[sic] Magazine

Sub-Ed’s Albums & EPs Of The Year 2019

You just can’t write a best of the decade article before appraising its final year. Our round-up of the past 10 years will therefore land early next year. To tide you over until then, here, simply, is what I consider to have been the best albums and EPs of this year – those that have stood out most from that which I’ve listened to. As usual, there’s been plenty of good-to-downright-great releases, this year seeming to be one when I’ve pretty much picked up where last year left off and again largely revelled in the loud, the genre-mashed, the gloomy and the out-and-out experimental. Pleasing to see post-rock making a bit of a return at the same time too. The listening wasn’t all bleak though, some lighter – even poppy – moments having managed to shine through the clouds in places as well.

Particular credit this year one again goes to [sic] fixture Sacred Bones, a label that can count six entries in this list, and who’ve counted at least five on this list for each of the last eight years now! A truly staggering achievement! Special mention also goes to the ever-important 4AD imprint for having a hand in five too, and only slightly lesser mention to a new boy on the block, RidingEasy Records, for not being far behind with four!

Other statistical analysis interestingly shows that, while I consider myself an open-minded globetrotter when it comes to music, 91% of the artists in this top 100 still entirely or partially call either the US, UK and Ireland, Canada or Australia and New Zealand home. While this number is up on last year’s figure, an increasing number of international collaborations is affecting the results – thank the ease of internet file-sharing!

It must be said though that, as per every year, I have only one pair of ears, a set number of hours in the day and a bank balance that is far from inexhaustible, so there are, perhaps, certain notable omissions from the list below. In any case, who knows what may have been, but here is what definitely was (linked where reviewed – rough genre given in brackets):

1. Have A Nice LifeSea Of Worry (Post-Punk/Post-Rock) [The Flenser]

Five years on from their incredible The Unnatural World, Connecticut post-punks of sorts Have a Nice Life have done it again with the even more amazing Sea Of Worry. Attacking fuzzy garage-punk with the enthusiasm of early Japandroids, throwing in the wild abandon of post-rock experimentalism with superbly evocative spoken-word samples, razor-sharp guitars and punishing drums, intangibly synthy interludes and even the skitter of rudimentary electronics, the elementally powerful Sea Of Worry is jaw-dropping in both beauty and scale. There’s a reason records like this only come around twice a decade; we just can’t handle them in any greater quantity.

2. BrutusNest (Post-Rock/Black-Metal) [Hassle]

Is it punk? Post-rock? Some kind of metal? Belgium’s Brutus have confounded many this year, their extraordinary Nest appearing on all kinds of disparate lists recently too, everyone uniformly blown away however by its power and the sheer size of its song-writing. Searing guitar volleys lead the charge, drummer-cum-vocalist Stefanie Mannaerts impressively pivoting from face-melting coruscation to a dreamier coo to play her part in the year’s most exciting record.

3. Strand Of OaksEraserland (Heartland Rock) [Dead Oceans]

Wow. Wow. Wow. Talk about upping your game. Eraserland is metal-looking dude Timothy Showalter’s third proper album for Dead Oceans and his earnest heartland rock has never sounded better. Or bigger. Eraserland is huge, Showalter’s quivering vocal presiding over nods to the likes of Jeff Buckley and even Pink Floyd. This is music to just sit back and enjoy, an artist holding court and blowing the roof off as he goes.

4. Deli GirlsI Don’t Know How To Be Happy (Experimental/Hardcore) [Sweat Equity]

Part of the same scene as Show Me The Body (see below), Deli Girls are a ferocious noise-punk duo that draw from hell-spawn hardcore and vicious dance-floor beats, Danny Orlowski’s blood-curdling death metal growl the menacing icing on this grotesque cake. I Don’t Know How To Be Happy is also essential listening that holds up a mirror to society’s ills and regurgitates them squarely on your shoes. Get on board if you dare.

5. Zig ZagsThey’ll Never Take Us Alive (Thrash Metal) [RidingEasy Records]

Faster, harder, heavier: the Zig Zags mantra. Where to go though when the EQ is already blown and when the last tour left frontman Jed Maheu coughing up blood? Digging deeper into the cartoon violence of Megadeth and Slayer of course! For every smash-and-grab ode to Motörhead, there’s a snotty hardcore skate anthem. For every bout of biker fuzz, straight-up sludge of Sabbath-esque proportions. Strap in, it’s a hell of a ride.

