2019 Readers Poll: The Results

Thanks again to everyone who participated in the nomination and voting rounds of this year's annual readers poll.

All the best wishes for 2020!


Album of the Yearhttps://brainwashed.com/brain/images/swans-leaving_meaning.jpg

  1. Swans, "Leaving Meaning" (Young God)

    "At this point, I suspect Michael Gira could probably sneeze and land a spot near the top of this readers' poll, but I genuinely like this incarnation of Swans quite a lot.  Gira has long been an unwavering beacon of creative integrity and it is clear that he strives to convey something honest, soulful and meaningful with each new release.  That said, I think this album deserves the top spot solely for the line "I am the avatar of your semen and I'm screaming."" - Anthony D’Amico

    "I thought this made for an excellent follow-up to the previous run of Swans albums.  Seems like Gira realized the 30+ pounding epics had gotten as extreme as it could, so that overall tweaking of style and guest artists gave it that perfect balance of familiar and new.  Traces of his other projects can easily be heard, but the final product is as fresh as ever." - Creaig Dunton

    "Gira has once again triumphed in a new arrangement of Swans. While I, too, am skeptical about the brainwashed readers, it does make sense that Swans is a group that most readers do, indeed, agree on, and rightfully so." - Jon Whitney

  2. Cosey Fanni Tutti, "Tutti" (Conspiracy International)

    "I definitely expected this album to be a more radical departure from Carter Tutti than it was, given its use of Gristle-era source material and the character of Cosey's classic previous solo release (1983's Time To Tell).   Instead, it mostly just picks up where exactly where Carter Tutti left off, consisting primarily of driving synthpop instrumentals.  Unsurprisingly, they are often quite good, but this album is more of a likable soundtrack to her recent career retrospective than it is a bold, stand-alone statement. "  - Anthony D'Amico

  3. Carla dal Forno, "Look Up Sharp" (Kallista) 

    "Quite likely my own personal favorite of the year, it's a fantastic example of Carla's continued evolution as composer and performer." - Jon Whitney

    "During a lengthy period of emotional pain, the ecstatic gloomy thud of Pale Sketcher's "Jesu Pale Sketches Demixed" was my in-car album of choice. "Look Up Sharp" is not bleary or fuzz-drenched, but would have fitted the bill." - Duncan Edwards

  4. Carter Tutti Void, "Triumvirate" (Conspiracy International)

    "I am sad to see this collaboration end, as Triumvirate felt like an exciting creative breakthrough that had not yet realized its full potential.  This album almost achieves the perfect balance of propulsive Carter Tutti-style synthpop and gnarled Gristle noise, but this wonderful threesome stopped exasperatingly short of transforming their grooves into fully formed songs.  Still a damn good album though."  -Anthony D’Amico

  5. Caterina Barbieri, "Ecstatic Computation" (Editions Mego)

    "At times, her roots in classical guitar seem writ large as shimmering compositions for synthesizer. Schulzeesque." - Duncan Edwards

    ""Fantas" absolutely floored me the first time I heard it." -Anthony D'Amico

  6. Fennesz, "Agora" (Touch)

    "Stunning. An album that Popol Vuh or Tangerine Dream would have been proud to make. Created on headphones. Perfect to hear through headphones." - Duncan Edwards

  7. Sunn O))), "Life Metal" (Southern Lord)

    "I really need someone to sit down with me and patiently explain why this album is great and special and not extremely similar to at least three other Sunn O))) albums." -Anthony D'Amico

    "I am not going to be that person, Anthony, but I think this one was strong since it had a bit of the bombast of Monoliths and Dimensions, but the stripped down approach that was more prevalent on Kannon.  Plus Albini's engineering helped give it even more depth.  But I mean, it is still a Sunn O))) record." - Creaig Dunton

  8. Tim Hecker, "Anoyo" (Kranky)

    "Tim Hecker's ability to continually reinvent his sound while releasing an unbroken string of great albums borders on the supernatural."  -Anthony D'Amico

  9. Sunn O))), "Pyroclasts" (Southern Lord)

    "Considerably better and more imaginative than Life Metal." -Anthony D'Amico

  10. Current 93, "Invocations of Almost" (The Spheres)
  11. The Legendary Pink Dots, "Angel in the Detail" (Metropolis)

    "One of the stronger song-based LPD albums in recent memory.  The maddeningly brief "Itchycoo Shark" is my favorite song by a landslide, but the entire first side of the album is basically an unbroken parade of fine would-be singles."  -Anthony D’Amico

  12. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, "Ghosteen" (Ghosteen Ltd / Bad Seed Ltd)

    "Loving the parts which remind of Scott Walker. Beyond that, after three listens, it's a bit of a case of your funeral, my trial. Sticking with it though because it may be a real grower. The cover art leaves me speechless."  - Duncan Edwards

