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Best of 2019: Staff Picks

Best of 2019 Staff Picks
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It was tough for the FUV Staff to narrow down our choices in this exceptional year for music, but you can find our favorite albums and songs of 2019 below. We want our listeners to choose the albums and songs they loved this year too—vote for your "Best of 2019" picks in our Listener Poll through December 13, 2019 at 11:59 p.m., EST.

Scroll through or pop down to: Rita Houston | Russ Borris | Corny O'Connell | Alisa Ali | Dennis Elsas | Eric Holland | Darren DeVivo | John Platt | Kara Manning | Paul Cavalconte | Sarah Wardrop | Eric Gottlieb | George Evans | Benham Jones | Caroline Shadood | Delphine Blue | Janet Bardini | Laura Fedele


 

Rita Houston

Top 10 Songs
1. Bakar, "Hell N Back"
2. Citizen Cope, "Justice"
3. Lizzo, "Juice"
4. The Highwomen, "Highwomen"
5. Rodrigo y Gabriela, "Echoes"
6. J.S. Ondara, "Saying Goodbye"
7. The Head and The Heart, "People Need a Melody"
8. The Waterboys, "Where the Action Is"
9. Mavis Staples, "Change"
10. David Gray, "The Sapling"

Top 10 Albums
1. King Princess, Cheap Queen
2. Brittany Howard, Jaime
3. Michael Kiwanuka, Kiwanuka
4. Rachael and Vilray, Rachael and Vilray
5. Yola, Walk Through Fire
6. Chrissie Hynde, Valve Bone Woe
7. Emily King, Scenery
8. The National, I Am Easy to Find
9. Bedouine, Bird Songs of a Killjoy
10. Calexico and Iron & Wine, Years to Burn

Discovery of the Year
Yola - So much lies ahead for this artist


 

Russ Borris

Top 10 Songs
(In alphabetical order)
1. (Sandy) Alex G, "Hope"
2. Billie Eilish, "Bad Guy"
3. Gary Clark Jr. "This Land"
4. Jonas Brothers, "Sucker"
5. Lizzo, "Juice"
6. Morrissey, "It's Over"
7. Seratones, "Gotta Get to Know Ya"
8. Sorry, "Right Round the Clock"
9. The National, "Not in Kansas"
10. White Reaper, "Might Be Right"

Top 10 Albums
1. Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Ghosteen
2. Orville Peck, Pony
3. Sturgill Simpson, Sound & Fury
4. Bruce Springsteen, Western Stars
5. Lana Del Rey, Norman Fucking Rockwell!
6. Strand of Oaks, Eraserland
7. Michael Kiwanuka, Kiwanuka
8. Sleater-Kinney, The Center Won't Hold
9. Weyes Blood, Titanic Rising
10. Brittany Howard, Jaime

Discovery of the Year
Orville Peck


 

Corny O'Connell

Top 10 Songs
(In no particular order)
1. Lizzo, "Juice"
2. Billie Eilish, "Bad Guy"
3. Jenny Lewis, "Red Bull & Hennessey"
4. Gary Clark Jr, "This Land"
5. The Black Keys, "Go"
6. Seratones, "Gotta Get to Know Ya"
7. Nilüfer Yanya, "In Your Head"
8. Devon Gilfillian, "Get Out and Get It"
9. Joseph, "Fighter"
10. Jesse Malin, "Room 13"

Top 10 Albums
(In no particular order)
1. Jenny Lewis, On the Line
2. Anderson.Paak, Ventura
3. Michael Kiwanuka, Kiwanuka
4. Bruce Springsteen, Western Skies
5. Sturgill Simpson, Sound & Fury
6. Tedeschi Trucks Band, Signs
7. Jesse Malin, Sunset Kids
8. The Waterboys, Where the Action Is
9. Chrissie Hynde, Valve Bone Woe
10. Marvin Gaye, You're The Man

Discovery of the Year
Devon Gilfillian


 

Alisa Ali

Top 10 Songs

(In no particular order)

1. Haim, "Summer Girl"
2. The New Pornographers, "Falling Down The Stairs Of Your Smile"
3. Tame Impala, "Patience"
4. Jay Som, "Super Bike"
5. Lee Fields & The Expressions, "It Rains Love"
6. Lizzo, "Juice"
7. Mattiel, "Keep the Change"
8. Temples, "You're Either On Something"
9. Sharon Van Etten, "Seventeen"
10. Brittany Howard, "Stay High"

