Sunday, December 8, 2019

the Top 10 Post- Punk Albums of 2019

It's that time of year again, to sort through the top 10 albums of all the respective genres, then use them, to compile the top 10 albums of the year. Later in the month I am making  the top 10 lists for the decade, though to be blunt  this is the decade's weakest year for music.  Especially when it comes to new artists,  this lsit is more balanced at 50/50 new artists to veterans.  As in  past years I am  giving a brief explanation as to why these albums stand over their peers in lower positions on the list. The very fact these bands made it on the list speaks to how great these albums are so it's not a slight that the number 8 album is above the 9th album, there is something that just gives it an edge that makes me want to listen to it more.

After all we can try to look cool and pick the hippest bands for a list, but at the end of the day what makes an album the best is that it makes you want more, you look forward to listening to it again. Sure you can bitch and complain about your favorite band not being on the list. However  I listen to five new albums a day so yes I heard your favorite album and was not impressed. No,  I do not care what you think about it.   I do hope you can find your next favorite on this list  and  have included links to reviews of these albums if you want to check out audio on these guys. Anyways here are the top 10 post-punk  albums of 2019 .

10- Silence in the Snow - "Levitation Chamber"

When reviewing post -punk the first thing I ask of the the band is what are you doing  that is not Joy Division or Siouxsie. The vocals are going to be the challenge as they are on the Siouxsie , but the atmosphere and drumming compensate.

  9-Blood Ponies - "Hoax"

 This duo does not rely on the punk in the equation too much but not forgetting it either. The album opens with a low synth like bass frequency. Then comes the looming baritone vocals and single note guitar melody as the drums create a hypnotic pattern . One thing I like about this band more than your average post punk revivalist faction is the vocals more aggressive tendencies. Sometimes these are mixed into the background, others they roar out with more anger than you typically associate with the current state of this genre, thus giving them the edge for the number 9 spot.

8-Dark Blue - "Victory is Rated"

 The resonate vocals of John Sharkey of Clockcleaner fame are the first things that once again catch me with this band. The band also features former members of Ceremony, though these guys have such a warm melodic feel to their moodiness it is hard to hear those punk roots. They continue to get right what most post-punk revival bands miss.The second song finds them coming closer to a more rock style not unlike the louder moments of Interpol,even delving into Brit pop.

7- Elizabeth Color Wheel-"Nocebo 

 This band of Boston hipsters  sounds like they should be from Brooklyn in how they blend all the coolest genres the kids in the coffee shop are talking about. The core of the first track is post-punk, with shimmer bits of post rock that has black metal aspirations though is neither dark or hateful enough to reach that . I know my tone can confuse people at times, so all of that doesn't mean I don't like it. In the swirl of sounds is something unique. When they do not get noisy they are capable of taking familiar sounds and making them something special. This is what gave them the number 7 spot.

6- VR Sex - "Human Traffic Jam"

 This California band's album opens with something closer to death rock, with ghoulishly crooned vocals and almost new wave guitars. Things to do not end their so it was hard to label their sound. What felt post defining was the sardonic social commentary their songs carried. The picture they paint made an intriguing but not easy listen and I respect that, they took more chance than most which landed them here.

5- Ceremony- "in the Spirit World Now" 

 This is very different. But musically miles of growth. I guess it is going to depend on how much you want these guys to be a punk. I guess there is some 70s punk in there. They have always had some post-punk in their sound. Now there is way more post than punk. Synths play a larger role. Female vocals crop up. There are also some funky groove on the title track. This album grew on me with each listen and beats out VR Sex as songwriting is more key than weirdness.

4-Hey Colossus- "Four Bibles"

 This one starts off with a heavier thump that is more in line with Failure's harder efforts. Then things take on a more indie rock feel and these guys begin to have more in common with Interpol than Failure. The vocals are less indifferent than this other wise stiff and tense form of post punk. I like the more Police like guitar tone. All of these elements are combined in a way that is interesting enough to earn repeat listens and land them the number 4 spot.

3- Gold -"Why Aren't You Laughing"

 This album and the two above it were hard calls, as two of these three bands are at the creative peaks. These guys have a really wonderful song scope , when they rein in the atmosphere and give over to the anger that leads to the dark side then they are unstoppable. I appreciate the atmosphere and it helps make them who they are, which is a head above the waters the first seven bands were swimming in. It also relegates them to the number three spot.

2- Swans - "Leaving Meaning" 

 This album was somewhat released in demo form as "What is This" . The proper versions prove to be much more refined and atmospheric. As reference earlier if these guys were at their creative peak they would be number one no contest. They are at a different place in their lives, yet Gira goes to a darker place than he has been since their return earlier in the decade.

1-Pleasure Leftists - 'the Gate"

 This album became the years best post-punk album by not trying to be post-punk. There is a more rock n roll touch, but the odd quirky tension is just a part of who they . The singer has greatly improved at crafted hooky melodies. There are still rough rough edges . They made no attempt top shine this up for public consumption and that add to the charm. The album grew on me with each listen and I found it competing on best of the year lists i was for other sites. It was a close call between these guys, Swans and Gold, as all 3 three bands put out really strong albums. The melodies of this had me coming back for more , with more frequency than the other two.

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