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2019 Albums Of The Year

08 Dec Ask Greg, News | Comments
2019 Albums Of The Year

Here we go!

I feel like every year is a strange year for music. I think maybe, that’s just music. It ebbs and flows. Just like us. Our lives move in weird directions, and we just move with it. Maybe the music in 2019 was just like any other year, and my life was weird. Took me in directions I didn’t expect. My relationship with music was different than in years past. My injury prevented me from taking new records out for a run. What I’ve wanted from songs, albums, has slowly shifted over the years. But, 2019 was much like many previous years, in that I was exposed to so much new music. Artists I’ve loved for years, decades, put out music that still resonates with me. I am fortunate to still find myself as engaged and excited by hearing a new record. Discovering a new artist. Music is special, and we’re all better for having it in our lives.
Like I’ve said before. The list isn’t in any particular order. Some days, I want heavy aggressive. Some days I want quiet acoustic. But, at the end of the day, all of these albums were things I thought were wonderful.
As always, here are the previous lists:
2018, 2017, 2016 , 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010

This year, I have assembled Spotify Playlists for everything. I’ve got four playlists assembled below.
Songs Of The Year
Records Of The Year
Honorable Mentions
Other Super Fun Albums I really Enjoyed

Take them for a ride. I hope you enjoyed them as much as me.


Favorite Songs!


My Favorite Records of 2019!


Bon Iver – I, I
I wasn’t sure that we’d see a Bon Iver record this year. This is another record that is absolutely not obvious. The songs, lyrics, production, layers are chaotic and complex. The songs are collages assembled from pieces, samples, clips from a team of brilliant minds. It is short and sweet, and just a beautiful listen. Bonus points for a stunning vinyl packaging.

American football – 3
From the opening chime, I knew this would end up on the list. They just get it right. The ethereal, meticulous production, and exceptional growth as songwriters. I celebrate everything Mike Kinsella has ever done, and this album is near the top for me.

J Robbins – Unbecoming
This was another surprise release. I thought J was short on time, and was only going to put out a couple songs every year or so. Oh no, he was working on a full record. It’s classic J Robbins. Flawless production, articulate songs & lyrics. I think My Own Devices may be a song of the decade for me. It just checks all of the boxes.

Pedro The Lion – Pheonix
Everything Bazan touches is gold to me. Yellow Bike, Quietest Friend, Black Canyon. My god. Perfect songs. Ultimately, this record is part one of five, and it is so strong. It’s David recalling his life as a boy in Pheonix Az, and it’s just lyrically wonderful. The man paints a great picture. Just a perfect indie rock record front to back.

Baroness – Gold & Grey

Purple is a record of the decade for me. Maybe life time. So, I’m trying hard not to hold that against any future release. This album is a big bold experimental statement. They aren’t going to rely on previous successes. It’s a little long in the tooth, but it’s a fun ride, front to back. The production is pretty weird. Grungy, dirty, fuzzy. The strange experimental ride is part of their charm.

Cave In – Final Transmission
This was another surprise release. An all time favorite band, releases a record after their bass player unfortunately passed away in a car accident. This is a collection of band practice recordings, some better than others, but were revitalized by mixer/producer Andrew Schneider. He managed to take this collection of awesome songs and really make it a record.

Sturgill Simpson – SOUND & FURY

Oh man. Sturgil is the best. I didn’t know what to expect, but hot damn, this record slays. The best description I’ve heard is ZZ Top meets Waylon Jennings. Or was it Waylon Smithers? I don’t know. But, it’s just an ass kicker front to back. If you don’t drive a little faster than usual when it’s on, you’re doing it wrong. And the additional Heavy Metal style animated video companion on netflix is LEGIT. So fun.

Tool – Fear Inoculum

What do you say about TOOL at this point? To me, they are the modern Led Zeppelin. This record is deep, overly complex, and just an immersive experience. Surreal prog with everything as complex as it could possibly be. The production is massive. Tones are perfect. To me, it’s best consumed front to back. The songs aren’t as obvious as previous records, but I think time will be very kind to this album.

Spotlights – Love & Decay
Slow, doomy, driving, distorted. This trio has put out a perfect followup to their 2017 list release. The synths take a more prominent role, often dropping the perfect layered hook.

