2019 has been a great year for music. With something new from damn near everybody’s favorite artist, though, a lot of albums have been cast into the shadows. Here are 6 albums that deserve to get much more recognition than they have received.
1. Good Morning – The Option
The lo-fi bock band, Good Morning, didn’t release anything after their popular 2014 release, Shawcross, until 2018, with their album, Prize//Reward. Their hiatus essentially put them off the map, removing the band from any conversation on larger music blogs. Still, the 2-piece group shrugged off this lack of recognition and put out their new project, The Option, in April.
The album utilizes their signature simplicity, relying solely on live recording rather than the all-too-common dependence on post-production edits and boisterous electronic elements. The Option is perfect for camping with some friends or sitting around a bonfire – its chill atmosphere and raw vocals promote nothing but good vibes. Although the tracks may not be as memorable as those off of Shawcross, The Option is still a great album in its own right, and is certainly worth a listen.
2. Rico Nasty – Anger Management
Rico Nasty left the underground scene with her acclaimed 2018 album, Nasty. Tracks like “Countin’ Up” and “Rage” showed the world that Nasty is not a meme, but a hardcore, if oftentimes also funny, rapper that is here to stay. In April, she further developed her maturing sound on the project, Anger Management, which features production from hip hops rising star, Kenny Beats.
Releases from Anderson .Paak and Schoolboy Q, which also released in April, effectively overshadowed Anger Management, reducing its exposure greatly. Regardless of its reception, it remains an incredibly developed and versatile album. With features from Bauuer and EARTHGANG, the project is banger after banger, from start to finish. Nasty deviates from her tradition style, proving her ability to adapt, and Kenny Beats’ production, as always, is unparalleled. The album is certainly a turning point in Rico Nasty‘s creative direction, and it leaves listeners eager for whatever she drops next.
Stream Anger Management Below
3. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Fishing for Fishies
Among King Gizzard fans, this album is considered one of the biggest releases of the year. Most people, however, are not King Gizzard fans. Whether it is due to their name or their vast discography, reaching into almost every genre, people get intimidated by the Australian band, which is a shame because they have had countless unique and impressive projects over the years. Fishing for Fishies is the bands first release after taking a year long break, one that was well-deserved after releasing five quality albums in 2017.
In the album, the band tries their hand at Boogie Rock, adding their own gizzard flair into the mix. The psychedelic 7-piece turns Boogie into a wild trip, juxtaposing childlike melodies from tracks, such as “Boogie Man Sam” and “This Thing,” with darker, almost creepy tracks, like “Real’s Not Real” and “Plastic Boogie.” Every track is diverse, yet still sounds like part of the album. The band clearly wants to master every genre, and with Fishing for Fishies, they can finally cross Boogie Rock off the list.
4. Injury Reserve – Injury Reserve
The reception of their self-titled album has actually pretty big for Injury Reserve’s usual standards. With two amazing albums and a mixtape preceding their recent release, the trio should have gained much more of a following at this point. They are one of best collaborations going on in hip hop at the moment, yet not a lot of people seem to be talking about them. Luckily, with features from the likes of DRAM, Freddie Gibbs, and JPEGMafia on their new album, they finally seem to be picking up some steam.
Their self-titled album takes their trademark futuristic, glitchy approach to hip hop and expands on it, creating textures that have never been heard in the scene. The album transitions between industrial heaters and more introspective, psychedelic tracks seamlessly, providing much needed breaks from the high energy being brought to tracks like, “Jailbreak the Tesla” and “GTFU.” Being self-title, Injury Reserve, seems to set their style in stone, the group saying, “this is us.” The project is ambitious, loud, and is easily one of the best rap releases of 2019, so far.
Stream Injury Reserve Below
5. The Murlocs – Manic Candid Episode
Under the same Australian label as King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Flightless Records, The Murlocs are even less popular. Their fourth album since 2014, Manic Candid Episode perpetuates their blues inspired garage-rock style. Every track feels like a jam session, dirty, loose, and fun. The band does not really evolve or expand on their previous work, but is that necessary if what you put out is good? There is honestly not much to say about this album other than that it is a worth a listen. It is great for walking to work or class, and allows the mind to forget about all the worries of the day. Simple, catchy, and playful, the album is emblematic of the group’s style.
6. Steve Lacy – Apollo XXI
What happened to Steve Lacy? As a feature on most tracks on Tyler, the Creator‘s Flower Boy, and with his debut album, Dark Red (which was produced on his iPhone), Lacy became one of the hottest artist of 2017. Then he disappeared. Okay, not necessarily disappeared, but he released no solo tracks in 2018, and his only mainstream appearance was his presence on the new Vampire Weekend album. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Lacy decided to drop an album two days ago (May 24). Nobody I know realized Apollo XXI dropped, and I have not seen a lot of talk about it online.
Hopefully, this album gains more traction in the upcoming weeks, because it is absolutely wonderful. Lacy has upgraded from Iphone music to full studio production, allowing him to express his artistry in its realest form. The album is groovy, with funky bass lines on tracks like “Guide” and “Hate CD.” Lacy’s boyish vocals starkly contrast with his mature instrumentals, creating an air of intrigue. Every progression, every lyric, and every track feels deeply thought-out, creating Lacy’s most developed project to date.