Guest Post: Johnny Feeney’s Albums of 2019

Aside from compiling my own lists, I really enjoy looking over other people’s albums of the year rundowns and none more so than Mr. Johnny Feeney.

An insightful musical sage, Johnny’s guest appearances are always interesting and bring added flavour to the blog and I look forward to reading his contributions – of which, surely I’m not alone?

Yes, we’re a bit late with this one but sure better late than never, right?

A huge thanks to Johnny for taking time out to compile this list, and on that note, I’ll leave you with his favourite records of 2019.

10: DIIV – ‘Deceiver’

Following up 2016’s supreme Is the Is Are, Brooklyn shoegaze quartet DIIV’s third album Deceiver draws obvious comparisons to My Bloody Valentine with its multiple layers of shimmering, squalling guitars and lead singer Zachary Cole Smith’s dreamy vocals. Expect plenty of loud / quiet / loud moments on this dazzling return.

Listen in full here.

09: Hot Chip – ‘A Bath Full of Ecstasy’

Although their newer material has perhaps lost some of the menace of their early output, ultra-consistent Hot Chip prove they are still adept at releasing dance-pop of the highest calibre. A perfect antidote to the grim global political and environmental situation we find ourselves in today, I challenge anyone to listen to the likes of ‘Positive’ or ‘Melody of Love’ and not feel a wave of joy wash over you.

Listen in full here.

08: Black Midi – ‘Schlagenheim’

The Mercury-nominated debut album from this four-piece experimental-rock band hailing from London is definitely not going to be to everyone’s taste. From the brutal opening salvo of ‘953’ to the wonderful closer ‘Ducter’, this relentless record is one that never lets go. A highly ambitious record, understandably it doesn’t always quite come together. But when it does hit the mark it’s absolutely thrilling. Improvised mayhem never sounded so good.

Listen in full here.

07: Marika Hackman – ‘Any Human Friend’

The latest LP from Marika Hackman certainly has a much more pop-leaning sound than her early fans would expect from the English singer-songwriter. Hackman’s usual vocals and guitar lines are regularly joined by jaunty synths to create upbeat tunes merged with deeply personal lyrics exploring themes such as same-sex relationships (‘All Night’) and masturbation (‘Hand Solo’). The jaw-dropping title track that closes the album is beyond staggering.

Listen in full here.

06: Drahla – ‘Useless Coordinates’

This bludgeoning debut record from Leeds post-punk outfit Drahla comes with driving guitars, a pummelling rhythm section, and Luciel Brown’s breathy vocals. Viciously, skewed saxophones add to the overall sombre atmosphere. Clocking in at a breathless half an hour, Useless Coordinates starts off dark and doesn’t veer off course once.

Listen in full here.


05: Mattiel – ‘Satis Factory’

The highly accomplished second album from the Atlanta-based singer-songwriter prominently features Mattiel Brown’s distinctive, booming vocals and some delightful, grooving and soulful blues-rock. Brown has an uncanny ability to create expertly crafted sub three-minute rock songs with an infectious hook. A very impressive piece of work.

Listen in full here.

04: The Murder Capital – ‘When I Have Fears’

The superb debut album from the Dublin post-punk five-piece is a moody, atmospheric affair. Brooding, menacing guitars and percussion are paired to pulsating effect with the haunting, angst-ridden vocals of lead singer James McGovern. A formidable live act, the group’s sound has been captured masterfully on record by UK producer Flood. Along with Fontaines DC and Girl Band, the Murder Capital are at the forefront of an exciting wave of great new Irish rock bands.

Listen in full here.

03: Aldous Harding – ‘Designer’

New Zealand folk artist Aldous Harding’s third studio album is the epitome of easy listening – nine tracks of blissful, exquisitely arranged songs. Harding’s tender vocals are accompanied by multiple layers of instrumentation and backing vocals to devastating effect throughout. A gorgeous album that gets better with every listen.

Listen in full here.

02: Vampire Weekend – ‘Father of the Bride’

After a six year hiatus and losing a key member in multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij back in 2016, Vampire Weekend fans could be forgiven for worrying if maybe this was the beginning of the end for the New York indie-poppers. Instead Ezra Koenig re-emerged with an exceptionally strong set of tracks, enlisting the help of the likes of Danielle Haim on vocals and guitarist Steve Lacy. The result is an immensely enjoyable, if overlong, album.

Listen in full here.

