2019: Joyzine Writers’ Picks of the Year

Yes, I know that you’ve seen countless lists in all manner of publications proclaiming one artist or another to be the ‘Best of 2019’ – I’m always a bit reluctant to speak in such absolutes on such a subjective matter, but it always makes for a good pub talk / social media debate and often provides some much deserved coverage for an overlooked gem, so we though we’d put our tuppence worth in and asked members of the Joyzine team to share the artists, gigs and releases that have made their 2019 that little bit more wonderful.

Paul F Cook

Favourite release of 2019
It took me 0.000000001 seconds when asked the question to know that Sumie’s five track EP Mirou (Bella Union)was absolutely my favourite release of the year. You could wake me up in the middle of the night screaming the question at me or perform unspeakable acts on my person but I would not waiver.

Favourite gig of 2019
In a year that will end up being 50+ gigs I’ve seen some cracking bands with Bedouine, Pom Poko, Black Mekon and AK/DK in the top 5 but as gigs go The Beths with Peaness and Fresh at Heaven made me so, so, so, so happy. The Beths are draught dopamine. (Check out Paul’s review of the show here)

Favourite new discovery of 2019
AK/DK – I am so excited to see what they do in 2020. I saw them on a cold, rainy Monday in April and they made the evening feel like a hot summer Friday night and got the Lexington jumping with their two-man, two-drummer + electronics set up.

Ioan Humphreys

I’d like to nominate the same band for all three categories.  I love them that much and they haven’t left my CD player.

Favourite release of 2019
Bad Breeding – ‘Exiled’: Balls to the wall hardcore punk. Intelligent, angry and with their heart in the right place politically. Exhilarating stuff.

Favourite gig of 2019
Bad Breeding + Uniform, The Moon Club, Cardiff, 24th July 2019: Nearly went deaf. Outstanding live bands. Chris from Bad Breeding is a hypnotic front man. And the anger and frustration spills off the stage.

Favourite new discovery of 2019
Bad Breeding: Go to their Bandcamp and buy everything on there. They are the best hardcore punk band since Minor Threat.

Alexander Sarychkin

Favourite Release of 2019
Emerging from the love letter to country that was Rocket, (Sandy) Alex G‘s House of Sugar (Domino) took his lo-fi bedroom sound into the upper stratosphere. It’s an airy and expansive record, one that kept me company on many trips around this wide, vast city. It’s sonorous and impactful, feeling intimate in spite of its wide production. Highly recommended.

Favourite gig of 2019
It has to be Aphex Twin at Printworks, although Black Country, New Road were a close second. At least I know with the latter that I will be blessed with their presence again. With the former, nothing is ever certain. Aphex took the Printworks crowd through two hours of chaos with very little respite. It was pure escapism and a testament to what music should be – sweaty, loud, fast, free and frightening.

Favourite new discovery of 2019
Italia 90, hands down. I wandered down one evening to the Leake Street Arches and caught their set, not knowing much about them at all. What I saw was inspiring in so many ways – it was current, it was antagonistic, it was togetherness. Italia 90 should be your new favourite band because they’re clearly enjoying making the music that they want to make. Go and bop along with all the other boppers the next time they come your way and leave with the same big smile on your face that I did.


Byron Gamble

Favourite Release of 2019
Caroline Polachek, of Chairlift fame, has spent the past few years in periphery. After the band split in 2013, she collaborated with artists such as SBTRKT, Blood Orange and Charli XCX as well as writing and producing ‘No Angel’ with Beyonce. Titled Pang, the 2019 album is appropriately named as it brings images of an implosion, a bright and loud resurgence into experimental indie-pop.

Favourite gig of 2019
Weeks before the release of the sister album to Oxnard, Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals headlined Victoria Warehouse in Manchester. As demonstrated by their stellar performance on NPR’s Tiny Desk back in 2016, this is a group that demands to be heard live. Their songs become performances. Each instrumentalist shows true musical talent and showmanship in their own right, but drummer/front-man .Paak drips with charisma and energy. He is wonderfully dedicated to the craft and to his fans: he never misses a beat and raps every word. Even while crowd-surfing.

Favourite new discovery of 2019
Men I Trust are not newcomers. 2019 saw the release of their third album, Oncle Jazz. At 24 songs in length, its heftiness can deter some listeners but within the list are gems that shine with catchy bass-lines by Jessy Caron which become the main draw. Atop the riffs you can find Emma Proulx’s dreamy, mystic voice on personal favourites like ‘Norton Commander (All We Need)’ and ‘I Hope to be Around’.

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