Immediate Sonic Nostalgia: 10 incredible albums you may have missed in 2019

Music is a deluge these days; releases pour down like joyous rain. In 2019 PROLE JAZZ managed to review some of our favourite albums of the year – Vula Viel‘s Do Not Be Afraid, K.O.G & the Zongo Brigade’s Wahala Wahala, Dead Slow Hoot‘s No Reunions, Vipertime’s Shakedown, Leafcutter John’s Yes! Come Parade With Us, Yo Dynamo’s Octosplurge and Jackson Swaby’s Indigo.

But writing takes ages, life is a dance of glittering molecules, stuff happens, and we missed writing about some of the greatest releases of the year just past. In order to remedy this oversight we asked our PROLE JAZZ goblins to nominate 10 albums or EPs from 2019 that this fast-moving world already needs reminding of. Better late than never! The crew came up with a vagabond collection of musical vibrations, from hippy punk to mescalito carnival to mollusc-themed tentacle jams to transcendent jazz, a series of sonic snapshots of a cataclysmically wondrous annum of noise and rhythm.

And so, without further ado: we present our favourite collections of incandescent sound that you might have missed from the melodic maelstrom of 2019. Enjoy!

ask my bullfight

Ask My BullCreature

Ask my Bull are a gang of flamboyant hippies from the artistically live-wired Manchester Weirdo scene. After a string of wild and furious festival summers these mad musical miscreants released their debut album Creature in 2019. It’s a kaleidoscopic jazz-punk odyssey, a feral post-rockian jaunt through acid-soaked landscapes, a cacophonous disco of mad beats, frenzied sax, and unstoppable guitar. Creature is the fucking skronk Olympics, baby!! And whilst you obviously have to see this crew live, in the mean time do yourself a favour and wrap your lugholes around the sonic rainbowed ecstasy of this deviant album. Dance to it in your kitchen, play it to your favourite animals, summon spirits with its transcendent madness.

~ Jack Avery (Captain)

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King Lagoon’s Flying Swordfish Dance Band The Golden Lagoon

Brighton’s hottest psychedelic afrobeaters finally released their much-anticipated debut album last year. It garnered rave reviews, Radio 6 airplay and a well deserved love-storm of accolade. The Golden Lagoon is the sonic equivalent of the Codex Seraphinianus: it’s an immersive and tropical exploration of an imaginary world, replete with parrot calls, jungle sounds and samba-tinged song-gems to endlessly mine for obscure and exotic meaning. Musically King Lagoon’s walk the line between wildly inventive creators of new sounds and loyal crate diggers with a penchant for 70s & 80s West African and Brazilian music. This album is jammed full of percussive polyrhythmic afrofunk jams, shimmering guitar lines, joyous brass and impenetrable lyrics. It’s a much needed dose of musical sunshine and one of our favourite albums of 2019.

~ Oliver Porpoise Firefly

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Howlin Ric and the RocketeersWaiting by the Dance Floor

The 60s get all the cultural hype, all the accolade of significance. But the 50s… It all started in the 50s! This was the era of the Beat Poets: the birth of the counter cultural, spiritual and artistic rebellion that eventually spawned hippydom. It was also the era of rock ‘n’ roll, of the 12-bar blues reimagined and warped into a hi-energy, jive-heavy, crazy dance floor genre. Howlin Ric may well have hitched a ride in the DeLorean and Marty McFly back from 1955; Waiting by the Dance Floor is beautifully authentic sounding rock ‘n’ roll, right down to the finger acrobatics of the guitar solo, the backing vocal ‘aaahs’, the incredible sax jam, the dancing bassline and sunshine drums. And of course the fantastic Howling Ric himself! Half of this could have been snatched straight from the Grease soundtrack, it’s Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran. This is a rollicking joyride of an album, a blast through the night in a stolen Cadillac, and a PROLE JAZZ fave.

~ Henrik Endor

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BunkerpopBunkerpop

Do you like all things Nintendo with a minimalist discourse swirling round your wet brain? Do you simply want to feel like your consciousness is at a tennis match, but tennis really not your bag? Have you been searching for some form of aural waveform Reiki for a while now? Are you an oxymoronic jazz fan who really just wants to dance round like a tit? Would you like your electronica suffused with the kinds of instruments the flesh people hit and blow? Do you want to hear the real sounds? My friend, you are ready for Bunkerpop!

