Mark Zip Poop 2019

  1. V.A – “Nigeria 70: No Wahala: Highlife, Afro-Funk & Juju 1973-1987”
  2. Nick Cave – “Ghosteen” (What’s next after complete heartbreak?)
  3. Billie Eilish – “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go” (Disruptive, freakish, ASMR, a new sound)
  4. Amyl and the Sniffers – “Amyl and the Sniffers” (Snotty rock n roll should never die)
  5. Sleaford Mods – “Eton Alive”
  6. Angel Olsen – “All Mirrors”
  7. Chemical Brothers – “No Geography”
  8. FKA Twigs – “Magdalene”
  9. Underworld – “DRIFT Series 1” (A song/video every week for a year? Sure, why not?)
  10. Chase n Status – “RTRN II JUNGLE”
  11. Vampire Weekend – “Father of the Bride”
  12. Divino Niño – “Foam”
  13. Clairo – “Immunity”
  14. Mdou Moctar – “Ilana (The Creator)” (More than just Sahel guitar wank)
  15. Little Simz – “Honesty”
  16. Holly Herndon – “Proto” – (The peg might be AI, but there’s more here)
  17. Slowthai – “Nothing Great About Britain”
  18. Stormzy – Glastonbury set
  19. James Blake – “Assume Form”
  20. Floating Points – “Crush”
  21. Burna Boy – “African Giant” (Yes, that’s a lot of Auto-Tune, but it’s in service of the groove)

Looking over the list, I realise that I was enamoured of two completely different sounds this year. A lot of the list is as much about the space between the music as it is the music itself. Billie Eilish, Floating Points, James Blake, FKA Twigs, and, to a lesser extent, Nick Cave, Clairo and Angel Olsen all rely on unspoken, unfilled moments. Many of the songs here “breathe” in ways that most pop music of ten years ago did not.

The other sound is full to the brim. Chase n Status, Amyl, Mdou Moctar, Sleaford Mods, Vampire Weekend, Nigeria 70, all present variations on the wall of sound. Each sound may be carefully considered and placed, but it’s there in a space where the first bunch would have left a void.

And there was an undercurrent of something else… Amyl, Slowthai, Little Simz, Sleaford Mods, Stormzy all have attitude to spare and lots of it was directed at decay and injustice. Brexit and austerity will produce echoes in UK (and, in the case of Amyl, Oz) culture for years to come. Beware the rage of the oppressed and marginalized.

Reissues
V.A – “Nigeria 70: No Wahala: Highlife, Afro-Funk & Juju 1973-1987”
Stan Getz Quartet – “Getz at the Gate”
Akofa Akoussah – “Akofa Akoussah”

Films

“Amazing Grace”
“JoJo Rabbit”
“Parasite”
“The Irishman”
“Little Women”
“Booksmart”
“Ford / Ferrari”
“Knives Out”
“1917”

TV
“Watchmen”
“Mr. Robot”
“Catastrophe”
“Fleabag”
“Barry”
“Succession”
“Silicon Valley”
“South Park” (and their Chinese episodes)
“Killing Eve”

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