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Wildewoman writesCHIRP Radio Best of 2019: Allison Parssi

CHIRP Radio Best of 2019

Throughout December, CHIRP Radio presents its volunteers’ top albums of 2019. Our next list is from Assistant Music Director and DJ (Wildewoman) Allison Parssi.

If there was one success of 2019, it was how much good music was released this year. Many new artists emerged and established artists pushed their crafts. This is a selection of releases that held steady spots in my heavy rotation. Many of the albums below are emotional, powerful, and ones I definitely danced (and cried) to at some point throughout the year.

 

#1   LEGACY! LEGACY by Jamila Woods (Jagjaguwar)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Jamila Woods LEGACY! LEGACYThe outstanding sophomore record from local artist, educator, and poet Jamila Woods looks to the past as she pulls inspiration from historical figures of color for each track. The songs combine the personal and political; confront survival and well-being; and ask how to live with yourself as well as with society. Her unique voice conveys power, anger, and beauty all at once. Out of all the new releases this year, this one will always hold a place at the top.

 

 

#2   All Mirrors by Angel Olsen (Jagjaguwar)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Angel Olsen All MirrorsAngel Olsen has out done herself with her fifth full length album. Originally recorded as a very minimal solo record, Olsen decided to turn 180º and re-record the whole album. This second time she was accompanied by a 12-piece orchestra, added synths, and worked with new collaborators. The result is absolutely breathtaking as she sings about love, authenticity, and being seen. The journey of the album - the build to very intense epics paired with quiet and intimate moments - mimics that of real life in a way I've never heard music do before.

 

 

#3   Heard It in a Past Life by Maggie Rogers (Capitol)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Maggie Rogers Heard It in a Past LifeHeard it in a Past Life is the exceptional third release and major label debut from pop singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers. Rogers was first put in the spotlight back in 2016 after Pharell Williams heard her song "Alaska" in her NYU master class. Growing up in rural Maryland with deep roots in folk music, this track was a breakthrough in forming her sound and showing electronic dance music as a strong influence. Rogers now takes us on a vulnerable journey of how her life has changed since becoming a viral sensation. As Rogers stated in an interview, this album "is the introduction [to herself] she never got to make."

 

 

#4   Cuz I Love You by Lizzo (Nice Life/Atlantic)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Lizzo Cuz I Love YouJust four days into 2019, Lizzo released "Juice," a perfect anthem to start off a new year. Since then, Lizzo has been catapulted into the spotlight. This record has back to back bangers and ballads that only reinforce how important it is to put yourself first and to be kind to yourself. She knows how to throw every part of herself into her live performances, which makes these tracks all the more empowering.

 

 

#5   Violet Street by Local Natives (Loma Vista/Concord)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Local Natives Violet StreetLocal Natives hit the reset button. After straying more into the indie-pop realm with their 2016 release Sunlit Youth, this Los Angeles based band has returned to their complex instrumentation, storytelling lyrics, and three part harmonies for their fourth LP. It is great to have the group back, merging the best elements from their first two albums, to create the roadmap that is Violet Street.

 

 

#6   Immunity by Clairo (Fader)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Clairo ImmunityShortly after receiving an exponential amount of attention for her lo-fi, bedroom pop track "Pretty Girl" in 2017, Claire Cottrill signed with Fader at the young age of 19. This contract, facilitated by family connections, did not come without criticism from the online community, ultimately questioning her label as a "DIY artist." Whether you agree with the claims of nepotism or not, there is no doubt that there's an immense talent with Clairo's songwriting capabilities. Leaving the enveloping bedroom pop outfit behind, her debut draws attention to her voice and has a musically diverse, open quality to it. The tracks are breezy, yet upbeat as she sings about her experience as a queer woman.

 

 

#7   Pang by Caroline Polachek (Perpetual Novice)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Caroline Polachek PangCaroline Polachek released her first solo record since the breakup of Chairlift in 2017. While the music is not dissimilar to that of her previous band's, the record traverses wider soundscapes. We move from ambient instrumentation to acoustic ballads to indie pop - with her beautiful, classically trained voice being the unifying thread that grabs and keeps your attention.

 

 

#8   5 by Sault (Forever Living Originals)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Sault 5Not much information exists around Sault, but that does not matter when it comes to talking about the music they released this year. This mystery group put out two albums with their debut 5 being a warm invitation to their danceable R&B style. Their smooth harmonies only left us wanting more, which they gave us six months later with their sophomore record 7. The minimal production value of the record puts the focus on their voices, samples, and rhythms, giving us the music that takes us from a late night to early morning.

 

 

#9   Pre-Sunrise Authority by Clive Tanaka y Su Orquesta (Tall Corn)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Clive Tanaka y Su Orquesta Pre-Sunrise AuthorityThis record seemed to sneak its way into my top 10. Clive Tanaka returns after eight years with a chill and breezy album that showcases his multi-instrument talents and soft harmonies. The subtle and delicate nature of the tracks becomes the seamless musical visualization of changing terrain - perfect for long summer road trips.

 

 

#10   Before You Begin by Sequoyah Murray (Thrill Jockey)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Sequoyah Murray Before You BeginGrowing up in a musical family and being surrounded by the vibrant Atlanta jazz and improve scene, Sequoyah Murray has given us a deeply intimate self-portrait with his debut record. This album blends futuristic electronics, West and North African rhythms, gospel vocals, and psychedelic Tropicália textures to create his beautiful avant-R&B sound. On top of this musical sundae is his three octave range that swirls around us in his dreamlike arrangements.

 

The next fifteen:

11. Kindness - Something Like a War (Female Energy)
12. Nilufer Yanya - Miss Universe (ATO)
13. Brijean - Walkie Talkie (Native Cat)
14. King Princess - Cheap Queen (Zelig)
15. Toro y Moi - Outer Peace (Carpark)
16. Sir Babygirl - Crush on Me (Father/Daughter)
17. Sudan Archives - Athena (Stones Throw)
18. Sampa the Great - The Return (Ninja Tune)
19. Brittany Howard - Jaime (ATO)
20. Anna Meredith - FIBS (Moshi Moshi)
21. Westkust - Westkust (Run for Cover/Luxury)
22. Du Blonde - Lung Bread for Daddy (Moshi Moshi)
23. Kaytranada - BUBBA (RCA)
24. Marika Hackman - Any Human Friend (Sub Pop)
25. Billie Eilish - WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? (Darkroom/Interscope)

 

 

 

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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2019

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