Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Very Vinyl: My Favorite Music of 2019

Definitely growing stronger as it goes along (ending with the haunting cosmic jazz of the song featured above), Bon Iver's "I,I" isn't an extremely welcoming project on first listen. But, like all of his layered songs, Justin Vernon's unique ability isn't in arranging tidy lyrics inside your head. His music etches little specks of melody in your soul, accumulating into a warm explosion as the songs bleed and morph against each other. I've listened to this album more than anything else this year. Just magical.

With "The Eraser" and now "Anima", Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has crafted two individualistic albums that feel, at once, apart of the Radiohead soundscape and wholly different. Perhaps its Yorke's reliance on more electronic beats (rather than Greenwood's thumping guitar), and "Anima" pushes his propulsive experimentation to dizzying heights.

Not only did we get a new The Natioanl album this year, but a stellar black and white short film (starring Alicia Vikander) that dispenses all the heartache, joy and crushing humanity that spills out through every lyric of their songs. I hope this band continues to make music for decades.

Emerging on the scene only a few years ago, New York rock band Big Thief have a legitimate claim to band of the year. releasing not one but two splendid albums. Hailed by fellow artists like Phoebe Bridgers as something amazing to see live, Big Thief are poised to be the indie darlings for years to come.

A commentator on YouTube said that the next decade belongs to Weyes Blood. I wholeheartedly agree. Natalie Mering has been making music for more than 8 years, but with "Titanic Rising", her cosmic pop sound combining church music, 70's Linda Ronstadt and lilting melodies culminated in a near perfect confection of mood and energy.

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