Top 10 Albums

(In no particular order)

1. Lizzo, Cuz I Love You
2. Ex Hex, It's Real
3. Andrew Bird, My Finest Work Yet
4. The National, I Am Easy To Find
5. Jenny Lewis, On The Line
6. Sharon Van Etten, Remind Me Tomorrow
7. Big Thief, U.F.O.F.
8. Brittany Howard, Jaime
9. The New Pornographers, In The Morse Code of Brakelights
10. Nilüfer Yanya, Miss Universe

Discovery of the Year
Mattiel


 

Dennis Elsas

Top 10 Songs
(In no particular order)
1. Josh Ritter, "Old Black Magic"
2. The National, "Rylan"
3. Orville Peck, "Dead of Night"
4. Son Volt, "Devil May Care"
5. Seratones, "Gotta Get to Know Ya"
6. Strand of Oaks, "Ruby"
7. Bruce Springsteen, "Hello Sunshine"
8. Tedeschi Trucks Band, "Hard Case"
9. The Racounters, "Help Me Stranger"
10. Haim, "Summer Girl"

Top 10 Albums
(In no particular order)
1. Jenny Lewis, On The Line
2. Sturgill Simpson, Sound & Fury
3. Mavis Staples, We Get By
4. Vampire Weekend, Father of the Bride
5. Jeff Lynne’s ELO, From Out of Nowhere
6. The Avett Brothers, Closer Than Together
7. Bruce Springsteen, Western Skies
8. Beck, Hyperspace
9. The New Pornographers, In the Morse Code of Brakelights
10. The Head and the Heart, Living Mirage

Discovery of the Year
The Nude Party


 

Eric Holland

Top 10 Songs
1. New Pornographers, "Falling Down The Stairs Of Your Smile"
2. Charly Bliss, "Hard To Believe"
3. Seratones, "Gotta Get To Know Ya"
4. Lizzo, "Juice"
5. Jesse Malin, "Room 13"
6. Michael Kiwanuka, "Hero"
7. Big Thief, "Not"
8. Tame Impala, "Patience"
9. Beck, "Saw Lightning"
10. Gary Clark Jr, "This Land"

Top 10 Albums
1. Brittany Howard, Jaime
2. The Raconteurs, Help Us Stranger
3. Black Pumas, Black Pumas
4. Vampire Weekend, Father of the Bride
5. Nick Cave, Ghosteen
6. The Hold Steady, Thrashing Thru The Passion
7. Jenny Lewis, On The Line
8. Andrew Bird, My Finest Work Yet
9. Rodrigo y Gabriela, Mettavolution
10. Tedeschi Trucks Band, Signs

Discovery of the Year
Black Pumas


 

Darren DeVivo

Top 10 Songs
(In alphabetical order)
1. Better Oblivion Community Center, “Dylan Thomas," from Better Oblivion Community Center
2. Big Thief, “Not," from Two Hands
3. Haim, “Summer Girl"
4. Robyn Hitchcock and Andy Partridge, entire “Planet England” EP (four songs), “Planet England” EP
5. Nick Lowe, “Love Starvation," from “Love Starvation” / “Trombone” EP/single
6. Paul McCartney, "Home Tonight" 
7. Bruce Springsteen, “There Goes My Miracle," from Western Stars
8. The Waterboys, “Where The Action Is," from Where The Action Is
9. Whitney, “Giving Up," from Forever Turned Around
10. Wilco, “Everyone Hides," from Ode To Joy

Top 20 Albums
(In alphabetical order)
1. The Black Keys, Let’s Rock
2. The Claypool Lennon Delirium, South Of Reality
3. Mac DeMarco, Here Comes The Cowboy
4. The Dream Syndicate, These Times
5. Fastball, The Help Machine
6. Peter Frampton Band, All Blues
7. Joe Jackson, Fool
8. Michael Kiwanuka, Kiwanuka
9. John Mayall, Nobody Told Me
10. Van Morrison, Three Chords & The Truth
11. Bob Mould, Sunshine Rock
12. Alan Parsons, The Secret
13. The Raconteurs, Help Us Stranger
14. Tyler Ramsey, For the Morning
15. Robbie Robertson, Sinematic
16. Santana, Africa Speaks
17. Sturgill Simpson, Sound & Fury
18. Ringo Starr, What’s My Name
19. Mike Stern - Jeff Lorber Fusion, Eleven
20. Yola, Walk Through Fire

