Revealed - Our Staff Albums of the Year for 2019!

As the year (and the decade) comes to a close, we bring you what you really want. The Rough Trade Staff Albums of the Year has long been a 'fan' favorite, offering up all the insight, intrigue and infatuation a visit to our shop floor delivers. We're proud to have such a knowledgable staff at Rough Trade, all with their very own talents, tastes, quirks and perks. Scroll down and let us know who most matches you're own list.

Thank you for visiting us this year! We'll see you in 2020.

Adrian

A lot can happen in 13 years. Things can change and they can grow into something you don’t recognize or relate to. Not the case here. Tool have slowly evolved over their long career and have done it naturally while becoming master musicians in the process. This album is a welcome addition to my collection and it will stay with me forever just as their whole discography does. If you haven’t seen them live. Do it. Their ability to update and change their songs into something new and exciting is mind blowing.

  1. Tool - Fear Inoculum
  2. Russian Circles - Blood Year
  3. Uniform & The Body - Everything That Dies Someday Comes Back
  4. Pelican - Nighttime Stories
  5. Full Of Hell - Weeping Choir
  6. Eneferens - The Bleakness Of Our Constant
  7. Earth - Full Upon Her Burning Lips
  8. Sunn O))) - Life Metal
  9. Boris - Love & Evol
  10. Blood Incantation - Hidden History Of The Human Race

Get Adrian's favorite titles of 2019 here.

Cameron

Young Guv, perhaps an unassuming top choice, especially when stacked against the other heavyweights of this list, but alas, this one just really hit me. Originally released as two separate albums, but was repackaged by Run For Cover Records as a double LP as the artist originally intended. Catch some serious Teenage Fanclub/Big Star vibes that make all four sides of this a true treat.

  1. Young Guv - Guv 1 & 2
  2. Purple Mountains - Purple Mountains
  3. Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow
  4. Weyes Blood - Titanic Rising
  5. Sheer Mag - A Distant Call
  6. Vampire Weekend - Father Of The Bride
  7. Chromatics - Closer To Grey
  8. Angel Olsen - All Mirrors
  9. Orville Peck - Pony
  10. Amyl & The Sniffers - Amyl & The Sniffers

Get Cameron's favorite titles of 2019 here.

Crystal

  1. Altin Gun - Gece
  2. L’épée - Diabolique
  3. Sachiko Kanenoubu - Misora (reissue)
  4. Lightning Bolt - Sonic Citadel
  5. Mdou Moctar - llana
  6. Kim Gordon - No Home Record
  7. Sault - 5
  8. The Mystery Lights - Too Much Tension!
  9. Dj Haram - Grace EP
  10. Crass Reissues

Get Crystal's favorite titles of 2019 here.

Dennis

My top 10 represent the albums that received the most airtime in my personal life outside of the shop with my key listening time on subways, buses and walking around the city. Like my all-time favorite albums, I hope this new batch will stay with me throughout time. I’m pretty sure I’ll be taking the Ex Hex album with me to my grave. Most of my personal picks share the characteristics of memorable hooks and catchy melodies, but then again sometimes I might need a virtual punch in the face (Amyl and the Sniffers) or to take a spontaneous musical trip into new territories (Mdou Moctar). After seeing Cate Le Bon, one of my favorite live shows this year, her new album Reward instantly turned to gold for me. My number 10 pick is a guest entry from former Rough Trader and record store legend Mel. She recommends the excellent Kankyo Ongaku: Japanese Ambient & New Age Music Collection. It's a minimal, ambient, avant-garde, and New Age set which can be described as kankyō ongaku or environmental music. Ah, take me away.

  1. Ex Hex – It’s Real
  2. Andrew Combs – Ideal Man
  3. Cate Le Bon – Reward
  4. Young Guv – Guv I & II
  5. Mountain Goats - In League with Dragons
  6. Amyl and the Sniffers – Amyl and the Sniffers
  7. Mdou Moctar – Ilana The Creator
  8. Delines – The Imperial
  9. Muffs – No Holiday
  10. Kankyo Ongaku - Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990

Get Dennis' favorite titles of 2019 here.

