Year-end lists (or “best-of”s as most people term them) are extremely hard for me to compile. I listen to (and buy) a lot of music from day-to-day & despite my best efforts truly cannot keep up with the sheer magnitude of quality recordings coming out each year – and 2019 was a pretty fucking great year for music. So here’s my best shot at compiling a list of my “10 Most-Listened-To” albums from 2019 (plus five honorable mentions). They’re in alphabetical order to avoid any sort of ranking, because honestly ranking something as “best” or assigning a numerical rating seems antiquated & frankly diminishes great art, IMHO. (Trouble In Mind Records releases are excluded, for conflict of interest, but it’s safe to say that anything we’d be investing thousands of dollars releasing is – in our opinion – worth your time). Hope you enjoy & possibly discover something new. Support independent artists & record labels!
When Ultimate Painting abruptly disbanded, I wondered what would come of Jack Cooper. He’d released stuff with Mazes, as well as his own solo stuff, so we knew he’d be okay…though how okay I didn’t know…until now. His new project is titled Modern Nature, a joint venture with Will Young (Beak>, Moon Gangs). Our first listen is a majestic construction piece of slow-core, filled with layers that build upon one another as the song inches its way forward. Tickling guitar lines are aided by great cymbal work and the heavy softness of the vocals; the song moves forward and some horns and electronic flourishes begin to bubble from beneath the surface. This is absolutely gorgeous, and not at all what I would have expected, so I’m all the better for it. How to Live will be put on August 23rd via Bella Union.