Mid-Year Report: Favourite Albums, EPs and Songs of 2019 (so far)

Hey it’s mid-year and a perfect time for pointless lists. So count me in. Here’s some of the music I’ve listened and loved the most during the first half of 2019. I didn’t spend ages on this one, so I’m sure I forgot something super important. Obviously there’s so much I just haven’t listened to enough at this point of the year. That’s why there’s no Bill Callahan for example. I know I will love that record, but I haven’t listened to it all that much so far. These are in pretty random-ish order. Just picked the biggest favorite of each category and then just wrote what popped into my head. Maybe they are a bit top heavy, but flipping them over wouldn’t really make them any worse. Steve Sloane’s song Let All In and the albums from Matthew Milia and Ylva Haru have shaped my year and are able stand out even from this brilliant crowd. Nevertheless, I love all of these and I could also quite easily triple these lists without any drop in quality. Doing the playlist every week has really skyrocketed my already excessive listening habits and I’ve already heard over 100 albums that I like. So this is just a small sample of all the great music 2019 has given us. I have to quit the blog before the actual year-end lists. Otherwise I will end up doing something absolutely ridiculous like a list of TOP 200 albums. Anyway, here’s the quick mid-year report. Back to normal duty on Sunday with the weekly playlist.


Matthew Milia – Alone at St. Hugo (Sitcom Universe)

Anna Tivel – The Question (Fluff & Gravy Records)
The Delines – The Imperial (El Cortez / Decor)
Caroline Spence – Mint Condition (Rounder Records)
Steve Sloane – Near Death
Damien Jurado – In The Shape of a Storm (Mama Bird Recording Co / Loose Music)
Shane Leonard – Strange Forms (Wayward Chicken)
Erin Durant – Islands (Keeled Scales)
Julia Jacklin – Crushing (Transgressive Records)
Ian Daniel Kehoe – Secret Republic (You’ve Changed Records/ Tin Angel Records)
Tiny Ruins – Olympic Girls (Marathon Artists)
Pony Bradshaw – Sudden Opera (Rounder Records)
Ian Noe – Between the Country (National Treasury Recordings)
Kassi Valazza – Dear Dead Days
Bob Sumner – Sings Wasted Love Songs
Craig Finn – I Need a New War (Partisan Records)
Clara Baker – Things To Burn
Robert Ellis – Texas Piano Man (New West Records)
Katie Spencer – Weather Beaten (KRS Music)
Steve Lambke – Dark Blue (You’ve Changed Records)
Charles Wesley Godwin – Seneca
M. Lockwood Porter – Communion in the Ashes (Black Mesa Records)
TK & The Holy Know-Nothings – Arguably OK (Mama Bird Recording Co)
Natural Bridges – Residual Daydreams (Royal Oakie)
China – And Then Nothing Happened (Royal Oakie)
Jeremy Squires – Poem
Bedouine – Bird Songs of a Killjoy (Spacebomb)
Steven Lambke – Dark Blue (You’ve Changed Records)
Small Houses – I Don’t Know What’s Safe
Yola – Walk Through Fire (Easy Eye Sound)

Bonus: Harrison Whitford – Afraid Of Everything (Screwdriver Records) (first time on LP/CD)


Ylva Haru – Linnut (Soit Se Silti)

Sur-rur – Hattarahiukset (Joteskii Groteskii / Roku Records)
Salaliitto – Puolet (Soit Se Silti)
Hullu Ruusu – Rehab (Helmi Levyt)
Janne Tapion Sisäinen Avaruus – Maapallon Hautajaiset (Lumpeela Julkaisut)
H.C.Slim – Sings (Svart Records)
Joose Keskitalo – En lähde surussa (Helmi Levyt)
Lokit – Lokit LP (Combat Rock Industry / Joteskii Groteskii / Roku Records)
Tomi Nordlund & Syvä Joki – Viisi vuotta myöhemmin (Soit Se Silti)
M – Näytän missä asun (Solina)


Twain – New Miami Sound EP (from two EPs) (Keeled Scales)

Tiffany Williams – When You Go
Charlie Whitten – Tiny Horse
Kathryn Legendre – Making It Up (Shotgun House)
Johanna Samuels – Have a Good One (Basin Rock)
Charlie Marie – Charlie Marie
Lydia Cole & Hailey Beavis – Among Horses IV (Son Canciones)
The Rumblings of Spring – The Rumblings of Spring
Erin Rae – Putting On Airs 4 Track Demos EP (Single Lock)
Courtney Marie Andrews – Acoustic EP (Loose Music / Fat Possum / Mama Bird Recording Co)


