The Top 10 Albums of 2019 (so far)

There has been a truck load of great records out this year and before the new Bruce Springsteen comes out this Friday, everything else is just a placeholder, here are our top ten favorites.

10. J.S. Ondara – Tales of America

This Minnesota by way of Kenya Americana Folk singer is this years Leon Bridges. An inspiring new find , Ondara fully absorbs himself in any song he sings.

09. Austin Meade – Waves

This denizen of the Texas hill country lays down a template of 70’s outlaw inspired country influenced songwriting with more of than a touch of Rock as well as Roll.

08. Yola – Walk Through The Fire

You won’t need to to much past the first song on this record, “Faraway Look”, for this one to grab you. With pipes that would make Dusty Springfield blush along with the production fairy dust from Dan Auerbach and his Easy Eye team, this is one could have been released in 1968.

07. Guida E.V.A

An extremely rambunctious listen, E.V.A., the latest from Italian Glam Rock titans Guida combines Glam, 70’s Rock, and a tinge of disco that will mood-set your day at first listen.

06. Jack Ingram – Ridin’ High … Again

Ingram’s tribute in spirit to Jerry Jeff Walker and the rest of the hill country troubadours. Another record that could have been made in 70’s era Nashville. His take on “Desperados Waiting on a Train” is worth the price of admission alone.

05. Nightbeats – Myth of a Man

There is a real and pronounced outlaw-groove Tarantino-Noir vibe that permeates every pore of this album.

04. Kenny Wayne Sheppard – The Traveller

Kenny Wayne Sheppard with each release seems to be more and more comfortable with his place in the pantheon of guitar slingers. His latest, a Classic Rock concoction of Blues, Boogie, and Rock is a powerhouse. Singer Noah Hunt is in fine grizzled form still sounding like Warren Zevon’s less drug addled brother, and Stevie Ray’s old stick man Chris Layton pushes the band down the rails like a runaway train. Including eight originals and two covers, the best of the lot being a scorched earth version of Neil’s Mr. Soul, this one might be the bands best record to date.

03. Jenny Lewis – On the Line

Firmly entrenched in Laurel Canyon California Lounge-Rock of the 70’s. Any record that features Benmont Tench, Ringo Starr, Jim Keltner, Beck, and Don Was has to be the coolest. And this one is.

02. Better Oblivion Community Center – Better Oblivion Community Center

This one came out of nowhere, also way back in January. A collaboration between Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers, both site favorites, this one is a tight Folk- Rock record that brings out the best in both artists.

01. The Delines – The Imperial

Brooding and vulnerable Country Soul from the side-piece band for Richmond Fontaine head honcho. Every song is a Raymond Carver short story.

Best Albums of 2019 (So Far)

No time like the present to start compiling the best albums of the year. Stay tuned to this space as this list will be constantly updating.

001. The Delines – The Imperial

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Every song could be an episode of True Detective on this one. The songwriting is living on the edge middle America Noir with every character seemingly living on the razors edge. Brooding Country-Soul courtesy of Willy Vlautin and his muse Amy Boone.

002. Liz Brasher – Painted Image

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This one is likely to be on the list of best debut albums of the year. With vintage Dusty Springfield old school grooves mixed with contemporary Blues swirling throughout there is a definite new age feel to the record to complement the vintage sounds. “Cold” baby sounds like Otis Redding’s long lost sister.

003. Red Rum Club – Matador

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With Matador, as debut albums go, Liverpool sextet The Rum Club has delivered a record that is sure to be on most of the Best-Of lists once the end of the year rolls around. With a distinct gumbo of a sound that is part 80’s Brit-Rock, part Psychedelic Rock, Part 60’s Surf-Garage, part Tarantino-Noir, and all cool, the texture of the album changes from track to track with even more influences filtering through the ears upon multiple listens.

 

004. The Twilight Sad – It Won’t Be Like This All the Time

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Given the dark often gloomy tenor of this record it should come as no surprise that Robert Smith of the Cure is a big fan of this Scottish four piece band. In fact, he was sort of a musical muse on this record. A grower of an album, after a few listens of this you will definitely feel alive.

005. Maggie Rogers – Heard It In A Past Life

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It is her singing voice that carries the day here as Maggie Rogers moves effortlessly between singer songwriter fare and electronic pop. Fully prepared not to enjoy this album, the jaunty 80’s Olivia Newton John vibe of “Give a Little” and the more folk-centric jam of her debut single “Alaska” made a believer out of these ears.

006. The Steel Woods – Old Woods

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This Americana and Outlaw Country by way of Southern Rock band is the real deal. The opening couple of riffs on the lead off song, “All of These Years” will have you digging out your old Lynyrd Skynyrd records, and if that’s not enough, their cover versions of “Whipping Post” along with Petty’s ” Southern Accents” will direct your attention to the music that these guys discovered when they were growing up.

007. Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow

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The consistent tone and perspective change on this, Sharon Van Etten’s fifth album, makes this one an extremely enjoyable listen. “Seventeen” is likely to be on many best songs of the year listings.

 

 

 

Song of the Day: The Delines Cheer Up Charley

“Cheer Up Charley” is one of the character sketches that the Delines deliver up with their latest Gem of an album, The Imperial. Charley is a day drinker trying to recover from a wife that has left him and a dead end job on the docks. Willy Vlautin really knows his way around a song. Singer Amy Boone wrings every bit of emotion out of a song that have fight right in on a Tom Waits record.