GIITTV Album Of The Year Poll Results 2019

GIITTV Album Of The Year Poll Results 2019

It’s been another sterling year for new music, perhaps even one of the best of the decade, as evidenced by the various different genres that make up God Is In The TV’s Top 50 Albums Of 2019, as voted for by the vast majority of the GIITTV team – or, at least, the ones who got their lists in on time! Well over 250 albums were chosen in all, and the fact that the list kicks off with the somewhat leftfield industrialism of German Army should tell you all you need to know about the diversity we have been blessed with by this endlessly talented bunch. As GIITTV contributor Michael Mitchell) puts it: “German Army went above and beyond on Salary of Stagnation by sprawling 34 tracks across three cassettes (or digital download if you purchase on Bandcamp). The duo of Peter Kris and Norm Heston have released five albums this year under the GeAr moniker but this demands recognition. Their tribal rhythms, pulsing synths, distant vocal and overall industrial aesthetic, makes two hours breeze by. You won’t find a more varied, complex, fulfilling and satisfying album within the genre this year.

And everything else on the list has its own unique character too. So without further ado, let’s get down to business…

50 German Army – Salary Of Stagnation

49 Cate Le Bon – Reward

48 The Delines – The Imperial

47 Petr Aleksander – Closer, Still

46 Charli XCX – Charli

45 WH Lung – Incidental Music

44 Karine Polwart – Karine Polwart’s Scottish Songbook

43 Robert Forster – Inferno

42 Hayden Thorpe – Diviner

41 Sleaford Mods – Eton Alive

40 Black Marble – Bigger Than Life

39 Jenny Hval – The Practice Of Love

38 Shura – Forevher

37 The Hold Steady – Thrashing Thru The Passion

36 Modern Nature – How To Live

35 Garrett T Capps – All Right, All Night

34 Husky Loops – I Can’t Even Speak English

33 Laura Stevenson – The Big Freeze

32 Body Of Light – Time To Kill

31 Hammock – Silencia

30 Leonard Cohen – Thanks For The Dance

29 Men I Trust – Oncle Jazz

28 Mark Mulcahy – The Gus

27 Karen O & Danger Mouse – Lux Prima

26 Tindersticks – No Treasure But Hope

25 Dave – Psychodrama

24 Julia Jacklin – Crushing

23 Slowthai – Nothing Great About Britain

22 Purple Mountains – Purple Mountains

21 Richard Fearless – Deep Rave Memory

20 Weyes Blood – Titanic Rising

For all of the lyrical brilliance on ‘Movies’, it’s also one hell of music experience. A spacious and subterranean environment that begins hypnotic and ethereal with Natalie Merring’s haunting and echoed vocals on top of a looped effervescent synth, before sharp cuts of violin and knocking attempt to wake up the listener from their dreamy fantasy. It continues Weyes Blood’s regular blend of Enya and Karen Carpenter. Matt Hobbs

19 Toy – Happy In The Hollow

Toy have undoubtedly produced their best work to date on Happy In The Hollow. ‘Sequence One‘ is reminiscent of Clinic, while ‘Energy‘ bristles with vitality, rather aptly and ‘Last Warmth Of The Day‘ re-imagines Urge Overkill‘s version of ‘Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon‘ if Portishead had got hold of it. A wonderful mixture of styles, with several nods to the 60s along the way. Loz Etheridge

18 Stella Donnelly – Beware Of The Dogs

Stella Donnelly’s marvellous debut album proper, possessing the vivid clarity of a set of diary entries and framed in a set of infectious, deftly produced songs; the 26-year-old artist is calling out abusive men, terrible bosses, racists, and clueless partners, and in the process she depicts her growth as an empowered young woman and burgeoning artist. Whether breezy or stripped back, each of her tunes are dipped in an introspective brutality or a sardonic twist, that reveals itself as you pay closer attention to each song. Bill Cummings

17 Marika Hackman – Any Human Friend

Splitting up with someone doesn’t mean you’re not horny, and sad, and enjoying some solitude and angry and accepting. We’re complex and misunderstood. Much like the pig on the cover. A half-naked Marika with a piglet that is considered dirty and ugly but is clean and cute and cuddly and sexual (they orgasm for ages apparently) and human like. This record will be described as sexy and filthy but it is also heart-breaking and grotesque and beautiful and funny and complex. An anti – climax this is not.. Jim Auton