  13. Kali Malone, "The Sacrificial Code" (iDEAL)

    "Subtly ingenious, elegantly simple, and unapologetically out of step with just about every single trend in contemporary music.  It is extremely heartening to see this album popping up on so many end-of-year lists."  -Anthony D’Amico

    "Do not miss "Spectacle of Ritual." It liberates church organ from the traditional bellowing reverb, allowing for a calm intimacy I'd thought impossible. - Duncan Edwards    

  14. HTRK, "Venus in Leo" (Ghostly)
  15. Nivhek, "After its own death / Walking in a spiral towards the house" (Yellow Electric)
  16. Félicia Atkinson, "The Flower And The Vessel" (Shelter Press)

    "Atkinson's last few albums have each featured some amazing songs, but The Flower And The Vessel is absolutely packed with them.  This is easily the finest album of her post-Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier career."  -Anthony D'Amico

  17. Nodding God, "Play Wooden Child" (House of Mythology)

    "I am surprised to see that this album placed as high as it did.  This is an absolutely unhinged endurance test from start to finish.  It is an endearing one, of course, but it does not lend itself well to repeat listening.  This is David Tibet and Andrew Liles at their most gleefully and maniacally indulgent." -Anthony D'Amico

  18. Swans, "What Is This?" (Young God)
  19. Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto, "Two" (Noton)
  20. Loscil, "Equivalents" (Kranky)
  21. King Midas Sound, "Solitude" (Cosmo Rhythmatic)
  22. The Stargazer's Assistant, "Mirrors & Tides, Shivers & Voids" (Zoharum)
  23. Scorn, "Cafe Mor" (Ohm Resistance)

    "I was not sure what to expect from a new Scorn album after a nearly decade-long hiatus, as Mick Harris's run of classic albums was very much of its time.  As it turns out, what I could expect was a slow-motion juggernaut of stripped-down, subwoofer-straining dub heaviness.  It almost sounds like Harris remixed the Zonal album to excise absolutely everything that was insufficiently cold and menacing." -Anthony D'Amico

  24. Akira Rabelais, "CXVI" (self-released)
  25. Edward Ka-Spel, "The Moon Cracked Over Albion" (Neuteka)
  26. Ulver, "Drone Activity" (House of Mythology)
  27. Thighpaulsandra, "Practical Electronics" (Editions Mego)
  28. Deathprod, "Occulting Disk" (Smalltown Supersound)

    "Deathprod's long-awaited return is quite a blackened and slow-burning affair, but it builds to an absolutely visceral and volcanic crescendo." -Anthony D'Amico

  29. UnicaZurn, "Sensudestricto" (Touch)
  30. Biosphere, "The Senja Recordings" (Biophone)
  31. Black To Comm, "Seven Horses For Seven Kings" (Thrill Jockey)

    "This album feels like trying to watch Akira Kurosawa's Ran while being sucked inside a Hieronymus Bosch painting."  -Anthony D'Amico 

  32. Matmos, "Plastic Anniversary" (Thrill Jockey)
  33. Sarah Davachi, "Pale Bloom" (W.25th)

    "One of Davachi's more unusual and ambitiously diverse albums.  If someone had told me these were all recently unearthed compositions by some rogue classical visionary like Carlo Gesualdo, I would probably would've believed them."  -Anthony D'Amico

  34. Bill Callahan, "Shepherd In A Sheepskin Vest" (Drag City)
  35. Abul Mogard, "Kimberlin" (Ecstatic)

    "I have historically not been terribly keen on either remix albums or film soundtracks, but Abul Mogard has now managed to dazzle me with both."  -Anthony D'Amico

  36. Kim Gordon, "No Home Record" (Matador)
  37. Zu, "Terminalia Amazonia" (House of Mythology)
  38. Meat Beat Manifesto, "Opaque Couché" (Flexidisc)
  39. Black To Comm, "Before After" (Thrill Jockey)

    "More freewheeling and abstract than the more focused and intense Seven Horses, but every bit as good.  Maybe even better.  Marc Richter had a hell of a year."  -Anthony D'Amico

  40. Pan•American, "A Son" (Kranky)
  41. Earth, "Full Upon Her Burning Lips" (Sargent House)
  42. Alessandro Cortini, "Volume Massimo" (Mute)

    "Cortini's first stab at translating his synth mastery into something approaching pop music was a bit of a mixed bag, but the more successful moments like "Sabbia" are legitimately wonderful." -Anthony D'Amico

