Like last year, I’m about a month late with this post. Also like last year, things were insanely busy, both in things to do and things on my mind. Being in-between-jobs brings a lot of stress and a very strange way of filling days with mind numbing activities, and job applications. Also, especially in December with all the festivities and holidays, the kids are at home virtually all the time, so no down-time there either.
Anyway, in my previous job which lasted until the end of November, I didn’t really get around to listening to a lot of music, which means that (according to Spotify) I only listened to about a third of the amount of tracks I normally do.
The result of that is that it was a lot harder than normal to make a proper top ten, because I didn’t listen to these records all that much. Most of the +/- 15000 tracks I listened to were random playlists at home while doing something else. Listening to an album and giving it the attention it deserves is not really in the cards when playing games, or having a family dinner.
Yet, there is a list. Let’s kick things off with number 10!
#10: Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Honestly, I didn’t see this one coming. Mostly because it’s massively popular in the ‘popular music’ bracket, I skipped it. Until I somehow put it on towards the end of the year and it has been on a lot since. Massively catchy, but I guess most people already knew that.
#9: Vampire Weekend – Father Of The Bride
This one I did see coming. I really loved Vampire Weekend’s previous record so I kept my eye out for this one. Quite upbeat, especially for what I normally like, but sometimes you have to break the mold.
#8: Angel Olsen – All Mirrors
Yet again, one I did see coming. I loved her previous album(s) and I kept my eye out for this one. Not upbeat at all, virtually the polar opposite of the previous record, but it’s gorgeous.
#7: Old Crow Medicine Show – Live At The Ryman
Okay, three videos. Let me explain. First of all, of course if there’s something new by OCMS it’s in my list (not a guarantee, Calexico’s album isn’t in…). The second song ‘Will the circle be unbroken’ reminded me of the Belgian movie ‘The Broken Circle Breakdown’, which has quite some overlap with my preferred style of music. Also, that movie kind of wrecked me when I saw it, and it’s been on my mind since. So, that’s one to three.
Anyway. Old Crow Medicine Show played an amazing set at The Ryman, if this live record is something to go by, and I sure hope it is. Technically it’s not new music, but it’s just plain awesome and needs to be on here.
#6: The Twilight Sad – It Won’t Be Like This All The Time
I went to see this band with Anneke on my birthday in 2018 and it was a wall of sound if there ever was one. The opening act warned us about one of his songs being sad, and followed that up with ‘You’re here to see The Twilight Sad. You’re used to sad music’.
The above video doesn’t do the intensity of their performance justice, and the volume is cranked up to 11 during their shows too. There is no respite. There is no time to catch your breath in between the songs. And it is glorious.
#5: TOOL – Fear Inoculum
Tool isn’t a band you play by the track. You listen to their albums or you don’t really listen to it at all. It needs time to build up, and the way they make music isn’t something to take lightly.
Fear Inoculum is their first record in 13 years and it seems they’ve been able to pick up where they left of. In a good way. The record is amazing, and I just can’t not love TOOL.
#4: Tyler Childers – Country Squire
Well of course, there’s more country records in this list, although it’s a bit less than in previous years. I wasn’t expecting to like Tyler Childers’s ‘band record’ as much as I did. It’s a bit slick compared to what came before, but with Sturgill Simpson as producer, that can’t come as a surprise.
I went to see him live at Once In A Blue Moon last August, and it was awesome. Once again, I was a bit skeptical how he’d perform compared to previous shows I saw of him, but the worry was uncalled for.
#3: Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real – Turn Off The News (And Build A Garden)
Yes, Lukas Nelson is the son of Willie Nelson. It’s pretty easy to find stuff on the internet where they perform together. Pretty cool, especially if Nelson Junior has the skills to have a career in music.
#2: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen
There are no single videos available, but I can recommend spending some time with the entire record.
I was slightly skeptical about this record. The Skeleton Tree turned out great, even though it’s a record wrought with pain. Ghosteen is a bit toned down in the grief section, but still goes more in the direction of poetry with music. At least, compared with about 4 or more records ago…
#1: Rammstein – Rammstein
A self titled album of a band that’s been out and about for over 20 years? Sure, why not? And if it’s as good as this, I’m game. I kind of stopped listening to Rammstein some 15 years ago for some reason. Somehow, it didn’t resonate with me anymore. On this record, however, they seem to have toned down a little bit, although that’s not the case with their amazing video for ‘Deutschland’.
This record is well loved at home, with the kids enjoying the louder kind of music too!
So, summarizing, 2019 was a lot more diverse than some years prior, with a much wider range of music being listened to the the De Haan-Kramer residence. Let’s hope 2020 continues in the same vein.
Of course, there are some honorable mentions that just didn’t make the final cut:
Swans, Sharon van Etten, Mandolin Orange, Hauschka, Shovels & Rope, Andrew Bird, Lambchop, Weyes Blood, Marissa Nadler, Aldous Harding, Bear’s Den, Damien Jurado, Rhye, Son Volt, Rhiannon Giddens, Justin Townes Earle, The National, Calexico, The Raconteurs, Willie Nelson, The Black Keys, The Cactus Blossoms, Joan Shelley, Paul Cauthen, The Highwomen, Belle & Sebastian, Hiss Golden Messenger, The Heavy, The Mavericks and Patrick Watson.