6. Kim GordonNo Home Record (Art Rock/Electro-Punk) [Matador]

Of the many bands and artists to have liberally borrowed from the Kim Gordon sound this year (many of whom do it very well, see – variously – below), Kim Gordon herself isn’t one of them. No Home Record is a total reinvention, and a far cooler one than any 66-year-old has the right to try. An arsenal of aggressive beats, fizzing industrial tropes and malfunctioning drum machines in her pocket, there’s challenge and rich reward in equal measure.

7. HEALTHVol. 4: Slaves Of Fear (Electro-Noise/Dream-Pop) [Loma Vista]

Offering nose-to-tail thrills, it’s so good to have an on-form HEALTH back doing what they do best. Sure, their wildest edges may have worn off with age – it has been a full decade since their astounding Get Color – but Vol. 4 is next-level nonetheless. Soothing with one hand, they still pack enough punch to torment with the other however and when those blunt-force beats and dreamy guitars swirl together it’s like they never went away.

8. PatioEssentials (Indie/Post-Punk) [Fire Talk]

This ramshackle dose of indie-flecked post-punk couldn’t be from anywhere but NYC and Essentials displays its ready influences on its sleeve, heaving its weary form around the city effortlessly. A forlorn, often bleak portrait of raw confession, emotion and anger, it’s a brutally honest and intimate record that’s made even better knowing it was never supposed to be, the band forming on a whim before even learning to play.

9. Show Me The BodyDog Whistle (Hardcore Punk) [Loma Vista]

Retreating from some of the stylistically manic antics of Corpus I, Show Me The Body’s third album, Dog Whistle, is a slightly more traditional hardcore LP in comparison, more in line with their break-out Body War while doubling down on the punk. It remains inventive however, channelling Julian Cashwan Pratt’s visceral wail into ever more harsher contortions, the band’s ugly NYC and its outsider sounds reflected back warts and all.

10. FöllakzoidI (Krautrock) [Sacred Bones]

Taking some time to settle, this intense four-track suite of rhythms and grooves is nothing short of an incessant stream of gritty motorik pulsing repetitively to the point of endurance techno. Drawn-out rock instrumentals melding perfectly with fledgling electro, the Chilean band tap directly into 70s Germany chic, analogue synths bringing a hypnotic drone to swirl around the percussive pistons. It’s total immersion rock; take the plunge.

11. WySoftie (Indie/Synth-Pop) [Hybris/Beatnik Collective/Aloaded]

The Swedish make a type of massive, glistening synth-pop that almost nowhere else can match. Softie conjures chest-pounding yomps across deep snow, its pumping percussion embracing you arms wide. There’s something of the bounding doe-eyed puppy about its delivery too, its stacking of soaring guitar so keen to please, the LP’s middle order outright anthemic! A sweeping sadness prevails though; try keeping that lump in your throat hidden, eh?

12. FKA TwigsMagdalene (Alt-Pop/Downbeat) [Young Turks]

For no other reason than she gets away with a rhyme of “fingers” and “cunnilingus” on one track, FKA Twigs’ majestic Magdalene could have made this list. Luckily though Ms. Barnett’s far more tasteful, intelligent future-beats are even more deserving, the LP a very worthy successor to 2014’s phenomenal LP1. It’s her sexy, crystalline whisper though that still really contains the magic, an intimately ASMR experience for a HD record.

13. DIIVDeceiver (Dream-Pop/Shoegaze) [Captured Tracks]

Here’s an old-school grower from [sic] favourites DIIV, gently blossoming ‘gazing with the dreamiest of vocals from Zachary Cole Smith that lulls you into thinking the Brooklyn band may have forgotten some of their earlier bite in the absence of an obvious hit per albums past. But Deceiver lives up to its name under repeat examination, its wailing peaks and woozy churn slowly coming into view as the clouds of fuzz start to clear.

14. Danny Brownuknowhatimsayin¿ (Hip-Hop/Rap) [Warp]

Atrocity Exhibit may have the bigger bangers, but this is a better album. There’s nothing tokenistic about Danny Brown’s inclusion on this list either, Q-Tip’s production reigning in some of his weirder go-tos, his deranged nasal whine concentrated into a laser beam of tight, modern hip-hop with a Wu-Tang and West Coast bent. Tasteful samples come undercut with decidedly NSFW content, great guest slots by the likes of Killer Mike righting the roll immediately.

