150. Blood Red Shoes – Eye To Eye
The duo of Laura-Mary Carter and Steven Ansell will never not be an interesting one, having fought against one another for the better part of a decade now, while equally producing some of the most notable rock music of the 2000’s. ‘Eye To Eye’ marked an amazing return to form from the Brighton duo, with gritty, nauseating punk-rock at the epicentre of their stellar return.
149. Llovers – Coming Loose
Llovers’ glistening, synth drenched guitar hooks are a beautiful façade for the deeper narrative they share in their songs, as ‘Coming Loose’ depicts anxieties in a intimacy-lacking relationship. A beautifully display of anxious, dream pop, pits Llovers as a name to commonly associate with the rapidly swelling genre.
148. Cherry Glazerr – Wasted Nun
Wasted Nun immediately races in with gritty riffs and Clementine’s facade of softness, before biting down with punchy screams, continuing on with Cherry Glazerr’s somewhat new DIY punk style, that the California group demonstrated across the rest of “Stuffed and Ready”.
147. Bad Flamingo – Fire
The midnight sky rolling over the Wild West looms over ‘Fire’ as Bad Flamingo deliver a sultry display of sophisticated Americana, toying with R’n’B and western folk influences along the way. Utilising their disguises to delve into this deceiving seduction, ‘Fire’ casts Bad Flamingo as the Bonnie and Clyde of today’s Wild West, ready to rob you blind with their suave swagger.
146. Dry Cleaning – Viking Hair
London post-punk outfit Dry Cleaning delivered a monotonic, dead-pan performance on ‘Viking Hair’, littered with the no energy left vibes of ’80s post punk, clashing with the snarl of The Cribs early work. Admiration disguised behind vocalist Florence Shaw’s static performance, ‘Viking Hair’ is perfect, moody post-punk.
145. Annabel Allum – You Got It Good
With a 90’s pop vibe that sounds like the Cocteau Twins clashing with Kurt Cobain, Annabel Allum provides all the goods on ‘You Got It Good’. A reassuring slice of grunge tinged rock; the Surrey-based artist turned her sneer and grit into the sort of gentle punch on the shoulder we all need now and again.
144. Crushed Beaks – Sky Burial
Never ones to deliver anything less than a full on blast of belting indie rock, Crushed Beaks returned in glorious fashion this year, with the boisterous energy of ‘Sky Burial’. With noisy rock on full blast, intricate math rock infusions and monumental riffs all placed together, Crushed Beaks sounded uncomparable on ‘Sky Burial’.
143. Secret Shame – Gift
Harkening back to the era of 80’s post-punk, ‘Gift’ is an ambivalent display of melodic, distant shoegaze and gritty post-punk guitars, switching back and forth between the two styles with an endearing precision. The overloading reverb on ‘Gift’ carries the same weight that Savages or Eagulls brought to the table back in their early days, something eternally exciting.
142. Island – All in My Head
With an opener that sounds lost in a deep forest somewhere in medieval England, then to shuffle out into a dreamy soundscape of looping guitars and echoed drums, Island let loose on ‘All in My Head’, abandoning traditional structures of indie rock and taking pieces of several sub genres to create a luscious display of dreamy, indie rock.
141. Saltwater Sun – The Great Deceiver
A throwback to her previous anxieties when it came to singing, acting as a pep talk to both herself and fans, the charm and encouragement pours out of Stearnes vocals on ‘The Great Deceiver’. While Joel Neale and Dan Kingham ride in on waves of summery guitar riffs, Jen Stearnes welcomes in the rejuvenating air of Spring with this joyous slice of indie pop.
140. HYYTS – Car Crash Carnivore
A big fuck you to the shadows that linger behind the scenes waiting to cause damage, Glaswegian duo HYYTS delivered an electrifying, neo-hop performance with ‘Car Crash Carnivore’. A lyrical flow that’s so smooth you could spread it all over, ‘CCC’ showed HYYTS as a name to watch out for.
139. Easy Life – Earth
Made for those who “don’t feel at home on this planet”, Easy Life turned the epidemic of global warming into a relatable, dystopian-esque pop song. Bringing attention to the Earth’s ever impending doom, Easy Life used their suave charm to turn a pop song into a wake up call.
