~ All the rest! This playlist is dedicated to the “Everything else” bunch of artists and bands not included in the first ten playlists presented this year. Eclectic and wide-ranging, this playlist is meant to encompass everything left out up to now, but no lesser; this is all still integral to me. Many of these bands I either discovered later in my life or they could not fit into a genre-specific category. In general, I find my musical interests are continuously expanding, and I think this list reflects some kind of growth within that range. In fact, a good number of the artists presented here I came across this year. Needless to say, there’s a lot of music here, so enjoy the lot of ’em!
Alcest – Les Voyages De l’Âme (album) ~ Mystical prog rock, meant to be experienced in a forest of some kind. The lyrics and album names are all in French and this is no matter.
Coldplay – Death and All His Friends ~ Alt/art rock. Coldplay has been in play for me for a long time. The album Death and All His Friends was their peak for me. For whatever reason, I listened to this album, alongside that of X&Y, on repeat while playing Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Thusly, one of my favorite gaming experiences is indelibly tied in with this album’s run. These albums still hold up to me today.
Mobb Deep – Shook Ones ~ Hip hop duo with simple backdrops and exacting lyrics. Another Spotify rec, after listening to artists like Nas and Wu-Tang, Mobb Deep resemble their acts in that these two are lyrically-minded, artfully speaking their truths on the streets of NYC.
Megadeth – Holy Wars / The Punishment Due ~ OG thrash metal. Coming long after my discovery and embrace of Metallica, my eyes fell upon a Megadeth best-of CD at a Border’s closing sale one summer. Holy Wars was one the songs, and oh boy… Theres’ a reason many metalheads consider this the best metal song of all time. Though I still like Metallica more, Megadeth certainly thrashes. And to think Megadeth lead guitarist and singer, Dave Mustaine, originally started with Metallica back in the early 80s, before being kicked out of the band for allegedly being too wild…
Ayreon – The Human Equation (album) ~ An intriguing prog rock experiment, Ayreon is a rotating super group of instrumentalists and vocalists all led by composer Arjen Anthony Lucassen. Each album features different talent from other progressive rock and metal groups, and the album’s sci-fi concepts deal with a single story spanning the past and the far future. Specifically, The Human Equation‘s storyline deals with a man in a coma struggling to survive. In order to live, the man must relive his whole life, all of the decisions and mistakes he has made, and reconcile them with his present. The music is wide-ranging and heavy on lyrics and song length. Every Ayreon provides its own unique experience and all are worth a listen, if only to stretch one’s definitions of how concept albums can be conceived and what bands can be capable of.
Spock’s Beard – Snow (album) ~ Prog rock with a heart of gold. Spock’s Beard was introduced to me near the end of high school and I never forgot my first listen to Snow. Another story-based concept album about a strange savior, these highly variable tracks comprise a clear coming of age hopefulness.
Hibernal – Replacements (album) ~ More story-based prog rock, I discovered this band through an algorithm-based Spotify recommendation. Ambient and futuristic, this solo project by Mark Healy presents high concept science fiction tales mixing music with character voiceovers in the vain of Philip K. Dick or Isaac Asimov novels. Each of these albums will take you on a journey. I recommend the listens on plane rides or road trips.
A Tribe Called Quest – Dis Generation ~ Jazzy and cerebral hip hop. Introduced to this band while randomly hearing a track of theirs from the 90s at a party. Reminded me of Wu-Tang Clan and I had to delve their music. Just so happens, soon after, they came back from a long hiatus to release their stellar final album in 2016, We Got It From Here … Thank You 4 Your Service.
Circa Survive – Indra’s Net ~ Post-punk rock with unique vocals. Every song from their albums bleed into the next, but each is consistently good. The lead singer Anthony Green often sounds as though he is fighting to survive as he sings…
Intronaut – Fast Worms ~ Experimental post metal, brutal and beautiful. Intronaut is difficult to describe. Their sound and song/album composition runs a gamut between heavy metal and post-rock with experimental feels to it. The vocalist transitions between screams and sings with ease. They speak of prehistory and deep time and the ancient beings of the earth.
