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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

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

Aldous Harding

Designer

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

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

Angel Olsen

All Mirrors

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

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.

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

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

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!

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

Danger Mouse / Karen O

Lux Prima

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

Deadbeat Beat

How Far

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?

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

Dehd

Water

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

Eerie Wanda

Pet Town

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

Empath

Active Listening: Night on Earth

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

Ex Hex

It's Real

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

Field Medic

Fade into the Dawn

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

FKA twigs

Magdalene

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

Florist

Emily Alone

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

Fly Pan Am

C'est ça

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

Foxes in Fiction

Trillium Killer

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

Froth

Duress

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

Grandchildren

Grandchildren

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

Helado Negro

This Is How You Smile

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

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

Julia Jacklin

Crushing

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

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

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

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

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

Nilüfer Yanya

Miss Universe

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

Orville Peck

Pony

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

Patience

Dizzy Spells

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

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

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

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

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

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

Van Etten expands her horizons on this darkly comforting album.

Simon Joyner

Pocket Moon

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

Stroppies

Whoosh!

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

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

that dog.

Old LP

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

The Mattson 2

Paradise

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

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

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

Vanishing Twin

The Age of Immunology

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

Vivian Girls

Memory

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

Weyes Blood

Titanic Rising

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

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

Deadbeat Beat