MeriTuuli – Yö Saimaalla

Tams – Aikahyppy 1 EP
Eden Prairie – Ana Lucia


Steve Sloane – Let All In

Joanna Sternberg – This is Not Who I Want to Be (Team Love)
Matthew Milia – Alive at the Same Time (Sitcom Universe) (or well any other song from his album)
Matthew Ryan – On Our Death Day
Anna Tivel – The Question (Fluff & Gravy)
Caroline Spence – Sit Here & Love Me (Rounder Records)
Le Ren – Love Can’t Be The Only Reason to Stay
Erin Durant – Rising Sun (Keeled Scales)
Christian Lee Hutson – Northsiders
Julia Jacklin – Don’t Know How To Keep Loving You (Transgressive Records)
Pony Bradshaw – Josephine (Rounder Records)
Charles Wesley Godwin – Seneca Creek (Seneca)
Tiffany Williams – Big Enough to Be A Mountain
Ian Daniel Kehoe – Evil People (You’ve Changed Records / Tin Angel Records)
Micah Schnabel – New Shoes
Craig Finn – Something to Hope For (Partisan Records)
Esther Rose – Don’t Blame it on the Moon (Father/Daughter Records)
Kassi Valazza – Mama
Robert Ellis – Father (New West Records)
The Delines – Holly The Hustle (El Cortez / Decor)
Damien Jurado – South (Mama Bird Recording Co)
Rachel Toups – Foxes (Peconic)
Emily Scott Robinson – Dress
Ryan Tanner – A Hymn for Me and You
Bob Sumner – Ticket To Ride
Katie Spencer – Weather Beaten (KRS Music)
Ian Noe – Letter To Madeline (National Treasury Recordings)
Charlie Shafter – Chainsaw
Twain – Death (or S.F.?) (Keeled Scales)
red steppes – Madera (Native Cat Recordings)
Black Sea Dahu – How You Swallowed Your Anger

And here’s an ongoing “best of” 2019 playlist. I put these on top, but there’s about 150 more that are equally good. I think that Steve Sloane song is the one that I love the most, but other than that I could have just as well put this playlist on shuffle and the result would be as good as the list above.


Amuri – Halla (Helmi Levyt)

Ylva Haru – Oikeiden luona (and/or Tähän hetkeksi jään) (Soit Se Silti)
Janne Tapion Sisäinen Avaruus – Kaikki oli paremmin ennen (Lumpeela Julkaisut)
Sur-rur – Fleetwood Macin villi välikausi (Joteskii Groteskii / Roku Records)
Iron Country Sisters – Leaves (Soit Se Silti)
Astral Brain – The Field Trip (perhaps this should be on the international list)
Kielo Kärkkäinen – Keitä me olemme (Texicalli)
Hulda Huima – Outo tyttö (Helmi Levyt)
Jari Raaste – Ilmalaiva (Fonal Records)
Maustetytöt – Se oli SOS / Tein kai lottorivini väärin (Is This Art?)

And same as above. Lots more finnhits on this ongoing playlist that features my favorite Finnish songs of the year.

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OCTA Weekly Playlist Episode #48

Another week, another weekly playlist.

Sorry for the delay. I was away for the weekend and then there was the NHL Free agent frenzy on Monday. Trying to do this every weekend can become a bit of a burden when there’s other life things in the mix, but I’ll do at least 50 episodes because it’s so close. Maybe that would be a good time to ask myself why I’m spending hours every weekend to create something that has very little relevance. Anyway, due to the reasons above, this one is a bit shorter and I missed a ton of stuff. Some that I am even aware of, but just didn’t have the time to listen to them at all. I’ll catch up next week, because there might be a bit less going on due to 4th of July.

This week was again a pretty awesome week for new albums. Erin Durant’s beautiful album came out on Keeled Scales and Screwdriver Records started their career with a culture award worthy release of Harrison Whitford’s Afraid of Everything on LP/CD. Canadian studio wizard, pedal steel master and liner note hero Aaron Goldstein takes the spotlight this time around with releasing his own music under the name Espanola. Long time favorites Matt Woods and Chris Staples released their new excellent albums. Those were highest on my personal list, but the week also gave great new albums from Mega Bog, Nev Cottee, The Black Keys, Erik Koskinen, Daughter of Swords and Molly Parden & Hollow Hum. There was way more, but I still haven’t had the time to dive into the Shane Smith and Jade Jackson albums for example.

