In a year that saw the return of music icons and the emergence of new ones, the Last Mixed Tape picks out its Top 10 International Albums of 2019.
10. Bon Iver – i, i
Delving further into a world of abstraction, the contorted, clipped sound of i,i finds Bon Iver still maintaining the emotionally driven core of his music with the soundscape drenched world of songs like ‘Naeem’ and ‘Hey, Ma’.
9. Jenny Lewis – On The Line
Jenny Lewis’ fourth solo outing proved to be her best work date. From the full-scale production of tracks like ‘Red Bull & Hennessy’ to the slow groove of ‘Little White Dove’, On The Line creates a sound around Lewis’ intricate and honest songwriting that matches the meaning.
8. Aldous Harding – Designer
Aldous Harding’s Designer is an of pure expression through songwriting. Set to a music that feels freeing to listen to, as songs like ‘The Barrell’ move in constant forward motion contrast the harmonically rich repose of ‘Damn’, showcasing Harding’s ability to weave a dense tapestry.
7. Big Thief – Two Hands
Possibly one of the most prolific bands creating music right now, it was Big Thief’s second album of 2019, fourth overall, that proves to be their most accomplished. Whether it be the raw, unrestrained hurt of ‘Not’ or slow-burning indie of ‘Forgotten Eyes’, Big Thief’s Two Hands is incredibly relatable and real.
6. Lizzo – Cuz I Love You
Cuz I Love You is a triumph. From its biting lyrical honesty to its genre blending mix of pop, R&b and hip-hop. Lizzo’s third studio outing made an impact on pop-culture as a whole as Lizzo effortlessly made her presence felt on 2019’s music scene.
5. Maggie Rogers – Heard It In A Past Life
Expansive pop music that is both transportative and evokative to listen to. Maggie Roger’s stellar Head It In A Past Life opened 2019 with a bang as the ethereal, far-reaching sound of songs like ‘Burning’ and scattered beat of ‘Give A Little’.
4. Billie Eilish – When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Billie Eilish’s impact on 2019 and pop music as a whole was seismic. The perfect way to close out a decade, Eilish’s darkly themed When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? gives an edge and bite that genre has been needing for some time now. While the beautifully fragile ‘when the party’s over’ is true modern classic.
3. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen
A monumental album. Ghosteen is almost monolithic in its atmospheric sound. From the sprawling textures the surround the epic twelve minute title-track to the ambient backdrop and low-held vocal of ‘Leviathan’, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds’ seventeenth outing is one build from experience and exploration.
2. Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow
Sharon Van Etten’s comeback record Remind Me Tomorrow leaves it all out in the open. Van Etten’s fifth studio album is one of emotional and artistic catharsis as the raw core of ‘Seventeen’ and ‘Jupiter 4’ are wrapped in a dark yet inviting production that marks a clear sonic sea-change for SVE.
1. Angel Olsen – All Mirrors
A work of sprawling grandure, both the sonic and emotional depth of field that occupy Angel Olsen’s All Mirrors are simply awe-inspiring to behold. Opening with the dynamically twisting ‘Lark’ then moving to the fuzzing pulse of ‘What It Is’ and finally closing on the heart-wrenching ballad ‘Chance’. The sheer majesty of All Mirrors finds Olsen evolving her music once again with a career high.