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Jeff Lynne’s ELO, From Out Of Nowhere; Pixies, Beneath The Eyrie; Gregg Rolie, Sonic Ranch; Robin Trower, Coming Closer To The Day; Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Colorado; The Bangles, The Three O’Clock, The Dream Syndicate, Rain Parade, 3x4

Discovery of the Year
Yola


 

John Platt

Top 10 Songs
(In no particular order)
1. Rising Appalachia (with Ani DiFranco), "Speak Out"
2. The Levins, "Brighter Day"
3. Bobtown, "No Man's Land"
4. Keb' Mo', "Put a Woman in Charge"
5. The Highwomen, "Redesigning Women"
6. Bruce Springsteen, "Hello Sunshine"
7. Amy Speace, "Grace of God"
8. Chris Stamey, "Manhattan Melody (That's My New York)"
9. The Lumineers, "Gloria"
10. Roger Street Friedman, "Sun Never Sets"

Top 10 Albums
(In alphabetical order)
1. Bobtown, Chasing the Sun
2. Alice Howe, Visions
3. Matt Nakoa, Casting Shadows
4. Our Native Daughters, Songs of Our Native Daughters
5. Ellis Paul, The Storyteller's Suitcase
6. John Ritter, Fever Breaks
7. The Small Glories, Assiniboine & the Red
8. Bruce Springsteen, Western Stars
9. Various Artists, Joni 75: A Joni Mitchell Birthday Celebration
10. Susan Werner, NOLA

Discovery of the Year
Willa Mamet - Captivated by her performances at Falcon Ridge and NERFA; look for a new album in the spring.


 

Kara Manning

Top 10 Songs
(In no order and in addition to album tracks)
1. Sampa the Great, "Freedom"
2. Lizzo, "Soulmate"
3. Dry Cleaning, "Sit Down Meal"
4. beabadoobee, "She Plays Bass"
5. Rosie Lowe, "The Way" (radio edit)
6. Bombay Bicycle Club, "Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)"
7. Billie Eilish, "Bad Guy"
8. Black Country, New Road, "Sunglasses"
9. Thom Yorke, "Dawn Chorus"
10. Victoria Hume, "Desert"

Top 12 Albums
(In no order)
1. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Ghosteen
2. Michael Kiwanuka, Kiwanuka
3. Little Simz, GREY Area
4. Underworld, Drift Series 1 [box set]
5. Fontaines D.C., Dogrel
6. Sampa the Great, The Return
7. Rachael Dadd, FLUX
8. Le SuperHomard, Meadow Lane Park
9. Vagabon, Vagabon
10. Francis Lung, A Dream Is U
11. Angel Olsen, All Mirrors
12. Sacred Paws, Run Around the Sun

Discovery of the Year
Dry Cleaning (London quartet that has released two witty, savage EPs this year), Le SuperHomard (euphoric French pop), and Joviale (Tottenham songwriter who intersects art-pop and jazz). 


 

Paul Cavalconte

Top 10 Songs
1. Yola, "Love All Night"
2. The Waterboys, "Where The Action Is"
3. Norah Jones with Mavis Staples, "I'll Be Gone"
4. Vampire Weekend, "Harmony Hall"
5. Josh Ritter (with Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit), "Old Black Magic"
6. The New Pornographers, "Falling Down The Stairs Of Your Smile"
7. The Cactus Blossoms, "Please Don't Call Me Crazy"
8. Big Thief, "Not"
9. Cigarettes After Sex, "Heavenly"
10. Hollis Brown, "Do Me Right"

Top 10 Albums
1. Yola, Walk Through Fire
2. Michael Kiwanuka, Kiwanuka
3. The Highwomen, The Highwomen
4. Lana Del Rey, Norman Fucking Rockwell!
5. Beirut, Gallipoli
6. Bruce Springsteen, Western Stars
7. Craig Finn, I Need A New War
8. The Waterboys, Where The Action Is
9. Andrew Bird, My Finest Work Yet
10. Big Thief, Two Hands

Discovery of the Year
Jade Bird


 

Sarah Wardrop

Top 10 Songs
(alphabetical, and aside from songs on my album picks)
1. Big Thief, "Cattails"
2. Mal Blum, "I Don't Want To"
3. Charly Bliss, "Young Enough"
4. Lula Wiles, "Shaking As It Turns"
5. Mattiel, "Keep The Change"
6. Josh Ritter, "Old Old Fashioned"
7. Sleater-Kinney, "Love"
8. SOAK, "Knock Me Off My Feet"
9. Strand of Oaks, "Forever Chords"
10. Adia Victoria, "Heathen"

