Getintothis guestlist selections Part One: staff writers and photographers on 2019


Getintothis staffers make their end of year reflections and look forward to 2020

Taking a look at 2019’s best bits, Getintothis scribes and snappers offer their opinions on the last 12 months and who they hope to see shine in 2020.

It’s that time of the year when we look back.

January seems like a long time ago and in the meantime, in the intervening 12 months or so, there’s been a whole lot going on.

Every year, the world seems a different place. Tribalism stalks the land and things seem fractured and splintered; even more so since last weeks’ General Election.

We’re not going to go into that shitshow here and now but you know where we stand on that.

Here’s the time and place to look at Getintothis’ staff writers and photographers picks of 2019.

What’s always striking with these picks is the sheer diversity and range of the music. You’d think at first blush we’d all speak with the same voice- or at least there’d be some sort of unanimity – but there’s not.

There’s a whole range of music, from guitar-based pop, metal, experimental, pure pop, classical, electronica, classical, jazz and much more.

It’s very tempting to give the game away and pick some of the names, but we’ll leave you to peruse our picks at your leisure and to agree or disagree with our choices.

Likewise with our gigs of the year; we go from the largest and most-high profile to the smallest and most intimate. Again, this is your chance to nod your head approvingly and say you were there or shake your head in disbelief because you were there and you were close to walking out.

And as for our tips for 2020? It’s a type of guesswork mixed with a pinch of wish-fulfilment but it’s a lot of fun.

This is the thing however. In times of crisis and separation, we all need something to bring us together. There’s a lot talked about the link between say, football and music but it doesn’t really work like that.

Football is too tribal. We may all like football but there’s that taking of sides.

What’s striking about these picks – and the writers and photographers at Getintothis – is that we’re all as equally passionate about music as anyone is about politics or football or…well anything you want to be passionate about.

We may disagree about our favourites yet there is a common bond that unites us and that’s our enduring love for music, gigs and a constant yearning to see what’s coming up next.

What’s around the corner, what the next year has to offer and what new and fresh delights await us.

Because there’s always something new with music. Something to discover and marvel at. Let’s hope that our picks give you a bit of that.

Here’s to 2020 and another great year of music. – Rick Leach, Arts Editor   

Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes

Top Album of 2019

The Hu The Gereg

The notion of Mongolian heavy metal just sounded intriguing. The band teased the album during the course of the year, releasing singles on YouTube and creating sounds like nothing our western ears are used to. Wolf Totem, in particular was a triumph, with a video to go with it that was all pounding beats, medieval warriors and amazing imagery. We were sold from the off.

Top Gig of 2019

Frank Carter and the RattlesnakesArts Club Loft

So many gigs have been built up in our head and then failed to deliver. We have high hopes at times. Then there are the surprises we weren’t expecting. Moonlight Benjamin at Africa Oyé was one such, having delivered probably the best thing Sefton Park has ever seen. Svetlanas took our breath away at Rebellion and we needed a proper sit down after that one. Lonesaw continue to deliver magnificent anarchic noise whenever they play. Any of their gigs were so nearly in this list – it’s a shame we only get to choose one.

But Frank Carter gets this prize because he delivered all we hoped he would. He could easily have sold out a much bigger venue, but he chose to tour smaller stages this year just for the fun of it. And that’s what we got. A band absolutely on top of their game, who know exactly what they’re doing and how to do it.

Music tip for 2020

Err. We’re not very good at this. Last year we tipped Witch Fever and Pigs x 7. Both of whom are doing fine, but haven’t broken into much of a mainstream conscience. Maybe that’s the issue – we’re not that keen on radio friendly bands.

We’d like to see Big Joanie get a bit more notice, though. They are ace. – Peter Goodbody, live editor


Top Album of 2019

Loyle Carner Not Waving, But Drowning

I adore everything Loyle Carner does, and this album really cemented that for me. I feel like there is a song for every mood. Dear Jean and Krispy are delicate and moving, making you feel as though you’re just talking to an old friend, and I reckon it’s physically impossible to not smile while listening to Angel or Ice Water. I will definitely keep this on my playlist for years to come.

