AF 2019 IN REVIEW: Our Favorite Albums & Singles of The Year

Lizzo press photo by Luke Gilford, courtesy of Atlantic Records.

Every year I keep a running list of new album releases. The idea is that I’ll have new stuff on my radar, along with a go-to playlist if I’m feeling adventurous (or bored) and want to hear something new. This year that list grew to nearly 9,000 songs, and I’m still adding stuff I missed from this year to it. When it came time to make my year-end list, I had some ideas about what would be on it, but I decided to do something more immersive than I’d done years prior (basically narrowing my list down to ten albums). This year, I decided to rank every record I listened to that came out in 2019, resulting in a list of more than 200 albums. That’s a lot, certainly. It’s my job, of course, to listen to music. But what was more mind-boggling was that, when I made a separate list of albums I hadn’t had a chance to listen to or simply didn’t stick in my mind, it was more than double that number. Y’all, a lot of music came out in 2019. And a lot of it was really, really good.

I think our list at Audiofemme is unique in that it gives each of our regular writers (and some of our contributors) complete ownership over their favorites, and that makes our list unusually eclectic. That’s especially true this year; last year’s lists featured a lot of love for Mitski and Janelle Monae, while this year’s lists were so disparate there’s very little crossover from list to list. So while it’s hard to choose one overarching narrative around who slayed hardest this year – Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen releasing the best albums of their careers, Big Thief releasing two amazing records, Jamila Woods and FKA Twigs going big on concept albums – I think we all know that person was Lizzo.


  • Marianne White (Executive Director)

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Jamila Woods – LEGACY! LEGACY!
    2) Big Thief – Two Hands
    3) Boy Harsher – Careful
    4) FKA Twigs – Magdalene
    5) Cate le Bon – Reward

  • Lindsey Rhoades (Editor-in-Chief)

    Top 10 Albums:
    2) Hand Habits – placeholder
    3) Crumb – Jinx
    4) Pottery – No. 1
    5) Orville Peck – Pony
    6) Cate le Bon – Reward
    7) Kim Gordon – No Home Record
    8) Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow
    9) Black Belt Eagle Scout – At the Party With My Brown Friends
    10) Big Thief – Two Hands
    Top 10 Singles:
    1) Sharon Van Etten – “Jupiter 4”
    2) SOAK – “Valentine Shmalentine”
    3) Jonny Kosmo – “Strawberry Vision”
    4) Mineral – “Your Body Is the World”
    5) Drahla – “Stimulus for Living”
    6) Mattiel – “Keep the Change”
    7) Girlpool – “Minute in Your Mind”
    8) Charlotte Adigéry – “Paténipat”
    9) Weyes Blood – “Andromeda”
    10) Palehound – “Killer”

  • Mandy Brownholtz (Marketing Director)

    Top 5 Albums (in no particular order):
    Summer Walker – Over It
    Jamila Woods – LEGACY! LEGACY!
    Angel Olsen – All Mirrors
    Mannequin Pussy – Patience
    Raveena – Lucid
    Top 3 Singles:
    Summer Walker – “Anna Mae”
    Solange – “Binz”
    Jamila Woods – “ZORA”


  • Alexa Peters (Playing Seattle)

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Guayaba – Fantasmagoria
    2) Ings – Lullaby Rock
    3) The Black Tones – Cobain & Cornbread
    4) Lemolo – Swansea
    5) Stephanie Anne Johnson – Take This Love
    Top 5 Singles:
    1) Lizzo – “Juice”
    2) Karma Rivera – “Do More Say Less”
    2) Heather Thomas Band – “When I Was Young”
    3) Stephanie Anne Johnson – “Never No More”
    4) Sarah Potenza – “I Work For Me”
    5) Ariana Grande – “Thank U, Next”

  • Sophia Vaccaro (Playing the Bay)