138. Julien Baker – Tokyo
The moment that a sense of unfamiliarity awakens Julien Baker on ‘Tokyo’, is the instant that the Tennessee star reminds us all why she’s one of the leading forces in crafting beautifully solemn folk-pop. Baker crafts another lullaby for the emotionally restless, allowing the broken and worried minds of the world, to fall peacefully into the comforting solemness of her work, yet again.
137. Bleached – Hard To Kill
LA sisters Jennifer and Jessica Clavin recollected a close call with death on ‘Hard to Kill’, realising that your life needs to change, with the music video featuring the two sisters in a Bonnie and Clyde styled chase sequence, bringing a classic American western sound to the track.
136. KERA – Vitamin T
A song to welcome in an arduous journey now complete, or a final hurrah for a long-running TV series that ends on an emotional high point, ‘Vitamin T’ burns like a glorious night time fire, both warm and welcoming, allowing a sense of joy and unity to overcome even the most downtrodden of listeners.
135. Djunah – Animal Kingdom
Relentlessly attacking riffs and drums, with vocalist and guitarist Donna Diane playing a Moog bass synthesiser with her feet, Djunah captures the sound of a band triple their size with pure ease on ‘Animal Kingdom’. Catapulting destructive noise rock boulders at you with unshakeable precision, Djunah was terrifying and awesome with ‘Animal Kingdom’.
134. Metz – Dry Up
Taken from their “Automat” b-sides and rarities collection, ‘Dry Up’ originally released in 2009, showed Metz during their earliest stage, full of energy and voracious punk rock at the epicentre of the Canadian groups well loved hardcore style.
133. The Amazons – Mother
Monumental indie rock that stands triumphant on a bed of gritty guitars and ferocious riffs, Reading’s The Amazons sounded totally unstoppable on ‘Mother’, going full balls to the wall with rapturous indie rock.
132. Battles – Titanium 2 Step ft. Sal Principato
‘Titanium 2 Step’ pops chaotically like an old radiator heating up, as drums fire recklessly across from guitar riffs swirling inside the depths of a black hole. A manic air fills ‘Titanium 2 Step’ with an equally reassuring sense of understanding; balancing out the chaos that ensues Battles on ‘Titanium 2 Step’, for a tumultouous display of experimental rock.
131. Ashley Morgan – Seaweed and Algaes
Trialling his own voice within his work for the first, Ashley Morgan delivered an expectedly sophisticated array of DIY dream-pop, hip-hop and r&b beats on ‘Seaweed and Algaes’. Morgan’s vocals flowed completely naturally and unless told, it wouldn’t even have crossed your mind that this was his first take at utilising his own voice.
130. Caswell – Surface
Our favourite, future-Bond-theme-writer, the London artists goes bigger than ever before, trading the serious nature of her earliest releases, for a different take on this, with ferocious, unstoppable pop, demolishing her past tribulations, rising above as a bright new light in the next chapter of Caswell’s journey.
129. GENAU – Imisssex
A no-nonsense, straight to the truth, blast of grunge and pop music; ‘Imisssex’ carries with it the charisma and charm of 20-something year olds who know their hot-shit and aren’t afraid to say so. Backed with a flurry of popping guitars that turn into dirty riffs and a free flowing chorus, GENAU are going straight for the jugular.
128. Fanclub – Uppercut
Packed with the anger and pain of post-breakup living, adrenaline overflows throughout the veins of ‘Uppercut’, allowing for destructive levels of chaotic guitars to emit these distraught emotions, then to be calmed down and told everything will be alright, by Leslie Crunkilton’s soothing vocals. In less than three minutes, it’s a complete whirlwind of emotions and genres from Fanclub; ranging from charming glitter pop, notorious indie rock, even pushing over onto the edge of post-punk in its later moments.
127. Party Hardly – Rats In The Kitchen
‘Rats In The Kitchen’ depicts the never ending tale of older generations demonizing those younger, demonstrated through rapidly running hooks and monotonic vocals, aiming their disdain with pinpoint precision at the topic at hand. Running across choppy garage, to boisterous punk, Party Hardly’s sudden burst of punk energy is completely unexpected yet leaves nothing but excitement for what’s to come next in 2020.
126. George Gretton – Grey / Blue
Centred around duality, ‘Grey / Blue’ pieces the lonely streets of London’s night together with the cities lonely houses during the day. Pushing through his own mental-claustrophobia, Gretton breaks out with his blissful vocals, weaving through his optimistic lyrics, aspiring for greatness no matter how long it takes to achieve normality along the way.