  43. Stephen Mallinder, "Um Dada" (Dais)

    "Richard H. Kirk has cranked out albums consistently since Cabaret Voltaire dissolved, but Mal has always been a bit more selective, even when working with others.  On this solo one it retains that clubby, funk feel of 1980s CV, but with the right amount of cut-up and oblique production fitting the album's title." - Creaig Dunton

  44. William Basinski, "On Time Out of Time" (Temporary Residence)

    "Basinski in space music mode does not pack the emotional depth of his usual work, but the shorter closing piece on this one-off departure is quite good."  -Anthony D'Amico

  45. Test Dept, "Disturbance" (One Little Indian)
  46. A Winged Victory for the Sullen, "The Undivided Five" (Ninja Tune)
  47. Boduf Songs, "Abyss Versions" (Orindal)
  48. Helm, "Chemical Flowers" (Pan)

    "Helm has been a reliably compelling project for quite some time, but Luke Younger's increasingly eclectic palette of influences has taken his work to a whole new level.  In the case of this album, it is the collision of Arabic-sounding strings, skittering electronics, and a heavy, lurching groove on "I Knew You Would Respond" that steals the show."  -Anthony D'Amico   

  49. The Future Sound Of London, "Yage 2019" (self-released)
  50. Nurse With Wound / The James Worse Public Address Method, "The Vursiflenze Mismantler" (United Dairies)

    "It tempting to say that this album is basically 'The Jabberwocky' chopped & screwed, but it is actually much more complex and varied than its origins in mangled absurdist poetry might suggest.  In fact, a few pieces are legitimately haunting or eerily beautiful.  And others, of course, easily rank among Steven Stapleton's most deranged and cacophonous work.  Quite a bizarre album even by NWW standards." -Anthony D'Amico   

  51. Lee "Scratch" Perry, "Heavy Rain" (On-U Sound)

    "This sets a very high bar for all future dub albums by octogenarians."  -Anthony D'Amico

  52. Alva Noto + Anne-James Chaton, "Alphabet" (NOTON)
  53. Stephen O'Malley, "Ākasa-Dhātu" (Ideologic Organ)
  54. Oren Ambarchi, "Simian Angel" (Editions Mego)
  55. Pye Corner Audio, "Hollow Earth" (Ghost Box)
  56. HTRK, "Over the Rainbow" (Boomkat Editions)

    "Still trying to get my hands on this!" - Jon Whitney

  57. The Art Ensemble of Chicago, "We Are On Edge" (Pi)
  58. Carl Stone, "Himalaya" (Unseen Worlds)
  59. Ben Frost, "Dark: Cycle 1 (Original Music From The Netflix Series)" (Invada)
  60. Ben Frost, "Dark: Cycle 2 (Original Music From The Netflix Series)" (Invada)
  61. Celer, "Xièxie" (Two Acorns)

    "This was an unusually high-profile release, but it is not substantially better than a lot of other Celer albums (though I am quite fond of its incorporation of field recordings).  Will Long is pretty much in a constant state of releasing great ambient music." -Anthony D'Amico

  62. These New Puritans, "Inside The Rose" (Infectious Music)
  63. Alameda 5, "Eurodrome" (Instant Classic)
  64. Rafael Anton Irisarri, "Solastalgia" (Room40)
  65. Deaf Center, "Low Distance" (Sonic Pieces)

    "A headphone trip across a glacial landscape, lonely and timeless, with crackles of hyper-amplified warmth. The piano passages are even "koselig" as they say in Norway." - Duncan Edwards

  66. The Caretaker, "Everywhere, an empty bliss" (History Always Favours the Winners)

    "I've been a sucker for his work since getting a copy of Stairway To The Stars on beautiful blue vinyl. This final album is a moving document of decline, with jaunty 78s, needle crackle, on-off synths, silence, even distant remembered yodeling, and the crushingly clear last track with its almost unbearable aching and yearning." - Duncan Edwards  

  67. Lingua Ignota, "Caligula" (Profound Lore)
  68. Purple Mountains, "Purple Mountains" (Drag City)

    "The sound of a man ready to leave this world. An album as bleak as a terminal illness, as comically painful as puns in a suicide note, and as wry as you'd expect from a fine poet." - Duncan Edwards  

    ""Darkness and Cold" still kills me every single time I hear it.  This was a hell of a swansong." -Anthony D'Amico

  69. The Cinematic Orchestra, "To Believe" (Ninja Tune)
  70. Xiu Xiu, "Girl with Basket of Fruit" (Polyvinyl)

    "Definitely among the most radical of Jamie Stewart’s recent reinventions, but I found it a bit too prickly and frenetic to love as a whole." -Anthony D’Amico

  71. My Disco, "Environment" (Downwards)
  72. Earthen Sea, "Grass And Trees" (Kranky)
  73. Innercity Ensemble, "IV" (Instant Classic)
  74. Telefon Tel Aviv, "Dreams Are Not Enough" (Ghostly)
  75. JH1.FS3, "Trials and Tribulations" (Dais)

