2019 is the last year I got to listen to actual CDs while driving my car….sigh. This year held some truly grand adventures, almost all driven by the music. Here are some 2019 highlights as told through the songs and bands that inspired them.
Badflower – “Wide Eyes” – When one of your favorite bands releases their debut album and you travel to the UK to see them play small clubs one last time, sparking one of the greatest adventures of your 2019, they get to lead off your 2019 music mix.
- Sam Fender – “Hypersonic Missiles” – Hypersonic Missiles might be my favorite release of 2019. Sam Fender followed me throughout the year from SXSW to the UK to a fun conversation about Mr. Tumnus outside The Troubadour.
- Biffy Clyro – “The Modern Leper” (Frightened Rabbit cover) – my beloved Scots released a soundtrack album this year, Balance, Not Symmetry, leading the band to be my Spotify most listened to band of the year. But their uniquely Biffy Clyro take on this Frightened Rabbit classic is what reminded me why they will always be my number 1.
- The Faim – “Make Believe” – This band from Australia is my top new discovery of 2019 thanks to a well-timed press release. I was lucky to see them when they played The Echo which simply confirmed the designation.
- KidEyes – “Spellbound” – Fave LA band alert! From a residency at The Hi Hat to a high energy show at the beach and a most memorable Halloween show, my 2019 was all about KidEyes.
- Gang of Youths – “The Deepest Sighs, the Frankest Shadows” – These Aussies know how to create a moment. Braving the rain to see them front row at BottleRock and back to back nights at The Roxy were musical highlights for sure.
- The Virginmarys – “Look Out for My Brother”- Any band willing to hang out with me in Manchester and try boba for the first time is going to make my list of top memories for the year. Love these guys and their newest release, Northern Sun Sessions. Great things coming from these rockers from across the pond!
- Boston Manor – “England’s Dreaming” – The year started with an email announcing a new single from Brit band, Boston Manor, leading to a slow burning obsession that paid off towards the end of the year when the band headlined at The Roxy for one of the best shows of 2019.
- Highly Suspect – “Canals” – When Highly Suspect releases a new album, you listen. The rock trio took it to another level with MCID pushing the boundaries of the genre while at the same time providing those instant radio hits. Their all-out show at The Novo simply confirmed their place as a top modern rock act.
- Judah and the Lion – “Dance With Ya” – My feel good song of the year from a record that elicited quite the range of emotions. Pep Talks spent more time in my car than any other 2019 release.
- Jared & The Mill – “Dark Highways”- With the release of new music (This Story Is No Longer Available), Jared & The Mill was one of my most seen bands of 2019. The band played BottleRock and one of my festival highlights was running into each band member at different points wandering the festival grounds.
- The Pink Spiders – “Hey Jane” – It took over a decade to finally see this song live, but one night at The Satellite it happened (at least in part) and it was glorious.
- In The Valley Below – “Rise” – In The Valley Below established the bar for an album release party with an immersive (and ultra-sensory) listening experience for 2019’s The Pink Chateau.
- Matt Maeson – “Dancing After Death” – Matt Maeson is my most listened to artist of the decade (according to Spotify) and his 2019 album, Bank on a Funeral, did not disappoint. What did disappoint is that he came to play LA and did not play this song. I love this song!
- Lewis Capaldi – “Someone You Loved” – See, I can like radio popular hits too. This one got me from first listen, Plus, I can strum it out on the guitar. Capaldi’s album Divinely Uninspired To a Hellish Extent, provided one of the more moving listening experiences I had this year.
- Alec Benjamin – “Death of a Hero” – Remember that time when you stuck around The Satellite for the midnight act and ended up sitting cross-legged on the floor singing along to some song about a robot then many years later, you’re seeing the same guy headlining sold out shows at The El Rey with a guesting John Mayer? Crazy!
- Polar States – “Roads” – Discovered this newly signed (and very promising) Liverpudlian band in my new favorite city for music, Manchester, UK! They remind me of Parade of Lights. I miss Parade of Lights.
- Kathleen Edwards – “It Must Have Been Love” – Netflix’s The Order reminded me of the glory of this Roxette song by ending the season with this cover version. 2019 marked the passing of Roxette’s Marie Fredricksson as well as the year I sang this song in the car…a lot. 2019 was also the year High Voltage interviewed The Order’s Katharine Isabelle at Comic Con and we became fast friends.
- Missio – “Temple Priest” – if you saw me at work bobbing my head or grooving at my desk, it was probably because I was listening to Missio’s new album, The Darker The Weather // The Better The Man.
- Catfish and the Bottlemen – “Encore” – The Balance came out in the Spring and became somewhat of a surprise go to throughout the year. One of my greatest 2019 disappointments was getting the flu instead of going to see this band.