The tens have been a bleak decade for guitar music, with manufactured pop dominating the airwaves, however 2019 changed that. From indie to djent, Adam Keys talks through his top 10 releases of the year:
10. Periphery IV: Hail Stan (3Dot Recordings)
Periphery III got people to sit up and take notice of the djent superstars; however, Hail Stan is truly Periphery’s most accessible album to date. The album sees the band push themselves to new levels, with the highlight of the album coming in the 17-minute long opener, Reptile – a truly ambitious feat that they more that pull off.
9. Dirty Honey – Dirty Honey (self released)
Few bands have made a bigger impact this year than Dirty Honey. The LA based four piece landed support tours with Guns ‘N’ Roses and Slash and Myles Kennedy, and became the first unsigned band to earn a number one single on the US Billboard Rock Chart, with When I’m Gone. Major labels will be sniffing around this band, who have the potential to reach the top. Had their self-titled debut been a full length, it is likely it would top this list!
8. King Nun – Mass (Dirty Hit)
London four-piece King Nun went completely under the radar for much of 2019, before the release of Mass. The release was immediately followed by a major support tour with The Struts, which catapulted them towards the big stage. A headline tour awaits in early 2020, and you can guarantee it will be special.
7. Fontaines DC – Dogrel (Partisan Records)
This gritty Dublin born four piece have somehow managed to find mainstream success with their raw, energetic, punky style, and it seems 2020 is going to be an even bigger year for them. Exciting times ahead.
6. Frank Turner – No Man’s Land (Interscope Records)
Frank Turner’s creative output appears to have to end, with his latest release jumping to number three in the charts and winning him critical acclaim all round.
5. Hozier – Wasteland, Baby (Island Records)
Following up his global conquering, self-titled debut was always going to be a tough challenge, but Hozier truly knocked it out of the park with Wasteland, Baby. Like his debut, his sophomore album is filled with big choruses, delicious licks and big vocals.
4. Alter Bridge – Walk The Sky (Napalm)
Mark Tremonti was recently voted guitarist of the decade in Music Radar’s highly respected top 10 list, and with Walk the Sky, it’s easy to see why. Both him, and Myles Kennedy are truly in a purple patch right now, with the pair collectively and separately releasing some of their best material in the latter half of the decade.
3. black midi: Schlagenheim (Rough Trade)
Brit School educated black midi were an unknown quantity six months ago, before becoming an overnight success with their Dan Carey produced indie / prog crossover debut Schlagenheim. It is safe to say the sky is the limit for this Mercury Prize nominated four piece.
2. Sam Fender – Hypersonic Missiles (Polydor)
2019 truly was the year of Sam Fender. His music was simply unavoidable, and he could very much be the savior guitar music has been crying out for. Fender’s influences feature the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and The Strokes, and his mainstream success has proved that rock and roll is still alive and well.
1. Rival Sons – Feral Roots (Atlantic Records)
Rival Sons finally made the jump to a major label in 2018, and what followed was their best album to date. From start to finish, Feral Roots is a masterclass, with Rival Sons proving that there is still plenty of room left to grow rock and roll with experimentation and hard work. Outstanding.