Dima

I was pretty new to KKB when Time ‘n’ Place arrived last January, but I’ve already started frantically consuming all their previous catalog before its release. This record was a departure from their j-pop influences and leaned more heavily towards their British/shoegazer/dreamy tendencies mixed in with great pop song writing. I was a bit thrown off at first because I’ve grown to love their more electronic bi-lingual jams, but I was quickly charmed by a more band oriented direction. Also just more naturally evolved mature song writing. Sarah’s voice sits perfectly on top of creative lush production. Each track is a gem and could hold their own as singles, but also weaves an emotional journey when strung together. A+

  1. Kero Kero Bonito - Time ‘n’ Place
  2. LCD Soundsystem - Electric Lady Sessions
  3. Moon Duo - Stars Are The Light
  4. Tool - Fear Inoculum
  5. Prince - Originals
  6. Snapped Ankles - Stunning Luxury
  7. Mark Guiliana - Beat Music!
  8. Purple Mountains - Purple Mountains
  9. Van Goose - Habitual Eater
  10. Exhumed - Horror

Get Dima's favorite titles of 2019 here.

Ed Zed

Behold Essaka Hoisa, the long-awaited new album from WaqWaq Kingdom - a shimmering rainbow of left field electronic pop, traditional Japanese min'yō, techno, bass music and so much more. Kiki Hitomi’s sublime vocals soar triumphantly above a glorious array of globe-hopping rhythms, lighting our very souls with its cry of 'essaka hoisa', a phrase once used by kago carriers to buoy spirits under great burden - exceptionally poignant in Kiki's own modern milieu. A beautiful, sumptuous work in every regard - grab it while it you can.

  1. WaqWaq Kingdom - Essaka Hoisa
  2. TRjj - Music Compilation: 12 Dances
  3. Sneaks - Highway Hypnosis
  4. Carla dal Forno - Look Up Sharp
  5. Roy Garrett and Man Parrish - Hot Rod to Hell
  6. Akiko Haruna - Delusions
  7. FKA Twigs - Magdalene
  8. DJ Nigga Fox - Cartas Na Manga
  9. Exhumed - Horror
  10. Ka Baird - Respires

Get Ed Zed's favorite titles of 2019 here.

Fiona

IGOR was by far my favourite album this year. Not only was it his first #1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, but it is also his most unapologetically personal. Love songs are far from a new phenomenon, but Tyler takes a new turn as he uses the 12 tracks to grapple with love, loss, and the shitty feeling of unrequited intimacy. I've been a fan of Tyler since his 2009 mixtape, so to see his sound and experimentation evolve is really cool.

  1. Tyler, The Creator - IGOR
  2. Anderson .Paak - Ventura
  3. The Black Keys - Let's Rock
  4. Fontaines D.C. - Dogrel
  5. Slowthai - Nothing Great About Britain
  6. James Blake - Assume Form
  7. Earl Sweatshirt - Some Rap Songs
  8. !!! - Wallop
  9. Danny Brown - uknowhatimsayin¿
  10. Brittany Howard - Jaime

Get Fiona's favorite titles of 2019 here.

Garrett

While a top 20 list might be easy, narrowing that list to 10 albums was brutal. Even more brutal was picking just one for that top spot. I probably listened to Enderness the most. The Flower and the Vessel and I Was Real were the most musically adventurous. Angel Bat Dawid and Matana Roberts put out two of the best jazz albums I’ve heard in a long time. The catchy Power Chords affects me the most personally. But the late-in-the-year contender, Moor Mother’s Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes, is my #1 for 2019. Under her Moor Mother moniker, Camae Ayewa and collaborators deftly blend noise, punk, techno, jazz, spoken word, and samples in a time-traveling confrontation with America’s violent history and its ripples across space and time into black families, communities, memories, and cultures. Drawing upon her work with the Black Quantum Futurism collective, Ayewa demands a reckoning with the atrocities of our past and present, while insisting on their inseparability from alternative futures that are both necessary and possible. The most visceral, most essential, most powerful album of 2019.