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Charly Bliss – Young Enough
    2) PUP – Morbid Stuff
    3) Kim Petras – TURN OFF THE LIGHT
    4) Microwave – Death is a Warm Blanket
    5) Caroline Polachek – Pang
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Jess Day – “Rabbit Hole”
    2) Ashnikko – “Hi, It’s Me”
    3) Saweetie – “My Type”

  • Cillea Houghton (Playing Nashville)

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Yola – Walk Through Fire
    2) Louis York – American Griots
    3) The Highwomen – The Highwomen
    4) Sara Potenza – Road to Rome
    5) Rising Appalachia – Leylines
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Kacey Musgraves – “Rainbow”
    2) Louis York – “Don’t You Forget”
    3) The Highwomen – “Crowded Table”

  • Luci Turner (Playing Atlanta)

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) The Raconteurs – Help Us Stranger
    2) Harry Styles – Fine Line
    3) Brittany Howard – Jaime
    4) MARINA – Love + Fear
    5) Death Mama – High Strangeness
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Sam Burchfield – “Blue Ridge June”
    2) Pip the Pansy – “Siren Song”
    3) 5 Seconds of Summer – “Teeth”

  • Victoria Moorwood (Playing Cincy)

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) YBN Cordae – The Lost Boy
    2) Wale – Wow… That’s Crazy
    3) Roddy Ricch – Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial
    4) DaBaby – KIRK
    5) NF – The Search
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) DaBaby – “Intro”
    2) Polo G – “Pop Out”
    3) Lil Baby – “Yes Indeed” (feat. Drake)

  • Amanda Silberling (Playing Philly)

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Palehound – Black Friday
    2) Great Grandpa – Four of Arrows
    3) Charly Bliss – Young Enough
    4) T-Rextasy – Prehysteria
    5) Leggy – Let Me Know Your Moon
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Mannequin Pussy – “Drunk II”
    2) Charly Bliss – “Chatroom”
    3) (Sandy) Alex G – “Southern Sky”

  • Tarra Thiessen (Check the Spreadsheet)

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Karen O & Danger Mouse – Lux Prima
    2) FEELS – Post Earth
    3) Francie Moon – All the Same
    4) Lizzo – Cuz I Love You
    5) Crumb – Jinx
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Dehd – “Lucky”
    2) Bodega – “Shiny New Model”
    3) Y La Bamba – “Entre Los Dos”

  • Natalie Kirch (Pet Politics)

    Top 5 Albums (in Chronological Order):
    1) JANITOR — She Hates The Hits
    2) Haybaby — They Get There
    3) Holy Tunics — Hit Parade Lemonade Supersonic Spree
    4) Bethlehem Steel — Bethlehem Steel
    5) Francie Moon – All The Same
    6) SUO – Dancing Spots and Dungeons
    Top 5 Singles (in Chronological Order):
    1) Big Bliss – “Contact”
    2) Gesserit – “Silence”
    3) Vanessa Silberman – “I Got A Reason”
    4) New Myths – “Living Doll”
    5) Miss Eaves – “Swipe Left Up”


  • Liz Ohanesian

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Hot Chip – A Bath Full of Ecstasy
    2) (tie) Chelsea Wolfe – Birth of Violence // K Á R Y Y N – The Quanta Series
    3) !!! – Wallop
    4) Yacht – Chain Tripping
    5) Chromatics – Closer to Grey
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Billie Eilish – “Bad Guy”
    2) Roisin Murphy – “Narcissus”
    3) Boy Harsher – “Come Closer”

  • Lydia Sviatoslavsky

    Top 5 Albums:
    1)  Xiu Xiu – Girl With a Basket of Fruit
    2) slowthai – Nothing Great About Britain
    3) Boy Harsher – Careful
    4) Thee Oh Sees – Face Stabber
    5) Sylvia Black – Twilight Animals
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Squarepusher – “Vortrack – Fracture Remix”
    2) Coyu & Moby – “I May Be Dead, But One Day The World Will Be Beautiful Again”
    3) Cocorosie – “Smash My Head”