Top gig of 2019


I’m sure like so many others, Glastonbury was my ultimate highlight of the year, if not the decade. The whole week was packed full of the best music, happiest people, and overall just the most amazing atmosphere (not to mention the novelty of being at a UK festival where the weather stays nice throughout). I’ll never forget the power of Stormzy’s performance.

Music Tip for 2020

Go to gigs alone! Don’t wait around for your friends to buy tickets, or miss out because nobody else wants to go. You might end up making some new friends, everyone is there to see the same artist so you already have something in common. Failing that, it’s great to be able to enjoy your own company. – Emily Clarke

Loyle Carner

Top album of 2019

Hot Chip Bath Full Of Ecstasy

Not stopped playing this since I was lucky enough to catch them live at this year’s Bluedot Festival, fave track – Spell, classic Hot Chip.

Top gig of 2019

Neighbourhood Weekender, Warrington.

Nice lineup, highlights Richard Ashcroft, The Vaccines, Kate Nash, The Blinders and Primal Scream. Big plus was that it’s just down the road from me and next years line up looks even better with Ian Brown headlining. That’s all I need to know. Can’t wait.

Music Tip for 2020

I think Red Rum Club will continue the great success that they have had this year. – Warren Millar, Head of Photography.

The Blinders (Mark Holt)

Top album of 2019

Tom SpeightCollide

Recently found him and I’m really enjoying his stuff, he’s travelled around singing for a few countries, and he’s pretty big in Brazil too! Also a big inspiration to those who may have Crohns and wants to get into music.

Top gig of 2019

It was Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at Heaton Park, but now it’s Miles Kane at The Sugarmill in Stoke, such a hyped up gig, the few hundred people singing along, the whole atmosphere was something else, will forever be up there as one of my favourite gigs.

Music tip for 2020

Go to more gigs, even if you don’t know the artist because you never know if you’ll end up becoming a fan and going to more. – Dayna Taylor

Miles Kane

Top album of 2019

Weyes BloodTitanic Rising

Top gig of 2019

Weyes Blood, Manchester Club Academy

Music tip for 2020

Joy Crooks  Rogério Simões

Weyes Blood

Top album of 2019

It has to be Nick Cave really. There were plenty of other excellent records released this year, but Nick Cave is just untouchable at the moment. Even without the trauma that has impacted Cave’s life to a huge degree, Ghosteen is still an incredible, emotional and affecting record.

But to separate it from this is not really possible, Ghosteen inhabits the stages of grief after the initial shock has worn away, where what remains from the whirlwind is what you will have to live with for the rest of your life. Only Nick Cave is capable of transforming tragedy on this scale into art of this kind.

Top gig of 2019

Ponderosa Glee Boys take this. Given the circumstances their music has been put together (living on different continents, 41 year gap before releasing their debut album), the Glee Boys have no right to be this good. But they are.

How they have managed it I have no idea, but their gigs are incredible, as is their album.

You know a gig is special when you get a feeling in your chest, like the one you get when you go over a bridge too quickly. Ponderosa Glee Boys do that to me more regularly than any band in the last 20 years.

Their gigs are few and far between, but if you get the chance to see them live, pounce on it, don’t let it get away! Gigs this good don’t happen often.

Music tip for 2020

Go to a festival. With it becoming increasingly difficult/impossible to get a Glastonbury ticket, don’t forget there are other festivals out there offering impressive and eclectic lineups.

I have heard good things about Blue Dot, Boomtown and Camp Bestival, to name but three, so my aim this year is to sample some of these instead.

As a survivor of around 45 festivals, I can happily tell everyone that there are wonderful times waiting at these places, so if you didn’t get a Glastonbury ticket turn that to your advantage and check out some of the other incredible festivals happening in 2020.  – Banjo, Features Editor

Nick Cave

Top album of 2019

Fontaines D.C. – Dogrel

A predictable one, I know. But there’s just no getting away from the fact that this debut is an absolute triumph that stands above all else this year. It has taken the number one spot on several likes, including our own, and deservedly so. It is both contained and frustrated, yet explosive and expressive, and has its roots very much in the band’s hometown. It spans from poem to anthem, slow dance to chaos, Dogrel does it all.

