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.

Cuesta Loeb – ‘Immerse Inverse’

‘Immerse Inverse’ is the new single from NYC native Cuesta Loeb

Currently residing in LA, Loeb explores a love of dark, haunting melodies with dreamy, ethereal instrumentation and vocals, and in doing so, creates a brand of beautiful, layered and dark shoegaze indebted alt-rock all of her own. This approach is captured with spellbinding precision on the new single; and it is all-out bombast from the off. Powered by a relentless surging rhythmic energy and wall-of-sound, ’90s-styled shoegaze, ‘Immerse Inverse’ goes all in on powerful, layers of guitars, which come in wave after wave interspersed with meaty bassline and snappy drums that are matched by taut, twisting chords. Amid this admittedly massive whirring wave of fuzz and distortion, there is a sweetness; due to the understated melody of Loeb’s hushed, honeyed voice. And like that, it is over, and you’ll be reaching to repeat.

A surging, electrified blast of fuzz and distortion fuelled anthemic brilliance – tune in below:

Hippies vs Ghosts – ‘Tarw’

January can be a bit of a dour month to be fair but for all the reported new year blues, there is always plenty of new music and forthcoming album news to lift the spirits and new Hippies vs Ghosts – that is something special. 

Regular patrons of the blog will be well acquainted how highly thought of Hippies Vs Ghosts are around these parts. Under this guise, Owain Ginsberg, has routinely blown us away with his exhilarating,kaleidoscopic, Morricone meets krautrock sound.

Ginsberg has returned with his first new material since 2018’s No Left No Right, with ‘Tarw’. The single continues the evolution of his kaleidoscopic pallet that emerged on the aforementioned record; offering a less frantic, fevered and frenetic side to his sound. ‘Tarw’ is delivered with a slower tempo and is unusually very vocal, powerful and passionately delivered vocal, which combine amid a sea swirling atmospheric tones, spooky feedback and twangy riffs, and fuelled by seductive psych rhythms. ‘Tarw’ is yet another stunning Hippies vs Ghosts jam, and one that indicates the continued evolution and experimentation from a unique and enigmatic talent.

While there is no word on whether a new album is set to follow but here is hoping we see a new Hippies vs Ghost record in 2020.


Worldcub – ‘Here Comes The Moonshadow’

Formerly known as CaStLeS, Worldcub are Welsh psych-pop outfit piloted by brothers Cynyr and Dion Hamer, in addition to new members Carwyn Ginsberg (Hippies V Ghosts / Fauna Twin) on guitar and Dion Wyn Jones (Alffa) on bass.

Under previous guise of CaStLeS, their swirling sonic brew of psychedelic surf rock kraut-rock grooves never disappointed and 2016 debut Fforesteering is magical. To accompany the new handle, Worldcub have released a new single ‘Here Comes The Moonshadow’. With its layers of beautiful vocal harmonies engulfing stomping percussive loops, it is hypnotic and blissful psych.It is underpinned by hazy, reverb-heavy guitars which gradually become more erratic and off-kilter while cosmic flashes and frazzled effects cascade from above as lilting Welsh vocals float above this sonic brew. Beautiful, blissful and utterly bewitching.

Check out ‘Here Comes The Moonshadow’ below, it is out now alongside equally wonderful Welsh language b-side ‘Hel y Hadau’.

Cousin Kula – ‘MIMO’

Bristol six-piece Cousin Kula specialise in explorations of dreamy, jazz-influenced psych-tinged pop, and with latest single ‘MIMO’ they do that with aplomb.

MIMO is the final single lifted from second EP STROODLES, follow up to 2017’s OODLES, and it is a smooth, smouldering and seductive slice of proggy psych-pop. Taking in an eclectic blend of music from pop and jazz through to psych and prog, it slinks languidly through a cosmic world of colourful synths, frazzled electronics, bubbling bass and free form rhythms. It is simultaneously laid back and bursting with passion as empowering lyrics flow over this exploration in sound collage. It is an amazing track with layers upon layers of intricately pieced together components revealing more and more with each listen – and by the same virtue, rewarding more with each and every listen. 