Hozier – Wasteland, Baby!
Songs. This guy just gets songs. Perfect melodic content over a great retro vibe. Deep instrumentation, and just a glorious voice. He gets bonus for hiring Suzzane Santo for guitars & fiddle. Just great, front to back.

Grace Potter – Daylight
A perfect record? Eric Valentine (personal hero of mine), and his wife Grace have really done something magical. The songs, performances, production, absolutely everything. Flawless. There are some vintage country vibes, motown vibes, and some just full on rocking moments. So great.

Cloudkicker – Unending

If Ben Sharp releases music, it’s probably going to end up on the list. This is a return to form for him. Big riffs, huge production, and just a fun instrumetal jam. This dude’s particular brand of riff rock is just the only brand of instrumetal that really does it for me anymore. He’s my riff soulmate.

Town Portal – Of Violence

Ok. I spoke too soon. It’s not just Ben Sharp’s Cloudkicker. Christian & Town Portal are on the list. The only TWO that really do it for me. But, Town Portal’s vibe leans a little more indie rock, and a little less metal. Their catalog has been so so strong thus far, but this one is the winner for me. The songs, riffs, vibe. And honestly, Scott Evan’s production. I don’t know how the hell they all made it work, but hot damn we’re all lucky they did. Perfect match.

Strand Of Oaks – Eraserland
I hadn’t heard of this guy, and his band. Someone had posted the video for his song Weird Ways, and I was blown away. The song, production, mood. It was exactly what I wanted at that moment. No other songs on the record really do that for me, but the whole thing is still wonderful.

Pile – Green & Grey

Pile’s best record, hands down. A group of friends were trying to describe them last week. We couldn’t. We didn’t know how. They are kinda like this band….and this band….They are loud….but not always…..they are noisy….but still really beautiful. This is the most accurate capturing of their best moments. The opening song is also one of my songs of the year. Just a perfect way to begin that journey.

Hailaker – S/T

If you like old Bon Iver, you’d like last year’s lister Novo Amor. If you like Novo Amor, you’ll like Hailaker, who is under the Novo Amor umbrella. A female Novo Amor, if you will. The songs are lush, layered, and just perfectly moody. It is a perfect fall record to me.

The Appleseed Cast – The Fleeting Light of Impermanence

We are fortunate to be 20+ years into the existence of ASC. They are basically an entirely different band than the band that hooked me in high school, but they still deliver. This is way more atmospheric and moody than some prior releases. Much like some other records on the list, it’s more of a front to back experience than a collection of singular songs.

Whitney – Forever Turned Around
It’s been fun watching these local kids grow up. I’ve had two different young high school students request to learn their music this year. Just really pleasant, easily digestible indie rock with some sweet hooks, and fun songs. If this record doesn’t break them, the next one probably will.

Silver Bars – Center of the City Lights
Just a total random Bandcamp find. Really nice indie / gazey / chimey band with some killer songs. Same label as previous album listers, Magnet School. Those first 3 songs are so great.

Orville Peck – Pony

Chris Isaac meets Roy Orbison, as performed by a queer, masked singer songwriter. The songs are really smart, and they have just a perfect mood and vibe to them. His whole mystique and schtick add to the unique experience of what he’s doing. It’s not particularly musically complex, but his lyrics & delivery are absolutely perfect.

Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

I didn’t get it at first on first listen. It took a handful of plays for it to click, but when it did. Holy cow. There really isn’t anything else in pop (yet), that is doing that on the top level of music. Billie & her brother are really doing something unique in an ocean of artists who are all doing the same thing.

The National – I Am Easy To Find

These guys have been hit or miss for me over the years. When they are on, they are untouchable. This record is one of those moments for me. Just a great band, with a unique sound, at the top of their game. I Am Easy To Find is as good as anything in their catalog.

Diiv – Deciever
These guys flew under my radar. Just a totally great shoegaze band, that still managed to have their own cool & unique vibe. They find the way to navigate heavy moments. Ethereal moments. Droney, noisy moments. But still just some killer songs.



Maybe not Top Favorites, but still loved these.




Jimmy Eat World – Surviving

There is no bad Jimmy Eat World. They are as consistent as any band I’ve ever heard.

