Best Of January 2019
At times it seemed like January was a wall for the entertainment industries. Barren, disappointing, then suddenly all at once! While we didn’t cover any films worthy of remembrance (I’m looking at you, Glass), it turned out to be a more than rewarding month for music. In this series you’ll find the most crucial new releases of each month, compiled in one location. Check out full reviews at the end of each description.
Remind Me Tomorrow
Sharon Van Etten
Remind Me Tomorrow is flawed, but at its core, it’s an undeniably catchy and hook-ridden pop-rock album with a singer-songwriter’s attention to writing. From Cole Clark’s review, “The hole left by Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs has been filled”.
The boys are back in town. “Harmony Hall” and “2021” are new territory for Vampire Weekend, boisterous, and above all, fun. Combining dancehall, jam-band folk, and explosive pop choruses, the now Rostam-less band has found its footing in a musical landscape now entirely different from where they left it.
While we can’t recommend the entire album, James Blake’s ambition is on full display on Assume Form. Tracks like “Can’t Believe the Way We Flow”, “In the Red”, and “Don’t Miss It” rank with his best material, and that’s not mentioning the sublime collaborations with Rosalía and André 3000.
Better Oblivion Community Center
Conor Oberst & Phoebe Bridgers
In the first great album of the year, Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers team up for a smooth, lean set of folk-rock tunes with a heavy emphasis on Oberst’s previous instrumentation. The songs are simple on the surface, but improve with subtle chord changes and dynamic drumming. It’s an incredibly solid indie rock album, arriving fresh off the heels of Briders’s 2018 EP with Lucy Dacus and Julian Baker, another breath of fresh air for the stagnated genre. It’s unique, passionate, and a welcome surprise.