My Top 5 Albums of 2019 So Far (and a Few More)

MMC Writers look back at the last six months in music

100 gecs: 1000 gecs {Review}

What a batshit crazy experience. Words defy this album in many ways; it’s something that has to be heard to be believed. This short but sweet album fuses the most trashy and kitsch musical ideas and cultural fragments of the 21st century into one leftfield pop masterpiece, filled with awe-inspiring production and insanely quotable lyrics. Especially given its questionable influences, it’s incredibly tasteful and well executed; never taking itself too seriously, but showcasing some serious passion. It’s a difficult album, but it’s more fun and carefree than most pop music out there. It’s my album of the year so far, and it’s shaping up to be one of the most interesting releases this decade.

Injury Reserve: Injury Reserve {Review}

The (technically) debut album from Injury Reserve is exactly what I wanted; a mixture of sensitive and thoughtful yet humorous and self-aware lyrics set to beats that turn experimental and progressive ideas into tight rap bangers. The songs touching on lamenting the death of loved ones are just as good as the songs about somehow jailbreaking a Tesla; a testament to Ritchie With a T and Steppa J Groggs’ versatility on the mic. Parker Corey’s production is far more industrial this time around, which only serves to push their unique sound into even more cutting edge territory. It’s Injury Reserve’s most ambitious release yet, and certainly their best.

Flume: Hi This Is Flume

Though it’s considered a “mixtape,” this project manages to feel more cohesive and flow tighter than most albums this year. Flume’s production delves deep into the worlds of wonky and deconstructed club, while still showcasing his proficiency in EDM. He demonstrates an immense amount of technical skill behind the boards, the drums are hard hitting and uniquely industrial, and the synths range from satisfyingly smooth to jarringly noisy. Though there’s an element of surprise from hearing Flume’s fusion of industrial textures with EDM song structures, it’s chock full of personality, and impossible not to move to.

Dos Monos: Dos City

Dos City is the Jazz-Rap Album of the Year—if you can call the atonal, mutated, bonkers instrumentals on this album “jazz-rap.” The Tokyo hip-hop trio approaches the age-old genre with a refreshingly abstract vision, stitching together off-kilter samples to create boundary-pushing bangers. It’s experimental for sure, but it doesn’t feel like it’s trying to be experimental; it’s recorded with a very apparent love for the genres of jazz rap, boom bap and hardcore hip-hop that makes the strange ideas inserted into this album feel like a natural conclusion fronted by a trio that doesn’t know how to make music any other way. These crazy beats paired with the cartoony and energetic vocal performances, which are predominantly in Japanese (some English swear words make an appearance) make for an unforgettable and endlessly re-listenable experience. Also, hell yeah, a Frank Zappa sample!

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard: Fishing for Fishies {Review}

The boys do not disappoint with their return from their 2018 hiatus. Fishing for Fishies revives the southern rock you make fun of your dad for listening to and combines it with lounge, psychedelic, garage and electronic. What else can you expect from King Gizzard but another album that perfectly balances rock and roll nostalgia with their own sonic vision? Not to mention the environmentally conscious lyrics that continue to build the lore of the “Gizzverse” (who or what is a Cyboogie? We must find out!) and the unconventional time signatures that are seamlessly worked into their music. This is another hit in a series of many for King Gizz.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Rico Nasty & Kenny Beats: Anger Management {Review}

KENNNYYYY! This EP packs a lot of punch in a short amount of time, hoisting more bangers from two of trap’s most intriguing figures.

Lizzo: Cuz I Love You

There is no reason why Lizzo isn’t the biggest pop star in the world. This album is a collection of self-empowerment anthems with excellent vocals and impeccable production.

Malibu Ken: Malibu Ken {Review}

Who knew skweee music could fuse so well with conscious hop? Aesop Rock and TOBACCO did apparently, because they’ve come through with a psychedelic rap experience that shouldn’t be missed.

Tyler, The Creator: IGOR {Review}

Tyler’s best album yet. Enough said.

Quelle Chris: Guns

Quelle shifts to a slightly less experimental but still one-of-a-kind sound for this quasi-concept album about gun violence in America. It’s yet another solid project from the Detroit rapper, producer and legend.

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