The Song List – 2019

100-51

100. Methyl Ethyl – Scream Whole

Taken from their “Triage” LP, Methyl Ethyl captured almost every moment of my year, especially with ‘Scream Whole’. A blast of art-pop, expertly executed with vocals that dip as low as baritone whispers to tenor screams, ‘Scream Whole’ was a dramtic display of high art, perpetuated through the incredibly finessed medium that is Methyl Ethyl.

99. V98 – Conversation Killer

‘Conversation Killer’ angles itself around personal conflict and feeling dispositioned in the world around you, fighting two wars when you barely have enough energy for one. Jutting guitar riffs perpetuating sudden bursts of anger fill ‘Conversation Killer’ as vocalist Darragh Geoghegan lays out the monotony of living as a 20-something, and how nothing happening can feel like the weight of the world.

98. Giungla – Better Than Ever

With a rapidly consistent pace summoning a much darker and malevolent sound for Giungala, consisting of electronic slices mutilating guitar hooks, with sharp bass cuts clustering together in a monstrously overloaded soundscape; ‘Better Than Ever’ is an abrasive, harsh reflection on the idea of getting from A-Z without going through B-Y.

97. Broods – Hospitalized

The Australian pop duo outdid themselves with ‘Hospitalized’, an endless stream of thumping pop music that pleads with you to allow its vulnerability to shine through. Pushing the extremes of emotional imbalances with friends and family, not checking until the worst happens, ‘Hospitalized’ goes full sadist, promising to stop caring and go crazy to get people to check on Broods on this hyper-active cry for help.

96. MONK – It’s You

Utilising an endless procession of growling reverb, both chaotic and cryptic when backed by the video for ‘It’s You’, MONK inject a erratic sense of paranoia from a single man dancing while wearing a rabbit head. Backed by the relentless waves of rolling riffs that sound like monstrous whines, ‘It’s You’, is a paralyzing and terrifying experience, both visually and auditory, that showcases Manchester’s experimental talent tremendously.

95. Pelicandy – White Sky

A truly delicious slice of synth-pop, Pelicandy summon the charm of Wild Nothing, the camp nature of Superfruit and the classic delight of Pet Shop Boys on ‘White Sky’, soaring ahead with manic 80’s guitar hooks, rolling over wave after wave of one of the most delightful synth keys you’ll have heard all year.

94. Kan Wakan – Miles Away

A love song not about love, Kan Wakan unleashed a monster of a track with the deep house flare of ‘Miles Away’. Featuring friend and artist Alexander Vincent, Wakan summoned up a horde of meticulously laid out electro cuts, orchestrating a theatre of sharp bassline and pulsating synths alongside angular drum beats that aspired to the dancefloor into the saddest place around.

93. Alien Thing – How To Build An Earthworm Farm

On ‘How To Build An Earthworm Farm’, Alien Thing slide in between slapping reggae bass and eerily isolated guitars before breaking into a ferocious eruption of shouting, bustling guitars and melodic riffs. A ferociously angry track, that makes no apologies about how forward and abrasive it is with its delivery of anti-prison and anti-us-justice system lyrics.

92. Pell – Bitch Ass

A one-shot take for Pell’s video ‘Bitch Ass’ perfectly captured the New Orleans’ artists style and flow, preaching self-love above all else. With an intoxicating rhythm and Pell’s lyrics the only focus throughout the video for ‘Bitch Ass’, the New Orleans artist crafted one of the smartest songs of the year.

91. Fidlar – By Myself

Ratty beach, surf rock from the best in the business, ‘By Myself’ showed Fidlar having fun with the best party animals they know. Themselves. Cracking one open with the boys, even when it’s just yourself, is never a dull moment and Fidlar celebrate this regular life occurrence with total accpetance.

90. The Drives – No More Romance

A jubiliant capturing of a not-so jubilant moment in life, ‘No More Romance’ brings with it the hyperbolic-melancholly of a failed relationship, masking heartache with momentous, jangly guitars that keep the tears at bay and instead invoke the joy and fun of the summer months we all lust for each year.

89. Jamila Woods – Giovanni

Taken from her LEGACY! LEGACY! LP, ‘Giovanni’ showed the Chicago artist’s work in all its beauty and grace, empowering woman of colour to love themselves and expect nothing less than their demands. With an unquestionable stance of power and self-love, Jamila Woods was a force to be reckoned with this year.

88. Shaylee – Piss Dirt

A “trans-working-class ballad, about living in a body that doesn’t feel like your own”; Portland’s Shaylee, spearheaded by Elle Archer, crafted a sublime piece of fuzzy, 21st century pop on ‘Piss Dirt’. The immediate influx of reverb and effects drenched vocals, screams signature teen-early-adulthood angst; with a nod to Ezra Furman, Salvia Palth or Teen Suicide. A voice for a new generation who’s self-identity and being happy, is far more important than career aspirations or fitting in, that which previous generations were screaming about for far too long.