15. The Flaming LipsThe King’s Mouth (Psych-Pop) [Bella Union]

It’s bonkers of course, a concept album about a baby with a giant head that ultimately meets his poignant demise after becoming King, but crucially The King’s Mouth makes sense, in so much as anything The Flaming Lips have ever done makes sense. The band are on playful, melodic form too, even The Clash’s Mick Jones’ narration not as annoying as you’d imagine, Commander Coyne in turn a proud father of all his surveys.

16. Big ThiefU.F.O.F. / Two Hands (Indie-Rock/Alt-Folk) [4AD]

We’re not gonna split them. How could you? The best material of Big Thief’s career song after song, album after album, crowned with one of the year’s best tracks in “Not”. You’ve heard all these tracks before though on countless windblown FM channels, on innumerable sides of dusty wax when crate-digging, and on the tip of your tongue while idly humming to yourself. That’s why, stealthily, they resonate so strongly now.

17. King Gizzard & The Lizard WizardInfest The Rats’ Nest (Thrash Metal) [Flightless]

Ordinarily we don’t have much time for King Gizz as we already make too much time for Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall, but Infest The Rats’ Nest is different as, for fun, the Aussie hell-raisers have gone thrash for one LP only. There’s a whiff of pastiche about it all and a cynical co-opting of issues of the day to make their point, but – hot damn – these are good tunes, delivered sizzling and fast. Bad for your health, sure, but totally worth the binge.

18. These New PuritansInside The Rose (Art Rock) [Infectious Music]

It’s odd to think of These New Puritans as veterans of the British art-rock scene, but it’s been a decade since their incredible Hidden album and the restrained Inside The Rose is finally the meritorious follow-up it demanded after the more intangible nature of 2013’s Field Of Reeds. It’s a sumptuous, intelligent experience too, lush synth-work and crisp pads an exquisite accompaniment to smears of indifferent vocal and percussive rips.

19. JambinaiOnda (Post-Rock/Metal) [Bella Union]

K-Pop? Pah! K-Rock is where it’s at in 2019, specifically that which draws from traditional Korean music, as well as epic post-rock and metal, Onda an unbelievable, monumentally powerful instrumental suite that rolls like thunder over a swelling sea. It’s an almost theatrical listen, identifiably Eastern instrumentation cueing up crashing volleys as antagonists, dramatic strings our heroic protagonist in this intricately fascinating tableau.

20. FloristEmily Alone (Singer-Songwriter/Alt-Folk) [Double Double Whammy]

It’s so easy to get simplicity wrong. Emily Sprague, in the face of adversity, gets everything right. And it’s not confined to her music either. Musing on the loss of her mother, she displays a rare emotional intelligence that sets Emily Alone apart from usual bouts of catharsis, her vulnerability just as much an ace in her hand as her pretty playing. It’s a journey most of us have to make, but with Emily for company it no longer seems so daunting.

21. Holly HerndonProto (Experimental/Future-Pop/Modern Gospel) [4AD]

Where to begin with Proto. It’s so futuristic that it kinda makes everything else seem obsolete immediately. On it, Herndon gives birth to artificial life in the form of Spawn, a programme fed digitally manipulated choral harmonies from which it then stutters back its own creations, an Avant-pop laptop hymnal that frequently feels like Herndon has beaten contemporary pop experimentalist Björk to the punch with many of her ideas.

22. Blue TomorrowsWithout Color (Singer-Songwriter/Dream-Pop) [Moon Glyph]

Sarah Nienaber of Web Of Sunsets and Candace is a singular dream-pop talent, immovable against an enveloping tide of soft percussion and laid-back melodies, her hushed vocal on new project Blue Tomorrows like slipping into a candlelit bathtub with Hope Sandoval. There truly won’t be many more satisfying listens this year. Without Color is a precious little pop record that simply deserves more recognition than it’ll get.

23. Suzuki Junzo & Snakes Don’t Belong In AlaskaThe Ascended Master Teachings Of Suzuki Junzo & Snakes Don’t Belong In Alaska (Hard-Psych) [Cardinal Fuzz/Little Cloud]

Pitting cult psychonaut Suzuki Junzo against hard-psych enthusiasts Snakes Don’t Belong In Alaska was always gonna end in fireworks. Consequently, the Japanese guitarist let’s rip with a near-constant stream of nuclear-accelerated proton energy to the colossal accompaniment of Newcastle’s most doomed hoard. This one’s powerful enough to flush out a confession from even the most field-hardened of radicals.

