Rejoice! 2019 is shaping up to be a great year for music — some of the biggest names of the last five to ten years have already announced new projects: Cage The Elephant, Mac Demarco, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Vampire Weekend, and The Flaming Lips. Sheesh, even Avril Lavigne says she’s releasing an album this year. But, just a month in there have been a ton of strong releases from veterans and newcomers alike. Here’s a list of my favorites thus far.
Maggie Rogers: Heard It In a Past Life [Capitol]
The long-anticipated full-length debut from singer/songwriter Maggie Rogers is finally here. She skillfully combines elements of folk, dance, and R&B all with a gleam of sparkling pop polish coated across the whole album.
Essential tracks: “Alaska,” “Say It,” “Burning,” “On + Off”
Cherry Glazerr: Stuffed & Ready [Secretly Canadian]
Cherry Glazerr follows up 2017’s Apocalipstick with Stuffed & Ready. True to form, frontwoman Clementine Creevy wears her heart on her sleeve in an album that both retains Creevy’s signature punching and visceral sound while also finding time to show restraint. Creevey’s already strong songwriting is bolstered by newer additions to the group: synth player Sasami Ashworth, and drummer Tabor Allen, and a collaboration with acclaimed guitarist Delicate Steve.
Essential tracks: “Ohio,” “That’s Not My Real Life feat. Delicate Steve,” “Distressor”
Better Oblivion Community Center: Better Oblivion Community Center [Dead Oceans]
Acclaimed solo artists Conor Oberst (formerly of Bright Eyes) and Phoebe Bridges make an excellent pairing in self-titled debut. The result is an incredibly diverse and emotional folk-rock release. Their emo vocals make a perfect pairing here on both the soft-folk ballads as well as throbbing anthems.
Essential tracks: “My City,” “Exception to The Rule,” “Dylan Thomas,” “Big Black Heart”
Deerhunter: Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? [4AD]
Deerhunter’s latest release is a layered and impressive offering. Unique instrumentation has always been a staple of the band’s ambient rock sound, and the same holds true on Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?. Songs like “Element” blend piano and strings with droning guitar riffs, while “Death In Midsummer” mixes horns, drums, and harpsichords. Overall, it’s an album that’s easy to get lost in.
Essential tracks: “Futurism,” “Element,” “Plains,” “Détourement”
Toro y Moi: Outer Peace [Carpark Records]
Outer Peace, the eighth release from Chaz Bundick, is a far cry from 2015’s What For. While the latter is a guitar-centered, beachy, dream-pop-inspired extravaganza, the former is a groovy, beat-heavy, house-influenced mix of R&B and electronic music. Here, Bundick opts for experimentation, in a project that feels equally reminiscent of Frank Ocean’s Ivy, as it does to Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories.
Essential tracks: “Laws of the Universe,” “Ordinary Pleasure,” “Freelance”
To listen to all of the artists I’ve talked about and more, you can always tune those dials to WGRE 91.5 Your Sound Alternative or listen on our website.