The best albums of 2019, as presented by VultureHound Music writers.
Bastille – Doom Days
When they’re not covering old classics for John Lewis Christmas ads, Bastille effortlessly throw together 11-track masterpieces. This June release is just another staple album in the now three-strong catalogue of greats. Even if they stopped now – which I hope they don’t – Bastille will go down as one of the best bands the UK produced in the 2010s – Cara Mullen
Doja Cat – Hot Pink
Maybe time is getting the best of me, but my vote goes to Doja Cat’s Hot Pink. I can’t remember last time I felt as invested in an album as Hot Pink (actually, I lie – it was probably Lemonade). It contains one of my top tracks of the year, ‘Bottom Bitch’. Doja Cat’s vocals have hooked me, and she manages to combine genres I didn’t see coming – Veronica Skrimsjö
The Dangerous Summer – Mother Nature
10 years on from their debut album, Reach for the Sun, The Dangerous Summer are on their sixth studio album. Like a fine wine, the band get better with age. Mother Nature, released in June, is an all-out masterpiece of epic proportions. The Dangerous Summer have time and time again proved their might, and this one is no different – Cara Mullen
While She Sleeps – SO WHAT?
An album with the title of each track in all capital letters, SO WHAT? screams at you. It screams at you to be listened to – because it deserves to be heard. While She Sleeps are fast becoming kings of the UK metal scene, and this album, released in March, has firmly fixed one more jewel into their crowns – Cara Mullen
The Faim – State of Mind
Released September this year, the Aussie quartet’s debut album showcased an array of talent with a mixture of alternative and pop punk vibes. This album was my favourite of the year as it not only demonstrates the band’s musical diversity – with songs such as ‘Where the River Runs’ and ‘State of Mind’ – but it shows us just what they are capable of. This was a very strong release for a debut album and only has us anticipating what 2020 holds in store for The Faim – Sara Ashton
PUP – Morbid Stuff
PUP have been on a tear with the previous releases; they bring high energy, bouncy guitar riffs, and chest-pounding drums. With their self-titled and The Dream is Over, PUP have become a staple in the punk/pop punk arena with constant touring at great lengths. 2019 kicked in whatever was left of the door that PUP has broken down with their release, Morbid Stuff. Keeping with what has made them a staple, the band pushes forward with 11 tracks, nothing short of excellence. The album keeps listeners engaged and hearing new pieces the band have assembled, intertwined with their catchy sound.
Tracks like ‘Morbid Stuff’, ‘Kids’, and ‘Full Blown Meltdown’ remind us that the band want us to mosh at live shows. Tracks like ‘Scorpion Hill’, ‘Bare Hands’, and ‘City’ remind us the band is growing and constantly evolving, not allowing their sound to feel stale or boring. Lyrically, the band is on top of their game with easy singalongs and realistic, emotional and relatable lines. The band connects with long listening fans and anyone who has wanted to listen to them and picked up Morbid Stuff as a first listen – Tim Stockwell
Hawthorne Heights – Lost Frequencies
A teenage favourite for emo kids in the noughties and 10s, Hawthorne Heights have ensured they’ll never be palmed off as a nostalgia act. Keeping it current with consistently fantastic releases over the years, Lost Frequencies is a compilation album of B-sides and rarities that we luckily don’t have to miss out on – Cara Mullen
Yungblud – Underrated Youth
It is a battle cry for the younger generation – particularly those who are outcasted or different. Tracks such as ‘Original Me’ and ‘Hope For The Underrated Youth’ are the battle cry many young people need right now. Yungblud is uniting people with his music and giving them a safe space to be themselves, and that is an amazing thing – Dani Willgress
Rat Boy – Internationally Unknown
Essex boy Jordan Cardy – AKA Rat Boy – is your typical Thrasher-wearing sk8r boi, straight out of the Avril Lavigne song – if the Avril Lavigne song was based on boys from Chelmsford who sing about fake IDs and cheap cider. Having spent a considerable amount of time in LA, Internationally Unknown is a collection of transatlantic tales that will warm your heart and make you laugh. Not bad for a sophomore attempt, eh? – Cara Mullen
Woahnows – Young and Cool
This year it is almost impossible to single out just one favourite release as there have been so many (shout outs to Wet Dreams, Press Club, Slingshot Dakota, Craig Finn, and Cultdreams). But there has to be a winner, and 2019’s best release has to be Young and Cool by Woahnows. This release is vital listening for modern ears.
Lyrically, there is a lot to take in. Prepare for lessons in gender politics, relationships, and the general struggle of trying to be a good person. Their songwriting is notoriously honest, but with this release, there are clearly tough subjects covered with such honesty and forethought.
Musically, this record slaps. This is a band who have perfectly crafted power pop songs and added the grit of punk along with the complexity of jazz to create a sound that is equal parts fascinating and catchy. Young and Cool is a deserving album of the year – it will leave you smiling as you hum along to forward-thinking choruses; what more could you possibly want from an LP – Ben Adsett