125. The Naked and Famous – Sunseeker
Now performing as a duo, The Naked and Famous appear better than ever, especially since ‘Sunseeker’ delivered a sundrenched, anthemic pop beast, the likes which the New Zealand pair have always delivered, but ‘Sunseeker’ sounds like a positive change in direction.
124. True Moon – Poison
True Moon go full early 00’s indie rock on ‘Poison’; infusing The Subways with Karen O in a boisterous display of well calculated noise-rock. Infiltrating this 00’s sound with an undertone of gloom from goth and darkwave influences, True Moon will be a gateway for a generation of new punk lovers to discover one of musics most glorious genres.
123. Jamie Johnson – She’s Mine
London artist Jamie Johnson, is a commanding force on ‘She’s Mine’, howling away with his ferociously punchy lyrics. His blues-rock style on ‘She’s Mine’, swooping in with massively bellowing guitars makes the Londoner’s voice sound like he’s tearing the earth into two.
122. Munky – Megaton
‘Megaton’ and its bold cries of global warming reaches the assembly and anger of 2019’s protests towards its ending moments, with a blistering display of ferocious guitars and vocals that scream fucking do something! ‘Megaton’ is a must for punk, alt-rock and global warming protesters the world over.
121. The Regrettes – I Dare You
A colourful display of upbeat pop music, with a video that channels OK Go, The Regrettes were undisputed masters of the music video this year with ‘I Dare You’. Sounding like The Strokes shot through a pop music filter, I Dare You utilised glistening pop with short bursts of indie rock for one of the years most uplifting tracks.
120. Low Island – Search Box
Low Island marked themselves as the next big group from Oxford, with a slew of releases this year, including ‘Search Box’. A rapid action shot of spiralling inditronica, ‘Search Box’ demonstrated the quality we expect from Oxford groups and surpassed this with flying colours.
119. Someone – Pull It Together
A delightful blast of psychedelic pop that is filled with the warmth and excitement of the Summer, Tessa Rose Jackson, aka Someone, pulled out a massive early banger with ‘Pull It Together’. More of a roar-along than a sing-along, Pull It Together is colossal in its presence and executes a go big and then bigger principle, inducing goosebumps all over.
118. Black Sea Dahu – Demian
Never has betrayal and heartache sounded so majestically beautiful, that you’d be willing to listen to almost 8 minutes of it repeatedly without question. Black Sea Dahu summoned up the deepest, darkest parts of her past and cast them out into a newly birthed fire, allowing the heat to intensify and grow into a roaring blaze of expansive folk, punishing with its running time, but oh so rewarding with its intricately layered, unstoppable sound.
117. okay(k) – California
‘California’ runs quicker than most of okay(k)’s tracks, yet still drags its heels to the pacing of the New York producer, bring the level of restraint that is impossible not to fall in love with on his work. Gliding through an endless wave of guitar chords, ‘California’ provides the summer sun for those who aren’t fans of the sun.
116. Pizza Girl – Body Biology
Romance in between the vegetable and fruit aisle, while Timmy helps you out with your bags, all while Liverpool’s Pizza Girl prances around to ’80s fuelled indie-pop; Body Biology welcomed in a new era of titillating pop music, specifically catered for the most niche circumstances of the most mundane parts of everyday living.
115. Crows – Chain Of Being
It was a ‘welcome back and hello new fans’ from the London group, as everything was ready to go crazy on ‘Chain Of Being’. With guitars bending themselves out of shape to release killer riffs all while saturated vocals swirl around your head in a whirlwind of nostalgic euphoria, Crows welcomed in 2019 with impeccable style.
114. Hot Chip – Hungry Child
Together with electro-popper Georgia, Hot Chip returned exceptionally with the house beats of ‘Hungry Child’. Partnered with its fourth wall breaking video, ‘Hungry Child’ brought back the delight of 00’s indietronica with modern house stylings, reassuring fans that Hot Chip will never lose their sense of cool.
113. Just Mustard – October
Dundalk’s Just Mustard birthed a monster with ‘October’, a darker taste of their gothic, dark-pop and industrial-inspired atmospheric rock. ‘October’s opens with an echoing bass note and pounded drum, allowing Katie Ball to begin her satanic chanting before unleashing what sounds like machines devouring other machines. It’s chaotic and takes you completely by surprise, and is a swirling, distorted torture chamber of gothic, industrial rock, truly excellent stuff.