Big Thief – UFOF

So good. 2019 was kind to them, and rightfully so.

Giants Chair – Prefabylon
KC mathy angular indie rockers are back!

Bayonne – Drastic Measures

Singular loop based musician who writes stunning indie songs.

Arctic Sleep – Kindred Spirits

I think it’s Keith’s best, and most ambitious heavy prog record.

Torche – Admission

The best thing they have done in years. Just a relentless heavy pounding record.

Lewis Capaldi Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent

This is some wonderful, simple, perfect pop music. I love his voice.

Self Evident – Lost Inside The Machinery

Mathy, avant-garde, jams from Min.

Chon – S/T

Clean guitar jazzy indie shredding from a bunch of kids who make me feel bad. They are too talented.

Silversun Pickups – Widow’s Weeds

Solid indie pop, with an aggressive political edge on this record.

City & Colour – A Pill For Loneliness

I’ve celebrated his entire catalog. This record is fine….but hasn’t grabbed me like any of his previous releases have.

Wilco – Ode To Joy

Back on their game. Indie Americana at it’s finest.

Vancouver Sleep Clinic – Onwards To Zion

Moody, indie, atmospheric, and just a nice night time record.

Great Grandpa – Four Arrows

Shout out to my friend Matt for turning me onto this. My jaw dropped from the front of the record, and didn’t close til the end.

Cigarettes After Sex – Cry

Slow, soft-spoken, gazey atmosphere mood setters.

Angelo De Augustine – Tomb

If you like Sufjan, you’ll dig this. Just quiet, acoustic, brilliant songs.

Rows arc – High On The Tide

Indie Art Rock? Their record release was in an art museum. That’s

Facs – Lifelike

Chicago hard hitting indie rock, but with an absolutely unique sound & vibe.

Ex Hex – It’s Real
Female led riff rock. Perfect melodies.


Just other great albums I enjoyed in 2019.




The Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness – Dead Calm

The HighWomen – S/T

Holy Fawn – Death Spills

Rival Sons – Feral Roots

Shovels and Rope – The Wire

Merrow – Reading The Bones

Shlohmo – The End

Justin Townes Earle.- The Saint Lost Causes

Holding Patterns – Endless

Shane Leonard. Strange Forms

Nomad Stones – Unriddled

Vampire Weekend – Father Of The Bride

Marissa Nadler/Stephen Brodsky – Droneflower

Big Wreck – But For The Sun

Greg Holden – World War Me

King Gizzard – Infest The Rats Nest

Bigger Better Sun – Comfort Foods

Angel Olsen – All Mirrors

Sharon Van Ettan – Remind Me Tomorrow

Purple Mountains – S/T

oso oso – basking in the glow

Varaha – A Passage For Lost Years

Pup – Morbid Stuff

Battles – Juice B Crypts

Cursive – Get Fixed

From Indian Lakes – Dimly Lit

Dessert Sessions – 11/12

James Blunt – Once Upon A Mind

Telekinesis – Effluxion

Longwave – If We Ever Live Forever

Mikal Cronin – Seeker

Rex Orange County – Pony

White Reaper – You Deserve Love

Opeth – In Cauda Venenum

Matt Nathanson – Postcards From Chicago

Russian Circles – Blood Year

Metz – Automat

Wear Your Wounds – Rust On The Gates Of Heaven

Thom York – Anima

Bad Books – III

Mac Demarco – Here Comes The Cowboy

The Damned Things – High Crimes

Jade Bird – S/T

The New Pornographers – In The Morse Code Of Brake Lights

Swervedriver – Future Ruins

Helms Alee – Nocticula

Starflyer 59 – Young In My Head

The Menzingers – Hello Exile

Dude York – Falling

The Raconteurs – Help Us Stranger

Luke Scott – Water

Spiral Stairs – We Wanna Be Hy-No-Tized

Damien Jurado – In The Shape Of A Storm

Tiny Changes: A Celebration Of Frightened Rabbit

Press Club – Wasted Energy

No Win – downey


A few fun EPs.

Teenage Wrist – Counting Flies

Thrice – Deeper Wells

James bay – Oh My Messy Mind


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