~ Celestial Broc

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Seas of MirthSub Marine Dreams

Seas of Mirth spawned a lush and lysergic feast of acid-shanty brilliance at the close of 2019 in Sub Marine Dreams. It’s constructed of timber, pieces of eight, parrot feathers: a lush palette of intricate, glimmering, subaquatic guitar lines, dervish percussion, nautical vocal sounds and crafty lyrical narratives. It’s a coral reef of colourful noise, the sound of a party band with a deft grasp of both mischief and melody. Seas of Mirth are that rare and mysterious cephalopod that is at once feral and nuanced, like a grog-drunk sailor barely able to stand but still spouting tender poetry from the ale-soaked tavern floor. These are fantastically daft and catchy and clever tunes, beautifully crafted and produced with an impish, tentacled energy. Imagine the love child of Animal Collective and The Coral and you’re halfway there…

~ Jack Avery (Captain)

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Mansion of SnakesM.O.S

The snakes returned in 2019 with this delicious funk-laden treat of a sophomore album. It’s an afrobeat gem: a Fela-inspired powerhouse of percussive and trance-inducing jams, a brassy and serpentine groove beast, a reptilian jive-house of polyrhythm and spiralling guitar. The high energy is occasionally punctuated with hypnotic instrumental pieces, fugue-states of wonderment, star-scattered reflections. Great to hear the evolution of this Leeds-based gang’s sound; here they sound tighter than ever.

~ Oliver Porpoise Firefly

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Mango Rescue Team – Azucar

Sheffield’s tropical psych troupe extraordinaire Mango Rescue Team released their sweet little Azucar EP back in May last year with an uncharacteristic lack of fuss. Happily this is all about to change with a massive tropical fiesta planned to celebrate at legendary venue the Cremorne in March 2020… Expect inflatable palm trees galore and wild dancing! Not to be missed! Azucar contains 4 of the Mango’s strongest tracks and live favourites. Producer ace Ricardo Lourinho manages to capture some of their wild live magic and translate it to vinyl: this music is a high-energy equatorial cocktail of voodoo latin, carnival funk and sunshine ska. Containing the best horn section outside of the Caribbean (Hannah, Dave & Jack), the percussive dream team of Roberto Nutt and Pink Wafer Mikey, bassline extravagance from Lenri La Costa, Peligroso Judge on accordion, the flamingoed and eccentric frontman Alex Del Mango, and Mango Babes Lucy & Katy on vocals this is the Team at their pineappled best. Summer is a state of mind amigos! Mi casa tu casa! Long Live Mango Rescue Team!

~ Jack Avery (Captain)

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Jaimie Branch – FLY or DIE II: bird dogs of paradise

You could build temples out of these sounds. This is spiritual jazz with fire, wild and transcendent and street. This is spiralled, edgy, soulful music; a kaleidoscope of brass and drums and double bass and Branch’s torn paper voice. Every now and again you come across an album that just makes you stop and listen, pause the world and sit down and do nothing but completely immerse yourself in it. FLY or DIE II is such an album. This is a stone-cold classic that will go down in fucking history. It got soul, it got feeling, it got that hallucinogenic, wild vibe: a sense of hidden chaos beneath the skin of this astute and brooding jam. It’s a unpredictable journey, a wandering path, a mountain range of possibility. Do yourself a favour, scratch out an hour of your life and just listen to this, with your spirit open and your ears aflame. It’s nothing short of a masterpiece.

~ Oliver Porpoise Firefly

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Dry Cleaning – Sweet Princess EP

Dry Cleaning dropped two incredible EPs last year and Sweet Princess was my favourite of the two. Named after vocalist Florence’s 17-year old recently deceased cat, this is hyperbolically the best EP since Watery, Domestic, and easily one of the top song collections of 2019. Dry Cleaning play awesome and oddball post-punk riffs beneath compellingly deadpan and diaristic spoken word vocals. The guitar lines wouldn’t be amiss on an old Wipers record from ’83, they hum and wang, chorus-like, with occasional flange and whammied tremolo, each riff a templed derive around neon city lit streets: drunk but energised, blessed with a stoned clarity. The bass is impeccable and like the drums sits with appropriate repose beneath the turquoise skies of the guitar jam, tightly wound and percussively sonorous. The vocal delivery is no doubt musical marmite: you’ll either love it or hate it (I love it!). Shaw’s tales of modern confusion are too surreal to be overly hip, the stories are too funny and tongue in cheek and weirdly moving and deliciously beat and full of contemporary urban pathos. There’s not a weak track on here. A PROLE JAZZ 10/10!

~ Jack Avery (Captain)

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Lady Birdface – Lady Birdface EP

The eponymous debut EP by Lady Birdface is a psych-garage gem, a sonic sojourn into lo-fi freak folk territories. Hailing from Cambridge the mysterious Birdface weaves a melodic web of reverbed vocal motifs over acoustic guitar: there’s something of Opinion in My Brain, a wonderfully surreal Syd Barrett-esque number that opens this treasure trove of oddpop tunes. Then a stylistic shift to bucolically fingerpicked guitar for the wonderful and meditative Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water I, and finally onto the mesmerising and submerged grunge-folk of Animals to close a tantalising debut EP. More like this in 2020 please m’lady!

~ Henrik Endor

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