16 Desperate Journalist – In Search Of The Miraculous

What they have attempted to do is take another step from their origins, never satisfied with just rinse and repeating a winning formula, and such is the level of songwriting and musicianship on display, they cannot lose.
In Search of the Miraculous is another brilliant record from the best band in the country whose star is rising. Where do they go from here? The search never ends but the journey is glorious.
Jim Auton

15 Richard Dawson – 2020

This is some of Dawson’s least intricate music- but at the same time it’s some of his best and most memorable. Gone are the more spindly Beefheart-isms of previous albums (though Dawson’s frankly quite remarkable guitar playing is ever-present) in favour of a more direct, pop approach. It’s as much a hair metal album (those backing vocals!) as it is a folk album- but it’s a totally idiosyncratic assimilation of sounds and textures that is unmistakably Richard Dawson. Ben Lowes Smith

14 These New Puritans – Inside The Rose

If, as many writers have previously suggested, These New Puritans are the Talk Talk of their generation; and if Hidden was their Colour of Spring and Field of Reeds their Spirit of Eden, then new album Inside the Rose must be their Laughing Stock, right? Well, yes and no. No, in that after the percussive assault of Hidden and the complex modern classical arrangements of Field of Reeds, rather than take their sound even further out there, TNPs have done something of a volte-face here and made their most accessible and commercial record so far. Yes, in that it’s an absolute masterpiece, their finest work, an album to rave about and wave in the faces of those who claim that no one makes classic albums any more and music was so much better in my day and oh shut the fuck up will you. Tim Russell

13 Better Oblivion Community Centre – Better Oblivion Community Centre

So, this is a record whose lyrical touchstones are black coffee, cars, rivers, the sky, the ground, sleeping, waking, motels but most of all LIVING. Better Oblivion Community Center is the soundtrack to that great American road trip. But on closer ‘Dominos’ (a Taylor Hollingsworth cover) it’s about the comfort blanket of home and putting things off until tomorrow – a stirring but tear-jerking finale to such a wonderful, wonderful record. Steve Spithray

12 Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go?

With her ASMR inspired odd pop 17 year-old Billie Eilish captured and bottled the zeitgeist of pop in 2019. Her cut up of shuddering bass heavy electronic pop incorporated elements of cut-up hip hop techniques and a whisper pop sound that peels back the layers on her life. The infectious ‘bad guy’ is one of the years greatest earworms, she’s one of a new breed of artists who are harnessing elements of the underground and taking into over ground with a sound designed for looped streaming. It sounds endlessly fresh, intriguing and unique. Bill Cummings

11 The Murder Capital – When I Have Fears

As much as words like ‘savage’, ‘deadly’ and ‘murder’ can remind you that life is nasty, brutish and short, if you put them into Irish slang, then you could easily ‘murder’ a Guinness or use the first two adjectives to sum up just how bloody exciting something is. This album manages to capture both such inferences. Novelist Edna O’Brien once opined, “When anyone asks me about the Irish character, I say look at the trees. Maimed, stark and misshapen, but ferociously tenacious.” Such energetic, bittersweet tenacity will surely take The Murder Capital a long way in the near future. Jon Kean

10 Craig Finn – I Need A New War

It could have been delivered as spoken word, but it’s not; having heard some of these songs when he toured the UK solo and acoustic a couple of months ago, the songs are brought to life with harmonies and horns. It provides a beautiful counterpoint to what could be a bleak record; this isn’t like Springsteen’s Nebraska album; rather it’s a view of American life at this point in the twenty-first century. Not only do I want to listen to more of his work and others, I want to read more and watch more as a result of this album. As for album highlights? That changes. Look, call me old-fashioned, but sit down and listen to the damn thing from start to finish. You’ll be glad you did. It’s too early to talk about the year’s best but it is, quite simply, a stunning piece of work. A round of applause is in order. Ed Jupp

9 Vampire Weekend – Father Of The Bride

Father of the Bride’ is Vampire Weekend’s most eclectic record to date because both their lyrics and music vary dramatically in tone. These are contributing factors as to why this lengthy album with 18-tracks avoids being stagnant, remains surprising in its genre geometry and production techniques and how they’ve evolved into multi-dimensional song-crafters that can’t be labelled in a singular way. Matt Hobbs

