Having a hard time keeping track of all the releases coming out recently? Don’t worry, we know the feeling. So, we gathered in this little thing a few albums we enjoyed listening to, in this first quarter of 2019. You will find below our 7 favorite albums of the year so far, plus the complete list of records that deserve your attention. All released between January and March 2019. Happy listening!
When FULTON STREET I came out, I put it on repeat for weeks. It spoke to me in a way I wasn’t expecting at all, and addressed feelings I probably didn’t even know I had. Honestly I could write pages about what this song alone means to me, but this isn’t what I was asked.
Much like this very track does, the rest of ‘PANORAMA’ tackles, among other things, a theme I think we all struggle with : handling your own pain can be challenging (pardon the understatement), but trying to comfort someone you love is something else entirely. The helplessness of not being to help when it’s your only wish, the frustration of not understanding what your loved one is going through, the guilt when you end up focusing on your own failure instead of their suffering. It’s all confusing and uncomfortable to talk about, but La Dispute does it beautifully, with the help of Jordan Dreyer’s signature poignant storytelling as well as haunting, increasingly all-consuming instrumentals. It leaves you drained, but it’s such a cathartic experience they offer once again.
La Dispute – ‘PANORAMA’, out 22/03/2019
Forests – Spending Eternity in a Japanese Convenience Store
Dropped on January 1st on Bandcamp, ‘Spending Eternity in a Japanese Convenience Store’ by Forests has been to me like a comfortable blanket to ease me into 2019. From satisfying joyful guitar riffs to relatable lines (such as “do you have any plans today? do you want to sad jams and chill to marietta?”), it has everything I tend to obsess over in a record. The emo trio from Singapore explains that they got the odd name for this second album from a dragged out pit stop on the way to a show three years ago. While being very melancholic, Forests never gets whiny and always manages to lift my spirit with feelgood melodies.
Also, A+ content to use in texts to your crush.
Forests – ‘Spending Eternity in a Japanese Convenience Store’, out 31/01/2019
Ithaca – The Language of Injury
If you follow Holy Roar Records’ activity, you must know that they put out some of the best records in 2018 with the likes of Conjurer or Rolo Tomassi. Ithaca are a metallic hardcore band from South London who released their debut LP called ‘The Language Of Injury’ in early February. If you’re into the likes of Converge and Oathbreaker, then Ithaca will be your new favorite band, period. Every song has crushing riffs you won’t be able to get out of your mind while Djamila, the vocalist screams at the top of her lungs. Definitely an AOTY contender.
Ithaca – ‘The Language of Injury’, out 01/02/2019 via Holy Roar Records.
Even if death metal isn’t your cup of tea, give a shot to Venom Prison‘s ‘Samsara’ because it will blow your mind. ‘Animus’ in 2016 was already one of the best debut albums in the genre in a long time but with ‘Samsara’, the band is going heavier, filthier and even more political. Front woman Larissa Stupar is a jack-of-all-trades whose voice can straight-up punch you in the face. Aside from the single Asura’s Realm, the best track of the album is undeniably Implementing the Metaphysics of Morals, which blends death metal with a crushing breakdown. Samsara is an unbelievable record and you should listen to it!
Venom Prison – ‘Samsara’ – Out 15/03/2019 through Prosthetic Records.
Most of the time, albums that come out early in the year are either forgotten, or overlooked, for many reasons. But SWMRS is one of those records that accompanies the daily life, with an uplifting vibe that one can only enjoy. It’s still punk rock, with that good old inter-generational guitar music, which somehow makes it more accessible and pleasant to various ears. There’s one for each taste and every track is lively. From Trashbag Baby, to Lose Lose Lose, you’ll often find yourself singing along to the lyrics until they get stuck in your mind for hours. But most importantly, ‘Berkeley’s On Fire’ is an extremely relatable record. It’s socially engaged and inclusive. SWMRS therefore hold a positive impact on their community, which goes hand in hand with their musical evolution and growth SWMRS have been operating in the past couple years.
SWMRS – ‘Berkeley’s On Fire’, out 15/02/2019 through Fueled By Ramen.
