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Best Of 2019: Albums Through January 31st, 2019

Assume Form – James Blake – A beautiful yet somehow slight modern singer songwriter piece of electronica set for his girlfriend Jameela Jamil (you might know as Tahani in “The Good Place”), and I am very happy for them. And their cast of first tier rapper friends. At first it didn’t work for me (I kinda panned it last week) but “I’ll Come To You” is the gateway drug of Assume Form, a deliriously yet restrained song of absolute emotional immersion (and the best indie love song since the Dirty Projectors “Impregnable Question” -though Blake be careful, we all know how that ended) and the rest of the album electronic love songs about the joy of love and sound, join in

Don’t Tread On We! – The 1865 – Punk rock fast, hard, post-antebellum, black guitar uprising, the 1865 features multimedia artists and rock performers in pursuit of a pre-Jim Crow world and a post-Barack Obama backlash. Contextually, it is a rock opera and the good news is that the songs fit in every which way even as in a saturated marketplace they stand out as the rock and roll other

Highway Hypnosis – Sneaks – In a world where we have heard everything at least twice, this is experimental lo fi hip hop where a rap, a hook, and a song title might be the same line, “Holy Cow A Girl Like Her”,” with a bass lick holding it all day long

Human EP – dodie – It opens with an a capella beauty and doesn’t look back, even the big songs, the “If I’m Being Honest” are glorious, diamond hued pop singer songwriter moments

Future Hndrxx Presents: The WIZRD – Future – If only his lyrics were better I’d be all in on this one, which is one part Future and one part Hndrxx stuck together and called The WIZRD. The Travis Scott featured track is amazing, so are the two singles, and Future wanders between post-stardom and a sort of distilled anger built from the past like when he claims “you can tell I’ve been broke when you look into my eyes,” on the opener. There is nothing not very good here and if the melodicism of his Juice WRLD mixtape from last year, isn’t as strong now, the hooks are the definition of a place to build ragers. Best song? Maybe one of his best ever, the Young Thug featured “Unicorn Purp” and second best? The Travis one “First Look”

Tomb – Angelo De Augustine – LA one man band has a giant leap forward on this quiet heartbreaker of an album that dances around self-destruction and love as immolation, but ends up with a low key, very melodic string of great songs that have a steadier center of gravity than you notice at first, as they work their way of free of self pity, “for the first time someone else loved me,” Angelo claims, before heading to the hideout of the title track

Prehysteria – T-Rextasy – Indie rockers with that all female vibe, it seems to allow bands to be fore more fluid sexual, or at least confused as per “Girl, Friend” (punchline? “IDK”). Everything here is tuneful, bright, clever and fun and this sophomore effort by the New York indie women is a great way to start the new year

TDT – Big K.R.I.T. – Late last year, the Mississippi rocker who remembers both Motown and early 00s Southern hip hop, released three EPs. Thrice X, Double Down, and Trifecta . Here he compiles em and they sound, if anything, better. Try “Learned From Texas”

Weird – Juliana Hatfield – I loved her Olivia Newton John cover album, and this is pretty good as well: it sounds nearly exactly like the woman behind “Spin The Bottle” and what more can you ask for?

Not Changing – Jim Basnight – A King of power pop is more like a last man standing of classic rock. Basnight had a coupla great bands in the 90s and just kept on going ever since then. Not Changing is way too hard charging to sound like Big Star except for the title track with its background “woos” and getting no closer than the jingle with backbone “Best Lover In The World”. The former Moberly makes it seem simple here, the skills have soon imbued in the long performing together backing band, it jars and smooths all the way down

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