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2019’s Sonic Storm: Stereo Embers’ Mike D.’s Favorites Of The Year

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After that sonic thunderstorm of 2019, these are the magnificent records that shook me.

Tool returned with a notable album, David J released another solo marvel, Ganser shut many mouths, Fontaines D.C. gave a glorious album, PAAR and Nice Cold Nation were so cool, and Soen nailed metal for good.

In no particular order, here are my favorites of 2019:

French-Italian Coldwave/Darkwave duo based in Paris, Echoberyl, with their debut Apparition LP. Debut? OMG!!!

PAAR from Munich with HONE EP. A perfect blast of Coldwave/Dreampop…sleaze!!!

Speaking of Dreampop, Ummagma from Canada gave us the year’s most relevant album Compass.

Great French Coldwave beauty from the Life album by Nice Cold Nation, from Rouen!!!


A marvelous record was Berths by Slowness from San Francisco. Slowcore, drone-pop with hidden shoegaze…

Bauhaus’ David J put out his 14th solo album Missive To An Angel From The Halls Of Infamy And Allure and it is nothing short of sheer elegance:

Bright Smiles & Broken Hearts by Indiana’s post-rock/shoegaze outfit Whimsical offered good chills and many dreams…


Pure Hex from San Francisco’s self-titled release is a high octane effort–an outstanding little record!


Ganser from Chicago’s You Must Be New Here EP is a tornado of rude and groovy alternative rock.


Irish rockers from Dublin, the Fontaines D.C.’s Dogrel LP may very well be one of the best debut albums of the last 20 years.


After a couple of centuries, Tool returned with Fear Incolum and the record was, as expected, fantastic.

After 2014, the Greek Folk-Stoner band VIC seemed like they disappeared for good. They returned this year with the Age of Aquarius LP that was a blowout. Such was the album’s power and eruption that it made Napalm Records sign them a couple of months later. Listen close to what’s going on here!!!


The Swedish progressive metal band Soen really nailed metal music to the cross. After their latest Lotus album, which band can blow such freshness to the genre while also moving it forward?

Berlin-based Darkwave industrialists Bestial Mouths with INSHROUDSS album proves there is no other band in the world that can take the genre’s passion and imagination to such heights (0r catacombs?).


Los Angeles industrial Post-Punk outfit Beauty In Chaos gave us their latest–the marvelous beauty re-envisioned album.


UK’s SPC ECO’s Fifteen album comes across as a dreampop/shoegaze manual!!!


Detroit’s Ritual Howls checked in with the Rendered Armor LP and it’s outstanding.


Sweden’s Indie-Rock hawks Tiny Fighter amazed me with the Tell Me EP because they offered an enticing mix of indie-rock and berserker chamber pop in this little record, and it’s all in the likes of the 90s glories!!!


L.A.’s electro-Synthwave duo Lucky and Love’s Transitions LP is utterly transfixing and marks a creative leap forward.


I enjoyed the Reflection LP by Berlin-based sinister Electro artist Marta Raya. Sensual music from and for the darkness.


While the other ex-member of Monowelt, Daria Leere, deals in a more esoteric tunnel, that simple musical ‘argument’ between the two of them is the key to understanding their styles, and her album Ljod kept me a very good company in the year!!!


A very peculiar album  called Afterglow came in 2019 by Newport-based outfit The Pull of Autumn. It’s an Ambient sort of an album that also shows its New Wave roots. Delicious!


These are some of my recommendations for 2019.

I wish a very happy, pleasant, and peaceful new year to every soul out there (ok, except fascists!)!!!


Mike D.