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Allmusic 2019

Year In Review

The ever-expanding worlds of indie pop and rock continued to push the definition in 2019, with artists delving into folk (Big Thief, Field Medic), punk (Comet Gain, Empath), and lo-fi (Froth, Young Guv) sounds.

(Sandy) Alex G

House of Sugar

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A suffocating, strange, and affecting ninth album from lo-fi pop experimenter Alex Giannascoli reflects an upgrade in recording equipment.

Aldous Harding

Designer

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The New Zealand singer/songwriter's third effort eschews the last-call darkness of 2017's Party for something a bit sunnier, though no less peculiar.

Altin Gün

Gece

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The second album of lovingly updated Turkish psych from ex-members of Jacco Gardner's band.

Angel Olsen

All Mirrors

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Risks pay off on a highly stylized album with lavish orchestral arrangements that only elevate the singer's trademark vulnerability.

Avey Tare

Cows on Hourglass Pond

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Solo work from Animal Collective founder sounds more grounded and inspired than much of his usually cluttered and abstract output.

Big Thief

U.F.O.F.

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The indie folk-rockers' impressionistic third album is a foray into artful album rock that incorporates improvisation and samples.

Bill Callahan

Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest

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The singer/songwriter's first album in six years tackles life, love, and death with a refreshing and thought-provoking lightness.

Cate Le Bon

Reward

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The fifth album from this Welsh songwriter trades guitar rock for risky, open-ended songs, resulting in some of her best work.

Comet Gain

Fireraisers Forever!

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The long-running band have never sounded punker, sadder, or more alive than on this excellent album.

Danger Mouse / Karen O

Lux Prima

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The singer/songwriter's first album in five years is a sophisticated, sonically adventurous collaboration with Danger Mouse.

Deadbeat Beat

How Far

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The excellent third album by a Detroit trio whose sweet and bouncy noise pop has a dark lyrical undercurrent.

Deerhunter

Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared?

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The band's fascinating eighth album examines impermanence, inhumanity, and death with songs that sound deceptively life-affirming.

Dehd

Water

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The reverb-doused Chicago indie trio funnel the complicated feelings of an intra-band breakup into their strongest songs yet.

Eerie Wanda

Pet Town

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The band's second album creates a wistful, quiet mood unbroken by drums and buoyed by lilting melodies.

Empath

Active Listening: Night on Earth

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The excellent debut album from the Philly noise punks tempers chaos with vulnerability.

Ex Hex

It's Real

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The trio's second album is a shiny love letter to rock & roll's transporting magic.

Field Medic

Fade into the Dawn

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The lo-fi singer/songwriter creates a warmly intimate environment on an album of vulnerable and optimistic folk songs.

FKA twigs

Magdalene

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Musically wide-ranging and emotionally naked, Tahliah Barnett's breathtaking second album focuses on wounded yet resilient feminine energy.

Florist

Emily Alone

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A devastating, unapologetically vulnerable set of quiet songs home-recorded by bandleader Emily Sprague following personal losses.

Fly Pan Am

C'est ça

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The Montreal-based group return from an extended hiatus with a dense, unpredictable noise-pop suite.

Foxes in Fiction

Trillium Killer

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Lush electro-acoustic production and complex songwriting make the third album from this dream pop project a genre standout.

Froth

Duress

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The L.A. trio's fourth album finds them scaling back their shoegaze approach to something home-cooked and proudly lo-fi.

Grandchildren

Grandchildren

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A moody, sonically mature fourth set from the Philadelphia band, and first with added vocalist Shari Bolar.

Helado Negro

This Is How You Smile

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The project's sixth album offers gently powerful songs that sustain a sense of identity, family, and love through difficult times.

Jenny Hval

The Practice of Love

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The multi-talented artist sets her musings on love as an action to '90s trance music with serenely complex results.

Julia Jacklin

Crushing

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The sophomore LP's raw performances, complex emotional honesty, and themes of female autonomy set it apart from other breakup albums.

Lachlan Denton / Lachlan Denton & Studio Magic

A Brother

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The second album from this Australian indie pop songwriter is a tribute to his departed brother, overflowing with gratitude and warmth.

Lightning Bolt

Sonic Citadel

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This multi-faceted and curious collection finds the noise rock institution still growing and developing nearly a quarter century in.

Lisel

Angels on the Slope

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The otherworldly, ethereal solo debut of Eliza Bagg (Pavo Pavo), who puts her voice, including experiments with vocal samples, front and center.

Lost Under Heaven

Love Hates What You Become

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The Manchester duo deliver a cathartic, emotionally raw sophomore album that's as moving as it is artful.

Nilüfer Yanya

Miss Universe

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The West Londoner's full-length debut frames themes of anxiety, ambition, and self-image in eccentric, staccato guitar pop.

Orville Peck

Pony

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Striking debut from a deep-voiced Canadian singer whose take on country music tropes reveals he's no ordinary cowboy.

Patience

Dizzy Spells

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After a batch of brilliant synth pop singles, the former Veronica Falls member makes good on a full album of brilliant synth pop.

Pip Blom

Boat

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The Dutch quartet are students of '90s indie rock and invest their nostalgia with heartfelt imagination, strong dynamics, and deep feelings.

Purple Mountains

Purple Mountains

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Singer/songwriter David Berman's final album is filled with lonely songs that are as warm as a hug from a long-lost friend.

Rocketship

Thanks to You

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The band's third album harkens back to their '90s indie pop glory while adding new tricks, nearly topping their brilliant debut.

Rozi Plain

What a Boost

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The fourth solo album by the This Is the Kit collaborator adds a stronger jazz presence to her gentle, textured indie rock.

Sacred Paws

Run Around the Sun

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The duo's second album has all the giddy exuberance and infectious songs of their debut, plus slightly upgraded production values.

Sharon Van Etten

Remind Me Tomorrow

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Van Etten expands her horizons on this darkly comforting album.

Simon Joyner

Pocket Moon

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Decades into a revered catalog, storied Omaha singer/songwriter offers up one of his best, most focused collections.

Stroppies

Whoosh!

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For their first album, the Australian band traded home recording for a studio, tightened up their sound, and made a jangling, warm-hearted Flying Nun-styled classic.

Susanna / Susanna & the Brotherhood of Our Lady

Garden of Earthly Delights

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The singer/songwriter creates a richly symbolic, mysterious world where paradise and perdition overlap.

that dog.

Old LP

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The band's first album in 22 years is a near-flawless blend of experience and exuberance.

The Mattson 2

Paradise

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The sibling duo conjure an intoxicating dream of late-'60s California romance and trippy AM pop vibes on their follow-up to A Love Supreme.

The New Pornographers

In the Morse Code of Brake Lights

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Cars and love are on A.C. Newman's mind in another offering of his group's clever and ambitious indie pop.

Vampire Weekend

Father of the Bride

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The band returns from a six-year hiatus with some of their most eclectic and satisfying music.

Vanishing Twin

The Age of Immunology

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The group responds to late-2010s xenophobia with beguiling psychedelic pop that's equally welcoming and unusual.

Vivian Girls

Memory

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The band's first album in eight years is their best yet, filled with sharp songs and haunting performances.

Weyes Blood

Titanic Rising

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Fourth album from this versatile indie-bred songwriter leans into orchestral soft rock touches for some of her most direct and fully formed work.

Young Guv

Guv I

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Brilliantly written and executed lo-fi power pop from the restless musical mind of Fucked Up's Ben Cook.

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Deadbeat Beat