24. DrahlaUseless Coordinates (Noise Rock/Post-Punk) [Captured Tracks]

We tipped Leeds post-punks Drahla to deliver a top-drawer album as soon as they signed to Captured Tracks and Useless Coordinates doesn’t disappoint. Well … it might, but only if you’re not a fan of Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon (yes, her from above!) as, my word, Luciel Brown runs with her best contributions and mirrors them impeccably. Never out of fashion, this a very welcome tumble of familiar angles and screeches.

25. Chelsea WolfeBirth Of Violence (Singer-Songwriter/Goth) [Sargent House]

Don’t for one moment think that just because Chelsea Wolfe has stepped back from the brink of doom on Birth Of Violence that it’s any less intense of a record. While her acoustic-led style and pleading vocal hark back to Unknown Rooms, the Gothic blackness of Wolfe’s witchy catalogue is so insidious that it bleeds across these white pages like an upturned inkwell, her pin-drop songs a raven in flight across a moonlit sky.

26. Lingua IgnotaCaligula (Experimental/Black Metal) [Profound Lore]

Conversely, maybe the new Chelsea Wolfe album, above, is too poppy for you! May we therefore introduce instead extreme singer-songwriter Lingua Ignota who manages to croak out a more crushing strain of guttural doom than you’d ever imagine from little more than just her serrated vocal cords and the hammers and strings of Satan’s own Steinway. Caligula is a stunning piece of performance art from start to finish.

27. Ex:ReEx:Re (Singer-Songwriter) [4AD]

The digital release sneaking out late last year, the wintery physical landing in the coldest early months of this one, this aptly bleak portrayal of separation from Daughter frontwoman Elena Tonra is a tearful and tender listen, barely-there laments leading to a drizzle of understated instrumentation and Tonra’s vulnerable whisper. A real breath of cold air, it’ll stand the hairs up on the back of your neck.

28. Mannequin PussyPatience (Punk-Rock/Pop) [Epitaph]

Inhale deeply before you jump into Patience as it’s a 100mph rollercoaster of poppy punk-rock that’ll carry you to its climax without ever giving you the time to come up for air, Marisa Dabice’s vocal contorting from a girly coo to a F O R R E A L snarl at the drop of a hat. Much of Mannequin Pussy’s material these days is a blur as a consequence, marauding drum and guitar parts jutting out of the mix simply to give you something to hold onto.

29. Hayden ThorpeDiviner (Singer-Songwriter) [Domino]

Wild Beasts are no more; cue a solo album from frontman Hayden Thorpe. Not only is Diviner much better than Thomas Fleming’s outing under the iffy name One True Pairing, it’s better really than it even should be. Thorpe’s talent with tender song-writing and the piano is well documented, but there’s not a duff track to be found here, the good rubbing shoulders with the great and with the excellent. This could be just the start too.

30. Fontaines D.C.Dogrel (Post-Punk) [Partisan]

Nice to see Ireland back exporting popular guitar music. Fontaines D.C. and their city-mates The Murder Capital (see below) have understandably been the subject of numerous headlines this year and while sometimes you wonder if all this editorial hype is deserved there certainly is something about this lot that captures the imagination. Scrappy guitar lines and choruses becomes anthemic in their hands and it’s quite something to watch.

31. Rose City BandRose City Band (Psych-Rock) [Jean Sandwich]

In lieu of a Wooden Shjips album this year, we’ll happily take a Ripley Johnson solo LP under the name Rose City Band. His gentle psych-rock musings lap away warmly as the acid starts to take hold, his blissful guitar and whistling melting into his stoned drawl. No matter how tempted you may be to kick back in a bean-bag to enjoy this one, don’t, for there’s a very good chance you’ll never be able to get back up again.

32. L’EpéeDiabolique (60s Psych/Psych-Rock) [Because Music]

Still enjoying The Limiñanas’ Shadow People from 2017? Of course you are! Here the married French couple adopt a new name for a full-on collaboration with Anton Newcombe of The Brian Jonestown Massacre and Roman Polanski’s chanteuse wife Emmanuelle Seigner. Entirely picking up where Shadow People left off, Diabolique treats us to more of the same soundtrack-indebted 60s psych and it bubbles away like living in a lava lamp.

