Perfect Sound Forever

PSF's 2019 Writers' Poll
Our favorite things

left to right: Mavis Staples, Purple Mountains, Ebony Hillbillies, Post-Haste Reed Duo, Lee Scratch Perry

With the Village Voice's Pazz and Jop poll gone again, where will we find a consensus about 2019's best music? Not here! We asked our writers to name their 20 favorite albums, songs, reissues of 2019 and with a few exceptions, they came up with a nice bunch of varied lists.

We hope you find something you agree about, disagree about or something that you discover. And we all say here 'don't listen to anyone who says that there's no good music coming out anymore.'

Daniel Barbiero

Cat Celebrezze

Brian Cousins

Alan Crandall

The measure here is – how much of any given new album made it into one of my (too-numerous) Spotify playlists? The more tracks made it, the stronger I rate the album.

I'll cheat a bit and start with my biggest disappointment – The Who's Who. I am, I freely admit, one of the few who actually enjoyed Endless Wire. But Who, outside of the two (decent) singles, is one forgettable, tired affair.

Some people who did get more than one track from their new releases on the playlists for me include Stella Donelly, The Mekons, Bruce Springsteen, Gary Clark Jr., Todd Snider and Ex Hex. And a shout out to Pere Ubu and Iggy Pop who only placed one track each – just because I'm glad they're still around.

Moving up the scale, Alice Cooper's Breadcrumbs isn't the greatest Coop release ever, but it's good hearing him tear up a set of Detroit garage rock covers (very respectable version of the MC5's "Sister Anne").

Finally, two that made the top shelf – i.e. every cut made the list, were Mavis Staples We Get By, which is just a very, very fine gospel-soul album, and Jason Ringenberg's Stand Tall, which is the most consistent, cut-for-cut, album he's done, solo or with the Scorchers, since the '80's. The usual mix of country, folk, historical themes (Civil War), religion, politics, southern identity, obscure Dylan cover and a nod to his punk roots – "God Bless the Ramones," which brought a BIG smile to my face.

Peter Crigler

Bob Gersztyn

This is a list of six artists in the "Blues Rock" genre that released albums in 2019 that were included in the top 20 list of the best blues rock albums released published by and one that wasn't. I witnessed at least one performances of all of the artists included and included links to my published reviews of some of those shows in "Blues Rock Review, which in some cases highlighted their new 2019 release.

Jason Gross

Just gotta say what an amazing year it was for singles. I hear over 250 of them, with lots of 'em on this Spotify playlist. My full list of all my 2019 faves are here, including all the rest of the albums I liked, plus reissues, music-related films, etc..

Jim Hayes

left to right: Pup, Yola, Sebadoh, Lightning Bolt, Sherman Brothers

Robert Jaz

Kortney Jmaeff

2019 was another landmark year for music. Again it was almost impossible to narrow down 20, so I threw in a bonus release. The amount of creative and diverse influences and the return of TOOL after 13 years made this a very special year. Some honorable mentions include the L7 album "Scatter the Rats, the last Muffs album ever "No Holiday due to the recent untimely death of founder Kim Shattuck. Also Bob Moulds "sunshine Rock"- a smoking platter of energetic rock, Xiu XIus ultra weird "Girl with a basket of fruit" and Matmos very creative all plastic produced "Plastic Anniversary." I wish I could do a top 50. Thanks!

T.K. NcNeil

Robert Pally

Marc Phillips

Bart Plantenga

My listening does not abide by release dates. I was blown away & enchanted by whatever sounds I first came to hear in 2019, regardless of when they were released. Sometimes an older track will suddenly pop up & I will wonder how I so totally missed it upon its release. I continue to be amazed by how much great sound is put out to very little attention. The music industry more & more seems to mirror post-capitalist society in that it is ALL for 1% of musicians & some crumbs for the rest of the 99% when it comes to attention & remuneration. It also seems to reflect the old consumerist adage: the less interesting the music, the more it sells...

Illes Plompen

Tim Riley

left to right: Chromatics, Bill Callahan, Royal Trux/Ariel Pink, Anny Celsi, Walter Trout

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