01: Fontaines DC – ‘Dogrel’

The eagerly awaited debut of Dublin punk rock quintet Fontaines DC delivers emphatically on every level. An extremely diverse and lyrical record, lead singer Grian Chatten’s miniature vignettes of Dublin City are accompanied by an ever-changing soundtrack from the rest of the group. From the piledriving punk of ‘Chequeless Reckless’ and ‘Hurricane Laughter’ to the jangling stomp of ‘Sha Sha Sha’ and ‘Boys in the Better Land’ via the tender ‘Roy’s Song’ and ‘Dublin City Sky’, not a single foot has been put in the wrong place. In a new Golden Age of Irish guitar music, it’s the Fontaines DC’s star who’s shining brightest at the moment.

Listen in full here.

Cyyxc – ‘Karolina’

Cyyxc is a UK producer whose transfixing electronic sound is heavy on mood, texture and atmosphere.

‘Karolina’ is a seven and a half minute odyssey of sophisticated, transfixing and relentless oscillating sound. Built upon a throbbing bass line which provides the core for which everything else is placed. As it unfolds, layer upon layer of sound evolves, the rhythm remains focused while buzzing synthesizers, submerged beat and waves of soft, lapping percussion rise to the fore. Ever ascending, ‘Karolina’ builds methodically, lavish layer upon layer in an almost slow-motion fashion. It is elegant, bewitching and sophisticated and will bend you to its mighty will, leaving you utterly powerless to resist it’s tempting allure. 

Listen to ‘Karolina’ below – it does not disappoint: 

Golden Bug – ‘Ground (Feat. Phoebe Coco)’

Ahead of releasing collaborative album with In Fields, French producer and artist Golden Bug (aka Antoine Harispuru) has shared stunning lead single ‘Ground’.

Featuring Phoebe Coco, ‘Ground’ is lifted from collaborative album entitled ‘Vibration Métallique’ – and it is utterly mesmerising. It is inviting slow mo disco that slowly swaggers along a winding deep house groove illuminated by acid squelches, hypnotic chimes an flecks of electronics taking the listener to spaced out ambient zones. Phoebe Coco’s cool and breathy vocals are the perfect pairing, smouldering with emotion they add another smooth seduction as they flow stridently above. Calm, composed and utterly cool – this is captivating stuff.

Listen to ‘Ground (Feat. Phoebe Coco)’ below, and Vibration Métallique is out via Höga Nord Rekords on December 27.


pantology – ‘Reverie’

Brooklyn pianist/producer, pantology just released his debut EP, 2Q19. which displays an eclectic blend of deftly woven genres, resulting in a lush, expansive and cinematic sound.

Capturing this aesthetic perfectly is the EP’s lead single ‘Reverie’. Opening with solitary keys that set a pensive tone before emerging from this murky origin, blending with lush synths, warm tones and twinkly keys. It is lush, dreamy and spaced-out as it drifts melodically along with a breezy air before jolting into a cinematic crescendo, illuminated by more boisterous beats and  sumptuous brass. It is an absolute delight that is cinematic in scope and scale, and revels in its epic, expansive and lofty ambitions.

Listen to ‘Reverie’ below now and if you like what you hear, there entire EP is here.

PODGE – ‘What Happened’

Beginning life recording in his bedroom at the age of 15, PODGE is the creative tour de force of (now 20 year old) Adam Charo. 

Armed with a synthesizer and a laptop, these sessions gave birth to his self-released debut album The Hero Appears, setting out his predication for the whimsical aesthetics of Japanese pop culture, and all wrapped up in a playful, joyful and colourful confection of catchy electro-pop. The latest record, Eatmore Fruit EP, follows a similar trajectory and is fronted by magical single ‘What Happened’. A big smiley ray of sunshine, ‘What Happened’ is joyous, giddy and uplifting as it playfully flutters along a jaunty beat and and glitchy synth through a beautiful imaginative world filled with colourful ideas and kaleidoscopic sounds, and bound together in hypnotic majesty. It’s an eccentric, off-kilter and Technicolor pop adventure of playfully experimental arrangements and sounds that are gentle whirring together and filled with breezy vibes and sense of joy. A magical, sunshine filled slice of pop perfection.

Tune into ‘What Happened’ below.

Superheart – ‘Heaven’s In Your Head’

UK-based producer Luke Batt aka Superheart has built a rep as a reliable source of comforting and dreamy electronic-pop over the past two years or so, and Batt is at it again.