33. Girl BandThe Talkies (Noise-Punk) [Rough Trade]

It’s hard to even pick out where individual tracks start and finish on The Talkies, such is level of the impressive racket that Girl Band turn in. While they may have forgotten to write many of what many people might call “songs”, Dara Kiely’s drunken slur hollering out across sheets of pure abrasion, a front-row spot for a live show of this material is both essential and exhilarating. In this splash zone though, the splashes are likely to be blood.

34. JakuziHata Payı (Synth-Pop/Darkwave) [City Slang]

Only one name comes to mind when revelling in the dark synths of Taner Yücel and the maudlin vocal of Kutay Soyocak – Samuel T. Herring and his Future Islands. Singing in their native Turkish sets the Jakuzi duo well apart though, but it’s the nagging insistence of the guitar parts and perpetual drizzle of the gruff frontman’s lyrics that do for the comparison. The pollsters may have been correct all along this time; look East for the Future.

35. Stef ChuraMidnight (Singer-Songwriter/Indie-Rock) [Saddle Creek]

Certain bands/artists make very pleasant music, but are nevertheless entirely dependent on the power of how their words are sung to stand out rather than the message behind them. Stef Chura is one such song-writer, her soaring rasp just so very engaging that all else fades into the background. Her lightly fuzzed indie-rock makes for an unobtrusive bedfellow, but her eagerness for her unspooling stories is infectious.

36. WilcoOde To Joy (Singer-Songwriter/Alt-Folk) [dBpm Records]

As comfy as putting on a pair of slippers, Jeff Tweedy is on vintage form on Ode To Joy, which – let’s be honest – is more of a solo record that a full Wilco one, but one that nonetheless brings the sunshine of carefree alt-folk singer-songwriting, Tweedy roughing up its edges with a gravelly, weary croon that’s closer to the downtrodden tales of Mark Everett. It’s a record to wallow in luxuriously, an undisputed talent simply doing what he does best.

37. Holy SerpentEndless (Stoner Rock/Alt-Rock) [RidingEasy Records]

Endless doesn’t deviate far from the twin altars of stoner and alt-rock, Scott Penberthy’s calm vocal and his band’s growing reliance on melody now more readily opening the door to the winding roads of heavy-psych. Watch aghast as walls of guitar drop like a ton of bricks amidst juggernaut grooves as the sludgy flow is picked over by some vulturistic soloing to once again deliver on the Melbourne band’s trademark brand of “shroom doom”.

38. Crystal MyslajekCove (Dream-Pop/Neo-Classical) [Moon Glyph]

Given startling clarity by Crystal Myslajek’s deft use of the grand piano, Cove is a truly breath-taking composition that’s as meditatively neo-classical as it is New Age. Ghostly choral parts drift in like those of Liz Harris, minimal arrangements accompanied by a slow swoop of low bass tones and elemental backing like Julianna Barwick. Cove is an album that warms the heart and cerebral synapses simultaneously.

39. TempersPrivate Life (Darkwave) [Dais Records]

There’s a pervasive gloom to Private Life that makes it a heavy-hearted listen, but the carefully constructed building blocks that NYC’s Tempers work with are the very same as those that shift mega synth-pop units. It’s a dangerous cross too, catchy like the plague, but one that when it catches your kohl-lined eye across the dancefloor refuses to look away. Anti-vaxxers beware, this one’s going to knock you down dead.

40. The Mystery Lights Too Much Tension! (Garage-Psych) [Wick]

The Mystery Lights are as tight as they are fun, a ball of garage-psych energy that just keeps jumping like some over-hyped hound. Don’t write them off as some light bit off fluff though, for Too Much Tension is their fourth LP of increasingly smart grooves into which they’re as adept at dropping the spidery surf of their home state as they are the knowing cool of their adopted NYC. The complete package? It’d be tough to disagree.

41. Kandodo3K3 (Psych/Drone) [Rooster]

The bromance runs deep between Simon Price of psych-rock band The Heads and John McBain, most notably of space-rockers Monster Magnet. Head-to-head, K3 is a fragile and yet enormous album. Nothing short of your full attention is therefore recommended to zone in on its micro-detail kosmiche, drones and pure ambience. The supreme art of war is to subdue without fighting and Price and McBain are masters of the art.

