This past year in music we saw the walls that once separated genres get dissolved and washed away by bold new artists freely experimenting with sounds from across the musical isle. EARMILK is excited to share with you our 'Best of 2019' list brought to you by our staff of over 65+ passionate music writers from 6 different countries around the world. Check it out below.
100 gecs - “hand crushed by a mallet”
"Critically acclaimed and truly strange, the St. Louis experimental electronic duo 100 gecs shook the scene this year with 1000 gecs worth of absolute madness. Chaos in its most entrancing form, “hand crushed by a mallet” teases at the future of music while simultaneously ignoring every predictable construct." Audrey Flynn, Contributing Writer
Alec - “Level”
"Alec is a mysterious artist from New Zealand; very little is known about him. But one thing I do know though is that he makes captivating indie-shoegaze music, reminding me of the likes of My Bloody Valentine. “Level” is my favourite track from his self-titled debut album. The twinkling synth melodies gives me all sorts of feelings - makes me feel optimistic, warm and hopeful." Jess Fu, Contributing Writer
Ama Lou - "NORTHSIDE"
"Ama Lou's 2019 'Ama, who?' album we see a very stripped-down and highly synthesized version of the up-and-coming singer-songwriter from London. Ama's penmanship and vocals on tracks like "NORTHSIDE" prove just how highly inventive, soulful and all-rounded she already is as an artist, even at just 19 years old." Celeste Daniela Ceres, Contributing Writer
Amon Tobin - "One Shy Morning"
"From Amon Tobin’s second released album in 2019 titled 'Long Stories', “One Shy Morning”, the opening track starts with a mellow piano pad followed by poignant string arrangements. The whole album was made using a broken Suzuki Omnichord as the primary sound source and it worked in the end" Pedro Daim, Contributing Writer
Anderson .Paak - "Make It Better" feat. Smokey Robinson
"Anderson .Paak definitely redeemed himself with the release of "Make It Better" after somewhat of a let down with his 2018 release Oxnard. Thankfully, Ventura is .Paak's fourth studio album and brings back that soulfulness and collaborative spirit which first won over fans. This was the album we expected to follow up Malibu and is why, at the end of the day (regardless of what we critics say) .Paak is the iconic and headlining act he is today" McKenzii Webster, Staff Writer
Andromedik - "I Want You"
"Speaking of drum 'n' bass, up-and-coming English talent Andromedik dropped yet another incredibly melodic and funky liquid DnB production on us this year. "I Want You" in particular caught my ear with its severe tempo and tonal shift: one second you think you're listening to an ultra-bubbily summer pop song, and then bam! The DnB rhythm drops on you like a refreshing breeze on a hot day (... if you can't tell, I miss summer). And for those reasons, in a crowded pack of nice liquid DnB tracks this year, "I Want You" really stood out above the rest." Rylan Smith, Electronic Editor
Angel Olsen - "Lark"
"The first track off Olsen’s 2019 album All Mirrors starts as a soft-spoken rumination on a failed relationship. It sounds like a wistful epilogue to a bygone love story, one which might seek to quietly pick up the pieces and meekly move on. But the chorus explodes into a soaring anthem of righteous disbelief of her love’s disintegration. Angel Olsen is no stranger to the torch song and has built an impressive collection of songs about loss that provides a wallowing catharsis to many fans. But “Lark” may be the most powerful she’s ever sounded in the midst of heartbreak. “What about my dreams?/What about the heart?” she asks, a fiery refusal to be used and forgotten by the ones she’s sacrificed for." Naomi Pringle, Contributing Writer
Angie McMahon - "Slow Mover"
"Another Australian import, McMahon is a hell of a songwriter that fuses a kind of 90's femme punk sound with her folk-pop tendencies. Taken from her 2019 release Salt, tracks like "Slow Mover" showcase her first-rate voice and effortless storytelling abilities." Tanis Smither, Indie Editor
"Angie's voice is beautiful in general, but the slow build of "Slow Mover" is what initially drew me to the song. That, and the quip about buying fried chicken at 4 am in the middle of the street, which is terrifyingly relatable. But outside of the beauty and fun of the song, Tanis sent me this song. And listening to it reminds me that sharing music is the best thing ever. And sometimes, the most unexpected artists or recommendations can become your favorite songs." James Schiff, Contributing Writer
ANNA - "Galactic Highways"
"ANNA's music holds a special place in my heart - who can resist the appeal of raw techno? In "Galactic Highways", she truly solidifies her craft with quality grit, highlighting her confidence in weaving the fast and the well-paced, bursts of acidity and robust drum patterns. It's an easily recognizable techno tune that definitely lights up every show." Vivian Lin, Staff Writer
Anna Akana - "Alone Together”
"Anna Akana is someone I admire quite a lot. Not only does the actress, filmmaker, and YouTube influencer have one hell of an incredible story to tell, but she continues to release track after track that's deserving of attention. Akana’s “Alone Together” took me by surprise. I had not heard of her prior to coming across this single, despite her cult online following. The track has an intimate low pace to it that's both aesthetically beautiful and showcases her talented storytelling ability." Steve Likoski, Contributing Writer