112. Generationals – I Turned My Back on the Written Word
A mangled, woozy audio clustering that sounds like an old Disney clip looping backwards, Generationals turned their back on the written word and created auditory gold with ‘ITMBOTWW’. With their signature warped vocals amplifying the eccentric nature of ‘ITMBOTWW’, Generationals were a pure joy to listen to.
111. Charlie XCX & Christine and the Queens – Gone
A collaboration that makes perfect sense, combining Charlie XCX’s eccentricity with Christine’s masculine flamboyance, ‘Gone’ was the queer anthem no one knew we needed, but all were thankful for once it arrived.
110. Petersburg – Today
A steady stream of softly sung indie crosses paths with the intricate nature of Suuns or Battles and the general messed up chaos of Girl Band, all while the OK Go influenced video plays on a recoiling loop. It’s a delightfully tormented piece of experimental, nu-indie that feels as though the best examples of a multitude of genres have been mashed together in a chaotically beautiful fashion.
109. Tony Njoku – Hapless
Tony Njoku went maverick on ‘Hapless’ combining deep electro cuts with grime influenced beats, ran through a Sega Mega Drive playing Mortal Kombat III. A wondrous display of genre-fusing takes place on ‘Hapless’ adapting to each newly presented style with total ease, as Njoku seizes every moment possible to make you scream oh shit! and skank out.
108. Joy Crookes – Two Nights
On a journey through South London, Joy Crookes exposed herself and her desire to love within the realms of modern day relationships, waving aside the wastemen from her life and opening herself up to the possibility of a new romance. ‘Two Nights’ is a joyous display of adventure and free-living, showing South London’s true beauty as well as Crookes’.
107. Hot Dreams – This Town
A tender and harmonious track on dissapating love, Hot Dreams channeled unwavering love and the act of letting go into the beautiful balled of ‘This Town’. Gloomy and melancholic, ‘This Town’ begins as grey as a UK day, with daylight piercing through on few moments where Hot Dreams indie-rock arises into monumental dream-rock.
106. Gold Fields – GLOW
Australia’s Gold Fields’ behemoth of a track ‘GLOW’ brought a sophisticated blend of electronica, nu-house and indie rock across 6 stunning minutes (8 on Spotify!). GLOW summons up the long-lasting energy of late-night clubbing partnered together with visuals that will have you dancing along wherever a club or any free space can be found.
105. Swim Deep – To Feel Good
A mixture of luscious dream pop, and hopeful storytelling, accompanied by Margate’s Social Singing Choir, ‘To Feel Good’ shares the story of frontman Austin Williams at 18, dreaming of a career in music. The track while shot through a sharp, black and white lens, showing Williams being mercilessly attacked, carries an impossibly optimistic energy throughout, lifted further by the soaring harmonies of the choir, showing Swim Deep at their absolute best.
104. IDLES – Mercedes Marxist
Following their breakout year of 2018, ‘Mercedes Marxist’ gave further acclaim to the Bristol punks as one of the biggest names in punk music across the world. Penned by Joe Talbot during a stage of sofa surfing and looking after his mum where he felt useless, ‘Mercedes Marxist’ coins in on the status of the UK’s poorest and most vulnerable who are priortising help others over themselves.
103. The Wants – Fear My Society
With ‘Fear My Society’ NYC trio The Wants turned punk on its head, crafting art-punk that’s more easy-going, yet carries across the reflection of punk music with its pointed lyrics on ever-changing political landscapes and the uncomfortableness that it can place on oneself. Transitioning aggression in politics into genuine fear and doubt, ‘Fear My Society’ reflected the visceral change that is taking over modern-day politics.
102. Louis Prince – Lounging
‘Lounging’ is a creeping delight of a pop song, springing upon you in a flash with its blasts of sudden jazz and hypnotic waves of synth, making the world suddenly turn technicolour. Somewhat garish at first with its sharp cutting notes, ‘Lounging’ quickly turns into a stunning and otherworldly event, once you allow yourself to sink into its velvet smoothy saxophone riffs and creative indie pop/jazz sound.
101. Current Affairs – Cheap Cuts
Choppy in parts, but undeniably catchy, ‘Cheap Cuts’ challenges the evolution of punk to look back at its roots, casting a gaze back to the early days of goth and more contemporary garage rock inspiration, similar to what Brooklyn’s B Boys are currently doing, but with a charmingly misguiding pop edge.