[sic] Magazine

2019: Half-Term Report

Another half-year older and we still can’t get on board with those who throw their summer summaries up before the end of June. They’ll be the same ones no doubt who post their year-end lists in October! No matter, how is the year shaping up on planet [sic]? Just starting to come to the boil, truth be told. That said, and we do say the same each year, if you’re of the opinion that music generally just isn’t as good as it used to be, you’re simply looking in the wrong place. You’ll undoubtedly have your favourites all the same. Mine are below.

A well-balanced bunch of the brand spanking new and the tried and tested, so too the preserve of the break-out label and the indie major, and finally too both the loud and the more considered, 2019 has been so kind as to give a little bit of something for everyone. At the more people-friendly end of the spectrum we first find Big Thief’s much-praised latest and a lovely dose of melodic indie-rock it is too, surprisingly classic-sounding pastoral folk nagging as its side as it goes. Picking up where these American roots leave off then comes heartland rocker Strand Of Oaks, who’s always had a knack with a killer tune and his new one is delightfully stuffed full of them. Hailing from altogether artier corners we then find These New Puritans most recent missive, whose coquettishness plays hard to get throughout – it’s worth the chase, trust us! Turning the skies blacker, the debut from Irish post-punk rabble Fontaines D.C. is equally worth getting to know well, its shouty racket just as good fun as the achingly familiar angles and gloom of tight, noise-rocking outfit Drahla hot on their heels.

Two chips off the same fertile melting pot that is NYC, hardcore heroes Deli Girls and Show Me The Body then come locked in a gloriously riotous dual to the death, the pair’s thrillingly modern take on the genre taking it to searing new heights. Sharing a label with the latter, electro-noise veterans HEALTH are going in the opposite direction however, dialling down their trademark aggression to include dreamier parts and it turns out to be a graceful look on them. Never ones to shy away from the noise though, the latest Zig Zags work-out is an injection of pure thrashy adrenaline and it’ll skin your knuckles right into the bargain. Perhaps most surprising of all though comes Belgium’s Brutus and their out-of-nowhere blinder of a sophomore, its favoured weapons post-rock so bleak as to border black-metal, but with a softer female vocal and yet still punk as hell!

While few real stinkers are yet to cross our path this year, the less said about the intangible nothingness of the new Teen Daze album, the overwrought emoting of PUP, and the overly poppy latest from synth explorers Bayonne the better. Nevertheless, and with plenty to still get the teeth into during the second half of the year, it’s no surprise to report that 2019 is shaping up to be yet another year of note six months in.

That list in full (no particular order – linked where reviewed):

Deli GirlsI Don’t Know How To Be Happy (Experimental/Hardcore) [Sweat Equity]
HEALTHVol. 4: Slaves Of Fear (Electro-Noise/Dream-Pop) [Loma Vista]
These New PuritansInside The Rose (Art Rock) [Infectious Music]
Strand Of OaksEraserland (Heartland Rock) [Dead Oceans]
Fontaines D.C.Dogrel (Post-Punk) [Partisan]
Zig ZagsThey’ll Never Take Us Alive (Thrash Metal) [RidingEasy Records]
Big ThiefU.F.O.F. (Indie-Rock/Alt-Folk) [4AD]
Show Me The BodyDog Whistle (Hardcore Punk) [Loma Vista]
DrahlaUseless Coordinates (Noise-Rock/Post-Punk) [Captured Tracks]
BrutusNest (Post-Rock/Black Metal) [Hassle]

No longer a fan of the album format? Hear some of our tracks of the year so far too:

What’s been floating your boat? Let us know below.