    "This Puce Mary/Liebestod collaboration is every bit as good as Puce Mary."  -Anthony D'Amico

  76. Edward Ka-Spel / Motion Kapture, "Alien Subspace" (Rustblade)
  77. Drab Majesty, "Modern Mirror" (Dais)
  78. Föllakzoid, "I" (Sacred Bones)
  79. Boy Harsher, "Careful" (Nude Club)
  80. Craig Leon, "Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 2: The Canon" (RVNG Intl.)
  81. The Young Gods, "Data Mirage Tangram" (Two Gentlemen)
  82. The Dead C, "Rare Ravers" (Ba Da Bing!)

    "This was an absolute monster of an album and it belongs in the top ten.  I don't know what more The Dead C could do to win you people over.  Please stop making me sad."  -Anthony D'Amico

  83. Téléplasmiste, "Science Religion" (Golden Ratio Frequencies)
  84. Phew + Oren Ambarchi + Jim O’Rourke, "Patience Soup" (Black Truffle)
  85. Zonal, "Wrecked" (Relapse)

    "A crushing mindfuck of slow-motion, bass-heavy horror: Moor Mother is quite an inspired foil for the blackened, churning, and blown-out grooves of Kevin Martin and Justin Broadrick.  The instrumentals are great too."  -Anthony D'Amico

    "Broadrick and Martin hooking back up is going to get my attention no matter what, and the result was a fitting acknowledgement to their legacy as Techno Animal/Sidewinder/Curse of the Golden Vampire.  Moor Mother's vocals fit in perfectly, and having half vocal, half instrumental pieces was an inspired idea." - Creaig Dunton

  86. Lee "Scratch" Perry, "Rainford" (On-U Sound)
  87. Maria W Horn, "Epistasis" (Hallow Ground)

    "This was quite a bold and unexpected evolution from last year's Kontrapoetik.  Horn still clearly loves black metal and drone, but she proves herself to be remarkably adept at crafting more intricate and melodic fare as well."  -Anthony D'Amico 

  88. Ramleh, "The Great Unlearning" (Nashazphone)

    It is hard to top Circular Time, but thankfully Gary Mundy and Anthony DiFranco did not try to.  Further blending "noise" Ramleh with "rock" Ramleh, there are harsh moments, as well as some truly beautiful ones (especially the side-long "Futureworld").  One of my favorites this year." - Creaig Dunton

  89. Benoît Pioulard, "Sylva" (Morr Music)

    "Dreamy, gauzy, droney, shimmering soundscapes. Yet the standouts here are "Keep" and "Meristem" two pieces with vocals. "Keep" in particular is reminiscent of early (non-vocal) Bibio and "Soft Wounds" period Songs of Green Pheasant." - Duncan Edwards

  90. Alberich, "Quantized Angel" (Hospital)
  91. Vanishing Twin, "The Age Of Immunology" (Fire)

    "Much like the Death & Vanilla album, The Age of Immunology scratches roughly the same itch as classic Stereolab.  Vanishing Twin is by far the weirder and more experimental of the two bands though.  "Magician's Success" was easily one of my favorite singles of the year."  -Anthony D'Amico

  92. Dino Spiluttini, "Heaven" (Editions Mego)
  93. Eleh, "Living Space" (Touch)
  94. Angel Bat Dawid, "The Oracle" (International Anthem)

    "A surprisingly gentle and hypnotic chronicle of contemporary black experience. Recorded mainly on cell phone, using gospel structures, improvisation, clarinet, voice and more. The result is a spiritual and political journey of discovery and freedom; meandering, immersive, and harmonious." - Duncan Edwards 

  95. Death and Vanilla, "Are You A Dreamer?" (Fire)
  96. Orphyx/JK Flesh, "Light Bringer" (Hospital)
  97. Lustmord, "First Reformed" (Vaultworks)
  98. Benoît Honoré Pioulard and Sean Curtis Patrick, "Avocationals" (Beacon Sound)
  99. Keiji Haino & Sumac, "Even for just the briefest moment..." (Trost)
  100. Carl Stone, "Baroo" (Unseen Worlds)


Single of the Year

  1. The Legendary Pink Dots, "Hallowe'en Special 2019" (self-released)https://legendarypinkdots.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/2019BC_HalloweenSpecial.jpg
  2. The Legendary Pink Dots, "Christmas Special 2019" (self-released)
  3. Carla dal Forno, "So Much Better" (Kallista)
  4. Fovea Hex, "The Salt Garden III" (Janet)

    "Another beautiful and haunting release from Clodagh Simonds in these bleak times and probably my favorite single of the year." - Jon Whitney

