These first weeks of Rock music were really full of nice surprises, coming from both emerging and consolidated bands. And, as a result, this selection of the best albums of the year to date, features five fairly exciting and also innovative records. We have one irreverent but damn fun new formation (Queen Zee), two records that successfully managed to combine experimentation with enjoyability (from Lorelle Meets the Obsolete and TOY), a band that keeps growing in quality despite the continuous revolutions in its line-up (Cherry Glazerr) and, finally, a band that in the recent past has already conquered the hearts of fans and critics, but which never ceases to improve with every new release (The Twilight Sad).
There have been really many beautiful things to hear in these first weeks of the year. Let’s run again through the best albums, and we shall stay prepared for what has yet to come!
#5) “Happy in the Hollow”, by TOY
Happy in the Hollow, which is the fourth and newest LP by British band TOY, aims at pursuing an experimental and progressive approach whilst still adopting a musical language that wants to remain accessible and enjoyable to hear. And the goal is fundamentally achieved.
From a musical point of view, Happy in the Hollow is an album made of contrasts: basic rock riffs combined with psychedelic elements, scratchy sounds and angelic voices, and also the combination of acoustic instruments with electronic inserts. Even the atmospheres of the songs are never completely defined: in the most “serene” pieces, there is something which leaves a taste of restlessness and claustrophobia, just as in the darker pieces we always see some light which is shining on the horizon.
TOY’s new album is full of ideas and it sparks of creativity, but it also requires a certain dedication to be fully appreciated. The band from Brighton continues to experiment and evolve their style of psychedelic indie rock, despite the fact that their latest work isn’t maybe the most immediate and catchy among those they published to date.
You can read here the review of the LP that was published on the blog.
#4) “Stuffed & Ready”, by Cherry Glazerr
Indie Rock / Garage Rock
Stuffed & Ready is the third LP from American rock band Cherry Glazerr, and like the previous releases it features a completely new line-up around
Clementine Creevy, who’s the undisputed leader of the band and the only remaining member of the initial formation.
The style of the band is built upon the combination of indie and garage rock, and all the songs of the new LP convey an enjoyable sense of immediacy and authenticity. And even if we’re not dealing with particularly memorable and profound pieces, it’s very easy to be influenced by the rebellious and slightly sarcastic spirit of the album, also because the new record shows a tangible shift towards indie pop sounds, which certainly guarantees a more direct and immediate impact, at least in the short term.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the LP is the apparent ease with which Clementine Creevy manages to play motifs that stick to your hears and which result, in most of the cases, extremely nice and catchy. There are no deep harmonic progressions or virtuosities, but rather short riffs and simple choruses that you’ll start to enjoy, and to hum, since the very first listenings.
You can read from here the review of Stuffed & Ready that was previously published on the blog.
#3) “Queen Zee”, by Queen Zee
Punk Rock / Alternative Rock
Queen Zee is a relatively new rock band from Liverpool, which has gained increased attention for their extremely chaotic and irreverent approach to music. Their songs are rough and dirty, but the band seems to have found the secret for transforming everything they play into something fun and catchy. And their music is so sticky that even if their songs are new, it’s like you had already known them for a long time.
The band’s debut LP provide the listener with an intriguing mix of Nirvana-type grunge and classic punk, with also other influences from alternative rock and hard rock. And the result is something absolutely energetic and also fairly original. This is definitely a band to monitor.
You can read from here the review of the LP.
#2) “De Facto” by Lorelle Meets The Obsolete
One of the most surprising albums I heard so far in 2019 is De Facto, the fifth album by the Mexican formation Lorelle Meets The Obsolete.
The recipe of De Facto is fairly simple: you put in a blender a large dose of psychedelic rock from the ’70s and a couple of abundant cups of dream pop. But beyond the single ingredients, it is the excellent technique mastered by the musicians which managed to guarantee for the album the perfect balance between psychedelic experimentations and moments of pure ambient poetry.
Sonically speaking the album is truly amazing. De Facto was recorded in Ensenada, Baja California, in a home-made recording studio and it’s surprising how from such amateurish environment it was possible to record a kind of music that seems so universal, and capable to cross the boundaries of many different genres.
Best Rock Album of 2019 so far
“It Won/t Be Like This All the Time”, by The Twilight Sad
The first thing which emerges when one listens to the new record from The Twilight Sad is that this band never ceases to evolve and to adapt their style of rock as they become more mature. The band debuted at the beginning of their career with a heavy post-punk altered by industrial and noise elements, and they arrived today, through an articulate journey, to play an experimental version of indie rock that’s full of melodies and enriched with new wave nuances. And listening to their new record, named It Won/t Be Like This All the Time, it’s easy to say that the last musical incarnation of the Scottish band is absolutely brilliant and exciting.
An impressive characteristic of the new album is the remarkable number of truly memorable songs that it contains. And this is what makes the LP truly enjoyable and interesting independently from any consideration about the evolution of the band’s style. It Won/t Be Like This All the Time is objectively a real masterpiece of modern rock and one of the best albums of the band’s discography.
It was easy to assign to The Twilight Sad the title of the best rock act of this first part of the year, and I believe that we have already one of the contenders for the best rock formation of 2019, if not the best among all genres.
There are many playlists about Rock among those I’m curating on Spotify, basically one for each of the main sub-genres of rock. Today I’m recommending to you to have a look onto a couple of them, namely INDIE INSIDE (with the best and latest indie rock songs) and REBEL INSIDE (with the best of punk rock). Enjoy!