This year, music and I needed to have a chat. I’ve always been an active participant in music — singing rowdy sea shanties with my family since before I can remember, writing and performing my own songs for over 20 years, and attending beautiful slap-dash shows in improbable venues. This year, however, thanks to my dumb irreplaceable back and all of its nebulous, painful parts, I’ve had to adjust to life on a more horizontal plane. I haven’t been able to attend and perform all the shows I wanted to, which is a bummer, but I’ve had a lot more time to listen, which is a cool consolation.
This year I listened to thousands of new artists and tens of thousands of tracks across genres (skewing heavy on the independent women-fronted irreverent folky punky freaky acts as per my personal preference), and wanted to share some really great ones. Below are the 353 tracks by 278 artists that were my favorites released in 2019. You can also listen to a Spotify playlist of 600+ of my favorite tracks of 2017-2019 here (I widened my margin to three years because this is the first time I’ve done a yearly run-down), but not all tracks are available on Spotify.
Happy New Year! I hope you find some new music that you love!
(Quick note: I’m doing this purely for the fun of it. If you enjoy this list and are feeling generous, check out my band Django Moves to Portland‘s track I’m a Bear, sign up to our mailing list here, or feel free to Venmo me a buck at @Hannah-Werdmuller.)
Hannah Werdmuller’s favorite tracks of 2019:
0 – A:
*repeat repeat (Nashville, TN) – Apocalyptic, indie pop from the album Glazed.
A Giant Dog (Austin, TX) – The Well and the Lighthouse, and No Cars Go, garage rock from the album Neon Bible.
Actionesse (Seattle, WA) – Self-Subterfuge, hard rock with a horn section from the album The Deep, Bridge Below.
Afrofunk Experience (San Francisco, CA) – Killer, afrofunk single.
Emily Afton (Oakland, CA) – Back in San Francisco, indie pop from the single Thinkin Bout You.
Alice Phoebe Lou (Cape Town, South Africa) – Skin Crawl, dreampop from the album Paper Castles.
Alien Birth (Philadelphia, PA) – Can’t Stand a Punisher (Can’t Stand Myself), hardcore punk from the EP Alien Birth.
Alih Jey & Cuñao (Los Angeles, CA) – Esperanza (ft. Jarina De Marco), Latin ballad from the album Soy de Peña.
Lex Allen (Milwaukee, WI) – I.D.E.N.T.I.T.Y., from the EP I.D.E.N.T.I.T.Y..
Annabel Allum (London, United Kingdom) – Altar to Alter, indie rock from the EP Gravel Not the Grave.
Najee Amaranth (Oakland, CA) – Shut Up, hip hop from the album Father of the Year.
And the Kids (Northampton, MA) – No Way Sit Back, indie from the album When This Life is Over.
Laura Jean Anderson (Los Angeles, CA) – Lonesome No More, and Who Am I to You, folk jazz from the EP Lonesome No More.
Nels Andrews (Santa Cruz, CA) – South of San Gregorio, folk pop from the album Pigeon and the Crow.
Apes of the State (Lancaster, PA) – Snowflake, and Internet Song, from the album Pipe Dream.
Anaís Azul (Boston, MA) – Healing, indie folk pop single.
Ariel View (Ontario, CA) – Pretty Flowers, New York, and Midnight, indie pop rock from the album Until My Lungs Are Cleared.