Albums of 2019: 20-11

Welcome to the annual retrospective of the 2019’s best albums as seen through the eyes of DoesItRock. It has been a year of great guitar rock, but one which has lacked a single standout album which towered over all others. As ever, there is plenty of variety on offer from punk to prog, metal to good old fashion rock ‘n roll.

The years big development however was the switch of streaming service. Goodbye Spotify. Hello Apple Music. Recent UI ‘like chasing’ changes were the final dismal straw in a long succession of eroding changes which have alienated those with specially curated libraries. It does mean iTunes is back (?!), but Apple Music, with its ever so smart playlists has been welcomed with open arms. The less said about its web embedding the better though…

Ramble done. Countdown start… Albums of 2019

20) Psychedelic Porn Crumpets – And Now For The Whatchamacallit

Genre: Psychedelic Hard Rock | Label: What Reality? Records

Quick Fire Summary: Like the most epic of trips, this is a total blast of a record which rocks as hard as it progs. Bridging the divide between the smoke filled haze of acid fuelled kaleidoscope visions, 60’s pop and earthshaking riffs full of bluster and bravado.

Top Track: Bill’s Mandolin – Floaty, Jaunty, Kazoo-esque Fuzzy pop with inescapable catchiness that needs its own trampoline park to bounce around in.

Watch: Bill’s Mandolin

19) Massive – Rebuild Destroy

Genre: Hard Rock | Label: Off Ya Rocka Records

Quick Fire Summary: The tag line says it all…Beer Drinking, Foot Stomping, Hell Raining, Rock ‘n Roll. This Aussie hard rock outfit are keen on destruction. It’s got exuberance and a wild sleaziness which in the high moments evokes Guns’n’Roses stadium sound. No half measures in this Massive party of a record.

Top Track: Roses – A proper old school riff first nosedive into a mosh pit of hard rocking, machismo that’s not afraid to show its pop side.

18) Puppy – The Goat

Genre: Rock | Label: Spinefarm

Quick Fire Summary: Whilst maybe not the Greatest Of All Time as billed, but still a damn impressive major label debut from this London trio that isn’t afraid to pump out polished power chords. It’s melodic but sneakingly heavy pop leaning hard rock that has a Ghost like vocal quality to add that air of intrigue.

Top Track: Vengeance – Kicking drums, a pick scrape and big grungy riffs set the tone of this high flying alternative anthem full of reckless, but well dressed carnage.

Watch: Black Hole

17) Volbeat – Rewind, Replay, Rebound

Genre: Hard Rock | Label: Vertigo Berlin

Quick Fire Summary: Arguably the biggest band on the countdown are still putting out top notch quality hard rock. Their boogie first, metal infused head banging pop anthems are knockouts. They have pushed both extremes here with more radio friendly pop ditties, countered by crushingly heavy thrash too. These Danish heavyweights are still a real knockout.

Top Track: Die To Live – A combination made in rock heaven, Clutch Frontman Neil Fallon lends his gravel toned pipes to a supercharged bluesy shuffle meets rock and roll classic! Let loose to the furious keys and punchy power chords!

Watch: Die To Live

16) Thank You Scientist – Terraformer

Genre: Prog/Post-Hardcore/Metal | Label: Evil Ink Records

Quick Fire Summary: Genre bending is always fun and Thank You Scientist has ripped up the rule book. Their extremely technical, intricate and dazzling guitar work is matched with extended orchestral compositional strength. All that remains are the trumpets, strings, jazz phrases, pop punk vocals and complex revelatory prog melodies.

Top Track: Fxmldr – An explosion of colourful complex guitar lines collide in a brassy kaleidoscope of wonder. It’s highly melodic and doesn’t overdo on technicality, balancing perfectly with a flying pop-punk chorus.

WatchFxmlder (Fox Mulder)

15) Airbourne – Boneshaker

Genre: Hard Rock | Label: Spinefarm

Quick Fire Summary: Australia’s finest, beer drinking, hard rockin’ export is still firing on all cylinders on their latest firecracker album. The usual riffs and big chorus’ are here as standard. But it’s the superb production which give this a real energy and captures some of their live performance danger and drive.

Top Track: Backseat Boogie – Big riff, bluesy beats, tension building bridge, flaring solos, catchy vocals…it’s all Airbourne’s signatures in just over 3 minutes.

14) Whitesnake – Flesh & Blood

Genre: Rock | Label: Frontiers Records

Quick Fire Summary: 30+ years on from their heyday, nothing prepared us for how good the latest Whitesnake was. Far from the melodic AOR of old this is a rejuvenated, heavy and debaucherous banger. Could this really kickstart a new dawn for pop/hair metal?

Top Track: Trouble In Your Middle Name – Wailing sirens aptly opens this dangerous tune which crashes metallic riffs against a knockout hook heavy chorus whilst melodic solos’s fire in all directions. Sleazy and breezy!

Watch: Trouble Is Your Middle Name

15) Russian Girlfriends – In The Parlance Of Our Times

Genre: Punk/Rock | Label: A-F Records

Quick Fire Summary: New Mexico based rockers lay claim to the Pop Punk album of the year (vaguely). That’s despite flipping their sound from reckless visceral hardcore, to wild rock and roll all bound with a punk sense of impatience, a mouthful of verbose lyrics and a multipack can of melodic pop.

Top Track: The Antidote – Opening like the Pistols, this bright and restrained track has laser like melodic focus. Direct and urgent guitars beautifully counter balance the meander of the rapid lyrical flow.

Watch: The Antidote

12) Whiskey Myers – Whiskey Myers

Genre: Southern Rock | Label: Snakefarm

Quick Fire Summary: The 5th Album from these southern state stalwarts is a triumph of blues power, swingin’ country and soul. Showing their balance, one side has a strong muscular big rock tunes and the other slinks into softer and tender ballads. A fantastic radio friendly record with songcraft and silky but salty vocals.

Top Track: Gasoline – Blues riff make way for rough southern twanged lyrics, head banging guitars and even a stellar solo. A great chorus keeps it all rolling together as clearly ‘They need a bottle, a gun & gasoline”

Watch: Gasoline

11) Spidergawd – V

Genre: Rock | Label: Crispin Glover Records

One Line Summary: Another metronomic release from this Norwegian backwards glancing hard rockers. While it takes it cues from 70’s rock it crafts it’s own sonic path with unexpected twists, unintended crescendos, mystifying stellar chorus’s and best of all wait for it… amazing Saxophonist!

Top Track: Knights of C.G.D. – Not many rock tracks start with a blast from a sax, but this is no ordinary rock song. This moody intro is soon overtaken by a rapid 70’s groove whilst the raspy vocals kick in. It’s got real compact power and intent despite the undertones of prog seeping through the cracks.

Roll on the top 10!

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