Our favourite records released this year (voted for by our contributors) – and a reminder of what they are
40. Holly Herndon
The only album made in 2019 with the aid of an “A.I. baby” called Spawn.
Read Reef Younis’ review, listen to Holly on Midnight Chats or check out our cover feature interview.
39. These New Puritans
Inside The Rose
Another change for the experimental Barnett brothers, now pairing post-rave with dark orchestrations.
Check out Tom Critten’s review, and Fergal Kinney’s feature interview.
38. William Tyler
An album of pastoral guitar instrumentals from the big skies of Tyler’s Deep South.
Take a look at Sam Walton’s write up about the album.
36. Common Holly
When I Say To You Black Lightning
Folk musician Brigitte Naggar’s looser, more atonal second album of creepy lullabies.
Hayley Scott reviewed the album.
A debut noise rock record of sprechgesang vocals and impossibly distorted guitars.
Dafydd Jenkins wrote about the album, also check out Joe Goggins’ feature with the band.
Hoodies All Summer
The North Londoner’s furious sixth album about his marginalised community.
Revisit Alex Francis’s album review.
There Existed An Addiction To Blood
Another concept record from the experimental LA hip-hop trio – a terrifying homage to cult horror movies.
Check out Jamie Howarth’s words about the album.
32. The Murder Capital
When I Have Fears
The post-rock come art-punk debut from a literary Dublin outfit.
Liam Konemann wrote about the album, and Ian Roebuck spoke to them for this feature.
31. Big Thief
The more fragile and oblique of the two records released by the folk rock band in 2019.
Take a look back at Joe Goggins’ review.
30. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib
The second collab between the blunt thug rapper and the mythical beatmaker.
Stephen Butchard scored the album high when it was released.
29. Gong Gong Gong
Drummerless droning psych inspired by Bo Diddley from Beijing’s noise scene.
Revisit Dafydd Jenkins’ review of the album.
28. Fontaines D.C.
The Dublin band’s indie debut, filled with tenderness and a liberal alternative to Ireland’s fading national identity.
The full review of Dogrel by Tristan Gatward, and his cover feature interview.
27. Kate Tempest
The Book Of Traps And Lessons
The poet’s largely beat-less collection of stories about Brexit, Jo Cox, Grenfell and Brexit again.
Stephen Butchard wrote about the album, and Kate was a recent guest on our podcast.
26. Sleaford Mods
When austerity gets better, Sleaford Mods will stop making such articulate, angry music.
Jason was a guest on Midnight Chats this year, and Fergal Kinney reviewed the album.
25. Show Me The Body
A second record of spidery anti-corporate hardcore from the NYC trio with the banjo
Take a look at Greg Cochrane’s review.
24. Ezra Collective
You Can’t Steal My Joy
(Enter The Jungle)
The debut album from the Afrobeat and grime fusion heart of the South London jazz world.
Check out Tristan Gatward’s review, and Mike Vinti’s cover feature interview.
22. Angel Olsen
The American’s grandiose fourth album, made with a 14-piece orchestra.
Take a look at Susan Darlington’s album review.
21. Weyes Blood
The Carpenters soundtracking the apocalypse, written and performed by Natalie Mering
Susan Darlington wrote about the album when it was released.
Nothing Great About Britain
How everyone feels right now; in the form of a snotty, hilarious, punk rap debut.
Check out Tom Critten’s write-up about the album.
What happens when an unnerving punk band bin their guitars for their second record.
Take a look back at Sam Walton’s album review, and Tristan Gatward spoke to them for this feature.
18. Injury Reserve
The nonconformist hip-hop debut from Phoenix’s premier experimental trio.
Read Jamie Howarth’s album review, he also spoke to Injury Reserve for this feature.
17. SELF ESTEEM
The pop album of sorry-not-sorry self-love anthems that Rebecca Taylor has always wanted to make.
Check out Gemma Samways’ review of the album, Self Esteem also came on our podcast earlier this year.
16. Black Midi
How every improvisational art band wish they could play.
Joe Goggins reviewed the album, and Luke Cartledge spoke to Black Midi for this cover feature interview.
The South London rapper’s debut, wrapped in a therapy session of plaintive piano and the young, black experience.
Beneath The Floors
An art-rock debut of droning cold terror from the band rebuilding Toronto’s DIY scene.
Have a look at Jamie Howarth’s album review, and revisit Ollie Rankine’s feature with the band.
13. Kim Gordon
No Home Record
The debut solo album by the Sonic Youth co-founder, 40-years into her career.
Look back at Tristan Gatward’s piece about the album.
12. Tropical Fuck Storm
Australian punk songs about the rise of aliens, Nazi witches and Brian Wilson’s psychotherapist.
Fergal Kinney wrote about the album, and Liam Konemann interviewed the band for this feature.
11. Anna Meredith
The composer’s second barrage of avant-pop horn blasts and MBE-awarded clarinet jams.
Revisit Reef Younis’s review of the album, and Anna looking back on her 16-year-old self for Sweet 16.
10. The Comet Is Coming
Trust In The Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery
An album as much in love with grime, punk rock and G-funk as it is with classic spiritual jazz.
Take a look back at Sam Walton’s album review.
9. Floating Points
Sam Shepherd’s returning album as the king of nuanced, progressive club music.
Here’s Reef Younis’s piece about the album.
All My Heroes Are Cornballs
The Baltimore rap collagist let loose, experimenting with TLC covers and noise music.
Check out Katie Beswick’s recent cover feature interview with JPEGMAFIA.
7. Leafcutter John
Yes! Come Parade With Me
A modular synth album made with field recordings from a Norfolk coastal hike.
Sam Walton reviewed the album, and spoke to Leafcutter John for this feature.
5. Richard Dawson
Barbed folk songs about our grotty little lives by the black-humoured bard of Newcastle.
This was Fergal Kinney’s review of the album, and Max Pilley spent time with Richard for this cover feature interview.
4. Purple Mountains
The long awaited solo album from Silver Jews’ David Berman, who died a month after its release.
Revisit Dafydd Jenkins’s album review, and conversation with David before he sadly passed away.
3. Little Simz
The “boss in a fucking dress”, rapping over flutes and strings and distorted drums and bass.
David Zammitt wrote about the album when it was released.
2. Aldous Harding
Hannah Sian Topp’s third, most full-band record of abstract weird folk.
Check out Susan Darlington’s review of the album.
1. FKA Twigs
Twigs’s second album of future RnB and chamber pop, exploring feminine strength through the lens of Mary Magdalene.
Revisit Tristan Gatward’s 10/10 album review.
We're not being funny...
… but can you become a member please?
It’s actually excellent value, and will help us continue to promote new independent artists and labels.
Sign up and you’ll receive our physical magazines delivered to your door, our digital editions, exclusive podcasts and playlists and an actual bookmark, as if printing a magazine in 2021 wasn’t old fashioned enough.
6-month and full year memberships are available now. Fancy it?