RECORD EXCHANGE 2019 STAFF PICKS (THUS FAR): JOHN O.

We’re halfway through the year and sharing our favorite albums of 2019 thus far! Here’s John O.’s list of current favs with some words about why he’s digging these particular records.

Visit the store and check ‘em out on our 2019 staff picks (thus far) display!

I don’t have rankings. I don’t rate music that way. This isn’t a race, it isn’t a contest. I like what I like. I explore. I like energy. I like grooves. I like yelping more than screaming. I like attitude. I like artists with a point of view. Or a point. I like stuff that sounds like old stuff, but not craven imitation. I just like what I like. I used to be more worried about what the significance of it all was, now I just let it wash over me. I’m too old to care. Music now is as good and as bad as it ever was.

So like I said, this is not in any order, but this is what I have been enjoying so far this year.

Amyl & the SniffersAmyl & the Sniffers. Just a satisfying proto-punk yelp. Aggressive guitars, aggressive vocals, forward motion.

Stella DonnellyBeware Of The Dogs. Fabulous guitar songs with a biting sarcasm and good tunes.

Chris ShiflettHard Lessons. Punk rock aggression with a classic country-rock sensibility. Nice, loud guitars. You probably recognize his name from his day job, but this ain’t Foo Fighting.

Kelly FinniganThe Tales People Tell. Soulful. Incredible Hammond organ sound, organic-sounding songs of love and life. This is his first solo album, but he’s been paying his dues for the past 10 years.

Plague Vendor By Night. Southern California punk on Epitaph Records. I’ve always liked this band. They have a sound all their own – part punk, part skate rock, part right angles. Except when there are left angles. Unpredictable.

Cherry GlazerrStuffed and Ready. They remind me of Cheap Trick. Great songs, loud guitars, fun and full of youth energy. See them at Treefort? You should have.

William The ConquerorBleeding On the Soundtrack. English band with an alt-country sound, but with the trance-like country vibe echoed back to its folk roots. Literary and hypnotic.

Fat White FamilySerf’s Up. It’s rich dance rock music that recalls a lot of different styles of music, but they make it all their own. Just an enormous leap forward for this band.

aka BelleSagebrush Athenians. Heartfelt. I find it impossible to be objective about their music. It draws you in and makes you care, even if you think you are hard and impervious to the slings and arrows of an uncaring world. The playing is great, and the voice is a thing of aching beauty.

And of course, there is more to come. A rich heritage of music from the past that is available to anyone with a turntable, and all of the great music yet to come this year. New Alex Cameron this September. A new Curtis Stigers …maybe. Mark Lanegan continues to build a recorded legacy that will be without parallel. The Ruts will re-release “The Crack” in August. And all the things I forgot. Because there is just so much. I know it is hard to navigate sometimes. But, we all have to help each other.

It’s a privilege to live in a world that produced Roky Erickson. RIP.

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