Hear ye, Hear ye! The albums and EPs listed below are the best of the best, the icing on the cake that was 2019, selected from an overwhelming abundance of standout releases from the year.
I want to thank each and every one of the musicians we have focused on here at the Music Savage blog and on The Music Savage Show from the bottom of my heart for creating music in 2019 that made this crazy year so much better!
And now my friends, I present to you a song/video from each of my favorite albums & EPs of the year!
Anna of the North – Dream Girl
Anna of the North is the stage name of Oslo-based Anna Lotterud, a singer-songwriter originally from Gjøvik, Norway. Dream Girl is her incredible sophomore album which was released October 25th, 2019 via Play It Again Sam Records. Her North American tour kicks off 2/13/2020 in Washington D.C. and she stops in Boston @ Brighton Music Hall Thursday, February 20th. Add this tour to your must see list!
Buy Dream Girl
Sturgill Simpson– Sound and Fury
Sturgill Simpson overcomes Nashville’s idea of country music on his 4th studio album, Sound & Fury, released September 27th, 2019 via Elektra Records. The record was accompanied by an incredible Netflix post-apocalyptic anime special which follows the exploits of a kick-ass female samurai carving her way through the bad guys in a dystopian musical masterpiece of guitars and blood. Simpson is touring in 2020 so be sure to check dates for your town.
Buy Sound & Fury
Sigrid – Sucker Punch
Another fantastic Norwegian musician finds a place in my top albums this year. Sigrid is based in Oslo, Norway and her debut full-length album, Sucker Punch, was released March 8th via Play It Again Sam, It was a smash hit throughout Europe and quickly found and audience here in the states in 2019. Her first headlining tour of North America played to sellout crowds across the country including her stop in Boston this past September.
Buy Sucker Punch
Hiss Golden Messenger – Terms of Surrender
Hiss Golden Messenger is the project of North Carolina musician MC Taylor and the band’s outstanding 11th studio album, Terms of Surrender, was released September 20th via Merge Records. It is a beautiful, melancholy-tinged ode to the happiness found through the love of family and friends in times of darkness. Taylor’s songwriting weaves brilliant stories of his life around the music he creates with his incredible band and the live shows are always top notch!
The Highwomen – The Highwomen
The formation of The Highwomen was one of the best things about 2019 in my opinion. Combining the superb talents of Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires, Natalie Hemby, & Marren Morris together to create a mighty Voltronesque super group provided a much needed shockwave throughout the male dominated country music landscape this year The self-titled debut album was released September 6th via Elecktra Records and their first ever live performance at this year’s Newport Folk Festival was one for the ages! Here’s to hoping for a full tour in 2020.
Buy The Highwomen
Jenny Lewis – On The Line
The former Rilo Kiley frontwoman returned with an amazing new album this year. Her last solo record may have been 2014’s The Voyager but we were not without her talents the entire time. In 2016 we were treated with a fun, self-tilted album from her new project Nice As Fuck which filled in the gap nicely. Her long-awaited 4th studio album, On The Line, was released March 22nd via Warner Brothers and there was much rejoicing. Every song is an absolute gem! With contributions from the likes of Beck on production and Ringo Starr drumming on a couple of tracks Lewis has created one of her finest albums to date.
Buy On The Line
The Minks – Light and Sweet
The outstanding debut album, Light & Sweet, from Nashville-based band The Minks was released with help from independent label Cafe Rooster Records on September 20th and hasn’t left my regular rotation of “must listen all the way through” records since! Front woman Nikki Barber relocated from Pennsylvania and formed The Minks not too long after her arrival. The band’s first album has everything! Weaving perfectly through the garage rock landscape and around boot-stomping country while navigating through the blues and diving headfirst into psych-rock. It has something new to offer with every listen! I am super excited to hear more from this talented, up-and-coming band.
Buy Light & Sweet
Fruit Bats – Gold Past Life
Fruit Bats is the project of musician Eric D. Johnson and while the band around him has changed throughout the years the one thing that remains consistent is the incredible song-writing. The fantastic 8th studio album, Gold Past Life, was released June 21st via Merge records and instantly became a favorite of mine. For me each song on the record represents a successful journey to the point you find yourself at the moment, and all the bumps in the road it took to get there. I’ve loved this band for a while now and Gold Past Life cements Johnson and crew as one of the best teams of songwriters and musicians around.
Buy Gold Past Life
Andrew Combs – Ideal Man
I am always ready for a new Andrew Combs album and this year saw the release of his 4th full-length studio album, Ideal Man, which came out September 20th via New West Records. The Nashville musician and his wife recently had a baby and the lyrics on the new record reflect a life that has been profoundly changed. The inspiration found in his family is heard throughout and makes for an album that puts you in a glass case of emotion from start to finish.
Buy Ideal Man
Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
One of the best albums of the year was mostly written and recorded by brother and sister duo of Finneas O’Connell and Billie Eilish in a bedroom of a single family house located in the Los Angeles area. Their combined effort created the stellar debut full-length album, When We Al Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, which was released March 29th via Darkroom and Interscope Records. Angst and self-doubt controlled with perseverance and strength overlaid with a healthy dose of electronic dance beats. Just stunning.
There were also a ton of EPs released this year that were simply stellar! Here are my 5 absolute favorites of 2019.
Gaffa Tape Sandy – Family Mammal
Released June 6th via Alcopop! Records. Buy it.
Grace Gillespie – Pretending
Released June 28th via Kaleidoscope. Buy it!
Basement Revolver – Wax and Digital
Released October 18th via Sonic Unyon. Buy it!
Teddi Gold – Vol. 1
Released August 16th. Buy it!
Joyia – Legends
Released January 16th. Buy it!