Top Gig of 2019

Fontaines D.C. at O2 Academy, Liverpool

Even more predictable than the above, right?

This gig was a beast that grew over the course of 2019. It was first announced by EVOL back at the beginning of February, when a couple of single releases over the winter were merely a twinkle in Steve Lamacq’s eye. The next month, they played 6 Music Festival in the city, and upon the release of their debut album, our aforementioned promoter soon made arrangements to hold this one in the larger and wholly more appropriate main room of the venue. It would, of course, go on to sell out.

When the gig did arrive, it was surrounded by a week of gigs seldom seen even in Liverpool. Some did 7 days, while I managed 5, and the anticipation for this gig was as big as any. It had simmered for 9 months and was about to boil over. When the moment came for the band to take to the stage, the fate of the evening was decided.

A set an hour to the minute, with niceities enough just to know that Grian Chatten and the band buzzed off the reaction they got. This was a gig that was a true ‘I was there‘ moment in this city in 2019.

Music Tip for 2020

Once again, we’re faced with a great number of bands and artists both in Liverpool and from further afield that will be set to make 2020 their breakthrough year.

Manchester’s Saytr Play have been hard to miss in the last 12 months, they’ve been across to Liverpool a good few times this year and with their name taken from ‘a troop of ithyphallic male companions of Dionysus with goat-like features and often permanent erection’, you wouldn’t bet against them being one to note in the next few months.

In Liverpool, Seattle-born Abby Meysenburg has caught the eyes and ears of commuters in Liverpool Central as part of the Merseyrail Sound Station project, and at our own Deep Cuts too. Gentle, yet powerful, and a contender for the city’s nicest musician award, she’s one EP in already, and you have to feel her name will carry far more weight this time next year. – Lewis Ridley, New Music Editor

Saytr Play

Top album of 2019

There’s been some cracking albums by the likes of Fontaines D.C., Amyl And The Sniffers and Parsnip as well as the sheer joy of Ebony Steel Band’s Kraftwerk-on-steel-drums, but my number one pick, just about, is the would-be-really-funny-if-he-hadn’t-actually-topped-himself self-titled Purple Mountains record.

Top gig of 2019

Not as many gigs as usual for me this year, but I was able to make it to Village Underground in East London back in June for Guided By Voices’ first UK gig since September 2003 – the only other time I’d seen them live. 53 songs played, from thirteen different GBV albums, including plenty from the two already released in 2019 prior to the gig. Obviously, there’s since been a third long-player of the year already.

Music tip for 2020

A couple of names on my radar are the shoegaze-y Tourists (nothing to do with Annie Lennox, for whom I’ve got nothing but total respect for…) from the musical hotbed that is Torbay; and the rather more trad indie Sports Team from London, who have already made a fair few waves. I’m also looking forward to a third album from the criminally under-appreciated Irene And The Disappointments. – Will Neville

Sports Team

Top album of 2019

Richard Dawson2020

While there have been many great releases this year, Richard Dawson’s 2020 topped it for me. The voice of reason and in a world where the majority have seemingly lost their minds, 2020 is a record that brims with an unparalleled humility and, dare I say it, common sense.

It’s an album both of the present and of prescience.

Top gig of 2019

Stereolab – Primavera Sound

There have been so many great gigs this year, Tropical Fuck Storm, Craig Finn and Drahla at Phase One. Lightning Dust at 24 Kitchen Street. However Stereolab’s performance at Primavera topped it for me. Earlier in the evening the Reds conquered Europe in the Champions League final and to see Stereolab rip apart the Ray Ban stage at Primavera the way they did in the early hours of Sunday morning – well, it was one of the few moments of 2019 that aligned with something likened to true jubilation.

Music tip for 2020

From a local point of view, I’m very much looking forward to debut long-players from RongoRongo and John Witherspoon. I can’t see too much getting past either artist, unless Lonesaw consider releasing an album (we can only hope). – Simon Kirk


Top album of 2019

Aldous HardingDesigner

Intelligently crafted folk songs combined with indecipherable lyrics that unravel themselves with each listen. Harding’s voice is seductive and mournful in equal measure, regret of the year was missing out on her live show at Arts Club which by consensus appeared to be one of best the gigs of the year.