87. Rina Mushonga – Cassiopeia

Utilising her dual-heritage throughout all of her music, ‘Cassiopeia’ was no different, with natural African rhythms and European creativity bleeding through every moment of the track. Mushonga always brings unrivalled confidence with her work, but ‘Cassiopeia’ is an unshakeable behemoth of lucid, synthpop; filled with the energy and free-flowing nature of Africa and the boundary-pushing style of mainland Europe’s pop music, surpassing the insanely high quality of her debut LP.

86. HMLTD – Loaded

Done with caring about how they’re perceived ‘Loaded’ comes fit to burst with attitude, guitars and the new formation of Jared Leto-Esque eccentrics, claiming “I sold my soul to the devil because I was pretty fucking bored”. HMLTD’s sneering shrug of a shoulder rolled out into an audacious rock song, packed just as much bite as you’d expect from this group.

85. Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard – Love Forever

Welsh group Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard bring it back to the earlier era of rock n roll on ‘Love Forever’ as waves of crunchy guitar hooks cycle through old amplifiers. As the sepia tone of a Sony U-Matic casts a vision of a group from the 70’s caught in a candid moment of unfiltered joy, ‘Love Forever crafts music that feeds the soul and lets the mind wander away on the delicate waves of classic rock n roll.

84. Surf Curse – Disco

One of the first solid Bandcamp founds I discovered all the way back in 2013, Surf Curse continued to exceed my own expectations with upbeat cut, ‘Disco’. A nostalgic hit of constantly running beach rock overloads ‘Disco’ to levels that fans of the genre with fall completely in love with, piecing together choppy guitar riffs and spiralling vocals for an unstoppable hit of sun filled, beach rock bliss.

83. Praa – Infinite Regress

French artist Praa demonstrates a steady flow of electronica on ‘Infinite Regress’, both cool and sophisticated, designing every single aspect to flow effortlessly, shown excellently through the beautiful cinematography for its accompanying video.

82. Pom Pom Squad – Heavy Heavy

A crunchy grunge number that would have been the soundtrack for every ‘alternative’ girl from any 90’s film; Brooklyn’s Pom Pom Squad throw a host of heavy riffs at you on ‘Heavy Heavy’. Depicting mental health issues as commonalities that should be addressed and not trivialised to mean suicidal, frontwoman Mia flatlines the dramatisation of mental health, showing the noramlity on the surface and chaotic madness on the inside in stupendous fashion.

81. Talk Slow – Compassion Isn’t Fashion Anymore ft. Cristina Hart

With its ambiguous title and glittery synth hooks bouncing around slapped bass lines, it’s hard to ignore the overwhelming positivity that Talk Slow and Hart are portraying throughout this endless bundle of joyous pop. Stating decency and support as the expected rather than a defining quality, Talk Slow are now setting their music to not only entertain but inspire, and are doing so fabulously.

80. Brooders – Rinse Repeat

The Leeds trio’s dirty psych-grunge packs much more of a sway than a punch on ‘Rinse Repeat, as the gut-wrenching riffs of their previous tracks are tightly wound up, sounding more focused and ready to rub shoulders with The Subways or Blood Red Shoes.

79. Local Natives – When Am I Gonna Lose You

My top song for 2019 according to Spotify’s end of year lists; since Sunlit Youth, the California natives have had a brand of stadium-ready, folk-tinged, indie pop on lock, throwing cinematic performances into their music as if it’s no problem whatsoever. ‘When Am I’ continued this grand display of form and continues to amplify their fans love for them.

78. Bombay Bicycle Club – Eat, Sleep, Wake (Noting But You)

“In 2016, the UK was rocked by a seismic event. Bombay Bicycle Club went on indefinite hiatus. Without their music, British society crumbled.” The London group handled their return to life as Bombay Bicycle Club with humour and humility on the video for ‘Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)’, welcoming back the faces of modern UK indie with gratutious applause.

77. Foals – In Degrees

Forget about the largely big miss that has been Foals double LP, and instead focus upon the golden gems that could be found in Part 1 of “Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost”, namely ‘In Degrees’. A house track inspired by math rock, or maybe the other way around, Foals crafted a sublime piece of dance music that needed to be on every house party playlist this year.

76. Friendly Fires – Silhouettes

‘Silhouettes’ continued on with the ultra-danceability of “Inflorescent” and its tropical pop vibes, shooting 80’s laser beams at sub-house beats, with an insatiable chorus of ‘ba-da-baba’s’ to further allure any fans of disco into the unstoppable dancing realm of Friendly Fires.