Top 10 Albums
(alphabetical)
1. The Highwomen, The Highwomen
2. Brittany Howard, Jaime
3. Lizzo, Cuz I Love You
4. The New Pornographers, In the Morse Code of Brake Lights
5. Orville Peck, Pony
6. Seratones, Power
7. Tedeschi Trucks Band, Signs
8. Tegan & Sara, Hey, I'm Just Like You
9. Sharon Van Etten, Remind Me Tomorrow
10. Nilüfer Yanya, Miss Universe

Discovery of the Year
Orville Peck


 

Eric Gottlieb

Top 10 Songs
1. Emily King, "Look At Me Now"
2. Tame Impala, "Patience"
3. Weyes Blood, "Every Day"
4. Anderson.Paak featuring André 3000, "Come Home"
5. Bruce Springsteen, "Hello Sunshine"
6. Seratones, "Over You"
7. Solange featuring Playboi Carti, "Almeda"
8. Sturgill Simpson, "Sing Along"
9. Dylan LeBlanc, "Bang Bang Bang"
10. Mac DeMarco, "Choo Choo"

Top 10 Albums
1. Emily King, Scenery
2. Anderson.Paak, Ventura
3. Lana Del Ray, Norman F**king Rockwell!
4. Seratones, Power
5. Sturgill Simpson, Sound and Fury
6. Adia Victoria, Different Kind of Love
7. Weyes Blood, Titanic Rising
8. Dylan LeBlanc, Renegade
9. Marvin Gaye, You're The Man
10. Faye Webster, Atlanta Millionaires Club

Discovery of the Year
Yola


 

George Evans

Top 10 Songs
1. Tame Impala, "Patience (and "It Might Be Time")
2. Haim, "Summer Girl"
3. Caamp, "Peach Fuzz"
4. Cage The Elephant, "Social Cues"
5. Black Pumas, "Colors"
6. Yola, "Love All Night"
7. The Nude Party, "Feels Alright"
8. Seratones, "Over You"
9. Brittany Howard, "Stay High" (and "He Loves Me"!)
10. Orville Peck, "Dead of Night"

Top 10 Albums
1. Black Pumas, Black Pumas
2. Cage The Elephant, Social Cues
3. Brittany Howard, Jaime
4. Big Thief,  U.F.O.F.
5. Lizzo, Cuz I Love You
6. Orville Peck, Pony
7. Beirut, Gallipoli
8. Seratones, Power
9. Yola, Walk Through Fire
10. The Head and The Heart, Living Mirage
The number one album should be Tame Impala's Slow Rush,  but he's too frickin' slow to release it until 2020!

Discovery of the Year
Yola


 

Benham Jones

Top 10 Songs
(In alphabetical order; excludes songs from album picks)
1. Billie Eilish, "Bad Guy"
2. Caribou, "Home"
3. Caroline Polachek, "Hit Me Where It Hurts"
4. Davis Galvin, "Waterbody"
5. Faye Webster, "Kingston" (Song of the year!)
6. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, "Real's Not Real"
7. Lana Del Rey, "hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have"
8. Megan Thee Stallion, "Cash Sh*t"
9. Orville Peck, "Turn to Hate"
10. Thom Yorke, "Dawn Chorus"

Top 10 Albums
(In alphabetical order)
1. Angel Olson, All Mirrors
2. Arthur Russel, Iowa Songs
3. Big Thief, U.F.O.F.
4. Brittany Howard, Jaime
5. J-Zbel, Dog's Fart Is So Bad The Cat Throws Up
6. James Blake, Assumes Form
7. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Ghosteen
8. Ohtis, Curve of Earth  (Album of the year!)
9. Sharon Van Etten, Remind Me Tomorrow
10. The Shivers, I'm On Your Side

Discovery of the Year
Faye Webster


 

Caroline Shadood

Top 10 Songs
1. Nilüfer Yanya, "In Your Head"
2. Lizzo (feat. Missy Elliott), "Tempo"
3. Marika Hackman, "The One"
4. Mal Blum, "I Don't Want To"
5. Weyes Blood, "Everyday"
6. Faye Webster, "Kingston"
7. Hand Habits, "can't calm down"
8. Mattiel, "Keep the Change"
9. Bedouine, "Echo Park"
10. Jenny Hval, "Ashes To Ashes"

