Florence + The Machine – Dance Fever
I went back and forth between several albums that could have gone here (see Honourable Mentions). But as a longtime fan of Florence + The Machine, it felt right to put Welch’s grand, beautiful epic of an album in the top slot. From the second the needle drops on side-one, track-one of Dance Fever, you’re captivated, lost in the music, dancing along and ignoring the world. Whether you’re physically dancing around your living room or mentally dancing at your office desk, the album grabs ahold of you and doesn’t let go. It perfectly encapsulates the musical spirit of Florence + The Machine without feeling like a “typical” effort from them.
Honourable Mentions: Charley Crockett – The Man from Waco; Weyes Blood – And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow; Angel Olsen – Big Time.
Favourite Debut Album
Wet Leg – Wet Leg
The genre-hopping range on display with Wet Leg’s self-titled debut album makes a statement that they’re here to make their music their way. Fortunately, it never feels like a statement piece, and just a fun new record harkening back to the days of rifling through offerings at the music store of your choice, scanning it in for a preview, and falling in love with the snippets, enough to make you spend the entire money you have on it. That’s Wet Leg.
Favourite From an Old Favourite
Simple Minds – Direction of the Heart
I hit play on this not entirely expecting much. Here’s this 40-year-old one-hit wonder of a band, best remembered for an era-defining anthem from a teen movie (I know they’ve been active since ’79, I just wasn’t paying attention). I thought it would be a fun yet disposable trip down nostalgia lane. But what I got was a wild trip truly exploring and showcasing their talents as a band. Definitely frames them as more than “That band that had that one song.”
Honourable Mentions: Arctic Monkeys – The Car; Hanson – Red Green Blue
Favourite New Discovery
Fantastic Negrito – White Jesus Black Problems
I listen to enough modern blues and blues-rock that Fantastic Negrito should have come onto my radar much sooner than he did. But whenever you end up discovering an artist you enjoy is the best time. There’s no expiration date on good music. I had this on repeat over on TIDAL, and it sent me down the rabbit hole of his back catalogue, much to my joy.
Honourable Mention: Alvvays – Blue Rev
Best of the Rest
The rest of the year’s music that really got me moving is presented in no particular order. Just a bunch of albums for you to check out.
American Aquarium – Chicamacomico
Ari Lennox – Age/Sex/Location
Beach Bunny – Emotional Creature
Dorothy – Gifts From The Holy Spirit
Hurray for the Riff Raff – Life on Earth
Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers
Rosalia – Motomami
Soccer Mommy – Sometimes, Forever
Vince Staples – Ramona Park Broke My Heart
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