  5. Andy Stott, "It Should Be Us" (Modern Love)

    "Easily one of my favorite Stott releases despite its distinct lack of overt hooks.  Sounds like a ghostly, slow-motion dub version of his usual fare, but that slowed, stripped-down approach suits some of these heavy grooves beautifully.  "Not This Time" is an absolutely killer slab of unstoppable, industrial-grade thump." -Anthony D'Amico

  6. The Legendary Pink Dots, "Junkyard (Version Apocalypse)" (self-released)
  7. Meat Beat Manifesto, "Pin Drop / No Design" (Flexidisc)

    ""Pin Drop" is a skittering tour de force of rhythmic virtuousity and endearing eclecticism." -Anthony D'Amico

  8. JK Flesh, "In Your Pit" (Pressure)
  9. Nodding God, "In a Foreign Landscape" (House of Mythology)
  10. Raime, "Planted" (RR)
  11. Edward Ka-Spel, "Waves Unchanged" (self-released)
  12. Pye Corner Audio, "Dark Phase" (Analogical Force)
  13. Scorn, "Feather" (Ohm Resistance)
  14. Deathprod, "Dark Transit" (Smalltown Supersound)
  15. Benoît Pioulard, "Atra" (Past Inside the Present)
  16. Andrea Belfi, "Strata" (Float)
  17. Craven Faults, "Springhead Works" (Lowfold Works)
  18. Lotto, "Pix" (Instant Classic)
  19. Seefeel, "SP/GA 19" (self-released)
  20. Four Tet, "Teenage Birdsong" (Text)
  21. Lee "Scratch" Perry, "Life of the Plants" (Stones Throw)
  22. Jonnine, "Super Natural" (Good Morning Tapes)
  23. Sequoyah Murray, "Penalties of Love" (Thrill Jockey)
  24. Low, "Fly" (Sub Pop)
  25. Essaie Pas, "Earth" (DFA)
  26. Puce Mary, Francesco Leali, Heith, Alessandro Branca, "An Exploitative Version of Surrogacy" (Until Riots)
  27. Thurston Moore, "Pollination/Leave Me Alone" (Daydream Library)
  28. Craven Faults, "Nunroyd Works" (Lowfold Works)
  29. Caribou, "Home" (Merge)
  30. Four Tet, "Anna Painting" (Text)
  31. Claro Intelecto, "Forgotten Wasteland" (Delsin)
  32. My Disco, "Environment Remixes" (Downwards)
  33. Amp, "Entangled Time" (Sound In Silence)
  34. Not Waving, "Tremendous / S.M." (Ecstatic)
  35. Lali Puna, "Being Water" (Morr Music)
  36. Karl Bartos, "Without A Trace Of Emotion / Vox Humana ‎(7", Single, Gat)" (Electronic Sound)
  37. Pharmakustik, "Propulsion" (V I S)
  38. Ultramarine, "Meditations" (Les Disques Du Crépuscule)
  39. Four Tet, "Dreamer" (Text)
  40. Locust, "Green" (Medical)
  41. Locust, "Red" (Medical)
  42. Celer, "Plays Godflesh" (Avalanche)
  43. Celer, "Valdez" (self-released)
  44. Modern Nature, "Nature" (Bella Union)
  45. Thurston Moore, "Spring Swell /Leave Me Alone" (Daydream Library)
  46. Thurston Moore, "Three Graces/Leave Me Alone" (Daydream Library)
  47. Blawan, "Many Many Pings" (Ternesc)
  48. Erykah Badu & James Poyser, "Tempted" (Yep Roc)
  49. Blac Kolor, "Nephi" (Ant-Zen)
  50. Komplikations, "No Good News" (Rockstar)


Vault/Reissue of the Year

  1. https://rotorelief.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/nurse-with-wound_homotopy-to-marie_rotor0070_recto_700x700.jpgNurse With Wound, "Homotopy To Marie" (Rotorelief)
  2. Current 93, "Nature Unveiled" (The Spheres)
  3. Coil, "Live Five" (Retractor)
  4. Grouper, "A I A: Alien Observer" (Kranky)
  5. Throbbing Gristle, "Part 2: The Endless Not / TG Now" (Mute)
  6. Coil, "Live Copenhagen 2002" (Retractor)
  7. Dome, "3" (Editions Mego)
  8. Stereolab, "Emperor Tomato Ketchup" (Duophonic)
  9. Burial, "Tunes 2011 to 2019" (Hyperdub)
  10. Grouper, "A I A: Dream Loss" (Kranky)
  11. Throbbing Gristle, "A Souvenir of Camber Sands" (Mute)
  12. Dome, "1" (Editions Mego)