Top gig of 2019

Primavera Sound

Bit of a cop-out going for a festival but Primavera was excellent on every front and it sets the bar for other festivals going forward.

Primavera quashed the idea that a female-dominated line-up would put off the punters (take note Leeds Festival) with Janelle Monae, Robyn and even Carly Rae Jepsen proving that they’re more than worthy of their place at the table.

From spacious food courts to well-maintained portaloos and tiered seating for anyone who needed it, these all may sound like small things but when they’re not done right you notice, no one wants to be stuck in the queue for a toilet when the headliner is about to go on stage (Chic at LIMF) and Primavera tried their best to make sure it didn’t happen.

Add in the fact the cost of the festival ticket and flights was near the same price as a Glastonbury ticket I know where I’d rather be next year.

Music tip for 2020

I’m looking forward to Tame Impala’s new album; they’ve been teasing us with new singles this past year and it’s time to see if they can deliver.

Locally I’m tipping Wizold Sage, the folk musician has created a world of his own full of folklore tales and a frog named Jeremiah it’ll be interesting to see how he’ll break out in 2020 as he takes music from out of the log cabin and into the live arena. – Micheal Maloney

Janelle Monae

Top album of 2019

DJ ShadowOur Pathetic Age

Top gig of 2019

Lemonheads – Birmingham Academy – Nathan O’Hagan

DJ Shadow and Mo’Wax founder James Lavelle

Top album of 2019

Michael KiwanukaKiwanula

Top gig of 2019

Adorable at Hebden Bridge, Trades Club

Music tip for 2020

Beabadoobee  – Jamie Bowman


Top album of 2019

Kim Gordon’s solo debut album No Home Record was a massive revelation – fresh, exciting and unpredictable.

Top gig of 2019

I had a blast at new festival Sound City Ipswich – it was fun wandering around a town I’d never been to and I encountered the brilliance of Wu-Lu and Emma-Jean Thackray.

Music Tip for 2020

It will be interesting to see what Podge has to offer in 2020 – he seems to exist in a strange electronic game-world of his own creation, every time plays a gig it breaks through into our reality a bit more. – Roy Bayfield

Podge – Deep Cuts

Top album of 2019

What a year it’s been for album releases. I’ve probably got a list of top ten that I couldn’t split.

A couple of honourable mentions need to go to local artists on their LP releases; Yank Scally and Marvin Powell’s brilliant debuts have been getting a considerable amount of spins during these past 12 months.

2019 has been a fantastic year for jazz breakout bands and artists, with some outstanding albums produced including; The Comet Is Coming, Alfa Mist, Neue Grafik Ensemble, and Sarathy Korwar. Elsewhere Allah-Las, Nick Waterhouse, and the two Foals records have been getting some good wear on them. But to narrow it down to just two I’ll go for Austin Texas’ soul, funk duo Black Pumas for their eponymous release, followed very closely by the fantastically named Rotterdam based post-punk five piece Iguana Death Cult with Nude Casino.

Top gig of 2019

Again I’m going have to pass on a straight answer here. After starting off the year with a coupe of absolute corkers in Bokante at Phase One, followed by The Delines at Ullet Road Unitarian Church within a week of each-other it was hard to imagine if that would be bettered.

White Denim at Liverpool’s O2 Academy was a special night in a complete exhibition of musicianship.

The return of John Head at Parr Street was just magical. LightNight and Sound City were once again top of the music and culture festival fronts. Catching The Zutons back on stage The Olympia will be talked about for years to come.

But it was on my travels that came up trumps. Seeing Foals play in Hamburg’s one-time Beatles haunt Große Freiheit 36 is an experience I won’t be forgetting in a hurry, and probably one of the last times we’ll get to catch the band in a relatively small venue before they embark on the stadium tour life.

Music Tip for 2020

I’ll have to go with Sheffield singer-songwriter James Leesley, or better know as Studio Electrophonique. Signed to Liverpool based label Violette Records the multi-instrumentalist is a complete joy. A truly wonderful voice with lyrics way beyond what his years would evoke.

Having released his debut EP Buxton Palace Hotel in September this year, the lead track Jayne completely blew me away.

