The Capital Region truly has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to local music. While assembling this list I was left flabbergasted by just how many great full-length albums were released this year.
While many major artists have forgone full LPs, releasing singles to see what sticks, a wealth of local artists are honing their craft by releasing finely honed albums that reveal their complexity and songcraft with repeated listens.
Thats not to say there aren’t great singles and EPs being released. Because DAMN, there are. But 2019 in many ways seems like a year when Capital Region bands pushed each other forward toward rich, rewarding and thoughtful recordings.
In no particular order here are the local albums that have captured my attention, and admiration this year.
Local treasure Taina Asili delivers powerful vocals over raucous and genre-bending compositions that make you want to get up and dance and challenge the patriarchy.
Eternal Crimes put on a great live show with all the drama and shadowplay you’d expect from a goth punk band. Cryptically Acclaimed confirmed to me that it’s not all flash and pomp. The band’s songwriting, guitar play and slinky hooks are undeniable. Cryptically Acclaimed is the kind of A L B U M album that you’ll listen to on repeat.
Always on the Cool
Smashing and short hardcore tunes mixed with the quirks of surf rock and the production of Ryan Slowey make Always On the Cool both unique and curiously infectious. These guys are bound for big things.
Gospels, Hymns and Other Trash!
Sure, The Abssmals sell themselves as raunchy and weird but they have songwriting skills and dirty rock hooks that can appeal to fans of The Stones and Oasis as well as more obscure modern stoner rock like of Brian Jonestown Massacre or Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats just the same.
Joan Kelsey’s Silver Lining
This four-song EP is so painfully gorgeous that I almost fear their full length scheduled for 2020.
Prince Daddy & The Hyena
Cosmic Thrill Seekers
The story of a bad acid trip told by a group of dudes who worship at the altar of Weezer’s Pinkerton is one of this year’s most epic rock albums local or otherwise.
Blood Blood Blood
Look Blood Blood Blood might not be for everyone. Check that, Blood Blood Blood is very definitely not for everyone but as someone who grew up listening to Skinny Puppy, Ministry and Aphex Twin, Blood Blood Blood is very much for me and it’s so nice to have folks in the area who speak the same language.
Pony in the Pancake
These prolific surf rockers outdid themselves with this shimmering and sweet ode to summer.
Fuzzed out funk? Shimmering glam rock? What the hell is going on here? This Slowey produced joint is simply a good time.
The first release from Magnetic Eye Records‘ Mike Vitali–formerly of Great Day for Up!, Ironweed and Ajna Chakra–is full of the kind of stoner blues swagger that makes Queens of the Stone Age and Mark Lanegan so great. David Tyo’s production is crisp and urgent.