Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Songs for Cineastes: 2019 Edition

Cate Le Bon at KEXP in July. I was there! / Kathy Fennessy
Click here for the 2018 edition. Links lead to my concert previews for The Stranger.

Though I remain an avid, if not obsessive, radio listener, I heard considerably less new music in 2019 than usual, since I did considerably less writing about music than usual. I couldn't say whether that will continue, but I spent more time writing about film, and the writing and speaking projects I've lined up for 2020 also revolve around film, so it remains to be seen how things shake out in the months to come. At the very least, I know that I'll be writing about Harry Nilsson, Betty Davis, and Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette soundtrack. Maybe Charlotte and Serge Gainsbourg, too. Stay tuned for more details if any of that sounds appealing.

Top 10
1. Cate Le Bon - Reward (Kemado-Mexican Summer)
2. Jamila Woods - Legacy! Legacy! (Closed Sessions-Jagjaguwar)
3. Tanya Tucker - While I'm Livin' (Fantasy)
4. Kim Gordon - No Home Record (Matador)
5. Purple Mountains - Purple Mountains (Drag City)
6. Anderson .Paak - Ventura (12 Tone-Aftermath)
7. Lizzo - Cuz I Love You (Nice Life-Atlantic)
8. Bonnie "Prince" Billy - I Made a Place (Drag City)
9. The Specials - Encore (Deluxe) (Universal)
10. Snapped Ankles - Stunning Luxury (The Leaf Label)

Note: I listed Lorelle Meets the Obsolete's De Facto (Registros El Derrumbe) as part of my 2018 top 10. I didn't realize it was a 2019 release. Otherwise, it would be here. 

Sault - 5 and 7 (Forever Living Originals)
12. Altun Gün - Gece (ATO)
13. Sturgill Simpson - SOUND AND FURY (Elektra)
14. 75 Dollar Bill - I Was Real (Thin Wrist)
15. Angel Olsen - All Mirrors (Jagjaguwar)
16. Cross Record - Cross Record (Ba Da Bing)
17. Jenny Lewis - On the Line (Warner Bros)
18. Oh Sees - Face Stabber (Castle Face)
19. Weyes Blood - Titanic Rising (Sub Pop)
20. Aldous Harding - Barrel (4AD)
21. Solange - When I Get Home (Columbia)
22. Adia Victoria - Silences (Atlantic)
23. Mega Bog - Dolphine (Paradise of Bachelors)
24. Moon Duo - Stars Are the Light (Sacred Bones)
25. Miranda Lambert - Wildcard (Vanner-Sony)
26. Medicine - Scarred for Life (Drawing Room)
27. Warmduscher - Tainted Lunch (The Leaf Label)
28. somesurprises - somesurprises (Drawing Room)
29. Ibibio Sound Machine - Doko Mien (Merge)
30. Red Kross - Beyond the Door (Merge)
31. Brittany Howard - Jaime (ATO)
32. Steve Gunn - The Unseen In Between (Matador)
33. Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars (Bruce Springsteen)
34. Föllakzoid - I (Sacred Bones)
35. Omar Souleyman - Shlon (Mad Decent)
36. Ex Hex - It's Real (Merge)
37. That Dog - Old LP (Universal)
38. The Highwomen - The Highwomen (Highwomen LLC-Elektra)
39. Raphael Saadiq - Jimmy Lee (Columbia)
40. Deerhunter - Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared? (4AD)

Jamila Woods - Legacy! Legacy! (Jagjaguwar)
Also worthy of note: Bananagun - "Do Yeah" (Full Time Hobby), Bill Callahan - Shepherd In a Sheepskin Vest (Drag City), Karen O and Danger Mouse - Lux Prima (BMG), Mdou Moctar - Ilana (The Creator) (Sahal Sounds), Laurence Pike - Holy Spring (The Leaf Label), Matana Roberts - Coin Coin: Chapter Four Memphis (Constellation), Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow (Jagjaguwar), Sudan Archives - Athena (Stones Throw), Vampire Weekend - Father of the Bride (Spring Snow-Columbia), and Michael Winograd - Kosher Style (Michael Winograd).

Top Songs and Singles
1. Prince - "I Feel for You" acoustic demo (NPG-Warner Bros)
2. Anderson .Paak ft. Andre 3000 - "Come Home" (12 Tone-Aftermath)
3. Rapsody ft. D'Angelo and GZA - "Ibtihaj" (Jamla-Roc Nation)
4. Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus "Old Town Road" (Remix) (Columbia)
5. Sault - "Don't Waste My Time" (Forever Living Originals)
6. Caribou - "Home" (Merge)*
7. GRID ft. Lydia Lunch - "Stranglehold: The World According to Herbert Huncke" (NNA Tapes)
8. Purple Mountains - "Maybe I'm the Only One for Me" (Drag City)
9. Kindness ft. Seinabo Sey - "Lost Without" (Female Energy)
10. Karen O and Danger Mouse - "Redeemer" (BMG)

*Features a sample of Gloria Barnes' Bobby Dixon-penned "Home." 

Songs/Singles Runners-up (Mostly Covers)
11. Nandi Bushell (nine-year-old American drummer) - "In Bloom" (Nirvana)
12. Yoyoka (10-year-old Japanese drummer) - "Bulls on Parade" (Rage Against the Machine)
13. Jon Hopkins and Kelly Lee Owens - "Luminous Spaces" (Domino Record Co.)
14. Nana Adjoa - "Love and Death" (Ebo Taylor) (Bloomer)
15. Empress Of/Lorely Rodriguez - "When I'm With Him" (Perfume Genius) (Terrible)
16. The Bird and the Bee ft. Beck - "Hot for Teacher" (Van Halen) (No Expectations-Release Me)
17. Bernard Fowler - "Sympathy for the Devil" (Rolling Stones) (Rhyme & Reason)
18. Warmduscher ft. Kool Keith - "Burner" (The Leaf Label)
19. Vampire Weekend - "Harmony Hall" (Spring Snow-Columbia)
20. Carly Rae Jepsen - "Everything He Needs" (Schoolboy-Interscope)*

*Features a sample of Shelley Duvall's Nilsson-penned "He Needs Me."

Top Reissues
1. The Beatles - Abbey Road: Super Deluxe Edition (Apple Corps-Calderstone Productions Ltd)
2. The House Guests - My Mind Set Me Free (Shake It)
3. Patrick Cowley - Mechanical Fantasy Box (Dark Entries)
4. Peter Ivers - Becoming Peter Ivers (RVNG Intl)
5. Arthur Russell - Iowa Dream (Audika Recordings)

Best needle drop: "Here Comes the Girls" in Synonyms.

Endnote: I saw very few shows this year, due primarily to a lack of money--fewer freelance gigs means fewer coins in my pockets--so I'm grateful that the Specials and Massive Attack were worth the wait and/or the trip. I'd never seen the former before--I've been a fan for almost 40 years--and I traveled all the way to Detroit to see the latter. Sorry I missed Stereolab and Jamila Woods. Both acts sold out their Seattle shows in a flash. I was tempted to travel to London to catch Woods in November, but after my trips to Detroit and Toronto, I was all tapped out. I also regret that I missed Jenny Lewis, but I bought a t-shirt, so I can't say I didn't do my bit for her merchandise sales.

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