: Love Hurts

I’m not a jazz buff by any means, but I can recognize a brilliant guitar player when I hear one. Lage’s latest collection of songs is an elegant and exquisite treat for the ears.

Charlie Hunter & Lucy Woodward: Music!Music!Music!

Hunter’s peerless skill on his hybrid bass/electric guitar mesh perfectly with Woodward’s sultry voice on Music!Music!Music! The album is a mesmerizing melting pot of jazz, funk, blues and everything in between.  

Hip-Hop/Electronic

Little Simz: GREY Area {Review}

There’s a reason why Little Simz has been praised by the likes of Yassin Bey (Mos Def) and Kendrick Lamar. The UK-based rapper has been on a tear over the last several years and it seems like she’s only getting better.

Flying Lotus: Flamagra {Review}

Like many of Flying Lotus’ previous records, Flamagra feels like a sketchpad of a mad professor. Ambitious would be an understatement; in terms of track numbers, this album beats out Thundercat’s Drunk (23) at a staggering 27 songs.

Clever Austin: Pareidolia

Clever Austin is the moniker of Perrin Moss, drummer and producer of Hiatus Kaiyote. Pareidolia is a collection of syncopated concepts, Dilla-esque beats and experimental electronica. Like Flamagra, it’s an album that’s meant to be listened to from start to finish.

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