Top 10 Albums
1. Hand Habits, placeholder
2. Angel Olsen, All Mirrors
3. Mal Blum, Pity Boy
4. Cherry Glazerr, Stuffed & Ready
5. Tacocat, This Mess is a Place
6. Sneaks, Highway Hypnosis
7. Lizzo, Cuz I Love You
8. Marika Hackman, Any Human Friend
9. Black Belt Eagle Scout, At The Party With My Brown Friends
10. Bedouine, Bird Songs of a Kill Joy

Discovery of the Year
Faye Webster


 

Delphine Blue

Top 10 Songs
In no particular order (except the first two really are the two best songs of the year)
1. Sturgill Simpson, "Sing Along"
2. Billie Eilish, "Bad Guy"
3. Spiritualized, "A Perfect Miracle"
4. Liam Gallagher, "Shockwave"
5. Yola, "Rock Me Gently"
6. FKA Twigs, "Home With You"
7. King Princess, "Hit The Back"
8. Chrissie Hynde, "How Glad I Am"
9. Taylor Swift, "Lover"
10. Ex Hex, "Tough Enough"

Top 10 Albums
(In no particular order)
1. Nick Cave, Ghosteen
2. Fat White Family, Serfs Up
3. Seratones, Power
4. Angelique Kidjo, Celia
5. Preservation Hall Jazz Band, A Tuba For Cuba
6. Angel Olsen, All Mirrors
7. Tinariwen, Amadjar
8. Lizzo, Cuz I Love You
9. Peter Perrett, Humanworld
10. Fontaines D.C., Dogrel

Discovery of the Year
Daymé Arocena


 

Janet Bardini

Top 10 Songs
1. Andrew Bird, "Olympians"
A great songwriter and he never disappoints.
2. Beirut, "Landslide"
I can play this song over and over.
3. Big Thief, "Century."
I am so glad that I have this band in my library.
4. Yola, "Rock Me Gently."
I love her vocals.
5. Weyes Blood, "Something To Believe."
She's unique and ethereal.
6. The Waterboys, "Where the Action Is."
A great songwriter and band.
7. The Head and the Heart, "Missed Connection."
I love the la la la las!
8. Strand of Oaks, "Ruby"
He's great songwriter
9. Lizzo, "Juice"
This single makes you want to shake your booty.
10. Gary Clark Jr, "This Land"
Long live rock!

Top 10 Albums
1. Beirut, Gallipoli 
Dreamy songs, through and through.
2. Big Thief, U.F.O.F.
Adrianne Lenker's vocals are divine.
3. Yola, Walk Through Fire 
A dynamic debut
4. Mavis Staples, We Get By 
A classic!
5. Weyes Blood, Titanic Rising
She proves that girls rule.
6. Lizzo, Cuz I Love You
Great dance tunes.
7. Josh Ritter (with Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit),  Fever Breaks
Josh knows how to write a song.
8. Andrew Bird, My Finest Work Yet
Andrew is a phenomenal songwriter and performer
9. Lana Del Rey, Norman F**king Rockwell!
I'm a big fan of hers.
10. Angie McMahon, Salt
A stunning debut!

Discovery of the Year
Yola - I can't wait to hear more from her.


 

Laura Fedele

Top 10 Songs
1. Lizzo, "Juice"
2. Big Thief, "Not"
3. Gary Clark Jr., "This Land"
4. Maggie Rogers, "Light On"
5. Lana Del Rey, "Doin' Time"
6. Emily King, "Look At Me Now"
7. Andrew Bird, "Sisyphus"
8. Patty Griffin, "Where I Come From"
9. Sheryl Crow, "Everything Is Broken"
10. Jenny Lewis, "Wasted Youth"

Top 10 Albums
1. The National, I Am Easy To Find
2. Brittany Howard, Jaime
3. Yola, Walk Through Fire
4. David Gray, Gold In A Brass Age
5. Calexico [+] Iron & Wine, Years To Burn
6. Michael Kiwanuka, Kiwanuka
7. Citizen Cope, Heroin and Helicopters
8. The Head And The Heart, Living Mirage
9. Vampire Weekend, Father of The Bride
10. Elbow, Giants of All Sizes

Discovery of the Year
Yola