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!
As of right now, Thigh Master are the perfect 2 for 2 with their singles; they won with “Mould Lines” and “Entity” might be even better. I love the frantic attitude that opens this tune with its devil-may-care faux jangle; it’s got this natural bravado that seems wholly unintentional. But, for me, the pop sucker, it’s that slight turn starting with “I’m looking for an entity” in the chorus that makes my pop ears stick right up in the air! It’s hard to sound casual and cool with this buoyant bounce just riding right on through until the end. Now For Example will be out worldwide on September 27th via Goner Records!
Having already written about one Brisbane act today, it only seems appropriate to follow it up with another that I’m quite fond of, Thigh Master. Matthew Ford and his band have things locked down tight on this one, fueled by a bounding rhythm section and this discordant guitar cutting through like a knife. Still, what’s always charmed me about this outfit is that no matter how rambunctious and out of control they seem, they always carry this pop sensibility just below the surface, lurking and waiting to burst your eardrums with joy. This track is no different! You’ll find it on the band’s Now for Example, slated for release by Goner Records on September 27th, with a big old US tour in the early Fall!
Thigh Master has been high on my list of Aussie imports this year, and they just announced a forthcoming split with Dag (another of my favorites) for December. Those familiar with any of the previously managed bands will surely enjoy this track, as it walks that line between angular guitar and haphazard melody. To me, the band just embrace their own musical inclinations, even with slight tonal imperfections; this is what Pavement would have sounded like had they just gone out to have a grand old time. This split 7″ will drop on Bruit Direct Disques come the end of December.
After being somewhat dormant for the first few months of the year, 12XU has jumped out with several great musical announcements, one being this raucous bit of noise from Austin’s Borzoi. You’re immediately thrust into the discord, drums pounding furiously and guitar chords knifing through your speakers. It’s as if the vocals were recorded in huge concrete war room, echoing notes in a way such that your head’s constantly swirling; they’vegot a steady moment of delivery in the middle of the track that I’m particularly fond of, right before the band crashes the song to a close. Look for a brand new 4 song 7″ from the band on March 24th.
And, I highly suggest another gem from the label’s announcements: Thigh Master. I’ll add that song below too…but nothing too long-winded as we don’t want to bum Norman Wanklord out.