Here’s all the albums I really loved this year easily accessible as an Apple Playlist.
1) Cheap Queen — King Princess
Bless lesbian musicians. King Princess first caught my attention with the song Pussy is God, which damn. This album is a bop.
2) Emily Alone — Florist
A deeply sparse, sad album that I enjoy quite a bit. Florist has always made beautiful songs, but this is a so quiet and so delightful.
3) Interloper — Momma
Just the right amount of harmonies and hooks to draw you into a strange and fun indie rock band.
4) Family Tree — Oh Land
A gorgeous album from a Danish former dancer. I just love her voice—from the start the album has a haunting beauty.
5) Scholars — Buke & Gase
I’ve had every album Buke & Gase put out on repeat for some time after their release, and dearly love their jangly, angular rock. This album doesn’t disappoint.
6) Beast on Beast — Gabby’s World
This is the first band I’ve listened to that has gone through three name changes, from Eskimeaux, to Ó, then finally Gabby’s World. I’ve loved them the whole time, and find this to be especially good sad subway music for when you’re a little bummed and riding home at night.
7) Placeholder — Hand Habits
A complex jam album with fantastic guitars and vocals weaving in and out of downtempo songs.
8) Memory Streams — Portico Quartet
I first heard this band at a vinyl bar in Oakland, and their latest album rules.
9) Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery — The Comet Is Coming
Fantastic end of the world music. This is really strange, funky jazz, and I dig it. Many mornings start off with this album and some coffee.
10) Nowhere Now Here — MONO
I’ve been stoked on MONO since high school, and was lucky enough to see them perform many times at Emo’s (RIP) in Austin. They just keep on making fantastic music that vacillates softer beautiful sounds and driving melodies. Whether you’re walking around the city or taking a train to another city, this album creates a gorgeous soundtrack for your life.
11) Patience — Manequin Pussy
A chill mix of punk and indie rock jams. I think I first saw this band at a show/benefit for Bernie Sanders that I didn’t know was a benefit. It was a super washed crowd, but Manequin Pussy owned bones. This record rules.
12) Crush on Me — Sir Babygirl
I’m really enjoying the new influx of queer and lesbian pop music these days. This album is infectiously catchy and often hilarious. Put it on and enjoy the short bouts of sun this winter.
13) Miss Universe — Nilüfer Yanya
I’m not sure how to describe this album, but it’s a jam. A bit of r&b, a bit of indie rock, and a lot of really solid tunes. I’ve put this album on a repeat a few times this year.
14) Hifalutin — Lowly
Super dance-y-yet-downtempo album. I can throw this on for a variety of moods, and it seems to always suit them. There’s something about Denmark that must inspire people to make brilliant music—this album was recorded in a small warehouse near Aarhus.
15) Weird — Juliana Hatfield
Oh hey, an album that feels like I do sometimes: “I’m staying in/My hair’s not right/And if I go out/Somebody might Take me for a functioning/Human being”. I’m sure I heard Hatfield before this album, but this is the one where she came together for me as an artist.
16) Fibs — Anna Meredith
This album is a solid jam. Anna Meredith’s compositions feel important, weird, and powerful. I often listen to this album in the morning to wake up and feel better about the day.
17) Four of Arrows — Great Grandpa
For a sophmore effort this is a really fun, mature album. I like that they’ve moved from more straightforward poppy indie music to a little more melodic rock.
18) Two Hands — Big Thief
Honestly, the fact that Big Thief put out two incredible albums this year is wild to me. I love both of their 2019 records, but Two Hands especially keeps going back on the stereo. It’s gorgeous. Jia Tolentino wrote about them recently, and I recommend reading her piece.
19) Any Human Friend — Marika Hackman
“I’ve got BDE/I think it’s a venereal disease”. Ugh. This album is an instant lesbian classic. I’ve loved every album Hackman has put out, with That Iron Taste immediately pulling me in, and constantly being on rotation. I got to see her perform in Portland a few years back, and the show was outstanding. Between her soft vocal delivery, which whispers with poetry and sensuality, and the brutally raw lyrical content… just wow.
20) Lost Wisdom Pt. — Mount Eerie
After the utter devastation of his past two albums, this truly sad album about an impending divorce with beautiful guest vocals from Julie Doiron almost comes as a relief. This is a tragedy I can almost understand, feelings I have felt. Microphones and Mount Eerie have held me through many hard times, and this album is an excellent entry into their discography.