1. Kate Tempest - The Book of Traps and Lessons
A haunting and beautiful evocation of despair and hope in Great Britain in 2019. Demands to be listened to as one piece, or for an even more powerful and cathartic effect, watched live.
2. Black Midi - Schlagenheim
In a great year for new guitar bands two stood out, but only one released an album, and that band was Black Midi. Indescribable vocals, an incredible drummer, and songs that evolve each time you hear them, this is a band destined for legendary status. (Black Country, New Road, it’s your turn next year. Don’t disappoint us).
3. Lana Del Rey - Norman Fucking Rockwell!
On which LDR finally lives up to the hype and really does deliver ‘the next best American record’. Excellent lyrics, beautiful melodies, and a sense that she’s tried slightly less hard and in doing so has achieved a lot more.
4. The National - I Am Easy To Find
The introduction of a number of guest female vocalists has brought a whole new angle to The National’s songs, and in doing so has helped them produce their best album in years. Bonus points for a beautifully packaged vinyl set as well.
5. Floating Points - Crush
An album that feels effortless, as Floating Points creates an electronic landscape for you to immerse yourself into. His work just gets better and better.
6. Dave - Psychodrama
A startlingly intellectual and coherent album from one of the break-out voices in UK rap music. Covering subjects ranging from mental health to domestic abuse, it’s not always an easy listen but it’s a rewarding one.
7. These New Puritans - Inside The Rose
Beautifully constructed, this is a record that displays the true depth and skill of the Barnett brothers, gathering their influences (Talk Talk in particular) and coalescing them in their most accessible album to date.
8. FKA Twigs - Magdalene
Out of nowhere Twigs dropped an astonishing album, laying her heart bare while still pushing musical boundaries. It’s a brave record that deserves repeated listens.
9. Apparat - LP5
Another atmospheric record that owes as much to Talk Talk as Apparat’s usual electronic influences, this is a widescreen approach to electronic music that escapes the boundaries of the genre.
10, Bon Iver - i, i
More immediate than his last record, this is still an album that rewards you every time you listen to it. I miss the risk taking of 22, A Million though.