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5 albums we missed this year

2019 has been a great year in music, with releases from big names such as Solange, Toro y Moi, and Deerhunter and upcoming releases from the likes of Tame Impala, Mac Demarco and Vampire Weekend. It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of big-name records and sometimes great albums slip through the cracks and go unnoticed. Here are some records that have flown under the radar this year but are definitely worth a listen.

Crushed Stars: Go Dark, Canaveral

It’s easy to get lost in the dark and shimmering music of Crushed Stars. Go Dark, Canaveral, the latest work from a man of many talents, Todd Gautreau is a crawling and atmospheric record full of sparkling guitars and hazy, baritone vocals that fade in and out at the pace of morning fog. Though he has been making music for nearly two decades, Gautreau’s latest work under the Crushed Stars name is as fresh as anything he’s released prior.

Show Me the Body: Dog Whistle

You’d assume that any band wielding a banjo in their lineup is creating music to soundtrack your next campout. Show Me the Body is not that band. Turning the twangy notes of frontman Julian Cahswan Pratt’s banjo into metallic pings, the band creates sludgy, hip-hop inspired hardcore music fit for a protest. Like a feral dog, Pratt barks along as the band rages through the quick, 28-minute album. The record’s opener, “Camp Orchestra,” is a spitting and furious track inspired by the camp orchestras of Auschwitz and the feeling of losing your individuality and sets a blistering tone for the rest of the album.

Y La Bamba: Mujeres

Y La Bamba’s music has always had the ability to make you feel a certain way. Their most recent work, Mujeres, follows that same trend. Songwriter and frontwoman Luz Elena Mendoza’s capability to blend themes of traditional música Mexicana, American folk and guitar-driven indie rock lends itself to creating a liberating and sleek sound as she weaves herself between English and Spanish from lyric to lyric.

Blithe Field: Ward Unbending

Singer-songwriter, Spencer Radcliffe creates laid-back, guitar-driven indie rock ready for your next basement show. The ambient producer, who releases under the name Blithe Field, creates warm, bubbling instrumentals, each one different from the next. The experimental nature of Blithe Field leaves listeners guessing with each album that is released, ranging from atonal electronic works to rolling piano pieces. Ward Unbending displays the never-ending imagination of Radcliffe as the album turns away from the truly ambient work of Radcliffe to more vibrant and melodic instrumental pieces.

Tiny Ruins: Olympic Girls

Olympic Girls, the latest from indie folk group Tiny Ruins, was released in February, which makes it a winter release in the U.S., but a midsummer album in the band’s home country of New Zealand. And that makes sense, as the record seems to have been crafted with the summer months in mind. The quiet hush of frontwoman Hollie Fullbrook’s vocals and the glimmering instrumentals of her band lay the groundwork for a glowing ember of an album to warm us up and remind us of sunny days to come during this cold U.S. winter.

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