Equally as good live as on record, a likeable character full of charm and humour throughout his set, with a stunning vocals range to suit. Hopefully an album and tour will be in the offering for 2020. Kevin Barrett

The Delines

Top album of 2019

Billie EilishWhen We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go
This album makes you feel such a mix of emotions. It’s sad but at the same time you want to dance to it. As a young female I find it relatable and some songs on the album boost my confidence. It’s tasteful and Billie Eilish has accomplished so much and done so well releasing an album at 17. It’s impressive.

Top Gig of 2019

Tom WalkerOlympia
The biggest gig I’ve ever shot. In the biggest venue I’ve ever shot. Such an amazing experience, one that I’m very thankful for.

Music Tip for 2020

In 2019 I’ve seen a lot more bands merging rock, folk, indie, punk and really being experimental with genres of music. Some of it seems bizarre but if you keep an open mind about what you like and what you chose to listen to, you’ll be surprised. – Courtney Hughes

Tom Walker

Top album of 2019

Fontaines DCDogrel

They were my tip this time last year and they didn’t disappoint.
Not a difficult choice, it’s a record so far and away ahead of anything else out this year.
A spectacular piece of work.

Top gig of 2019

In Liverpool it was Spector and Red Rum Club, in Manchester it was McLusky and Fontaines DC.

But overall, it has to be IDLES at London Alexandra Palace.

What a way to say goodbye to touring your first two albums.

Music Tip For 2020

Locally, surely it is the year that SPQR and Eyesore And The Jinx ingrain themselves into the nation’s consciousness.

Nationally, I’d be shocked if Dry Cleaning or Black Country, New Road’s debut albums were not this year’s Dogrel.  – Steven Doherty

Idles – Conor Baxter

Top album of 2019

There were lots of albums that caught my attention this year. Savage Messiah’s Demons and Deathspell Omega’s The Furnaces of Palingenesia were two that I played heavily for several weeks.

However, ultimately I am going for CandlemassThe Door to Doom because it is a crushing reminder of how good old school doom metal can sound when it is performed by masters of their game. First single, Astorolus – the Great Octopus featured THE most magnificently heavy riff of the year and was even graced by a guest appearance from the legendary Tony Iommi.

Top gig of 2019

Rammstein at Milton Keynes’ Stadium MK was easily the most spectacular event that I attended this year.

However, in terms of pure emotion, nothing came close to the atmosphere at Anathema’s sold out gig at Grand Central Hall in Liverpool. Performing their first full headline set in a large Liverpool venue for 20 years clearly meant a lot to the band and the fans.

To see everyone lose their minds and turn their air guitars up to eleven for anthems like Lost Control and Fragile Dreams was breath-taking.

Music tip for 2020

I’ve gone for Video Nasties again simply because we will finally get to see their debut album, Dominion, drop in March next year. I’m a great fan of their brand of black ‘n’ roll and if Dominion can capture the depth of their live sound then they will turn a lot of heads in 2020.

That being said, Carcass’ follow up to their acclaimed Surgical Steel album is also due in 2020 and that should be absolutely epic. – Nedim Hassan, Metal Columnist


Top album of 2019

This one was an easy one for me, what else could I pick other than the one album I’ve had on repeat for more than 3 months now?

Norman Fucking Rockwell by Lana Del Rey is a masterpiece that for some reason I’m only growing more and more fondly of the more I listen to it, yes, even after this long! It’s easily my top album of the year, there’s just something about Del Rey’s music in general that I will just never tire of, and I’m absolutely okay with that.

Top gig of 2019

This was a bit of a tougher choice to make than my top album.

I’ve been lucky enough over the past year to see some artists that I’ve been itching to see for more than a decade (I’m looking at you, Janelle Monae), and some artists that are brand new that I loved just as much.

Considering artistry, talent, experience, venue, and all the other bits that make a show special, I have to give it to Lizzo. I’ve never had such a truly freeing experience at a show than I did at Lizzo, and it’s a gig that I’ll remember forever.

Music tip for 2020

My music tip may seem obvious, but it’s something I’d never done until recently, thanks to Getintothis. Given the responsibility to write up one of the Unknown Pleasures, I took to Soundcloud to see what’s new, and ended up finding one of my new favourite artists of this year, Arlo Parks.

