As we approach the end of 2019 it’s time to look back and reflect on the music that sound-tracked our year. What was the music that left the greatest impact? Here is the best new music of 2019.
6Doctors Of Madness
Before Punk, there was a band called the Doctors Of Madness. They exploded onto the British music scene in 1975 and departed just three years later. But even in this short space of time, they left a legacy. The Guardian proclaimed DoM as the “the missing link between David Bowie and The Sex Pistols.” In a year of political and social uncertainty it seems fitting that 2019 was the year they made their return. New album ‘Dark Times’ seethes with passion and is quite possibly the most potent and incisive musical dissection of modern life and contemporary politics released in a post Brexit world.
Back in April we proclaimed FONTAINES D.C. as the best new band you’ll hear this year, and we stand by it. Not since The Streets, have a band so effortlessly captured the zeitgeist of their environment is such a relentlessly authentic way. FONTAINES D.C. made music exciting in 2019.
Dogrel by FONTAINES D.C. is a record rooted in Dublin, Grian Chatten’s lyrics are like notebook sketches; you can almost hear the clatter of horses hooves on cobbles, beer barrels being rolled and high-spirited revelers falling in and out of bars.
Vocal delivery is deliberate and unashamedly Irish, it’s a joy to hear a record where accents haven’t been dulled to appease a US driven music industry. The heavy Irish drawl seems to give FONTAINES D.C a natural Punk edge, and it’s easy to imagine a youth spent listening to The Fall, The Clash and The Walkman, washed down with a little Fugazi.
Continuing with the Irish Punk theme, in August we bought you the exclusive first play of ‘Out Patience’ the third single from Gallway’s Slyrydes. Out Patience by Slyrydes is an urgent, passionate and blistering call to arms. This band demands your attention. Punk is back and it’s never sounded so exciting.
Slyrydes formed in Galway in 2013 in response to the bland music they heard filling the radio airwaves. Inspired by their love of punk and new wave, they quickly won hearts and some high-profile support slots with bands including Fight Like Apes, Palma Violets and PEACE.
In November of 2018 Slyrydes recorded their first single ‘Mental Health’ with Daniel Doherty (Fontaines DC,Vulpynes, Galants) at Darkland studios in Dublin. The single found its way to Nialler9 who installed the band as one of their top 8 emerging Irish bands, and deserved radio support followed from Today FM, 2FM, RTE Radio One and notably Radio X.
Keep an eye and your best ears out for them in 2020.
3Lost In Caravaggio
Lost In Caravaggio are a 5 piece band folk rock band consisting of members from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark and Italy. After meeting in London, they embarked on a road trip to a farm in Italy, where they planned to record original music together. During this time in Italy, the band got the inspiration for their name – after literally getting lost in the town of Caravaggio after a gig.
In March 2019, Lost In Caravaggio released their first full length album ‘Valleys Between’ which followed their debut release Songs In Polaroid. Valley’s Between quickly became a RCM favourite with tracks Grain Of Sand and Hello Stranger featuring on Episodes 258 and 264 of our Lost On Radio Podcast.
Combining elements of alt-folk and country ‘Valley’s Between’ feels warm, intimate and rootsy, reflecting the songwriting process, which saw the band decamp to Sweden to spend 3 weeks in pure isolation.
Katey Brooks ‘In Your Arms’ featured our best tracks of 2018 list, and with the release of her second album ‘Revolute’ it was almost impossible to ignore her in 2019. Revolute is a self-produced master-piece, a breathtaking collection of songs inspired by love, loss, learning and rebirth that effortlessly straddle gospel, soul, blues and country. Key tracks: Never Gonna Let Her Go, All of Me, Jeremiah and In Your Arms.
Growing up inside a cult, as a child Brooks found refuge in song. “It was a very chaotic upbringing, full of some pretty colourful and sometimes unsavoury, characters. But when I sang, I felt free and connected. For as long as I can remember, it’s been my way of getting what I need to say out”, she reveals.
“When I was 22 my mum got ill and she died. And then not long after that, my lifelong best friend went missing and she also died. That’s definitely had an effect on the course of my life and my writing. I guess I’m lucky that I have songs that I can write, as a means to deal with things”.
All of these hardships seem to have driven, rather than dragged Brooks under. “Pain just reminds me why I sing,” she says. “And not just for me; for everybody. They say in a funny sort of way musicians are like therapists,” she muses. “Because music is a universal language. Everybody has experienced some kind of heartache, especially in relationships, and music allows us to purge these feelings.” Brooks has certainly had her share of romantic turbulence, not to mention the struggle to come to terms with her sexuality. “In my most recent work I’ve finally been able to sing directly about women instead of using the mysterious ‘you’. I’m a private person in a lot of ways and I never wanted to be a poster girl for anything. But a few years ago I just thought screw it; I want to sing completely honestly. It felt like a weight lifted.”
1Honourable Mentions & The Best of 2019 Playlist
Other artists and tracks we loved in 2019: Officer (Heavening – Watch Our Bottles), Anna Wolf, (Silence) Joe Dolman (Drag You Down), Ducks Unlimited (Get Bleak EP) Tiz McNamara (Days Like These), The Daydream Club (Wolf Winter), Santyna (Venin), SEIL Lien, (Kiss Me Like I’m Somebody Else)