With 2019 coming to a close, a lot of people are focusing not only on their best albums of the decade lists, but also their best albums of 2019. In this humble writer’s opinion, 2019 was a pretty sweet year for music. I listened to a bunch of stuff, both new and old, found some new favorites, fell into way too many musical phases, and even rediscovered love for nostalgic sounds from my angsty past.
I know it can be difficult to go through all of the sick jams you were bumping over the past 12 months, but for you list makers, I wanted to put together a small batch of albums that came out of nowhere this year and totally caught me by surprise. I present to you: Aaron’s 5 albums you may have missed in 2019!
THE COMET IS COMING! – TRUST IN THE LIFEFORCE OF DEEP MYSTERY
Here’s a jazz album…oh sorry, I mean a FUTURE jazz album, that totally blew me away! The Comet is Coming! play a trippy, psychedelic form of jazz full of explosive and really colorful sounds, with groovy drums and some really bad ass saxophone playing courtesy of frontman Shabaka Hutchings. You might know Hutchings from his other group, Sons of Kemet. Give this album a listen if you want a taste of something straight outta the cosmos, with enough talk of environmental woes and human connectedness to keep this behemoth of a record truly grounded.
OTOBOKE BEAVER – ITEKOMA HITS
This album will beat you up, take your lunch money, then say “f*ck it” and just burn the whole dang cafeteria down. Otoboke Beaver, an all female four-piece out of Japan, play an absolutely BLISTERING blend of punk and math rock. Weird time signatures are all over this bad boy, as well as tons of scream singing and watertight playing from all members. The best moments come when all four girls are singing in unison, wailing away at their instruments, and filling you with the number one emotion that definitely drives most of this album: the feeling of being fed up. At only 26 minutes, this album comes and goes in a flash, with all of the grace and poise of a wrecking ball. It’s loud, it’s noisy, it’s real fast, but more than anything, it’s pretty darn fun.
WILMA VRITRA – BURD
Here’s a really, really freakin cool album. Wilma Vritra is a collaborative project between Baton Rouge rapper Vritra, an Odd Future affiliate and former Jet Age of Tomorrow member, and Wilma Archer, an English producer who has worked with the likes of Nilufer Yanya and Sudan Archives. Burd is their debut collaborative album, and I gotta say, I’m blown away by this thing. It’s full of bars about love, family, growing up and standing out, with Vritra’s flow remaining ice cold and cool as hell. Wilma’s production chops are immaculate; this album constantly shifts between vibes and tones, and the whole thing sounds retro yet futuristic. You’d be hard pressed to find a rap album this year that sounds this unique, and I’m stoked to see what this duo comes up with next.
PUP – MORBID STUFF
This album reminds me exactly why I love pop punk so much. Toronto’s own PUP (which I just discovered stands for Pathetic Use of Potential, hilarious) return with their third full length album, and oh boy, it’s a doozy. Morbid Stuff is all about, well, some pretty morbid stuff; no topics are off the table for frontman Stefan Babcock. We get relationships, nihilism AND masochism, the stress of getting older and starting a family and, of course, the big D. The D, in this case, being death; they sing about it a loooooot. None of these tried and true pop punk topics ever feel stale though, which is endlessly satisfying. PUP remains tongue-in-cheek and entertaining, while facing their dilemmas with clenched fists and a cynical perspective that leads to some seriously fun ragers. PUP showed me that even though I’m getting older and I’m not a teenager anymore, I can be just as angst-filled and ornery as my 9th grade self, but with a bit more direction this time around.
SEBASTIAN – THIRST
If you’ve kept up with my Mic Drop input up to this point, you’d know that I have a soft spot for French techno music, especially Ed Banger Records, and ESPECIALLY SebastiAn. Sebastian Akchote hasn’t put out a full length album since the beginning of the decade with the French Touch masterpiece TOTAL in 2011. 8 years later he returns to show us he’s not that shaggy haired kid flipping old records into dance floor tear ups anymore. SebastiAn has grown up a lot in 8 years, and while I adore his old sound, his new album, THIRST, is a breathtaking journey of an album. Akchote knows how to pick his features, and the wide array of collaborators on THIRST all add something new and exciting with each beautiful and expansive track. This album made me laugh, it surprised me, it made me dance, and it made me cry. THIRST is, in every regard, a knock-out, and should not be missed.
I hope you take the time to check some of these albums out. I loved all of them a whole lot, and I hope you do too! Maybe you’ll find a new list topper, be it year end or decade end. Either way, enjoy music, new or old, and as 2019 comes to an end, I hope you join me and everyone else at Mic Drop as we look eagerly to the future. Jam on, friends.