75. The Colonies – Do Nothing With Me

Influenced by the garage/indie rock, style of early 00’s groups such as The Strokes, The Colonies deliver a smooth and cool performance of jangly guitar riffs and easy to sing along choruses on ‘Do Nothing With Me’, throwing caution to the wind and letting out classic, American rock n roll like it’s nobody elses business.

74. Thy Veils – Secrets

Thy Veils, on their extraterrestrial release ‘Secrets’, appeared to have uncovered the darkest realms of outer space. Developing upon the idea of reality being a malleable product, shown throughout ‘Secrets’ video, sound and reality become distorted as buildings twist and turn into alien forms, all while Thy Veils unleash a sonic wave of post-futurism, making the retro wave sound of Tron seem like child’s play.

73. Supercaan – The Great North Eastern

Classic indie rock at its absolute best, charging through with towering guitar riffs as a regular commodity, ‘The Great North Eastern’ pushes through with the A+ form that the Birmingham group presented themselves with on their other releases.

72. Halls – The Gift

Detailing the different feelings experienced after suffering a loss, Halls goes from quick-firing, R’n’b fused piano keys, to sombre, echoing gospel pop; capturing the desire to move on, while equally being stuck in a sense of depression after such a life-changing event. With Halls being a stable of my teenage life, ‘The Gift’ was truly just that for me.

71. Greys – Arc Light

A decaying entity that turns in on itself before birthing an uncontrollable monster, Greys garage rock become volatile and uncontrollable on ‘Arc Light’. Combined with the malignant opening of ‘A-440’, the opening moments on “Age Hasn’t Spoiled You” were destructive and beautifully twisted.

70. Shyla Buff – Erased

‘Erased’ ,however brutally exposed it may leave Shyla Buff, is a beaming rock n roll song that radiates the pop energy of the earlier ’00s, blasting dream-pop at you as a rapturous monster, rather than the genre’s typical calming coolness. Utilising its melodic tones, but placing heavy riffs on top, merging indie rock and shoegaze with their calmer sibling, ‘Erased’ summons a blast of energy that feels like someone saying fuck it and letting go of everything holding them down.

69. Tall Saint – Hard Love

Depicting the anxiety of overthinking your actions around someone who keeps you at arm’s length, Tallsaint turns these relatable everyday frustrations into powerful displays of empowering pop music, exuding her self-assured confidence all over ‘Hard Love’ as pulsating electronica and thunderous bass merge together in one of the strongest pop songs of the year.

68. Echo Suit – Slow Motion

Performing under the moniker of Echo Suit, Madrid native Elena Expósito, began experimenting with acoustic guitars, quickly expanding into atmospheric soundscapes of manipulated strings, twisting around a centralised focus of lucid guitar pop. ‘Slow Motion’ culminates as a hazy collection of low croons, quickly stretching out with echoing guitars, that growl in a moments notice.

67. White Lies – Tokyo

The London based rockers celebrated ten years since their debut LP “To Lose My Life…”, along with the release of their fith LP “Five”, with single track ‘Tokyo’ one of its finest moments. A glistening pop behemoth, ‘Tokyo’ rises and soars with the prowess that you’d expect from White Lies by now, yet never ceases to be anything short of amazing.

66. Alara – Bring You Down

Gazing out of a coach window, while falling asleep to Alara’s sweet serenade, ‘Bringing You Down’ casts itself in the magical world of depressingly beautiful music, something that you can truly sink into, whether sad or not, but the comforting notion of Alara allowing you to lower your guard and be vulnerable (even if that is just sleeping) is nothing short of pure bliss.

 

65. The Howl & The Hum – Human Contact

The Howl & The Hum are a group who never cease to stun with their gargantuan displays of indie. On ‘Human Contact’, deep waves of electro burst into even deeper depths of bass-heavy indie-rock, erupting into razor-sharp guitars and violent drums, all while frontman Sam Griffiths delivers his usual display of uber-level lyricism. Another trophy to place on their ever-growing pile of triumphant indie anthems, ‘Human Contact’ is yet another A+ for the York group.

64. Marble Empire – Crumble

Guildford’s Marble Empire honed in on his love of house influenced electronica, sounding more focused, with a closer resemblance to the likes of Tom Misch or HONNE on ‘Crumble’ than his previous efforts. With a steady stream of chilled house-pop beats, Marble Empire still threw in a healthy dose of wavey drops and hypnotic synths to appease the desire for some super slick beats in his music, yet ‘Crumble’ brought an exciting new phase to light for Marble Empire.

63. Soda Blonde – Terrible Hands

‘Terrible Hands’ begins with a silky dream-pop beginning, as a clear nod to Ireland legends, The Cranberries is immediately noticeable, before Faye O’Rourke lets loose, delivering a powerful yet joyous performance, the likes of which Stevie Nicks or Sinead O’Connor would happily raise applause to.