The War on Drugs – Thinking Of A Place ~ Indie rock. Soft and simple, yet powerful when it settles upon you, this band is for night driving and thinking about your entire life to.
Cigarettes After Sex – K. ~ Ambient pop. Dream-like ambience, this band was a gift from the show Killing Eve. From one of the very first episodes, I could’t fire up my Shazam fast enough. Fitting to the show and the band’s name, their music is a beautiful unfolding of relaxed yet estranged emotional qualia; ethereal yet still easy to enjoy.
Carly Rae Jepsen – Run Away With Me ~ Pop overflowing with heartfelt sentiment. Carly makes consistently irresistible tunes for the imaginative romantic. Her last two albums feature a depth to them not often found in the pop arena.
Grimes – Belly of the Beat ~ Dark pop. The mixing and matching of bubblegum poppy sound + dark, cybernetic ambience and lyrical content of Grimes is powerful for reasons one cannot articulate without listening to her albums. I have, and she has left me no choice but to stan.
The 1975 – The Sound ~ Art pop. Experimental & catchy with compelling lyrics, this is pop music for the existentially disillusioned, i.e. most everyone in modernia.
Caroline Polachek – So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings ~ Experimental pop. Just listen to her, watch her. Spectacular. I don’t have anything else to say here.
Radiohead – Paranoid Android ~ Art rock. Profound rock auras for the wonderers and wanderers.
Frank Ocean – Nights ~ Avant-garde R&B. Introspective and layered, every Frank Ocean song is a singular work of art. Crafted as emotional releases, every line on his tracks feels as though they hold some multiplicity of meaning, dually-purposeful between the creator and any given listener.
Lana Del Rey – Mariners Apartment Complex ~ Beauty in the form of music. Discovered this year, this song is legitimately one of the best songs I’ve heard in my life. Powerful, meaningful, beautiful. It’s the only way to describe her music. Her 2019 album Norman Fucking Rockwell! is a masterpiece and everyone should be listening to it!
Kacey Musgraves – Oh, What A World ~ Cosmic country. She broke me and has made me into a country music fan… Or rather, at the least a wholehearted Kacey Musgraves fan. Her album Golden Hour is a masterwork, full of beautiful track after track. Her lyrics range from love, to life, to the conditions of the world and the human condition, thusly explaining why some might call it “cosmic country.” Simply, she has one of the best voices I’ve ever heard.
ISIS – Panopticon (album) ~ World metal. This is one of my favorite bands. Ambient post-metal, ISIS (named after the Egyptian goddess of the magic and motherhood) is difficult to describe without having heard them, and I qualify their presence on this playlist and none of the others because they deserve a playlist or piece of their own, much like Tool and much like the final artist on this list … (all of which will be coming in 2020). Including them as now as a tidbit for posterity. Their sound is all about the layers and the atmosphere and the sheer presence of the instrumentation. That’s the name of the game. Panopticon is my favorite of theirs, but they have four perfect albums, all of which should be listened to in their entirety before judgments are cast. ISIS is the definition of an acquired taste, but damn it’s a good one.
David Bowie – Moonage Daydream / Ashes to Ashes / Lazarus ~ Alien art rock.
Can’t pick just one song or one album or one image to portray Bowie. This year, out of interest in the legend, and from my previous experiences with his music being merely intriguing, I made a concerted effort to dive into this man’s discography. And it all became clear, the man, myth, legend – it’s all true. Considered one of the most influential artists in the 20th century, one of the G.O.A.T.’s in the pantheon of music, David Bowie had a career of relevant masterworks spanning over four decades. Exploring varieties of genres, beginning in the late 60s with Major Tom and ending in 2016 with Blackstar and his death at the age of 69, his body of work is among the most impressive of the rock legends that we revere, if not the best. This year has made me a super fan and there’s no going back for me. Bowie’s music has changed my life. It has inspired me, and he has been a genuine light in dark times. This isn’t the last I have to say about him or his music. He may be gone, but to me and many others, his legacy is immortal.