  1. Moor Mother – Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes
  2. Carla dal Forno – Look Up Sharp
  3. Felicia Atkinson – The Flower and the Vessel
  4. A.A. Bondy – Enderness
  5. Angel Bat Dawid – The Oracle
  6. Mike Krol – Power Chords
  7. Matana Roberts – COIN COIN Chapter Four: Memphis
  8. Jenny Hval – The Practice of Love
  9. 75 Dollar Bill – I Was Real
  10. Parsnip – When The Tree Bears Fruit

Get Garrett's favorite titles of 2019 here.

George

2019 has easily been one of the most challenging years of my life, and after friends and family, I always find music to be the best shoulder to lean on.  Subsequently, many of my picks this year are laced with a similar gentle melancholy, a sound that offered me some sweet comfort through the year.  But perhaps the album that managed to hit those chords best for me, but also offer an optimistic vision of the future is Helado Negro’s beautiful album This Is How You Smile.  Roberto Carlos Lange has once again lent his easy croon to a set of gorgeous songs that seem to perpetually glimmer in the sun.  Poetic, evocative and smile inducing, regardless of how bad a year you’ve had.

  1. Helado Negro - This Is How You Smile
  2. Golden Daze - Simpatico
  3. Jay Som - Anak Ko
  4. Bobby Oroza - This Love
  5. Charlie Megira - Tomorrow’s Gone (reissue)
  6. Grace Ives - 2nd
  7. Jessica Pratt - Quiet Signs
  8. Kit Sebastian - Mantra Moderne
  9. Purple Mountains - Purple Mountains
  10. Benny Sings - City Pop

Honorable Mention: Dehd, Sasami, Chris Cohen, Toro Y Moi, Ride, Big Thief, Tennis System.

Get George's favorite titles of 2019 here.

Jack

French Darkwave Musician, Cardinal & Nun debut four song EP, “I Met The Devil” is a compilation of chilling and haunting synth face punching sounds with a twist. Out on Brooklyn techno label L.I.E.S. (Long Island Electrical Systems), Cardinal & Nun delivers a bone rattling dose of synths, metallic reverberating drum machines and raw deranged yet humanistic vocals. L.I.E.S description sums it up perfectly, “Think Screamers meet Chrome meet Liasions with a healthy dose of southern California gutter punks on meth and you're in the right place. Marseille is where it is all happening right now and this is a documented confirmation of it!”

  1. Cardinal and Nun - Cardinal and Nun
  2. Charlie Megira - Tomorrow’s Gone
  3. Kamikaze Palm Tree - Good Boy
  4. Equiknoxx - Eternal Children
  5. Lightning Bolt - Sonic Citadel
  6. The Comes - No Side (reissue)
  7. Universal Togetherness Band- Dreamality/ Lucky Stars (7”)
  8. Cate le bon - Reward
  9. Kim Gordon - No Home
  10. Spelling - Mazy Fly

Get Jack's favorite titles of 2019 here.

Janie

We got some good ones out of 2019. My highlights are Blood Orange’s Angel Pulse, Steve Gunn’s The Unseen In Between, Jay Som’s Anak Ko, Purple Mountains’ self-titled, and Helado Negro’s This Is How You Smile. Each bring different sounds and styles to the table, from Steve Gunn’s folky guitar to Dev Hynes (Blood Orange)’s soulful crooning. However, thematically these albums share a sense of finding hope, peace, and acceptance even in times of darkness, which is exactly what we needed this year.