    "All the Dome records were amazing, but I have always preferred this one.  Probably because it shows the traces of Wire's 154 most clearly, but with the more experimental moments taken to the extreme." - Creaig Dunton

  13. Dome, "4: Will You Speak This Word?" (Editions Mego)
  14. Stereolab, "Dots and Loops" (Duophonic)
  15. The Residents, "Commercial Album" (New Ralph Too)
  16. Dome, "2" (Editions Mego)

    "And this would be my second favorite.  The avant garde tendencies are even stronger here, but "The Red Tent II" and "Long Lost Life" are very catchy songs in their own right." - Creaig Dunton

  17. Chris Carter, "Archival 1973-1977" (Mute)
  18. Mark Stewart + Maffia, "Learning to Cope with Cowardice" (Mute)
  19. Cabaret Voltaire, "1974-1976" (Mute)
  20. The Legendary Pink Dots, "The Crushed Velvet Apocalypse" (Soleilmoon)
  21. Nurse With Wound, "Arcane Reawakening X" (self-released)
  22. Psychic TV, "Trip Reset" (Sweet Nothing)
  23. The Legendary Pink Dots, "The Golden Age" (Metropolis)
  24. Chris Carter, "Small Moon" (Mute)
  25. Stereolab, "Mars Audiac Quintet" (Duophonic)
  26. Cabaret Voltaire, "Chance Vs. Causality" (Mute)
  27. Stereolab, "Cobra And Phases Group Play Voltage In The Milky Night" (Duophonic)
  28. Mika Vainio, "Olento" (Sähkö)
  29. Stereolab, "Transient Random Noise-Bursts WIth Announcements" (Duophonic)
  30. Eliane Radigue, "Geelriandre/Arthesis" (Important)
  31. Fad Gadget, "The Best Of" (Mute)
  32. The Legendary Pink Dots, "Malachai (Shadow Weaver Part 2)" (Metropolis)
  33. Muslimgauze, "Azzazin" (Staalplaat)
  34. Bowery Electric, "Lushlife" (Beggars Banquet)
  35. The Residents, "Eskimo" (New Ralph Too)
  36. Chris Carter, "Mondo Beat" (Mute)
  37. Laurie Spiegel, "The Expanding Universe" (Unseen Worlds)

    "Reissued first in 2012. A gem, a landmark. To paraphrase my own review: Fahey meets Bach in a spacecraft powered by computers as big as a fridge." - Duncan Edwards

  38. The Residents, "Not Available" (New Ralph Too)
  39. Chris Carter, "Disobedient" (Mute)
  40. Laurie Spiegel, "Unseen Worlds" (Unseen Worlds)
  41. Steven Stapleton & David Tibet, "Dead Memory" (Dirter)
  42. Ryuichi Sakamoto, "Thousand Knives of" (Wewantsounds)
  43. Gas, "Pop" (Kompakt)
  44. Arthur Russell, "Iowa Dream" (Audika)
  45. The Residents, "God In Three Persons" (New Ralph Too)
  46. Eliane Radigue, "CHRY-PTUS" (Important)
  47. Rema-Rema, "Fond Reflections" (4AD)
  48. Stereolab, "Sound-Dust" (Duophonic)
  49. Eliane Radigue, "Feedback Works 1969-1970" (Algra Marghen)

    "Easily one of the best reissues of this or any year. Drone and throb created 50 years ago. Radigue worked at night when her children were in bed, using tape and an ARP-2500 modular synth. Nothing here is attention-seeking, everything is essential, life-affirming and completely mesmerizing. Genius." - Duncan Edwards 

  50. HIA / Biosphere, "Polar Sequences" (Biophon)


Various Artist Compilation of the Year

  1. https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a0525522796_16.jpgThe Legendary Pink Dots & friends, "40 Angels" (self-released)

    "In classic LPD fashion, the release of Angel in the Detail was accompanied by a sprawling and eclectic collection that sneakily contains some near-classic material.  I especially like the demo versions of "Red Flag" and "Sacred Cow," but are probably enough other strong pieces here to assemble a second album nearly as wonderful as Detail.  The catch is just that you have to sift through forty-two songs to find them all." -Anthony D'Amico    

  2. "Touched By Silence - Music for Macmillian Cancer Support" (Touched)
  3. "On Corrosion" (Helen Scarsdale Agency)

    "Jim Haynes's expertly curated label is one that I have followed for a number of years and I have yet to be disappointed in a release.  This set provides a perfect overview:  ten cassettes (one per artist) show the wide range of sounds he has been putting out.  From the Valium haze of Pinkcourtesyphone to the noisy din of Kleistwahr, everything here is brilliant.  Throw it in a hand-made wooden box with a booklet and postcards and it is easily my favorite compilation of the year." - Creaig Dunton

