Aaron’s Best Of 2019

Welcome to my 14th annual Best Of The Year post!

Turns out, according to my iTunes, that I only bought 9 new release albums from 2019. True, I haven’t been buying anywhere near as much, overall, but apparently what I did buy was mostly older releases.

* Interesting Fact: Fully 1/3 of my 2019 purchases were from Guided By Voices. In this way, we know that life is very good, indeed.

UPDATE: And if you saw my last post, you’ll know I was also gifted the latest Opeth (In Cauda Venenum) for Christmas, so I mention this only after the neat and tidy GBV math (above). And even though I love Opeth, and this is a great record, I’d already chosen my Best Album and I just haven’t heard the Opeth enough (I’ve only owned it for 3 days, at the time of this posting) to really get it into my blood.


When the list is short like this, it’s easy to remember what they all sounded like, my thoughts on them. And I can say without equivocation that I loved the hell out of all of these releases, for various and good reasons.

So now I gotta choose? Well, this year I’m just gonna choose the one I’ve played the most, the one most steeped into my brain. It’ll probably be high up on a lot of other peoples’ lists, too.


Tool – Fear Inoculum

It had to happen. I mean, just through 13 years’-worth of anticipation alone, they could have put out an album of the four of them farting and laughing for an hour and it still might’ve made the list. But no, this is a strong Tool album, full of moments of weirdness, moments of yeah we’ve heard that before (but it’s still solid), and moments of sheer brilliant genius and raw power that just keep me coming back again and again. Add in the fun packaging on this limited edition set (with the LCD packaging, et al.) and it’s a natural. Few bands draw as much love and hate as this band has/does, even fewer care as little about any of that as these guys do, bent as they are on their own twisted missions. Straight up, I loved it.


NB: Leonard Cohen has won my Best Album award four times since I started this annual project in 2006, more than any other winner (list of all previous winners below). And this year’s posthumous release was definitely in the running, especially considering we don’t know how many more Leonard releases (of new material) we’ll even have, going forward. I may change my mind in future, but here we are. You should still buy the Leonard, though, it’s awesome. RIP Leonard.



Sloan – Navy Blues



ALL THE OTHER KICK-ASS 2019 GOODNESS (In No Particular Order) (9):

Mounties – Heavy Meta
Leonard Cohen – Thanks For The Dance
Hawksley Workman – Median Age Wasteland
Guided By Voices – Zeppelin Over China
Guided By Voices – Warp And Woof
Guided By Voices – Sweating The Plague
Flight Of The Conchords – Live In London
Baroness – Gold & Grey
Opeth – In Cauda Venenum



2018  Sloan – 12
2017  Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter (Deluxe Edition)
2016  Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker / Metallica – Hardwired… To Self-Destruct (tie)
2015  Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls
2014  Leonard Cohen – Popular Problems / Sloan – Commonwealth (tie)
2013  Black Sabbath – 13
2012  Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas
2011  Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton – Play The Blues: Live From Jazz At The Lincoln Center
2010  Jack Johnson – To The Sea
2009  Leonard Cohen – Live In London
2008  Metallica – Death Magnetic
2007  Carolyn Mark – Nothing Is Free / Immaculate Machine – Fables (tie)
2006  Sloan – Never Hear The End Of It


Thanks for Reading! All the very very best to everyone in 2020. Truly!

18 thoughts on “Aaron’s Best Of 2019

  1. J. says:

    It hasn’t done anything for me, but I’m glad you dig the Tool album. I think that’s the only one on your list I’m familiar with!

    Happy New Year when it rolls around. I hope you and the family have an awesome 2020.


    1. keepsmealive says:

      Hey Mr. J! Glad I could throw a few things on a list into the ether that might lead you in new happy directions! And a Happy New Year (er, Hogmanay?) to you and yours as well! I hope 2020 brings you all the goodness!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. deKE says:

    You’re a Tool! hahaha. I got that on my iPod but I need to put aside some time to actually listen to it. That Sloan box set is killer, man. That Booklet included is a great read about the business they had to deal with in the mid-’90s.
    Happy New Year Mr Books


  3. stephen1001 says:

    Tool is in some pretty good company with that list of previous winners – always nice to see see Chris Murphy & co make an appearance too, this time in Box set form!
    Enjoy the new year, Aaron!


    1. keepsmealive says:

      Yeah man, my list of previous winners is long and distinguished (if I do say so, myself)! Tool is welcome there, any day. And that Navy Blues boxed set is beautiful, of course. Of course! All the best to you and your lovely family in 2020. Geoff. Make it the best ever!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. 2loud2oldmusic says:

    Great list Aaron. I am not a Tool fan, so never listened to it, but it seems those who like the band, love the album so that is good to hear. Every time I am out in the wild digging and I see a Guided by Voices album, I think of you, think of purchasing it, but never bite the bullet. One day that will change.


    1. keepsmealive says:

      Tool isn’t for everybody, but when it clicks, it clicks hard.

      Thanks for thinking of me when you see GBV, that’s an honour and a privilege! They have a hits set called Human Amusements At Hourly Rates, which might (might) wet your whistle and be a somewhat OK starting point. I say that hesitantly because their output is so vast and varied (from GBV to ALL of the side projects and one-offs). Also, both in sound and in quality of recording (they’ve gone from basement recordings using what was probably a potato at some point, through Rik Okasek-produced sheen), they’re all over the map… while still (somehow) sounding inherently like it should. But that single disc would give you some idea, maybe even have a couple of songs you’ve heard before (Chasing Heather Crazy and Teenage FBI were big 90s hits, for example). If you ever want album recommendations, I can try to help you out, just let me know!

      Happy New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. keepsmealive says:

          It could be! I mean, over such a huge amount of material, attempting a one-disc compilation of stuff is a bit of a fool’s errand (and I do not at all envy the person whose job that became), but it’s as good a place as any to start!


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