  1. Blood Orange - Angel’s Pulse
  2. Steve Gunn - The Unseen In Between
  3. Jay Som - Anak Ko
  4. Purple Mountains - Purple Mountains
  5. Helado Negro - This Is How You Smile
  6. Craig Finn - I Need A New War
  7. Weeping Icon - Weeping Icon
  8. Cate Le Bon - Reward
  9. Sandro Perri - Soft Landing
  10. Sofia Bolt - Waves

Get Janie's favorite titles of 2019 here.

Jen

To listen to the music of Ahmad Jamal is to become a student of the world of space that exists between notes. It is from within that mysterious space that song is born, and Jamal is beloved for exploring it in its totality. His masterful ability to access such a rich expressive landscape (from using gentle to fierce dynamics) as well as rhythmic landscape (from crooning patient, single-note melodies to striking percussive chords) is what endows Jamal’s playing with that special quality of being able to imply sound through silence, cadence through pause, abundance through restraint. Ballades features the same kinetic energy that Jamal is legendary for offering as a bandleader, but distilled and drawn ever-inward towards the nucleus from which it originates, like a planetary satellite coming to rest in its own orbit. Through shedding all other instrumentation (with the exception of his long-time bassist who appears on a few tracks with immaculate timing and delicacy), what ultimately becomes revealed is that singular, expressive voice which paradoxically and yet so naturally encompasses the whole. There is an enchanting vulnerability that attracts many of us to the solo material of musicians whose voices we are used to hearing in a larger context, and that Jamal has offered Ballades — his first album of this kind — at the age of 89 is a humbling testament to so many beautiful truths, not the least of which is the fact that we simply don’t have to run out of ideas as we get older. It is an antidote to the mythology that aging artists must repeat old tricks to maintain their legacy. And it is the intimate sound of a human soul discovering the infinite ways in which they can become their own accompaniment. Thank you, and we love you, Ahmad Jamal.

  1. Ahmad Jamal - Ballades
  2. Marvin Gaye - You’re The Man
  3. Mdou Moctar - Ilana (The Creator)
  4. Exhumed - Horror
  5. Charlie Megira - Tomorrow’s Gone
  6. The House Guests - My Mind Set Me Free
  7. Various Artists - Soul Jazz Records Presents Fashion Records: Style & Fashion
  8. Animal Collective - Ballet Slippers
  9. Lightning Bolt - Sonic Citadel
  10. Thom Yorke - Anima

Get Jen's favorite titles of 2019 here.

Jill

  1. Angel Olsen - All Mirrors
  2. Ohtis - Curve of Earth
  3. Stella Donnelly - Beware of the Dogs
  4. Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow
  5. Big Thief - Two Hands
  6. Purple Mountains - Purple Mountains
  7. Michael Kiwanuka - Kiwanuka
  8. LCD Soundsystem - Electric Lady Sessions
  9. Wilco - Ode to Joy
  10. Tyler Childers - Country Squire

Honorable Mentions: AA Bondy, Weyes Blood, Drugdealer, Sturgill Simpson, Faye Webster, Jay Som

Get Jill's favorite titles of 2019 here.

Lio

Picking only ten records each year is super hard as it’s close to impossible for me to only fall in love with ten new records each year. But after long nights full of pints to help me out, I narrowed it down to these top ten mainly because they continue to never leave my turntable side and the songs are always stuck in my head. My number one pick is TALLIES. Combining up-beat drum beats, melodic bass riffs, jingly guitar leads, and fluttery lighter-than-air vocals, Tallies gives out a soft, yet bouncy ray of sunshine not unlike The Sundays’ debut album ‘Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic’. Their guitar work reminds me a ton of Johnny Marr(The Smiths) which makes it easy to sway around the room or indie dance floor. And Sarah, the lead singer’s, voice is like an indie angel that fell down to Earth, in Toronto to be exact. Her voice gives me the same warm and fuzzy feeling that I get when I’m listening to ‘Heaven or Las Vegas’ from The Cocteau Twins, so its super easy to see why I love this record so much.