  4. "Third Noise Principle (Formative North American Electronica 1975-1984" (Cherry Red)
  5. "Lullabies For Catatonics: A Journey Through the British Avant-Pop/Art-Rock Scene 1967-74" (Grapefruit)
  6. "An Anthology Of Greek Experimental Electronic Music 1966-2016" (Sub Rosa)
  7. "Vanity Records: Vanity Box" (Kyou)
  8. "25 Compost Records" (Compost)
  9. "Buried Alive!! 2: More Demented Teenage Fuzz From Down Under 1964-1968" (Particles)
  10. "C'mon! C'mon!: The Roots of Scottish Rock and Pop 1963-1970" (Particles)
  11. "New Moon's In The Sky (The British Progressive Pop Sounds Of 1970)" (Grapefruit)
  12. "Studio One Showcase" (Studio One)
  13. "Vanity Records: Vanity Tapes" (Kyou)
  14. "STUMM433" (Mute)

    "Enjoy the silence, indeed." - Jon Whitney

  15. "Strain, Crack & Break: Music From The Nurse With Wound List Volume 1 (France)" (Finders Keepers) 

    "Perhaps not as challenging, weird, or varied as I anticipated. Although worth it for the retro-pastoral, cinematic charm of the Z.N.R. piece "Solo un Dia" alone." - Duncan Edwards

    "I learned long ago that being a huge NWW fan does not necessarily mean that I share Steven Stapleton's taste in music, but there are some very cool obscurities on this France-focused collection that make me eager to hear future volumes.  There are certainly some very difficult and annoying pieces here as well, but the hit-to-miss ratio is very much a favorable one."  -Anthony D'Amico

  16. "Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980 - 1990" (Light in the Attic)
  17. "Seitō: In the Beginning, Woman Was the Sun" (Akuphone)
  18. "Pop Ambient 2020" (Kompakt)
  19. "Jambú e Os Míticos Sons Da Amazônia" (Analog Africa)
  20. "Pacific Breeze (Japanese City Pop, AOR & Boogie 1976-1986)" (Light in the Attic)
  21. "Institute Of Sonology 1959-1969" (Sub Rosa)
  22. "Mogadisco - Dancing Mogadishu - Somalia 1972​-​1991" (Analog Africa)
  23. "Wayfaring Strangers: Acid Nightmares" (Numero Group)
  24. "Synthesizer Music On Tape vol. 1" (Harami Tapes)
  25. "Nigeria 70 (No Wahala: Highlife, Afro-Funk & Juju 1973-1987)" (Strut)


Boxed Set of the Year

  1. http://www.brainwashed.com/common/images/covers/dprombx141.jpgSteven Stapleton & David Tibet, "The Threat of Memory" (Dirter)
  2. Section 25, "Always Now" (Factory Benelux)
  3. Cabaret Voltaire, "Methodology '74 / '78 Attic Tapes;" (Mute)
  4. The Residents, "Mole Box" (New Ralph Too)
  5. Kyle Bobby Dunn, "From Here to Eternity" (Past Inside the Present)
  6. Zoviet France, "Chasse" (Vinyl on Demand)

    "I think I would have burst into tears if this had sold out before I managed to get one.  I've been hoping that these albums would get reissued for like twenty years."  -Anthony D'Amico

  7. The Pop Group, "Y" (Mute)
  8. Nurse With Wound, "Trippin' Music" (United Dirter)

    "If anyone is considering listening to this album on acid, you would be wise to hide the pink album beforehand, as its alternately jabbering and metallic onslaught is more than nerve-jangling enough sober.  That 'Russian Roulette' aspect is part of this album's weird charm though, as the lack of any sequence or song title information makes the first few spins of this triple LP an appealingly unpredictable and disorienting descent into obsessively looping weirdness."  -Anthony D'Amico

  9. A Certain Ratio, "ACR:Box" (Mute)
  10. Nurse With Wound, "Objet Politique" (self-released)
  11. Jim O'Rourke, "To Magnetize Money and Catch a Roving Eye" (Sonoris)
  12. "Touched By Silence - Music for Macmillian Cancer Support" (Touched)
  13. Thurston Moore, "Spirit Counsel" (Daydream Library)
  14. The Fall, "Live at the Witch Trials" (Cherry Red)
  15. Merzbow, "Metalvelodrome" (Urashima)
  16. Arve Henriksen, "The Timeless Nowhere" (Rune Grammofon)
  17. Duster, "Capsule Losing Contact" (Numero)
  18. Michael Rother, "Solo" (Grönland)
  19. Gene Clark, "No Other Deluxe" (4AD)
  20. Scott Walker, "Live On Air 1968-1969" (London Calling)
  21. The Residents, "Alvin Snow AKA Dyin Dog" (Cryptic Corporation)
  22. "On Corrosion" (Helen Scarsdale Agency)
  23. "Third Noise Principle (Formative North American Electronica 1975-1984" (Cherry Red)
  24. The Fall, "1982" (Cherry Red)
  25. The 39 Clocks, "Next Dimension Transfer" (Tapete)


