With the close of 2019, we’ll also witness the end of the 2010s altogether. All along the way music has been a constant companion. With each passing year, I’ve been continually amazed by what music has had to offer and 2019 has definitely been no exception. In fact, this may have been one of my favourite years of the entire decade.
It’s become a tradition on this site to give the records that didn’t quite make the top 25 their own space to shine, rather than relegating them to a footnote at the top of a list. So without further ado, A Diverse Sound presents its honourable mentions of 2019. These are in no particular order.
Disciple: Love Letter Kill Shot
Over two decades into their career and Disciple still find ways to show that Christian music can rock as hard as the rest of them. Love Letter Kill Shot is the band at their heaviest and most daring.
Wilder Woods: S/T
Bear Rhinehart of Needtobreathe shows off his soulful side on his debut solo project. Wilder Woods is a delicious batch of jazzy, soulful grooves with a sweet R&B centre.
Avantasia’s 2016 project, Ghostlights, was a tour-de-force of dark, epic power-metal and one of the best records of that year. Moonglow ups the fantasy elements and provides a beautifully winsome counterpart to Ghostlights’ gloomier setting.
Within Temptation: Resist
Did someone say there’s an album that mixes symphonic rock with a sci-fi aesthetic? I’m sold. You say it’s got sweeping and memorable compositions too? Say no more!
Does anyone remember Lagwagon? They, along with MxPx, NOFX, and Bad Religion were the forefathers of the skater-punk genre. Railer is an exhilarating throwback to the days where punk was loud, raucous, fun, and all the right kinds of goofy.
Greet Death: New Hell
Despite what the title and artwork may imply, no, this isn’t a nihilistic death metal band. Greet Death is a post-rock/emo outfit that can sound like Bon Iver (“Let It Die”), Bends-era Radiohead (“You’re Gonna Hate What You’ve Done), and Low (“Strange Days”). It’s dreary and beautiful and melancholic and hopeful all at once.
Good Saint Nathanael: Hide No Truth
Hide No Truth is a heartbreaking and beautifully worshipful acoustic record from the Destroy Nate Allen vocalist. If you’ve ever been hurt or disappointed with the church this is the record you need to hear. If you’ve ever doubted the love of God, this is the record you need to hear. If you ever need to know that someone out there understands and knows that there is an answer, this is the record you need to hear.
Bad Books: III
Kevin Devine and Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull pair up for their third and best offering to date. III can be deceptively simple at times but songs like “Lake House” and “Army” carry an emotional weight that cannot be understated.
Porter’s Gate: Neighbour Songs
It’s not often that a worship record can bring me to tears but that’s exactly what Neighbour Songs did to me on my initial listen. It didn’t quite have the enduring emotional impact I hoped it would carry but it’s a gorgeous release even so.
Bomethius: Sweet Nothings
Bomethius is one of my favourite up and coming indie artists that well deserves your attention. You can read my full review of his latest record here.
Big Thief: Two Hands
When was the last time an indie band released, not one, but two of the best albums of the year? That is exactly what Big Thief did this year with U.F.O.F and its sister release, Two Hands. Two Hands is a stripped-back, dusty acoustic mixtape that is almost as good as its twin sister.
Taylor Swift: Lover
I will never cease to love the music of Ms. (Mrs.?) Swift. Lover is a beautiful, breezy, and endlessly enjoyable pop record that sees Swift reembracing her playful, sweet, romantic side.
Cult of Luna: A Dawn to Fear
A Dawn to Fear was my introduction to the post-metal giants Cult of Luna. It’s a gritty, atmospheric, and pummeling release that will leave any Cult of Luna or Isis fan with their jaw on the floor.
The Menzingers: Hello Exile
This was dangerously close to ending up as a disappointment this year but unlike the records I talked about on that list, Hello Exile only became more likeable every time I came back to it. The production gives it a wistful and nostalgic air that I’ve found myself craving over the past couple of months. It may not overtake Rented World as my favourite Menzies record but this well deserves a spot in their excellent discography.
Thom Yorke: Anima
If you believed Yorke may have his best days behind him, “Dawn Chorus” will help put those superstitions to rest. It’s one of the best songs he has written this decade, perhaps his entire career. The rest of Anima isn’t too shabby either.