42. Mark Kozelek & Petra HadenJoey Always Smiled (Singer-Songwriter) [Caldo Verde]

If by now you’re not on board with Mark Kozelek’s utterly unique and supremely intelligent weaving together of tracks, stories, previous work and his long list of acquaintances then you never will be as he remains smugly self-referential and happy to reignite old beefs all to the detriment of the would-be newcomer too. His song-writing still has the power to spellbind though and the sprawling Joey Always Smiled tops his ever-prolific output this year.

43. FACSLifelike (Post-Punk/Goth/Industrial) [Trouble In Mind]

Inhabiting a post-industrial wasteland in which totemic bass stalks the horizon and ghostly vocal mumbles haunt the radio channels, FACS continue to take the bleakest parts of former parent band Disappears and then dip them in a monochrome acid to develop. A ticking percussion increases the anxiety levels as Lifelike grips the throat as if in the throes of a slow-motion panic-attack. May God have mercy on their souls.

44. Black MountainDestroyer (Psych-Rock) [Jagjaguwar]

Heavy psych-rock veteran Stephen McBean still knows his way around a riff of course, his Black Mountain however now recast so that Rachel Fannan of Sleepy Sun takes the Amber Webber role in order to temper his excesses. For every doomed repeat therefore and every wild solo, there’s her impressive wail to stare it down. Not that McBean runs for cover, naturally, when challenged; he simply raises his game in reply.

45. NOV3LNovel (Post-Punk) [Meat Machine]

NOV3L whip up that type of itchy post-punk fervour that you just can’t sit still to, danceable but dangerous, barbs of guitar flying out at all angles, herky-jerk melodies failing to soothe a Gang Of Four-style yelp. Throw in a cow-bell and you could call it punk-funk, but these Canadians throw in a sax instead and it suddenly makes the whole thing that bit more louche and forward, and you all the more susceptible to its advances.

46. Cherry GlazerrStuffed & Ready (Garage/Dream-Pop) [Secretly Canadian]

Hello! Bit of a surprise this one after a few bratty albums on the likes of Burger Records for Stuffed & Ready is a surprisingly sophisticated step-up to ethereal, Blonde Redhead-type dream-pop, the LA band’s garage roots still providing sufficient grit to keep the new direction true. You might have to double-take as you’re doing it, but you could even go so far as to label it a mature album; it happens to the best of us at some time or other!

47. SASAMISASAMI (Synth/Dream-Pop) [Domino]

A hardly audible crackle of distortion runs through SASAMI’s beautiful dream-pop, the former Cherry Glazerr (see above) synth-player letting its rough-hewn edges absorb influence from elsewhere to deliver an intimate, but punchy selection of tunes you suspect reflect her tasteful record collection. It can be tough striking it out on your own, but judging from this self-titled debut, Ms. Ashworth crucially has the songs to make it work.

48. Nots3 (Synth/Garage-Punk) [Upset! The Rhythm]

With quickfire drum rips, the dark draw of superior bass-guitar, a toxic sheen of synth-noise and a classic-sounding vocal drawl all usually to be found over at In The Red/Castle Face stables, Nots’ third studio album, imaginatively titled 3, ticks all the boxes and then some. Developing now into a band of some considerable consistency and increasing potency, these Memphis punks are on the cusp of becoming a real force to be reckoned with.

49. The Twilight SadIt Won’t Be Like This All The Time (Post-Punk/Goth/Indie) [Rock Action]

There’s a strong album in here somewhere and, spend enough time with its stadium-sized grandiosity, it’ll start to prove it. Credit to The Twilight Sad for trying to switch it up a gear by punching for the Editors/White Lies market – they deserve a few decent sales at this point in their career – but with risk comes reward and failure. It Won’t Be Like This … nevertheless plays to their strengths; let’s just gloss over some of the bombast.

50. Cherry PicklesCherry Pickles Will Harden Your Nipples (Garage-Surf/Psychobilly) [PNKSLM]

Cool. You’ve either got it or you don’t and Birmingham’s Cherry Pickles ooze the stuff! With a clear love for The Cramps, trashy rock ‘n’ roll, Girl Group sounds and skeletal garage-surf, the duo bash out homages to them all on just one lo-fi guitar and two little drums. And then there’s that album title. What a way to make your debut, erm, stand out! It may all be a little one-dimensional, but it’s one hell of dimension all the same.

