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As is customary, every year we ask our artists and staff to give us a list of things that inspired them in 2019. Below is a list of their favourites, which you can listen to via this Spotify playlist.

Nick Schofield
Here are three albums that offered inspiration and musically motivated me in 2019:

Yves Jarvis – The Same But By Different Means
Sarah Pagé – Dose Curves
Organ Mood – Indivisible

Michael Feuerstack

Tropical Fuck Storm – Braindrops
I was scared to see this band play, precisely because they are supposed to be so good. It never ends up being true. Fortunately, I also never end up being right. And for the record (pun intended), TFS’s 2019 release Braindrops is as good as their first one, which is to say very great.

Jesca Hoop – Stone Child
To be honest, I only listened to it once, but what a sonic and emotional journey. I have it on order from my local record store (Phonopolis!).

Richard Dawson – 2020
I absolutely adore this record. Dawson’s got a completely singular way of describing the world that is somehow totally familiar – ancient and contemporary. This is my new city walking selection. I can bumble through the crowd and be pretty sure nobody else is sharing my experience (unless I run into one of my pals, and even then the odds are slim).

Cate LeBon – Reward
Though I’ve been a big fan for a long time, I never think I want to put this one on. It’s in the ‘new’ stack next to my turntable, so I’ve quickly or lazily selected it a few times. It always alters my mood and the air in my home in good and unexpected ways.

Aldous Harding – show at Pop Montreal 
I enjoy the album Designer, but I loved this show. Engaging, unapologetic, odd, and beautifully executed.

Gianna Lauren
Releases in 2019 Gianna loved: 

Freddie Gibbs, Madlib & El Michels Affair – Tiny Desk Concert

Dominique Fils-Aimé – Stay Tuned! 
A revival of Sade and Erykah Badu channeled through this Montrealer’s tremendous grace and vocal groove. 

Weyes Blood – Titanic Rising 
I picture old hollywood and an underwater orchestra every time I listen to this album. Transcendent arrangements.

Solange – When I Get Home 
Does anyone have more style and sensibility than this? Queen.

Faye Webster – Atlanta Millionaires Club 
I was really taken by the temper of her voice with pedal steel, plus favourites like the rap segment and the last song “Jonny”

Aldous Harding – Designer
Poured over these melodies in the sun this summer.

Cate Le Bon – Reward 
Many spins for many different occasions. 

Big Thief – Two Hands, U.F.O.F.
Two albums in one year? Months and months of touring? The hardest working band in America – I adore them and what they do and how they do it.

(Sandy) Alex G – House of Sugar
Never have I heard such a diverse album sounding so cohesively bizarre and beautiful. 

also – Mauno, Fet.Nat, Hand Habits

Memorable Discoveries in 2019: KhruangbinJesca Hoop, Kaina

Tim Crabtree – Paper Beat Scissors

Albums:
Leif Vollebekk – New Ways (especially Hot Tears)
Big Thief – U.F.O.F.
Aldous Harding – Designer
Jesca Hoop – Stonechild
Hand Habits – Placeholder
Patient Hands – Stoic
Merival – Lesson
Common Holly – When I say to you black lightning

Shows:
Mulatu Astatke, They Might Be Giants, Leif Vollebekk, New Hermitage


Joshua Van Tassel

Bon Iver – i,i 
Bibio – Ribbons
Barker – Utility
Mdou Moctar – Ilana
Jamilla Woods – LEGACY! LEGACY!

Brydon Crain – Motherhood

This year Earl Sweatshirt put out an EP, which was exciting because it’s been less than a year since his last album and he’s usually slower than that. But the fact the Earl seems to only work in his own mysterious ways is a lot of what I love about him. His music always sounds urgent but never forced. This EP felt especially urgent to me even though it’s only 10 minutes shorter than his last album, but Earl can cover a lot of ground in 10 minutes. (Short songs and albums are another reason I love Earl.) It’s lots a raps about what he’s going through and feels very close to his heart. He also makes most of the beats these days so his style is very unique to him. In a world where trap music is pop music (and I’m so down for that) it’s nice to have people out here still making hip-hop that’s raw. So check out Feet of Clay and check out Earl Sweatshirt in general if you haven’t. 

Kyle Cunjak

Although it’s not a 2019 release, nothing captured my attention and energized me as much as Makaya McCraven’s 2018 album Universal Beings. Split over four LP sides, McCraven assembled bands in NYC, Chicago, LA, and London and improvised both live and in-studio to create this incredibly exciting and contemporary jazz record.

Damon Locks & the Black Monument Ensemble – Where Future Unfolds

Helado Negro – This Is How You Smile

Aquakulture – I Doubt It – single

Daniel Caesar – CASE STUDY 01

Sandro Perri – Soft Landing