Since then I’ve checked in once a week to just see what’s new and found so much new music that I wouldn’t have found otherwise. So, my tip? Make the effort to find new music, you never know what you’ll find. – Kris Roberts

Arlo Parks (Credit:Artists Facebook page)

Top album of 2019

I was very tempted to pick Coldplay‘s Everyday Life and not simply to provoke a reaction from my fellow writers but because it’s a quite remarkable and spacious record from a band who do not have to prove anything and can plough their own artistic furrow without being bound by the childish vagaries and snobbishness of current trends.

However, the album that I just had to pick is Will Burns and Hannah Peel‘s Chalk Hill Blue. I must have listened to this at least a hundred times since it’s release and it’s one of those rare records that gives more and more with every play. Maybe it’s the influence of poet Burns but it’s more akin to a piece of literature than mere music.Something I’ll never get bored with.

Top gig of 2019

Red Rum Club at Glastonbury. Small stage, six songs but that’s all that was needed. A stepping stone to greater things.

Music tip for 2020

Not so much as a tip but a recommendation. 2020 marks the last year of Vasily Petrenko‘s tenure as Chief Conductor at the RLPO.

If you do anything in 2020, get yourself down to see at least one (if a not all) of his complete cycle of Mahler symphonies.

I promise you will not be disappointed. Music to change your life. – Rick Leach, Arts Editor

Red Rum Club

Top Album of 2019

YONAKADon’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow

Utterly chaotic and ordered in equal measure, YONAKA’s blistering debut is full to the brim with effortlessly catchy tunes which together create a gorgeously consistent album.

Tracks such as Creature and Bad Company truly showcase the songwriting ability of the group – with a great sense of chemistry audible even on record.

This really was a superb addition to the top records of the year – if you haven’t yet given it a spin, you’re truly missing out.

Top gig of 2019

Jack Peñate – Sound Basement

After an absence of a decade, the return of veteran singer-songwriter Jack Peñate has spawned both an LP and an intimate tour of the UK in the space of a few months.

Peñate’s solo appearance in Liverpool’s Sound Basement left little to be desired as the expert performer whittled through songs both old and new in front of a packed crowd in the surprisingly intimate venue.

The crowd were on best behaviour – attentively listening to Peñate’s every word as he glided between upbeat tracks and slow ballads.

To see a performer of this calibre in such an intimate venue was a true treat, and hopefully it’ll be less than a decade before we hear from Peñate again.

Music top for 2020

The musical endeavor of YouTube star NakeyJakey initially sounds like just about one of the least promising releases of 2020, yet with a steady stream of top quality singles under his belt, Jakey’s upcoming debut looks set to be a truly fascinating listen.

Single Not Dead Yet achieved some success, skimming the surfaces of the mainstream thanks to some favourable positioning on Spotify’s algorithms.

If we can expect the rest of the album to be of the quality of Not Dead Yet – we’re truly in for a top quality listen. – Max Richardson

Jack Peñate

Top album of 2019

There have been a number of albums that have been fantastic from artists that in a way you knew would deliver. My favourite album has arguably been Serf’s Up by Fat White Family, followed by Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest by Bill Callahan, but I’m resistant to making either of them my ‘top’ album for 2019, as I already had high hopes for them, which they more than matched.

Rather, I’d make Here or Nowhere by Callum Easter my top album, just because it caught me completely off-guard. I was advised to catch him at Green Man Festival, as he was described as a cross between Tricky and Ivor Cutler.

Well, that’s more than enough to pique my interest, so we went to watch him in the Walled Garden and was also lucky enough to catch him again at British Sea Power’s Krankenhaus festival, in a small room in a castle, surrounded by life-size portraits of previous residents (naturally).

Live, he is only accompanied by an accordion and a pedal that supplies drone and offers a claustrophobic, haunting set, but on record, his sound is much more expansive, bringing in beats, piano and synths that bring to mind a Celtic LCD Soundsystem, if that makes sense. Thoroughly Scottish, I’ve described him in reviews as the anti-Gerry Cinnamon and stick by that.