The best of the rest (no particular order):

DeerhunterWhy Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? (Indie/Experimental) [4AD]
Sharon Van EttenRemind Me Tomorrow (Singer-Songwriter) [Jagjaguwar]
Flat WormsInto The Iris EP (Psych/Post-Punk) [God?]
Better Oblivion Community CenterBetter Oblivion Community Center (Singer-Songwriter/Alt-Folk) [Dead Oceans]
Julia JacklinCrushing (Singer-Songwriter) [Transgressive]
Lost Under HeavenLoves Hates What You Become (Indie/Art-Rock) [Mute]
MONKWe’ve Put Something In The Water EP (Electro-Rock) [Ramber Records]
PriestsThe Seduction Of Kansas (Garage-Punk/New Wave) [Sister Polygon]
The Proper OrnamentsSix Lenins (Indie/Psych-Folk) [Tapete Records]
TR/STThe Destroyer Part One (Darkwave/Goth) [Grouch]
Aldous HardingDesigner (Singer-Songwriter/Alt-Folk) [4AD]
Amyl & The SniffersAmyl & The Sniffers (Punk/Rock) [Rough Trade]
PileGreen And Gray (Post-Hardcore) [Exploding In Sound]
ClinicWheeltapppers And Shunters (Psych/Indie-Rock) [Domino]
black midiSchlagenheim (Math/Art-Rock) [Rough Trade]
InstituteReadjusting The Locks (Punk/Rock) [Sacred Bones]
Pip BlomBoat (Indie-Rock) [Heavenly]
Lust For YouthLust For Youth (New Wave/Post-Punk) [Sacred Bones]
FrothDuress (Shoegaze/Alt Rock) [Wichita]
Control TopCovert Contracts (Post-Punk/Punk) [Get Better Records]
The Tallest Man On EarthI Love You. It’s A Fever Dream. (Singer-Songwriter/Alt-Folk) [Rivers/Birds]
Oh SeesFace Stabber (Garage-Fuzz/Heavy Prog) [Castle Face]
FirefriendAvalanche (Psych/Blues/Noise-Rock) [Cardinal Fuzz]
Ty SegallFirst Taste (60s Psych/Lo-Fi) [Drag City]
The Murder CapitalWhen I Have Fears (Post-Punk) [Human Season]
Uniform & The BodyEverything That Dies Someday Comes Back (Experimental/Black Metal) [Sacred Bones]
Here Lies ManNo Ground To Walk Upon (Rock/World) [RidingEasy Records]
Cold ShowersMotionless (Post-Punk) [Dais Records]
PharmakonDevour (Power-Electronics/Noise) [Sacred Bones]
HIDEHell Is Here (Industrial/Darkwave) [Dais Records]
Jay SomAnak Ko (Indie-Rock/Shoegaze) [Lucky Number]
Russian CirclesBlood Year (Post-Rock/Metal) [Sargent House]
Sheer MagA Distant Call (Rock) [Wilsuns Recording Company]
Blackwater HolylightVeils Of Winter (Doom/Fuzz-Rock) [RidingEasy Records]
Dead ArmsSimply Dead (Punk) [Hominid Sounds/Rip This Joint]
Odonis OdonisReaction EP (Darkwave/Industrial) [Felte]
Lower SlaughterSome Things Take Work (Sludge Punk) [Box Records]
ChromaticsCloser To Grey (Synth-Pop/Italo) [Italians Do It Better]
Weeping IconWeeping Icon (Post-Punk/Noise-Rock) [Kanine]
Fly Pan AmC’est ça (Shoegaze/Noise/Metal) [Constellation]
Carla Dal FornoLook Up Sharp (Coldwave/Post-Punk) [Kallista Records]
Toro Y MoiOuter Peace (Funk/R&B) [Carpark]
Cigarettes After SexCry (Dream-Pop) [Partisan]
SwansLeaving Meaning (Experimental Rock) [Mute]
Giant SwanGiant Swan (Electro/Techno) [Keck]
Vivian GirlsMemory (Garage-Rock/Lo-fi) [Polyvinyl]
Nick Cave & The Bad SeedsGhosteen (Singer-Songwriter/Experimental) [Ghosteen Ltd]
Dope LemonSmooth Big Cat (Singer-Songwriter/Neo-Psych) [BMG]
Lightning DustSpectre (Singer-Songwriter) [Western Vinyl]
Moon DuoStars Are The Light (Psych-Rock) [Sacred Bones]