  1. Tallies – Tallies
  2. Mick Trouble – Heres The Mick Trouble
  3. Everything But The Girl – Walking Wounded (reissue)
  4. Sports Team – Making Hay
  5. Jeanines – Jeanines
  6. Honey Lung – Memory
  7. Feet – What’s Inside Is More Than Just Ham
  8. Garden Centre - A Moon For Digging
  9. The Murder Capital – When I Have Fears
  10. Ty Segall – First Taste

Get Lio's favorite titles of 2019 here.

Miles

Perhaps somewhat predictably, LCD's comeback album American Dream was for me, like almost every reviewer and End of Year Poll, THE album of 2017 so it's no surprise that this, their second Live-In-A-Studio album (after 2010's often underrated London Sessions) wins for this year. Worth it for the cover versions - Human League, Chic and Heaven 17, the 8-piece live band interpretations of 6 of American Dreams' 10 tracks which sound fuller and punchier, plus a few older LCD cuts re-imagined, all recorded via the analogue warmth of NY's Electric Lady(land) studios. One can only imagine that their comeback shows at Brooklyn Steel sounded this good, but as all 5 nights (9000 tickets) sold out in about 20 seconds while I was in a virtual waiting room I will never know for sure...

  1. LCD Soundsystem - Electric Lady Sessions
  2. Yeule - Serotonin II
  3. The Juan MacLean - The Brighter the Light
  4. Ride - This Is Not a Safe Place
  5. Holy Ghost! - Work
  6. Elizabeth Colour Wheel - Nocebo
  7. Television Personalities - Some Kind of Happening: Singles 1978-1989 & Some Kind of Trip: Singles 1990-1994
  8. Kazu - Adult Baby
  9. New Order + Liam Gillick -  ∑(No,12k,Lg,17Mif) New Order + Liam Gillick: So It Goes..
  10. Wild Billy Childish & CTMF - Last Punk Standing

Get Miles' favorite titles of 2019 here.

Nathan

These are the albums that rocked me in 2019. Lots of heavy music but also some light. I admit that this is not the most well rounded list but I can assure you that it's honest. I recommend that you to spark up some palo santo, lay down on the floor, shuffle the songs from these ten albums, and press play. Only after doing this will you awaken from the dream of existence and enter the multidimensional nature of our true reality.

  1. Joana Brouk - The Space Between
  2. Laurie Spiegel - The Expanding Universe
  3. Marvin Gaye - You’re the Man
  4. Susana Estrada - Amor Y Libertad
  5. Superstition - The Anatomy Of Unholy Transformation
  6. Blood Incantation - Hidden History of the Human Race
  7. Yellow Eyes - Rare Field Ceiling
  8. Dismal Stars - Genie
  9. Mort Garson - Plantasia
  10. Weyes Blood - Titanic Rising

Get Nathan's favorite titles of 2019 here.

Ski

at #1 is a new project from Anton of The Brian Jonestown Massacre with help from none other than The Luminanas; #2 is top notch indie pop to end your decade; at #3 the thrashing twosome tears it up; with #4 the former Cabaret Voltaire frontman creates electro-new beat classic; for #5 the ex-Sonic Youth bassist still has her own tuff gnarl and we NEED it; #6 is a beautiful blend of Tom Waits meets Serge Gainsbourg; with #7 my favorite dark synth duo delivers again; #8 is the quirky, punky, dancey, funky mix we all want; for #9 I can honestly say 13 years is well worth the wait; and at #10 Saint Nick touches the soul!!!

  1. L’épée - Diabolique
  2. Ride - This Is Not A Safe Place
  3. Lightning Bolt - Sonic Citadel
  4. Stephen Mallinder - Um Dada
  5. Kim Gordon - No Home Record
  6. Mike Patton/Jean-Claude Vannier - Corpse Flower
  7. Boy Harsher - Careful
  8. Snapped Ankles - Stunning Luxury
  9. Tool - Fear Inoculum
  10. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Ghosteen

Get Ski's favorite titles of 2019 here.