Top gig of 2019

My event of the year was probably the Krankenhaus Festival, featuring three completely different sets from the Greatest Band in the World (and I’ll fight you about that), British Sea Power, alongside Snapped Ankles, Squid, Will Burns & Hannah Peel, Rozi Size and Steve Davis. No, really, that Steve Davis. Set in the grounds of Muncaster Castle, it also featured guided walks of the nearby hills, bird of prey displays and a ride on a small steam train. Reading & Leeds it wasn’t.

In terms of single gigs, I made a pilgrimage to Bilston to watch the Greatest Band in the World (what?), Half Man Half Biscuit who delivered a blistering 90+ minute set, which was as good as I’ve ever seen them; likewise, Squid in EBGBs was a fantastic, bonkers, sweaty tumble of a gig, but the best single gig was probably Aldous Harding in the Arts Club in December.

A truly unique and almost other-worldly artist, she managed to hold a Liverpool audience in raptured silence before she even played a note. No mean feat, not least because it fell on derby night. Dazzling – and, as I wrote in my review, the fact her best song was a new one we’d never heard bodes well for 2020 and beyond.

Music tip for 2020

I’m in a band and we put on our own night, featuring other bands we genuinely love and are excited about, so my two (sorry, can’t split em) tips are bands we’ve been lucky enough to have on. Forgive me if I go all Alan Partridge super-fan here (I’m not at the point of getting their faces tattooed on my chest, but not far off…)

COW are a full on assault of Pavement-via-Nirvana magnitude. They’re angsty and muddy and fantastic. Frontman Kyle Lee gets noises out of a tortured guitar that has to be seen/heard to be believed. I believe they have an EP out soon and hopefully more gigs and releases next year.

We were also blessed to have Liverpool’s best kept secret join us too, with Alex Gavaghan & The Boss Jockeys.

A romping, relentless cacophony of proper rock ‘n’ roll, doo-wop and soul, their 2017 album Wool Behaviour is the greatest album of recent years you haven’t heard and I gather they’ve been recording again.

They also have a monthly residency in the Caledonia pub and appear to have more fantastic songs up their sleeves than anyone else in the city combined. Sickeningly good. – Matthew Loughlin

COW at Deeps Cuts #23

Top album of 2019


Top gig of 2019

Jaki Liebezeit Book Launch Party – Stadtgarten, Cologne, 8th Nov
The headline set by Drums Off Chaos, Jochen Irmler, Dominic v. Senger and Michael Rother was the best you could’ve expected it to be and more.

Music tip for 2020

Tempting as it is to list all me and my mate’s stuff, I think we’ll start seeing more and better music from particular areas: African music (see Nyege Nyege Tapes above), tiny cassette labels, and free improvisation as part of a more politicised music of resistance. – Jono Podmore

Jaki Liebezeit

Top album of 2019

Not an obvious one but one I’ve played more times on Spotify than anything else – McRocklin and Hutch, Riding Out.

Top Gig of 2019

Post Romantics at the Zanzibar

Music tip for 2020

Personally, I’m most looking forward to Grimes’ new album Miss Anthropocene in February 2020. – Lee Grimsditch

The Post Romantics – Chris Everett

Top album of 2019

Best album for me, is Pete Doherty and The Puta Madres.

Total departure from what’s gone before. A new venture, lovingly crafted with European band members, venturing into the realms of folk music at times. Standouts All at sea’ and the tongue in cheek Happiness is under your nose duet with Trampolene’s Jack Jones. Peter has turned 40 this year. He’s mellowed out a bit and about to open a hotel on the south coast…

Top gig of 2019

Mysterines, Jimmy’s

Their best to date.  They just get better and better on each outing and totally rocked the building to its foundations. Jam packed intimate venue, bouncing mixed crowd of all ages, electric atmosphere, crowd surfing, audience participation on stage for ‘School of Rock’.

They have well and truly graduated from Rock School.

Music tip for 2020

Ali Horn, charismatic busker, author of dreamy psych pop that is ever increasingly radio friendly. This guy shouldn’t be out in all weathers on Lord Street  singing for his supper. We await his first album next year, following on the heels of his debut EP. – Jane Davies

Ali Horn