Artist of the Year


  1. The Legendary Pink Dots

    "Celebrating the 40th year in existence by being as productive as they are is no simple task. It's astounding they continue to record and release as much music and continue to tour extensively." - Jon Whitney

  2. Swans
  3. Sunn O)))
  4. Nurse With Wound
  5. Carla dal Forno
  6. Edward Ka-Spel
  7. Cosey Fanni Tutti
  8. HTRK
  9. Alva Noto
  10. Black To Comm

Label of the Year

  1. Mute
  2. Editions Mego
  3. Kranky
  4. Duophonic
  5. Important
  6. New Ralph Too
  7. Thrill Jockey
  8. Conspiracy International
  9. House of Mythology
  10. Young God


New Artist of the Year


Angel Bat Dawid

"I am by no means an expert in Jazz, however the captivating debut album, The Oracle, from Chicago based composer and multi-instrumentalist Angel Bat Dawid has been appropriately receiving high critical acclaim. Although she performs with numerous musicians, the album was assembled from music created entirely by Dawid alone but is by no means minimal. It is rich in swirling melodic layers of clarinet, voice, keyboard, and other instrumentation and the compositions are beyond hypnotic. I look forward to future recordings and hopefully being fortunate enough to catch her live." - Jon Whitney


Lifetime Achievement Recognition


Lee "Scratch" Perry

"It is hard to imagine what the current musical landscape would be like if Lee Perry had not made the fateful decision to move to the city and take a job as a janitor at a recording studio.  Obviously, he played a pivotal role in ska's evolution into reggae and was unquestionably one of the key architects in the birth of dub. Beyond that, however, Perry was the one who convinced Bob Marley to take his work in a more spiritual/political direction and additionally played a crucial role in transforming Marley into an international celebrity (by controversially sending his recordings to Trojan).  If dub and reggae had not blown up in England to influence a generation of open-minded punks and art students, I have no doubt that post-punk and post-industrial music would never have splintered into the many interesting directions that they did.  Unfortunately, Perry's Black Ark heyday came to an end in near-Biblical fashion in the late '70s, but flashes of that old Perry magic have been intermittently surfacing ever since he relocated to Europe.  More importantly, he has become quite an adventurous collaborator in his later years, tirelessly exposing his idiosyncratic vision to new generations and learning new tricks well into his eighties."  -Anthony D'Amico

"One of the early joys of parenting is receiving that first kindergarten report card when their child is described as "works well with others." In addition to the scores of Jamaican legends Perry has been responsible for, he continues to record with the greats, with recent collaborators including David Tibet, Sasha Grey, and of course, Brian Eno. Not only is Lee Perry's historical indisputable, but who else in their 80s released three stunning albums in 2019 and continues to tour the world? Here's to the next 80 years!" - Jon Whitney


Worst Album of the Year

  1. Sleater-Kinney, "The Center Won't Hold" (Mom + Pop)

    "I have a history of being skeptical about the worst of the year votes, however the general consensus across the boards seems to agree with this assessment." - Jon Whitney

  2. Jan St. Werner, "Glottal Wolpertinger (Fiepblatter Catalogue #6)" (Thrill Jockey)

    "I could admittedly do without the spoken introductions to each piece, but this was otherwise a solid and oft-compelling album."  -Anthony D'Amico

  3. Front Line Assembly, "Wake Up the Coma" (Metropolis)
  4. KMFDM, "Paradise" (Metropolis)

    "The longevity of this band is deeply perplexing."  -Anthony D'Amico

    "I like to imagine if En Esch were to come back, KMFDM might actually be entertaining again.  But I am not holding my breath." - Creaig Dunton

  5. Beirut, "Gallipoli" (4AD)
  6. Girl Band, "The Talkies" (Rough Trade)
  7. Ellen Allien, "Alientronic" (Bpitch Control)
  8. Pixies, "Beneat the Eyrie" (Infectious)
  9. Kukangendai, "Palm" (Ideologic Organ)

    "I'm legitimately surprised to see this here.  I suppose this album is a bit uneven and one-dimensional, but Kukangendai are an extremely tight band with a unique aesthetic.   I have always enjoyed Stephen O'Malley's offbeat curatorial choices for Ideologic Organ and this album does nothing to dampen my enthusiasm." -Anthony D'Amico

  10. M83, "Knife + Heart (Original Soundtrack)" (Mute)