New single ‘Heaven’s In Your Head’ is yet another delight and serves as a nexus to their lush electronic-pop; of cosmic vibes, dreamy vocals, hopeful lyrics and shimmering synthesis. It is a blissed-out blend of cosmic vibes as lush, layered vocals and dreamy keys usher us through hazy ambient surroundings as it gently builds, drifting along until a warm rapture envelopes you and everything else around you leaving you floating in a dreamlike state. Marked by Batt’s signature flair for elegant, blissful and ethereal production, ‘Heaven’s In Your Head’ is a seductive slice of lush and transfixing electronic-pop; and one that will leave you all the better for making its acquaintance.

Listen to ‘Heaven’s In Your Head’ below:

Kastane – ‘Tangalle’

Kastane is an electronic music project from Irish producer and drummer Alan Walsh, who is back with another elegant, transfixing and alluring slice of electronica in the shape of ‘Tangalle’.

With two EPs to his name – Tunnels EP (2017) and Trang EP (2018) – a third expected in the future and with the latter in mind,’Tangalle’ follows on nicely from bewitching previous single ‘Shimmers’. Like its predecessor, ‘Tangalle’ is elegant, graceful and sophisticated but the glue that binds them is rhythmic precision and percussive power, unsurprising given that he is a card carrying member of drummers union. A bewitching, graceful and melodic electronic excursion, as synths shimmer and electronics glisten to create a warm and lush environment for the rhythmic allure to grow and thrive. Kastane is emerging as a master of his craft, creating bewitching melodic sophisticated electronica that will leave an indelible mark on your soul and you under the spell of it’s tempting allure.

Listen to ‘Tangalle’ below:


Kid Indigo – ‘What To Do’ (with DNTST)

Kid Indigo is Los Angeles-based producer and musician Aubrey Ella Hart, who under this moniker, crafts dreamy, hazy and beautiful electronic-pop that delves into a dreamworld of rich melodies and waves of lush tones.

Drawing from a deep well of influences – electronica, hip hop, electro-pop and folk – Kid Indigo’s beautifully sculpted brand of electronic pop is created, as evidenced by latest single ‘What To Do’ (with DNTST). It is an exquisite and utterly transfixing track built on a reverb heavy hip hop inspired beat that carries us through this enchanting, hazy atmospheric wold of fuzz, shimmering synths and harmonious layers of chanting vocals. Crackling electronics twinkle and flicker amid the subterranean haze, illuminating a path for her vocals to float elegantly overhead. ‘What To Do’ is a transfixing, dreamy,and beautifully hazy electronic-pop song that whisks us off to a dreamworld of rich melodies and waves of lush tones.

Listen to ‘What To Do’ below:


Eilis Frawley – ‘illusions’

Eilis Frawley is a name familiar to some eagle eyed regular patrons as the drummer from I Drew Blank / Party Fears.

Working under her own name, Frawley plans to release debut EP ‘Never Too Emotional’ via Reckless Yes early in the new year, and heralding this news comes super single ‘illusions’. Unsurprisingly Anchored in its rhythmic power, Frawley creates an intriguing canvas for thought-provoking and transfixing spoken word narratives. A Krautrock-inspired groove emerges from the atmospheric haze as a cosmic combo of frazzled electronics, laser beam like sounds and fizzing synth create futurist sound collage for Frawley’s vocal. It is a transfixing and beautiful yet jarring musical vision of off-kilter brilliance. 

Listen to  ‘illusions’ below and keep an eye out for the forthcoming debut EP Never Too Emotional out via Reckless Yes early next year.

Crush Club – ‘My Man (featuring Nicki B The Vagabond)’

New York duo Crush Club have been carving out a rep for gloriously contagious dancefloor bangers with a slew of suitably swaggering funky singles – and their latest is no different. 

New single ‘My Man’ sees Crush Club joined by friend and live collaborator Nicki B The Vagabondfierce soulful diva vocals reign supreme above this rampaging funk-fuelled dance floor groover. It is an upbeat, catchy and infectious slice of disco meets electro pop, the kind destined to fill floors, set clubs alight and disco balls spinnin’. ‘My Man’ has soul, funk and class as we are treated to wildly contagious and irresistible dance track – a phenomenon!

Listen to the irresistible ‘My Man (featuring Nicki B The Vagabond)’ below: