Shosa’s Top 40 Albums of 2019

Welp, I wasn’t gonna do one of these, but then Secat did one and if Secat did one, that means I have to do one. He’s trying to take over my webzine. But it’s mine. itsmineitsmineitsmineitsmineitsmine.

Anyways, this is in no way accurate or comprehensive so put absolutely no stock into it. I didn’t hear all of the music (though I can say made it into the several thousands of artists listened to in 2019 so that counts for something kinda maybe), and even if I had, there’s no formula to this shit. Narrowing down the year’s music to 40 albums is a fool’s errand, but hey, we’re fools.

With all that said, here are The 40 Objectively Best Albums of 2019. Also I’m stealing Secat’s X Factor thingy. And go read his list here.

 

40. BA Johnston – The Skid Is Hot Tonight

X Factor: the bum’s bible: book nine (read more)

Favorite Tracks: “We’re All Going to Jail (Except Pete, He’s Gonna Die)”, “Circle the Bowl”

 

39. Dim Wit – Dim Sh!t

X Factor: hooky, playful twee punk about farts, boners, and the duality of man; brimming with joy, darker at a second glance (read more)

Favorite Tracks: “Wee Thee Peeple”, “Duel Schism”, “Puppy Wuv”

 

38. Headboggle – Polyphonic Demo

X Factor: so Commercial Album they even took the track length gimmick; i’m ok with this (read more)

Favorite Tracks: Best experienced as a whole

 

37. Red Pants – Distortion and Snow

X Factor: noisy, adventurous power pop/indie rock; basically 2019’s Bakesale (read more)

Favorite Tracks: “We All Fall Down”, “Heartshade (In the Afternoon)”, “Citrus Kisses”

 

36. Koutei Camera Girl Drei – Dawn by Flow

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X Factor: experimental japanese hip house by cute girls who change their name every album oh sees style? target demographic is me specifically but maybe you too incidentally

Favorite Tracks: “No Reaction”, “Speed Test”, “Movin'”

 

35. WAKE IN JUNE – lavender pink

X Factor: think cleaners from venus but more inward (read more)

Favorite Tracks: “Engrams”, “Mega Cartridge”, “He Once Dreamed of Being a Butterfly”

 

34. Suite 309 – 101 Notes On Jazz

X Factor: as someone who used to host a college late-night radio program called The Ascending Jazzhole, this triggers my PTSD; awkward live reads ARE art, dammit

Favorite Tracks: it makes absolutely no sense to do this here

 

33. Graham Hunt – Leaving Silver City

X Factor: some of the most massive power pop jams of the year; really sounds like a classic ’90s record (read more)

Favorite Tracks: “Every Person”, “Natural Pace”, “Impersonal Favor”

 

32. Various Artists – ShopLand World: Music for a Discovery Park of Miniature Supermarkets

X Factor: nothing better exemplifies the artists of the experimental music community than over 20 of them getting together to make a concept album about a theme park of markets that are physically small (read more)

Favorite Tracks: “What Penumbras”, “Wait Line for the Bossa Nova Aisle”, “Study into the Effects of Background Music on In-store Shopping Behaviour (See R. E. Milliman, 1982)”, “No Sleep Funnies”, “Secret Supermarket”, “Look Mother (My Own Tiny Supermarket)”

 

31. Jonathan Something – Art So Small You Can Hardly See It

X Factor: witty, nihilistic baroque folk; not a fan of politicians, old people, or god

Favorite Tracks: “#1 Dad”, “Idiot War”, “At the Orgy in the Sky”

 

30. Kevin and the Bikes – Dorkcore 101

X Factor: nearly four hours of songs entirely about Ed, Edd & Eddy; somehow never gets boring; features horrible covers, horrible ‘podcasts’, and a couple good songs too (read more)

Favorite Tracks: barely applicable overall but “I Fucking Hate My Friends, They Don’t Understand My Love for the Eds”

 

29. Backxwash – Deviancy

X Factor: furious yet tender, powerful yet vulnerable; evil voodoo shit cocooning a woman’s pain and making her love shine brighter; title track could compact cars, “You Like My Body the Way It Is” will compact your heart

Favorite Tracks: “Don’t Come to the Woods”, “Deviancy”, “You Like My Body the Way It Is”

 

28. CHANCE デラソウル – All Together Now!

X Factor: makes me dance; i don’t dance

Favorite Tracks: “Summer”, “Handsomeboy Technicality”, “You Will Be There”

 

27. glass beach – the first glass beach album

X Factor: hey look it’s glassbeachband y’know the kid who won’t sit still but that’s ok because one day they’re gonna grow up and make a wonderful wacky heartwarming big queer album with all their favorite toys that make noise and it’ll have all of the hooks ever and it’ll go off on little spontaneous adventures but always find its way back home because GLASSBEACHBAND

Favorite Tracks: “bedroom community”, “dallas”, “yoshi’s island”

 

26. Carly Rae Jepsen – Dedicated

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X Factor: the preeminent purveyor of girly pop continues to give me faith that mainstream music can be good; slays; would slay even harder if she had a sword

Favorite Tracks: “Julian”, “No Drug Like Me”, “Want You In My Room”

 

25. Swim Camp – Barlow Hill

X Factor: sounds like homegrown coffee beans shot on super 8 film with a hikikomori’s journal whinged over the top of it; pretty good drums; slightly better than alex g (read more)

Favorite Tracks: “Pretty Bird”, “Mighty Son”, “Bug Spray”

 

24. Lemon Melon – Des Winks

X Factor: chemical brothers meets avalanches + a heavy dose of sunny tropical shit and big dumb = the first big beat album i’ve loved in ages; perpetually winking, but only semi-ironically (read more)

Favorite Tracks: “The Greatest Song I’ve Ever Heard”, “1000 Rooms”

 

23. Spartan Jet-Plex – Godless Goddess

X Factor: witchy neofolk rich in occult atmosphere; very personal record on the rejection of religion and the acceptance of oneself as their own master (read more)

Favorite Tracks: “Stop”, “Everything”, “Light”

 

22. Hatchie – Keepsake

X Factor: lush, ethereal dream pop with massive hooks; this being a danceable record (and often not in a ‘slow dance’ way) really helps this stand out among its peers

Favorite Tracks: “Without a Blush”, “Obsessed”, “Stay With Me”

 

21. The Wolfmanhattan Project – Blue Gene Stew

X Factor: weirdo garage rock dream team comes through in a pinch

Favorite Tracks: “Now Now Now”, “Jar in the Staircase”, “Silver Sun”

 

20. Greet Death – New Hell

X Factor: i think this what folks call ‘the harbringer of the end times’; really pretty tho; i identify as hopeless

Favorite Tracks: “Circles of Hell”, “You’re Gonna Hate What You’ve Done”, “New Hell”

 

19. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Bandana

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X Factor: gangsta rap that’s actually gangsta; madlib is still probably the best hip-hop producer alive; proof that hip-hop doesn’t need to choose between bars and hooks

Favorite Tracks: “Crime Pays”, “Palmolive”, “Cataracts”

 

18. Julia Jacklin – Crushing

X Factor: titled Crushing because that’s what the lyrics are

Favorite Tracks: “Head Alone”, “Pressure to Party”, “Don’t Know How to Keep Loving You”

 

17. Free Refills – Raw Steak Black Coffee

X Factor: it’s not a bird, it’s not a plane, it’s the raw blasts of high volume distortion courtesy of free refills that made your ears pop; gets better the louder you play it; also gets more dangerous; worth it

Favorite Tracks: “Libra”, “Bodybuilder Boyfriend”, “Crusher”

 

16. Frog – Count Bateman

X Factor: the best weerd americana around; if Gummo was an album, it’d be Count Bateman; the prettiest pop melodies of the year; i like neil young too

Favorite Tracks: “Hartsdale Hotbox”, “Black Friday”, “It’s Something I Do”

 

15. Whettman Chelmets – Doesn’t Remember…

X Factor: conceptual vaporwave/post-rock/ambient/plunderphonics/everything using 20 year old personal recordings as the basis for an album about the degradation and mutation of memory; woah that’s meta; one of a bajillion great albums wc put out in 2019 (read more)

Favorite Tracks: “Recollections Suite”, “Drowned and Faded”, “What a Failure of a Year”

 

14. Bent Knee – You Know What They Mean

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X Factor: heard someone compare them to the black keys but if bent knee and the black keys bumped shoulders in an alleyway, black keys would be the ones to be bend the knee pun entirely intended; if more prog starts sounding like this, i promise to stop hating prog; courtney swain’s vocals are fuckin’ WILD

Favorite Tracks: “Bone Rage”, “Catch Light”, “Golden Hour”

 

13. BabyTron – Bin Reaper

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X Factor: skinny mexican kid from detroit in a posse called ‘ShittyBoyz’ makes video game trap rap with ’80s synths, ends up making the best rap album of the year; take a shot every time you hear a pop culture reference; references i can remember in “Scampire” alone off the top of my head: rob van dam, aquaman, jj watt, ratchet & clank, one punch man, subzero, mario & luigi, quagmire, beerus, charizard

Favorite Tracks: “Jesus Shuttlesworth”, “Scampire”, “Flawless Victory”, “Punch God 2”

 

