We brought back one of our favorite features this year with several small tweaks and over the last third of 2019 we highlighted 33 artists that deserved your indie ear. Now with the end of 2019, it only seemed appropriate to create a Top 10 of those artists just to make sure you didn’t miss them!
Honestly, we recommend every artist we feature here as this was a very tough selection. It scares me for next year when the pool widens but what a great problem to have! Most importantly please Discover, Support, & Share – that is one true way that artists you like can continue to bring you their art!
New York, New York
The Jeanines come at you with fresh angly indie rock that never breaks down. They have a historic style that fits with past groups like Veronica Girls, The Aislers Set or Saturday Looks Good To Me. This 60’s inspired set of tracks is very simple on the surface but its real complexity is delivered lyrically which is how these tunes stay memorable. Trust me on the Jeanines – you will be foot tapping from the minute the album begins!
The raw noise of Boston’s Black Beach will get your adrenaline pumping within seconds. The band consistently hammers you with distorted riffs, blistering drum beats and a grunge based fuzz that is relentless and carefree. With an early Nirvana foundation, Black Beach’s Tapeworm was one of the grittiest and rocking records I heard in 2019. Fans of Thee Oh Sees, Protomartyr and Preoccupations should tune into Black Beach and it goes without saying that this record should be played loud!
Kansas City, Missouri
Power pop from Kansas City’s The Whiffs is exactly the type of music that can catch your ear. With a classic Replacements meets Big Star vibe that then injects mojo from a 70’s Dwight Twilley Band and 80’s The dB’s, The Whiffs unpolished rock sticks with you and truly sounds unique in 2019. I always like records that impress after just one spin. The Whiffs Another Whiff is that type of album!
If you have been looking for a classic lo-fi sound then Philadelphia’s Von Hayes is your band. Their new release Moderate Rock has that killer 4-track roll with 10 songs that fit perfectly in one sitting. The group has existed since 2006 and includes prolific lo-fi songwriter Graham Repulski, so Von Hayes are veterans on the scene without a doubt. Moderate Rock hits a stride for the band as the catchy songs are incredibly close sounding to the beginning era of Guided By Voices records. It also is helpful that Todd Tobias (Circus Devils) mastered the album so if lo-fi is something you enjoy you should be supporting Von Hayes.
Von Hayes Bandcamp
New York, New York
In case you’re unfamiliar with them, Weeping Icon are a New York-based noise punk band and their self-titled debut album hit this fall through Kanine Records. The group has a New York grit that you can’t shake as the music is relentless, provocative, and engaging. Guitarist and singer Sara Fantry has a very Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth) type of delivery that cuts through the noise like a sharp knife with precision and command. Weeping Icon won’t disappoint and should be an artist to watch grow because the bar is only going to go higher.
Weeping Icon Bandcamp
The Netherlands Guruguru Brain label has been releasing some killer psych rock from Tokyo with groups like Kikagaku Moyo and SUNDAYS & CYBELE. Now you can add Dhidalah to the list of new releases as this space rock power trio is inspired by various genres from stoner, doom and kraut rock. Their first full length record will crush you like a big wave with their instrumental monsters. The band name derives from the Japanese legend of the Giant Gods — known as the creators of mountains, lakes and islands. After hearing these tunes, you will agree that the description fits!
South London’s Dry Cleaning released two solid EPs this year with Boundary Road Snacks and Drinks in the fall and their summer debut EP Sweet Princess. Both releases are a mind stir, as Dry Cleaning tell stories that snap. Their sound is somewhat comparable to Parquet Courts except with a female lead singer and each track will grab your ear with each and every line. I do know that Dry Cleaning have a swagger to them that elevates both EPs and makes both worth hearing. TFN can’t wait to see this band progress and hopefully release a debut full length in 2020!
Dry Cleaning Bandcamp
Carriers is Cincinnati-based artist Curt Kiser who has been supporting the moniker since 2014. Carriers’ debut LP, Now Is The Time For Loving Me, Yourself & Everyone Else, on Good Eye Records is a solid statement for top end songwriting, excellent well-trained musicians and making sure all the t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted. The album is built on Kiser’s synths and guitar but also gets recognizable support in the drumming/percussion area as The National’s Bryan Devendorf plays on every track. Now Is The Time was produced by John Curley of The Afghan Whigs plus features his bass skills on the album. With Kiser’s War On Drugs type vocal and 9 tracks that effortlessly stretch along at an average of 6 minutes, Carriers touch of neo-psychedelia is engaging and a must add to your 2019 listening. Had we given this record a full review it easily could have made our Blazing Top 50 of 2019.
New York, New York
Here is a band that instantly caught our attention from our friends over at HoZac Records. Velveteen Rabbit play a style of retro rock that mixes components of glam and power pop into a satisfying self-titled record. The group features ex-members of The Jeanies which was one of TFN Bandcamp artists from 2016. Where that band was more Big Star meets Redd Kross, Velveteen Rabbit is more of a T. Rex sound that could also work right next to Small Faces’ “Itchycoo Park” in a playlist. Velveteen Rabbit have produced a debut that shines and definitely honors the past but is a perfect guitar record for 2019. It is another album in this list that if we gave it a proper review would have landed in our Blazing Top 50.
Velveteen Rabbit Bandcamp
Ghost Funk Orchestra
New York, New York
Without a doubt, New York’s Ghost Funk Orchestra released one of the best soul records of the year in A Song For Paul. The reverb and soul here combined for an instantly exciting record and you have to admit that they have one of the catchiest names we have heard in a while. The group offers stylistic horns and organ grooves that are filled with an aura of nostalgia but also contain a cutting modern edge. If you love funk – it is here too but also the psychedelic blend during songs like “Seven Eight” and “Walk Like A Motherfucker” fill your speakers with the warmest sound they probably have played in some time. The record was put out by the hip Colemine Records out of Ohio, so make sure you spin this one soon as it easily was our #1 Bandcamp find in 2019!
-Feature by Christopher Anthony
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