Stewart

This year's list has seen a lot of jostling, but nothing could shake the # 1 pick, who is also featured on another record on this list. I have focused mostly on the metallic side as it does not get nearly enough attention otherwise, so I have not listed Michael Kiwanuka, Rustin Man, Penguin Cafe, or Nerija. A few have been listed elsewhere. Anyway...

  1. Gaahls Wyrd - Ghosts Invited
  2. Heilung - Futha
  3. Saor - Forgotten Paths
  4. Yellow Eyes - Rare Field Ceiling
  5. Obsequiae - The Palms of Sorrowed Kings
  6. Weyes Blood - Titanic Rising
  7. Dead to A Dying World - Elegy
  8. Mizmor - Cairn
  9. Dreadnought - Emergence
  10. Lindy-Fay Hella - Seafarer

Get Stewart's favorite titles of 2019 here.

Tiffany

2019 was full of fierce bops; As Rough Trade’s Dance wall hero, I listened to hours and hours of bleep bloopy techno, so that you didn’t have to! Amongst the heady gems I picked out, my favorite albums of this year ranged from goofy Italian new wave pop, freaky avant-electro, and of course, lots of chill beats to study to <:~)

  1. Ruins - Occasional Visits
  2. Isabella - Rodeo Sound
  3. Anthony Naples -  Fog FM
  4. Ka Baird - Respires
  5. Cucina Povera - Zoom
  6. Various - Outro Tempo II: Electronic and Contemporary Music From Brazil 1984 - 1996
  7. IXNA - Knotpop
  8. Beat Detectives - NYPD Records Volume 3: Nefertiti Abstract Movie
  9. Philip Sanderson - One Of These Bends
  10. Trjj - Music Compilation: 12 Dances

Get Tiffany's favorite titles of 2019 here.

Tommy

A mere fraction of what was good... One of my favorite Rough Trade memories was a few years ago on a Saturday afternoon when Big Thief came to load out their gear from the venue while I was coincidentally spinning their latest record in the store. They came to the counter and were so kind and sweet and I felt like we had given them one of those movie moments when the band first hears their song on the radio. It always stuck with me as a nice memory. Fast forward to this year and they released two of the most wonderful collections of music I've ever heard. The poetry and the lyricism at once both direct and ethereal, the band soaring upon psychic levels of musical communication with patience and dynamics, a tangible cohesion rarely felt in rock music outside of a Crazy Horse record.

  1. Big Thief - U.F.O.F. / Two Hands
  2. Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Colorado
  3. Shannon Lay - August
  4. FKA Twigs - Magdalene
  5. Dehd - Water
  6. Mdou Moctar - Ilan (The Creator)
  7. Kaina - Next to the Sun
  8. Danny Brown - uknowhatimsayin¿
  9. Freddie Gibbs and Madlib - Bandana

Get Tommy's favorite titles of 2019 here.

Wendy

Why Why Why Why is Sault my #1 this year? Because it has everything I love smashed together: soul, funk, disco & post-punk... Helloooooo!! Also love a great comp and Soul Jazz, Africa Seven & Brownswood delivered the goods this year.

  1. Sault - 5
  2. Various Artists -  Nigeria Soul Power 70: Afro-Funk, Afro-Rock, Afro-Disco
  3. Crumb - Jinx
  4. Various Artists - Sunny Side Up
  5. Faye Webster - Atlanta Millionaires Club
  6. Dexter Story - Bahir
  7. Iggy Pop - Free
  8. Amyl and The Sniffers - Amyl and The Sniffers
  9. Little Simz - Grey Area
  10. The Mystery Lights - Too Much Tension!


Honorable Mention: All of Africa Seven's mighty 'Africa Airways' comps!

Get Wendy's favorite titles of 2019 here.