8 Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen

Whilst The Bad Seeds’ last album, Skeleton Tree was often viewed through the lens of Nick Cave’s recent loss of his son, the album was almost (if not totally) complete by the time of his passing. The one thing we all noticed immediately was the gaping void left where Conway Savage’s soaring backing vocals should have been. That’s when it hit us: THIS, not Skeleton Tree, is Nick’s grieving album. ‘The Spinning Song’ talks of a prince who – with his chilli-black hair – sounds remarkably like Nick himself. It talks of him in the past tense. It’s obviously autobiographical, a lament to the loss of youth and all the death and tragedy that comes with getting older. In “Bright Horses”, the rose-tinted lenses fall away in a strangely devastating moment of candidness.
Even a week on, I am still digesting Ghosteen. It’s a strange, beautifully bewildering record that I’m finding equally bewildering and enchanting
. Andy Stevens

7 Hatchie – Keepsake

It’s clear that it’s a classic debut album when Keepsake closes with the rhythmic rush of ‘Keep’. The bending bass-line and Cure-in-pop-mode keyboards takes the album to a wonderfully-satisfying climax. Hatchie isn’t afraid to wear her influences on her sleeve. Her talent for infectious melodies and unashamedly huge choruses make her stand-out from others who ride the same dream-pop wave.
Hatchie chose the name of this record to reflect her feeling that it’s likely to become a cherished item from this period of her life. It’s a fitting name for an album that captures the exact moment she became a special artist. That feeling should be something to treasure, just like this incredible record itself
. Jonathan Wright

6 Lana Del Rey – Norman Fucking Rockwell

From the exquisite opener and title track, Norman Fucking Rockwell is Lana Del Rey’s crowning achievement. Accompanied by just a stark piano motif, Del Rey has never sounded so captivating, mockingly puncturing the myth of a manchild, a tortured artist and a partner. From there its a sublime and stripped back excavation of tortured love, the middle men around her and the tattered Hollywood dream, her voice absolutely outstanding on standouts like the epic psych tinged vapour trails of ‘Venice Beach’ and the outstanding enveloping ‘Mariners Apartment complex’ that delves deeper into the duality of obsession. Del Rey’s artistry and personality displaying the nuance of one of the greatest American songwriters today. She’s holding a torch for hope through the headwinds. Forget the sniffy criticisms of her authenticity, Lana Del Rey is absolutely defining herself. Bill Cummings

5 Solange – When I Get Home

When I Get Home is an uncompromising and leftfield sequel to ASATT, that captures the essence of why Solange is such a singular talent. Even though her self-produced approach is lowkey and unassuming, this is a sonically fascinating record that makes sense the more you persist. Solange plays relentlessly with song conventions and melodies and avoids rehashing her previous triumphs. Her sense of artistic freedom breathes life into this deeply engaging record. Jonathan Wright

4 Aldous Harding – Designer

There’s also a fluid, brimming confidence that oozes from the music on Designer that rejects external control and fear. While we probably shouldn’t read too much into it, this is summed up on ‘Zoo Eyes’, where she sings: “All fear is cream that sits above the classroom of your dreams… All love is fleece that leaves a cold lamb laughing in the breeze”. The most sincere way for an artist to work with this kind of ephemeral, obliquely poetic material is to just let whatever needs to happen, happen. In that sense, Aldous Harding is perhaps a surrealist, led by no-one but her own innate compass that points toward the absurdly beautiful, or the gently horrific realities of life. Or, perhaps, we’re just over-thinking this rather brilliant collection of mystical, magical stories from one of New Zealand’s most curious and inspiring songwriters. Trev Elkin

3 Fontaines DC – Dogrel

Authenticity has been an adjective bounded around, by the band as much as anyone else, but it fits as well as any other. It’s hard to argue that they don’t mean it. Maybe it is just in the delivery, that every stroke, utterance, beat, note has their whole being behind it. Be it gentle, droning, harsh, scatter gun, they want you to believe that they have to be doing this.
In doing so, they make you commit to it. It demands repetitive listens, it implores that you emotionally give your mind and soul to it. And then fucking jump, dance, cry or just stop and listen
. Jim Auton

2 Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka

Kiwanuka ends with the repetitive lines: “A mile apart, leave and be free,” before the voices disappear into the distance. This is undoubtedly one of the best records of the year because it leaves an inspiring afterglow and lasting imprint in your brain after experiencing it. You will be inspired by his respectful, authentic and memorable nod to his old soul idols (from Gil Scott-Heron to Bobby Womack) but most importantly you are likely to be inspired to follow his new-found courage on self-belief. Matt Hobbs

1 Big Thief – U.F.O.F.

What’s so impressive is that Big Thief manage to constantly shift their sound throughout, fixing each formula in their gaze then attempting something slightly different but just as effective on the next track, yet glowing with a sparsity that threads its themes and sound together. It makes for an endlessly rewarding and utterly engrossing listen. Bill Cummings

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