And then there were the singles. So many beautiful ones. Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster and Joe Pug released impressive first singles from their forthcoming albums. I also loved the new songs from Jordan Moser, RF Shannon, Black Sea Dahu, Lucy Dacus, Ana Egge.. oh well actually all of these.

That’s it for this week. It would also be the time for the mid-year lists, but I’m not yet sure am I going to do them. Plus I should also work on the OCTA 18 year Anniversary thing that takes place in September, if I manage to do something (september comes surprisingly fast). Don’t know is such insanity worth celebrating though. 18 years is a long time to do absolutely anything and a pretty ridiculously long time to write a music blog. But what can you do if you love music, but have zero musicality. You’ll just listen, love and share.

OCTA Weekly Playlist Episode #48

1. Erin Durant – Highway Blue (Islands, Keeled Scales, 2019)
2. Harrison Whitford – Strangers in the Making (Afraid of Everything, Screwdriver Records, 2019)
3. Espanola – Ever Kind and True (Espanola, Surly Young Records, 2019)
4. Matt Woods – Hey Heartbreaker (Natural Disasters, Lonely Ones Records, 2019)
5. Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster – Take Heart, Take Care (single, Big Legal Mess, 2019)
6. Joe Pug – Exit (single, 2019)
7. Lucy Dacus – Forever Half Mast (single, Matador Records, 2019)
8. Jordan Moser ft. Molly Burch – Road to Trouble (single, Keeled Scales, 2019)
9. Black Sea Dahu – How You Swallowed Your Anger (single, 2019)
10. RF Shannon – Angeline (single, Keeled Scales, 2019)
11. Chris Staples – Halfway Over (Holy Moly, Barsuk Records, 2019)
12. Mega Bog – I Hear You Listening (to the Bug on My Wall) (Dolphine, Paradise of Bachelors, 2019)
13. Nev Cottee – Roses (River’s Edge, Wonderfulsound, 2019)
14. Florist – Time is a Dark Feeling (single, Double Double Whammy, 2019)
15. Goodnight Texas – Tennessee (single, 2019)
16. Ottoman Turks – Glass Bottles (single, State Fair Records, 2019)
17. Coyote Brother – Alberta Goddamn (single, Piasa Recordings & Green Canoe, 2019)
18. Ana Egge – Cocoaine Cowboys (single, Storysound Records, 2019)
19. Erik Koskinen – Losers Like Me and You (Burning the Deal, Tone Tree, 2019)
20. Angela Perley – 4:30 (single, 2019)
21. Michael Nau – Rides Through the Morning (single, Colemine Records, 2019)
22. Rayland Baxter – Objects in the Mirror (single, ATO Records, 2019)
23. Slow Healer ft Devon Sproule – Businessman (single, 2019)
24. Molly Parden and Hollow Hum – Sweetheart (Why Worry: A Collection of Covers, Tone Tree, 2019)
25. Daughter of Swords – Gem (Dawnbreaker, Bella Union, 2019)
26. The Rumblings of Spring – Southern Gulf Islands (The Rumblings of Spring EP, 2019)
27. Kurt Baker Combo – (I Can’t Help) Failing in Love (single, Wicked Cool, 2019)
28. The Black Keys – Breaking Down (Let’s Rock, Nonesuch Records, 2019)
29. Pony Bradshaw – Bad Teeth (Sudden Opera, Rounder Records, 2019)
30. Fernando Viciconte – Is This Normal? (Traitors Table, Fluff & Gravy Records, 2019)
31. Native Harrow – Happier Now (single, Loose Music, 2019)
32. Shakey Graves – A World So Full of Love (single, The Next Waltz, 2019)
33. Sunny War and Edith Crash – The Place (single, Hen House, 2019)
34. Jesca Hoop – Outside of Eden (single, Memphis Indrustries, 2019)
35. Tanya Tucker – Hard Luck (single, Fantasy Records, 2019)

Playlist link

Oh and do buy the vinyl/cd/download. Spotify and other streaming services are perfect for these introductory purposes, but try to buy at least the music that matter the most to you

If you are looking this after a week has gone, the embedded Spotify will show the latest playlist. I’ll just update the same playlist because a) if someone wants to follow it, they can just follow that one list and will get a new set of songs each Sunday b) so that I don’t have a trillion of different playlists on my Spotify account

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