Ari Lennox - "Static"
"This has easily found its way into being my favorite song to come out this year. From the moment the brass constructs a grand entrance for Ari’s sultry-like voice, "Static" brings a magical combination of sounds as perfect as the person Lennox describes in the chorus. Shea Butter Baby is by far one of the best neo-soul albums to have come out in the last few years and the Dreamville signee could not have picked a better closer to finish up the beautiful record." Kalen Murphy, Contributing Writer
Ashley Morgan - "Angels"
"Ashley Morgan is not only an incredible producer (used to be LTGL), but also a double take rapper. His words and delivery seriously excel, but this EP is also bolstered by highly detailed mixing. There's not many notable rappers that are on the come up like this at the moment, and somehow he's still pretty under the radar. Ashley is definitely destined for big things." Jess Bartlet, Editor
Automatic - “Too Much Money”
Los Angeles trio, Automatic, has been one of the stand-out acts for me this year since the release of their debut album, Signal, via Stones Throw Records. The opening song, “Too Much Money”, is a concise but punchy track that features Izzy Glaudini (synths, vocals) and Lola Dompé (drums, vocals) singing in conversation. I always wish this song was longer because I can’t get enough of it. Jess Fu, Contributing Writer
Babe Rainbow - “Us and the Rainbow”
"Babe Rainbow churns out groovy tunes that get your body movin’ like it’s nothing. On "Us and the Rainbow", however, the Australian psych-rock group slow things down a bit to create a lullaby-sounding love song for all hippies alike." Aaron Schimdke, Contributing Writer
Barrie - "Geology"
"If this band was going to have a one-hit-wonder, "Geology" would probably be it. The Brooklyn five-piece, Barrie, may have only had a one-year stint, but this song gained crucial attention. It's likely that even if you didn't know the band at all, you were familiar with this track." Ashley Johnson, Contributing Writer
"Earlier last spring, the Brooklyn-based indie quintet Barrie delivered up an indelible summertime pop record brimming with fresh ideas, sonic vibrancy, and lasting appeal beyond debut expectations. Happy To Be Here featured the track “Geology,” an airy, ethereal tune is pure vibrant pop. The vocals from leader Barrie Lindsay are breathtaking and float effortlessly right above the groovy tempo. Rhythmically, it’s the band’s most intricate offering with smooth arrangements, dreamy guitar textures, and shape-shifting synths." Sean Kayden, Contributing Writer
Beabadoobee - "Space Cadet"
"This existential space jam from the fast-rising teen Filipino-British indie act is all about letting go and living in the moment. In “Space Cadet” Beabadoobee trades her signature lo-fi guitar strumming for pulsing electric guitars and wacky space noises. You could even say it’s out of this world." Maria Bocci, Contributing Writer
Beauz – "Count The Hours"
"Elements of house, trap, Melbourne-bounce, and psy-trance can all be found in this song, yet Beauz is able to bridge them into a coherent piece of art. With an overall feel-good vibe and upbeat lyricism, this cut delivers undistilled euphoria." Ria Qi, Contributing Writer
Benny the Butcher - “18 Wheeler” feat. Pusha T
"Griselda records has been a machine this year with their release schedule. "18 Wheeler" from Benny the Butcher is my favorite song from the camp to come out this year. Linking up with fellow New York act Pusha T is a huge move for Benny, they play off each other perfectly as both have followed similar career paths." Jack Harding, Contributing Writer
Beyoncé (070 Shake, Jessie Reyez) - “SCAR”
"This song is from the Beyonce executive produced album in support of the "The Lion King". 070 Shake and Jessie Reyez both have amazing voices in such different ways. Even without the movie tie ins from this song, the tone is very apparent as Shake’s sorrow-filled voice is quickly interrupted by Jessie playful yet aggressive rap delivery." Jack Harding, Contributing Writer
Billie Eilish - "i love you"
"We all had to see this coming from me. WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? is unequivocally the best release of 2019 from where I'm standing. Long live dark pop and long live teenagers who get political. And long live albums that showcase the amount these two artists (Billie Eilish, Finneas) have grown since their 14-year-olds-on-Soundcloud days. "i love you" will stand the test of time." Tanis Smither, Indie Editor
Bishop Briggs - "SOMEONE ELSE"
"Bishop Briggs outdid herself with Champion—her critically acclaimed sophomore album. “SOMEONE ELSE” is a song that evokes strong emotions—especially when it’s 2 AM and you need a sad song to cry to. The best time to listen to Bishop Briggs is at night and alone." Tommy Monroe, Contributing Writer
Blossoms - "Your Girlfriend"
"A preview of the upcoming album Foolish Loving Spaces, “Your Girlfriend” might just be the most tragic love song of 2019. What do you do when you’re in love with your roommate's girlfriend? English indie pop band Blossoms might tell you to write a song about it." Maria Bocci, Contributing Writer
Boogie - "Lolsmh - Interlude"
"I love this song for the reason I've always loved hip-hop; it articulates my feelings better than I ever could. I came across this song at a weird point in my life, and Boogie said everything I felt but in a succinct and smart way. It's honest and unafraid like very little out there right now. And on top of all of that, it just sounds great." James Schiff, Contributing Writer