62. School Disco – Caught In Space

Relentless to the point of casting fear that this three-piece, would undoubtedly be bleeding profusely from their hands, by the time the track’s five minutes running time is up, ‘Caught In Space’ is the auditory personification of an unstoppable force. The only way to stop this beast is to press pause, but it was more difficult than anyone would have imagined.

61. Heavy Heart – Bed Bug

A calming haze of indie showers ‘Bed Bug’ in the nostalgia of early ’00s TV theme tunes, think ‘Charmed’ with The Smiths’ ‘How Soon Is Now?’ and you’re right on the mark. Dripping in a clash between nostalgic and contemporary shoegaze, Bed Bug is a must for fans of anything lucid and dreamy in sound.

60. TOBY – Take It ft. Daz Rinko

‘Take It’ flows effortlessly with suave contemporary hip hop and trap beats, allowing Daz Rinko to unleash a steady stream of unstoppable lyrics, executed with laser sharp precision. The energy that radiates from ‘Take It’ is enough to place it on repeat all day, so you can rap alongside Daz Rinko to this killer summer destined track.

59. Lust For Youth – Great Concerns

Lust For Youth captures the moments before dawn, as the sun begins to creep up while the night fades away, ruling out dancefloor electro, watching the stratosphere transform above waves of heavy synths. Purple hues roll into intense blues, as ‘Great Concerns’ lingers around like an after party that no one wants to end; with daylight breaking, slowly illuminating the joy filled faces of sleep deprived ravers who refuse to leave the night behind.

58. Paper Twin – Happy Half Lives

Running smoother and slower on ‘Happy Half Lives’ compared to their earlier releases, Paper Twin allow the full spectrum of house and electronica sub-genres to be displayed loudly and vividly; amplifying a sense of anxiety with a reassuring calmness that rather than offsetting this feeling, turns it into something malleable and beautiful.

57. Patawawa – Never Been Remixed

Better than the original track itself, Patawawa’s own Rory Lovatt created an insatiable remix of ‘Never Been Better’ on their impressive “London, Paris, New York, Matlock” EP. Lovatt makes ‘Never Been Better’ even more funk fuelled, swapping disco beats for drum heavy house cuts, making the Patawawa guitarist look like a future Jamie xx in the making.

56. Le Boom – Just Want To

‘Just Want To’ comes as an ode to escapism, but rather than fleeing, dancing is the form of release, shown with the upmost precision by dancers Bailey Anglin and Wendell Gray. An intelligent blend of wobbling electro and razor sharp, house beats, ‘Just Want To’ unites the unsteadiness of anxious interactions with the freedom of being completely lost in your own moment, showing that anxiety is no match for an unstoppable electro-hit.

55. White Room – Bleeding

The only single from the Brighton quartet this year was a screaming, triumph of gritty garage rock, ‘Bleeding’ with crunchy late 00’s attitude. Thrashing around with jutting punk-fuelled riffs, sliding into streams of glam-rock, the likes that Bowie and Freddie would have thrown around joyously, ‘Bleeding’ carries the swagger and youthful attitude of a band destined for greatness.

54. Caribou – Home

The first new Caribou track in five years, Dan Snaith proved once again how the grand master of cruising house beats can piece together a track with total ease and turn it into one of the biggest tracks of the year. ‘Home’ with it’s steady post-deep house beat and orchestral incisions was a simple reminder, that Caribou will always be here to show the world of house music how it should be done.

53. Derelict Dream – Hearts

Derelict Dream cast a level of restraint and precision on ‘Hearts’ that is rare to see in any genre, especially death metal. Blasting through bass riffs that will leave the dirtiest of reactions, while cycling through sweet melodic guitar hooks in-between, the vocals on ‘Hearts’ dip in and out of momentous, classic rock to aggressive death screams, utilising each style throughout perfectly. The attentiveness on balancing out their aggression is reason enough to listen.

52. Van Houten – Running Scared

As Louis Sadler’s downward-spiralling lyrics ride to the rhythm of sing-along styled guitars and starry-eyed synths, ‘Running Scared’ catches depression at its optimistic peak, when the grey-guise appears to be liftable, even if only for a moment, and normality appears as if it could be just around the corner. A deceptively bright eyed pop track meant for the greyest of nights.

51. Tall Saint – Model Effect

In a year that gave us ‘Hard Love’ amongst other singles from the Leeds artist, ‘Model Effect’, her most recent single, brought out the next phase in Tall Saint’s journey, filled to the brim with ’00s pop influences all the way from the Spice Girls to Shanks & Bigfoot. Finally realising her dream of crafting a pop number that you can choreograph dances to, ‘Model Effect was Tall Saint at her finest.