Thursday, December 19, 2019

Year In Review 2019 - Favorite Albums Part 3 (#5-1)

Another great year is finishing up for @RockBodElec and we wouldn't be a proper music site if we didn't end the year with a "Best Of" list, so RtBE Presents the Best of 2019 Top Ten Albums numbers 5-1:

In the instance that RtBE has reviewed the album either on the site or somewhere else we will link to that review and just give a quick summation; click on the name and title and you can read our full opinion. RtBE worked with the Glide Team to give input on their Top 20 so you can expect some overlap if you already have seen that list.

Again the focus here is on full albums, not singles, but full releases you can slap on and listen all the way through. We know these are a dying breed, but it still is the way we consume music, no shuffle or singles for us.

The number ten just works for this so this is the second part of our top ten, #5-1. You can see #10-5  and the albums that just missed this as well. Like all of our lists or best of's these are meant to start conversations more than end them...

The ladies reign supreme in 2019 as the top two records are from very exciting female artists who each seem poised to do even more in the years to come. Before them however a few ripping records from the fellas to start our top five...

#5  Mdou Moctor - Ilana: The Creator

This is not a debut, but it could be considered Mdou Moctar's first true album as producer Chris Koltey assembled a band to help Moctar really get after it, blending his love of classic rock with his Tuareg tradition and guitar style. His album art isn't too shabby either, blending his culture and personality with a definite 70's vibe.

It is a trippy album that gets circular in the playing and spaced out at times. While lyrically it takes a translator to understand the meaning of the vocals the passion comes through directly. One thing that is immediate is that Moctar is a hell of a guitarist in any style he chooses.


#4 Yawpers - Human Question
Thanks to Shane from Glide for randomly sending this one over earlier in the year as Human Question completely impressed from the first listen. This mix of Americana/Noiserock/Alt-Country is dynamite.

The immediacy of the playing (the record was tracked live) adds to its vibrancy as the trio Nate Cook, Jesse Parmet, and dynamic drummer Alex Koshak perform at high levels. Lots of influences can be heard in the band, everyone from The Stooges to Wilco but the group has their own sound on tracks like the soulful "Carry Me", the swaggering "Dancing on My Knees" and the killer opening song "Child of Mercy". A damn fine record from this Denver based trio.


#3 Burna Boy - African Giant

The international artist Burna Boy's newest lives up to its lofty title delivering an engaging blend of genres, nations, languages and ideas. While there are a few stand out tracks ("Dagnote", "Pull Up", "Anybody") it is the overall record that really hits home.

So many different influences, sounds and ideas, which on paper may seem odd, work in Burna Boy's hands. Light yacht rock smooth sax spiced up with clipped trap percussion? He scores with it. Also lyrically Burna Boy is engaged and trying to make a difference yet he is not above throwing down some get down lines for hot loving.


#2 Brittany Howard - Jaime

As mentioned in the review, it is now clear that Howard was chomping at the bit to be more exploratory on The Alabama Shakes previous and possible last album; Jaime shows an artist breaking free with unlimited potential.

Messy and far from perfect, Jaime never the less allows Howard to directly address a variety of weighty topics in thrilling fashion. "History Repeats", "Georgia" "Stay High" are all great as the artist looks to funk, R&B and hip hop to expand her sound around her already A+ level vocals. Hopefully Jaime is just the start of a fantastic solo journey.


#1 Leyla McCalla - The Capitalist Blues
Timely and timeless is such a tough trick to pull off in music, but Leyla McCalla has done just that with The Capitalist Blues. She captured 2019's emotions of disenchantment, depression and struggling up stream all the time feeling, but also crafted music that will live on and resonate years from now.

Produced by Jimmy Horn whose Special Men and other various artists help out with the tunes, McCalla digs into the New Orleans culture supported by Haitian, Cajun and Creole soundscapes with vigor. "Money Is King" has Caribbean lift while "All My Love" pushes the zydeco style with excellent results. Expressing lyrics in both French and English, McCalla constantly sounds great, even when she is singing about pain and disappointment. Old-timey, yet modern and gorgeous, a dynamite album all around, which made our decades best of list as well as topping off our picks for 2019.







Our full list is here:
#4 Yawpers - Human Question
#5 Mdou Moctor - Ilana: The Creator
#6 Yola - Walk Through Fire
#7 Black Pumas - Black Pumas
#8 Sam Cohen - The Future Is Still Ringing In My Ears
#9 Greensky Bluegrass - All For Money
#10 The Soul Rebels - Poetry in Motion

That's our list for 2019. Feel fee to let us know your favorites or any we missed in the comments. As always, thanks for reading.

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