Curating my “best of” lists has become extremely stressful, but in the best way: There are just too many choices now that my blog has grown so much! As we approach my first blog-aversary in October, I receive more and more submissions that I consider serious contenders for this list, and the decision gets harder. While I can only include my top three albums, please know that if your band/your favorite band wasn’t included, it does NOT mean they lack in any way, it just means that the field is so competitive that only the best of the best (in my opinion) can be considered.
Everything about these records was analyzed, from the production of the album as a whole to the quality of each instrument and vocal part in each song. Without further ado, these are my top three albums from Summer 2019 submissions from June-August, excluding singles and EPs:
3. Phase by Sodada
“DIY community, rejoice! Sodada’s latest LP, Phase, is here, and completely written, recorded, mixed and mastered by Hannah Rose and Andy C, who have been writing music together since 2012.
As a whole, the album is masterfully crafted. The tracks are just the right amount of experimental to keep them interesting without losing musicality, and it’s clear that a lot of thought and effort went into making Phase—and it all paid off.
“Retrograde” kicks off the album with dreamy vocals and airy phrasing. Its mellow bassline, electronic tones, and sparse drum beats provide the track with just the right amount of rub to keep things interesting. While many songs would sound empty without more in terms of backing, Sodada shows their talent for placing things in just the right place in the mix.” –Sodada Brings the DIY Spirit to Life with New LP
2. An Open Letter by A Sunday Fire
“Music is more than just sound: It’s a community. No band knows this better than A Sunday Fire, a rock group based out of Alabama.
Founded by Joey Smith (bass) and Sam Ferrouillait (drums), A Sunday Fire began as a metal band. After the addition of Chris Ruiz (vocals) and J (guitar), the group switched directions and released Mobtown Punk about two years ago. The band credits the pop punk-style record for helping them figure out what they wanted to be. “That…EP took us on twelve tours [through] many states and countless shows.”
Now, An Open Letter is leading the band even closer to their goals: “We want to be a haven for people who have nowhere to go or no one to talk to. We want everyone to feel welcome here with us. It’s more than a band and music, it’s a community that we are a part of as well as the people who support us.”
“Saudade” begins with invigorating guitar riffs and strong vocals. Well-paced and energetic, the track is a wonderful start to the album. Each instrumental part works well within the song as a whole, complementary without simply copying each other. I would have preferred the bass being higher in the mix, as the basslines were interesting and dynamic, especially in their interactions with the guitar riffs and drum parts. The vocals are smooth and clear, making A Sunday Fire’s new album the perfect fit for fans of bands like Vigil Antics and Boston Manor.” —An Open Letter From A Sunday Fire
1. TGTTR: A Self-Titled Collection of Songs by Tie Goes to the Runner
“From the outskirts of Atlantic City, New Jersey, Tie Goes to the Runner is here to rock fans new and old with their latest release, TGTTR: A Self Titled Collection of Songs.
Formed by guitarists, CJ Blake (also lead vocals) and Keith Michel in 2012, indie-rock band Tie Goes to the Runner “has [toured] and [played] shows from fully-packed big stage venues to grimy basements filled with smelly tattooed punks all across the east coast.” In 2014, Matt Scull was added as a guitarist, but soon switched to bass in 2015. In the same year, DJ Passarelli became the band’s official drummer, and Nico Musitano joined up as a permanent keyboardist/guitarist/and backing vocalist in early 2018 after being a touring member with the band for nearly two years.
Tie Goes to the Runner’s previous releases with various versions of the lineup include An American Pastime, which was the band’s first full-length release recorded with Pat Noon at Eight Sixteen Studios in 2015, and Entanglement in 2016 recorded at The Lumberyard by Nik Bruzzese. TGTTR – A Self Titled Collection Of Songs was also recorded by Nik Bruzzese with the addition of Dom Maggi and Ace Enders at The Lumberyard.
Overall, I am beyond impressed by Tie Goes to the Runner’s self-titled collection. In fact (and I don’t say this lightly), they have become one of my new favorite bands just from listening to their music for this review. Their sound reminds me of a lot of other groups that I love—From Indian Lakes, Boston Manor, Glass Lungs—but at the same time, they remain utterly unique. I listen to a lot of music, so it takes a lot for a band to really stand out in a way that makes me add them to my daily listening. If you try out just a few artists from reading my reviews, you won’t regret it if Tie Goes to the Runner is among them.” —Thru the Appalachian Trail With Tie Goes To The Runner