Solo Armada Music Awards 2019 Nominations – Best Album 2019
(By Stuart Iversen, Wes Bowie, Kim Sheader & Drewe Manton)
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Over the past few weeks, The Solo Armada has been nominating the artists and bands that they think have had the biggest impact on them personally in 2019 over six different categories. The next few days we’ll be announcing who has been nominated in each category leading up to Sunday 24th November where you’ll be able vote.
But why do we need a Year End Music Awards? It’s a celebration of music. The opportunity to shout about that one band, album or song you discovered this year and wanted everyone to know about. It’s also the opportunity to explore! Is there a band or artist listed below that you’ve never heard of? Then give them a listen! More importantly… this is decided by you…the people that are the most important to live music…that go to the gigs…buy the merch and keep it all alive!
Best Album 2019 Nominations
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – End of Suffering
Since leaving Gallows in 2011, Frank Carter’s career has taken a few twist and turns. In Pure Love, he told us he was ‘sick of singing about hate’ only to end that band in 2015 and form Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, whose debut album ‘Blossom’ was a return to his pissed-off hardcore roots. Since then, though, he has found himself settling into a role somewhere between that hardcore background and the pop-anthems of Pure Love. A role that ‘End of Suffering’ might be the best example of that yet.
For their third album continues the theme of their second, ‘Modern Ruin’, as it strips away the ferocity of ‘Blossom’ to replace it with a languid bluesy vibe backed-up by massive songs. However, this isn’t the clean, polished bounce of Pure Love. It’s dark and threatening, songs like ‘Tyrant Lizard’ managing to sound like they could fill arenas but also crush them. After all those twists, it seems likely that Frank has found his path, and it’s a route that few will complain about. – Stuart Iverson
The Menzingers – Hello Exile
The day a new Menzingers’ album drops is always a joyous one. While there are bands out there that you might worry about, scared they’ll drop a clanger, you know that you can rely on the boys from Pennsylvania. They’re going to deliver another collection of Heartland America rock songs that both have choruses for days and somehow capture all those feelings you have hidden away deep down inside.
Their sixth album, ‘Hello Exile’, is no different, featuring twelve songs that strip away the bullshit and go straight for the heart. Whether they’re singing about American politics or heartbreak, you can rely on them to come along, a whisky in hand, and make things just that little bit better. There are a lot of bands making this kind of music, but how many of them could write a track like ‘Strangers Forever’? The answer to that question is not many, by the way. – Stuart Iverson
Gaz Brookfield – Lostfolk
Spoiler – I was asked to write a bit here because I’d only discovered Gaz Brookfield this year. So here I am. And it’s true- before September 2019 I had never knowingly heard a Gaz Brookfield song. By the middle of September 2019 I had purchased the entire back catalogue, and pre-ordered the soon-to-be-released album, ‘Lostfolk’. So here we are with ‘Lostfolk’ and after five weeks or so of solid rotation, it’s likely to make my 2019 top five albums. The album marks a clear step forward in production – it’s a beautiful sounding body of work, but as ever with people like Gaz, it’s the songwriting that carries it, it’s the songwriting I fall for. At once confident and yet introverted, rootsy folk sounds mixing with some solid rock workouts, and some experimental stuff (the slide guitar on several tunes really speaks to my long dormant country aesthetic). They are sufficiently different in many ways to what’s come before to pique the interest, and yet feel like they’ll simply slot into the live show and soon be old friends. That’s what I’m hoping. Roll on those singalongs. I’m not going to pick favourites, there’s not a song here I’d skip. – Drewe Manton
Fontaines D.C. – Dogrel
Fontaines D.C. have been releasing singles since 2017 and this year saw the long anticipated arrival of ‘Dogrel’, which is also their debut album. For a band to be nominated in a Best Album category is always a special achievement (especially when it’s been put forward by people that love music and not industry related), but for it to be their debut shows just how much of impact these guys have have had on the live music scene.
The albums title is a homage to the word ‘Doggerel’ which is used in Irish working class poetry dating back to the 1630’s meaning ‘Poetry of the People’. Upon first listen hints of The Clash and IDLES can be heard but not enough to prevent Fontaines D.C. from clearly having their own distinct sound that varies from song to song. The result is that there’s something for everyone on this album. No matter your music taste you’ll find enough here to keep you coming back and Fontaines D.C. have produced an album that rightly deserves to be in the finalists for Best Album 2019. – Wes Bowie
Frank Turner – No Man’s Land
Let’s get one thing clear. An album should not be judged before it’s even been released and ‘No Man’s Land’ received it’s fair share of attention for the wrong reasons. It’s a testament to the songwriting that the album has been nominated for 2019’s Best Album and rightly so. More importantly, it’s an collection of songs from Frank Turner where he’s not catering (not that he ever will) to what he feels people may want and has instead produced an album on a subject he clearly has a passion for and never backed down or retreated from negative comments made. The moment this stops in music, the passion is lost.
The album itself is definitely one you have to listen to a few times and that is by no means a bad thing. Whilst the subject of women throughout history is present it somehow never manages to force it down your throat and is at times enlightening, entertaining and pretty damn dark. I found myself enjoying a different song each time I listened to it. And if you ask different people to pick their favourite song you’ll get a number of answers, there’s a lot of favourites on here (four different songs were nominated for Best Song 2019), and that is the sign of a great album. – Wes Bowie