Boy Scouts – “Expiration Date”
"Back in August, Oakland-based folk singer-songwriter Taylor Vick, better known as Boy Scouts, released her third studio LP Free Company. The record included the single “Expiration Date,” which is a track lifted with heavenly harmonies and guided by Vick’s country-tinged vocals. Driven by reflective lyrics that tell a story of self-realization, the mood here elicits deep-in-thought scenarios for listeners at hand. With the united forces of strong lyricism and beautiful melodies by the support of a full band, “Expiration Date” placed Boy Scouts into a revitalizing sonic territory." Sean Kayden, Contributing Writer
Brittany Howard - "Stay High"
The accompanying video for Alabama Shake's frontrunner Brittany Howard's solo single "Stay High" is particularly beautiful and chimes in well with the pure vibes of this song. Howard's vocals on this track are absolutely on fire as she hits those powerful falsettos that reverberate through your soul." Michelle Kicherer, Contributing Writer
Broods - "Sucker"
"New Zealand-based siblings Broods tackle passing trends and consumer culture in “Sucker” - the first track off their latest album Don’t Feed the Pop Monster. The track itself is light and danceable, but the lyrics warn that following fads could lead you to lose yourself." Maria Bocci, Contributing Writer
Burna Boy - "Another Story" feat. M.anifest
"To be honest I don't really listen to a lot of afro-pop unless I am deejaying but Burna Boy's African Giant was literally everywhere. From the big singles like "Killin Dem", "Dangote" etc, Burna Boy hit the bullseye on this one. He even got Jorja Smith, Future and YG on deck. Need I say more?" Tayo Odutola, Staff Writer
Caroline Spence - "Sometimes A Woman Is An Island"
"I'm not the only person out there that is emotionally exhausted with the ongoing battle to change the way in which women are viewed and treated in society. So hearing a song that holds a perspective on the strengths and challenges of women is refreshing. It's not just the ghostly vocals or the waning guitar that does me in when listening to this track. Spence illustrates the confidence and vulnerability that comes with being a woman in 2019, and there is a touching understanding captured here." Rachel Hammermueller, Contributing Writer
Cavetown - "Feb 14"
"Cavetown is what you wanted your boyfriend’s band to sound like in high school. I’ve been following this English singer-songwriter since his 3rd full-length album Lemon Boy was released last year. I connect with every song he writes which proves that your feelings—or just my own—don’t get more complex with age." Meghan O'Neill, Contributing Writer
Channel Tres - "Sexy Black Timberlake"
"The Compton house producer Channel Tres hit the ground running this past year and tracks like "Sexy Black Timberlake" showcase his mastery for putting together the kind of smooth but dance catchy music that you can bump all year long. Also, that deep silky baritone makes each track drip. Tres is easily one of the biggest solo artists to hit the music scene in 2019." David Sikorski, Senior Editor
Charli XCX, Christine and the Queens - "Gone"
"Two pop divas unite for the 80's synth-laden "Gone" for a collaboration so seamless that makes you hunger for more. Good thing this song serves enough drama and ferocity to last well beyond the year." Natalie Morin, Contributing Writer
Charlotte OC - “Better off on My Own”
"Charlotte OC is easily recognizable by her powerful voice, and her 2019 song “Better off on My Own” is the perfect vessel for it. There’s a vast difference between loneliness and being alone and she drew that line and chose her side. The triumphant chorus makes you proud to be alone, and even crave it." Emily Treadgold, Contributing Writer
Chris Liebing, Charlotte de Witte - "Liquid Slow"
"I'm a sucker for slow-burning tracks that give listeners a satisfying build into towering conclusions. In "Liquid Snow", the two techno maestros emphasize that less can actually be more; they're selective in what they show in the beginning, utilizing minimal beats and repetitive vocal samples to get us hooked." Vivian Lin, Staff Writer
Crumb - "Ghostride"
"Crumb has found their niche in the music industry quite nicely. On “Ghostride”, the band hones in on being a oneiric force within the state of simplicity by developing wonderful forms of psychedelia, easy-listening, and indie rock." Matthew Keady, Contributing Writer
DaBaby - "Bop"
"How can you not like this guy? Charlotte's own DaBaby really brought some much needed energy back into hip-hop. Plus, he had the Jabbawockeez in the video for his 2019 single "BOP". You can’t beat that." Brianna Lawson, Contributing Writer
"The music video for "BOP" is the perfect formula to explain DaBaby’s skyrocketing success. Effortlessly surfing across a Jetson Made beat that sent tidal waves across streaming platforms, the video has been solidified a hip-hop masterpiece." Kalen Murphy, Contributing Writer
Daniprobably - “Run to You”
"It is not so often that you listen to a track and are immediately enchanted by the lead vocals (they are, after all, the most criticized part of a song). Daniprobably hooks you hard because she sounds like no one else, and “Run to You” showcases her alt-pop style with tenacious guitar solos and reverb-drenched vocals." Rene Cobar, Contributing Writer