RAT BOY – Internationally Unknown
Sonically a big step forward for Jordan Cardy aka RAT BOY, ‘Internationally Unknown’ holds some stand outs such as I Wanna Skate, So What or My Name Is Rat Boy. While other tracks only find their true purpose within the album, it makes it in the end a consistent and balanced record, where nothing is left by chance. Even though it’s unclear where RAT BOY stands with this album, it’s certainly an enjoyable one, whose sound immediately propels you to the Californian sunshine, twenty years back. Its naive, rebellious skate punk vibe is refreshing, with tracks such as Dad’s Crashed Car and Flies. The bad boy is only in his early twenties, which is a good news, because ‘Internationally Unknown’ is already a good record but also leaves room for improvement, which I’m sure RAT BOY will pull out brilliantly in the future, just as he’s pulled out great rap/hip hop skills in this opus.
Produced by Tim Timebomb (Armstrong, Rancid), only Cardy’s accent gives away the origins of an otherwise very “American” album. One of the tracks even welcomes Aimee from The Interrupters (as well as her trademark sound) Overall, ‘Internationally Unknown’ is your go-to record for guaranteed sunshine and no-fucks-given-skate-rock.
RAT BOY – ‘Internationally Unknown’, out 25/01/2019 on Hellcat Records
ANGEL DU$T – PRETTY BUFF
If there’s one overwhelmingly positive record that should become your partner in crime this year, ‘Pretty Buff’ is the one. Angel Du$t have become pretty good at being confusing; you don’t really know what it is that they’re doing, yet you still listen to it, whatever happens, because it’s refreshing and addictive. From Big Ass Love to Take Away the Pain to Bang My Drum, the Baltimore all-star (hardcore??) collective dare to push boundaries and add saxophone here and acoustic guitars there, to their original hardcore upbringing and it works! They never take themselves too seriously and this identity and attitude of theirs earned them a class-A slot in the Roadrunner Records roster. They’re clearly making a statement, democratising this so-called “scene” .
Angel Du$t – ‘Pretty Buff’, out 15/03/2019 via Roadrunner Records.
Other albums that shouldn’t go unnoticed:
- Hozier – ‘Wasteland, Baby!’ (01/03/2019 – Island Records)
With ‘Wasteland, Baby!’, the Irish singer successfully completed the sophomore album challenge. Listening to tracks as magnificent tracks as Dinner and Diatribes, Nina Cried Power (featuring Mavin Staples) and Would That I make it worth the 3-year wait!
- Brutus – ‘Nest’ (29/03/2019 – Hassle Records)
Brutus took it one step further with the release of their new album ‘Nest’. A powerful, dark and elegant record that could shatter the biggest glaciers.
Also worth mentioning…and worth your time:
- Billie Eilish – ‘When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’: A puzzling debut, but somehow haunting and addictive.
- Bring Me The Horizon – ‘amo’ : BMTH keep causing stir with every release, but what’s new? Regardless of what everyone thinks, we salute their audacity and ability to not give a fuck.
- Fever 333 – ‘Strength in Numb333rs’ : The much anticipated debut album of the chaotic power trio FEVER 333.
- Copeland – ‘Blushing’: Long overdue! Everything Copeland does is beautiful and Blushing is no exception.
- Dear Seattle – ‘Don’t Let Go’: The daily dose of sunshine rock’n’roll from down under we all need. Dear Seattle have been working hard on this debut full length and it is a success!
- Grandson – ‘A Modern Tragedy vol.2’: The excellent follow up to one of the best 2018 alternative releases. Truly a must-listen, if you enjoy well thought-out crossovers.
- Modern Error – ‘Lost in The Noise’: A beautiful collection of songs Modern Error have been carefully crafting and hinting over the course of the past year and we are so glad to witness the result.
- Never Loved – S/T (EP): Possibly one of the best alternative-rock debut releases we’ve heard in a long time. Never Loved’s self titled four-track EP goes straight to the point and fires up emotions that were once shut.
- Pkew, Pkew, Pkew – ‘Optimal Lifestyles’: Quite an honest and deep album; way more than it sounds at first. Not only Optimal Lifestyles is super pleasant and catchy to hear, but it also makes you think.
- Set To Change – ‘The Great Nothing’ (EP): A very promising punk/hardcore record, that you should get your hands on as soon as you can!
- Simple Creatures – ‘Strange Love’ (EP): What happens when two pop-punk figures join forces to launch a new project? Listen to this EP and see for yourself.
- Sunflower Bean – ‘King of the Dudes’ (EP): Catchy tunes, reminiscent of pop and rock of the eighties. Clearly a pleasant (very) short release, that will make you smile and feel empowered in any situation.
- Wallows – ‘Nothing Happens’: It sounds like the new generation’s take on lo-fi/alternative rock has nothing to envy to their elders. We’re all for this!
Contributors: Gaëlle P., Max H. & Mary B.