Check out ‘MIMO’ below – and the entire EP is here too.

Glitter Party – ‘Glitter Party’

Glitter Party is a Canadian outfit doing a wonderfully addictive line in fuzzy garage pop. I say ‘outfit’ but Glitter Party is the sole creation of a 19-year-old, Toronto-based musician called Sam, who crafted a whole album in house over the course of a month.

The resulting self-titled record is a whirlwind of hyperactive yet beautifully catchy and sweetly melodic garage-pop goodness bathe in swathes of fuzz & distortion – and this prowess is never better demonstrated than by lead single, also called ‘Glitter Party’.It is a two-and-a-half-minute frenzy of fuzzy, fun-filled and sweetly melodic garagey, noise-pop. Amid the exuberant bursts of energy and scuzzy riffs there is an irresistible alchemy at work. What makes this fuzz-filled racket so ear-pleasing is catchy harmonies and sweet pop hooks that woo the heart entirely. In typical fashion, this magnificent fuzz-fest will be bouncing round your head all day long.

Listen to ‘Glitter Party’ below and if that is to your liking, the album is here too.

Milly – ‘People Are Forever’

Centred around songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Brendan Dyer, Milly is an Los Angeles outfit that blends elements of shoegaze, slowcore, and lo-fi indie into an intense brew of singular musical impression.

Milly have a succinctly titled EP, Our First Four Songs, out on November 6th which promises a feast of the aforementioned attributes and is preceded by lead single,  ‘People Are Forever’. It is slowly enveloping blitz of yearning, slow-burning guitars and smouldering emotion. Dyer’s voice rides along a wave of fuzzed-out guitars, gently uttered forward upon an off-kilter, stumbling but alluring melody, as the fuzz, distortion and raw emotion swells to climactic explosion. It is many things at once; raw yet beautiful, tense yet free and hard-hitting yet dreamy but one thing is for sure, it is phenomenal tune.

Check out  ‘People Are Forever’ below and keep an eye out for the EP coming on November 6th.


Mandalai Lamas – ‘I Don’t Know What To Do With My Life’

Mandalai Lamas are a bustling, buzzing and spirited psych-rock outfit from Halden, Norway.

Currently prepping the release of their debut LP – expected in early 2020 on Big Day Records – they have ramping up expectation levels with a series of singles, the latest of which is the superb, ‘I Don ́t Know What To Do With My Life’. It is a sub-three-minute blast of high energy garage-rock, laced with psych radiance and ragged, raw power. While ‘I Don ́t Know What To Do With My Life’ trashes, screeches and rumbles rumbustiously along, it is supremely catchy,melodic and mashed with hooks you could hang your hat on. It is here the brilliance of their sound lies, as they traverse the space between brash and beautifully catchy they create perfection through imperfection.

Get yourself acquainted with ‘I Don’t Know What To Do With My Life’ below and keep an eye out for their debut LP come the new year:

Sons Of Zöku – ‘Dead Poets’

Sons Of Zöku are psych-rock trio of Ricardo Da Silva, Ica Quintela and Jordan Buck from Adelaide, Australia.

The trio have been making waves in their native Australia (surely the most reliable source of modern psych) with their free-flowing, energetic and colourful explorations. Sons Of Zöku’s latest single ‘Dead Poets’ is a force of nature; not only the finest to date but without doubt, it is one of the standout singles from 2019. It is a colourful kaleidoscopic onslaught of psych-rock; thunderous drums, seductive grooves, colossal riffs, wailing guitars and vocals but tempered by rich and alluring melodies, eastern touches and the beauty of pastoral folk too. With ‘Dead Poets’
Sons Of Zöku have found a perfect balance between thunderous noise and subtle sweetness, and in doing so deliver a masterclass in psych-rock. As a sort of reference point think the meaty marauding stoner rock of Dead Meadow treated with flourishes of Revolver-era Beatles and the radiant euphoria of Screamadelica. 

Listen to ‘Dead Poets’ below – it is a thrilling ride.