12. Copper – Number Six Girls School

X Factor: yes, that IS the worst album art you have ever seen in your entire life; also the best power pop album of 2019; “American Boy” makes me cry, “Bippy Can’t Be Bothered” makes me laugh, “Kellyanne” is some beautiful big dipper-jellyfish baby, all of it kicks ass

Favorite Tracks: “American Boy”, “Kellyanne”, “Bippy Can’t Be Bothered”

 

11. Townes Van Zandt – Sky Blue

X Factor: all these years after his passing, we finally get a record with a sound that does justice to van zandt’s weary, drunken, lonesome songs; the new songs are incredible (read more)

Favorite Tracks: “All I Need”, “Sky Blue”, “Pancho and Lefty”, “Silver Ships of Andilar”

 

10. Stella Donnelly – Beware of the Dogs

X Factor: stella donnelly is the cutest, strongest, angriest, lewdest, funniest, most awesome bad bitch in music and i am 100% about this energy; may have a massive crush on her and that may make me biased; but damn can she pen a jangly jingle; i think i have a thing for australian female singer-songwriters huh

Favorite Tracks: “Old Man”, “Boys Will Be Boys”, “Tricks”, “Beware of the Dogs”

 

9. William Lyon of Rosycross – Alter in der Fülle

X Factor: “the world’s only demi-crossdressing christian goth synthpop artist” really says it all, don’t it; affected and overindulgent, and i mean that as a compliment (read more)

Favorite Tracks: “Double Life”, “Protestant Body and a Catholic Mind”, “Lifeforce (Johnny, It’s Not Too Late to Call Off the Wedding)”

 

8. Otoboke Beaver – Itekoma Hits

X Factor: kawaii is now hardcore; NOT a gimmick; loud, fast, political, technical, and fun as fuck; exhausting in the best way

Favorite Tracks: “Datsu . Hikage no onna”, “Love Is Short”, “Don’t Light My Fire”, “6 Day Working Week Is a Pain”

 

7. Chat Pile – Remove Your Skin Please

X Factor: the sound of a serial killer murdering the absolute shit out out you; every time i hear “Dallas Beltway” it feels like i’m simultaneously edging and about to piss myself; yea i know it’s an ep shut the FUCK up

Favorite Tracks: “Dallas Beltway”, “Davis”

 

6. Purple Mountains – Purple Mountains

X Factor: i listened to this a lot when i was in the midst of a long, severe depressive period this year and that was NOT A GOOD IDEA; rip berman, thanks for holding on so long you beautiful bastard

Favorite Tracks: “All My Happiness Is Gone”, “Margaritas at the Mall”, “Nights That Won’t Happen”

 

5. HAWN – For a Ride

X Factor: hunter s thompson presents: the digital apocalypse; whenever i think “hey, i haven’t felt severe existential dread in a while”, this is my go-to album (read more)

Favorite Tracks: “Still Above the Ground”, “King”, “Closed and Shuttered”, “Cody Matthews”

 

4. black midi – Schlagenheim

X Factor: SUCH A MAGNIFICENT PURPOSE; aeifuvhziduvbshidugfbai ad iulf bhskfugbhs dflguvh; very chaotic children

Favorite Tracks: “953”, “Near DT, MI”, “Western”, “bmbmbm”, “Ducter”

 

3. Weyes Blood – Titantic Rising

X Factor: big: beautiful; bombastic; blue

Favorite Tracks: “A Lot’s Gonna Change”, “Andromeda”, “Everyday”, “Movies”, “Wild Time”

 

2. Hakushi Hasegawa – Air Ni Ni

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X Factor: one of the most batshit insane pop albums of all-time; does to my ears what Mind Game does to my eyes; he just turned 21 holy shit he’s gonna get better

Favorite Tracks: “Only You”, “o (_*)”, “Desert”, “Evil Things”

 

1. Get a Life – Our Band Could Be Your Life or Debt

X Factor: o shit it me: the album; deceptively ambitious; equal turns hilarious and devastating. often at the same time; superb pop sensibilities; feels like it could fall apart at any moment; it’s just about stuff, which is great because life is really just stuff; camus would probably dig it (read more)

Favorite Tracks: “Get a Job”, “What You Deserve”, “All Fun No Gum”, “2 Plus 2 Equals 5”, “Here Comes the Fun”, “Dungeon”

 

 

Alright, that’s all from me. I’m afraid if I start an honorable mentions list, I won’t be able to stop. Know if we’ve ever covered you, we love you, and if we haven’t, we might. There is entirely too much good music for a couple kids from Texas to give it all the spotlight it deserves, but going forward into 2020, we’ll do what we can. Thanks for reading and caring slightly about our opinions.

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