by Mark Murdock

2019 was a great year for music.  I’ve heard other friends say it was a “ho-hum” year, but I discovered lots of new music, explored genres I would normally steer clear of and discovered a new favorite band.

For my best of 2019 list, without thinking about it, I picked several local artists (White Reaper, GRLwood, Strand of Oaks) which speaks volumes to the music that is physically around where we live.  I listened to lots of R&B this year, which was totally unusual for me (Rapael Saddiq, the queen Lizzo, Sudan Archives).

It was impossible to ignore that Post Malone and Taylor Swift had great songs this year that were everywhere.   I won’t deny that, but also have to give a salute to Slayer who have swan-song’d with a live album.

My really fave records this year without question:

  • DIIVDeceiver. Imagine My Bloody Valentine 1992ish, but with some pop sensibilities.  Spotify told me that I listened to this over 13 hours in 2019.
  • There’s no reason to discuss Billie Eilish. Her record was fantastic and made hipster rockers talk about how rock and roll she is.
  • Cactus BlossomsEasy Way. If you like the Everly Brothers, you will love this duo.
  • Karen O, Danger MouseLux Prima. A terrific, sexy collaboration.
  • PrinceOriginals. It almost feels dirty to know that people are ransacking Prince’s vault of music, but these originals that were covered by others reminded me why I love this artist so much.  Big highlight: “Sex Shooter.”
  • Tony MolinaSongs from San Mateo County. None of these songs are over 2 minutes and they are jam packed with fuzzy power pop, Weezer and metal hooks.  The whole record clocks in at barely a half hour.

New new favorite artist is Idles.  I am obsessed:  I have read as many interviews as I can get my hands on and watched every YouTube video I can find.  It’s CRAZY heavy and abrasive and a difficult listen for most.   The themes of the songs include addiction, isolation, mental illness, toxic masculinity, immigration and love and unity.  My gateway was this amazing performance at Glastonbury this year.  I watch this concert every time I wash the dishes.   Which is roughly every day.