  • Tamara Mesko

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Bad Books — III
    2) Pedro The Lion — Phoenix
    3) Laura Stevenson — The Big Freeze
    4) An Horse — Modern Air
    5) Black Belt Eagle Scout — At the Party With My Brown Friends
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Kevin Devine – “Only Yourself”
    2) Rain Phoenix feat. Michael Stipe – “Time is the Killer”
    3) Sigrid – “Strangers”

  • Erin Rose O’Brien

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Stef Chura — Midnight
    2) Angel Olsen — All Mirrors
    3) Lisa Prank — Perfect Love Song
    4) Carly Rae Jepsen — Dedicated
    5) Cheekface — Therapy Island
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Caroline Polachek — “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings”
    2) Priests — “Jesus’ Son”
    3) Lana Del Ray — “The Greatest”

  • Katie Wojciechowski

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) The Highwomen — The Highwomen
    2) Better Oblivion Community Center — Better Oblivion Community Center
    3) Various Artists — Tiny Changes: A Celebration of Frightened Rabbit’s ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’
    4) Vampire Weekend — Father of the Bride
    5) J.S. Ondara — Tales of America
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) MUNA — “Good News (Ya-Ya Song)”
    2) Lizzie No — “Narcissus”
    3) Noah Gundersen — “Lose You”

  • Micco Caporale

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Orville Peck — Pony
    2) Boy Harsher — Careful
    3) Lingua Ignota — Caligula
    4) Heterofobia — Queremos Ver El Mundo Arder
    5) Knife Wife — Family Party
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Dorian Electra – “Flamboyant”
    2) Orville Peck – “Dead of Night”
    3) Solange — “Binz”

  • Jason Scott

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Allison Moorer — Blood
    2) Gabriella Rose — Lost in Translation EP
    3) Emily Scott Robinson — Traveling Mercies
    4) Girl Wilde — Probably Crying EP
    5) BHuman — BMovie
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Dua Lipa – “Don’t Start Now”
    2) The Highwomen – “Redesigning Women”
    3) Katy Perry — “Never Really Over”

  • Ysabella Monton

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) King Princess – Cheap Queen
    2) Carly Rae Jepsen – Dedicated
    3) Tyler, the Creator – IGOR
    4) Kim Petras – Clarity
    5) Charli XCX – Charli
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) King Princess – “Hit the Back”
    2) FKA Twigs – “holy terrain”
    3) Charli XCX – “Gone” feat. Christine and the Queens

  • Holly Henschen

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Marielle Allschwang & the Visitations – Precession of a Day: The World of Mary Nohl
    2) Angel Olsen – All Mirrors
    3) Sudan Archives – Athena
    4) Karen O & Danger Mouse – Lux Prima
    5) Sigur Rós – Sigur Rós Presents Liminal Sleep
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) King Princess – “Hit the Back”
    2) Sleater-Kinney – “Hurry on Home”
    3) Lizzo – “Tempo”

  • Erin Lyndal Martin

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Jenny Hval – The Practice of Love
    2) Mariee Sioux – Grief in Exile
    3) Carolina Eyck – Elegies for Theremin & Voice
    4) Julia Kent – Temporal
    5) Rhiannon Giddens – There is No Other (with Francesco Turrisi)

  • Rebecca Kunin

    Top 5 Albums (in no particular order):
    Mal Blum – Pity Boy
    Jamila Woods – LEGACY! LEGACY!
    Durand Jones and the Indications – American Love Call
    Tony Molina – Songs from San Mateo County
    Carly Rae Jepsen – Dedicated
    Top 3 Singles:
    Brittany Howard – “Stay High”
    Angel Olsen – “New Love Cassette”
    Jacky Boy – “Get Along”

PLAYING SEATTLE: Guitarist and songwriter Ings Preps New LP and SXSW Shows

As you wander from Cafe Racer to SoDo punk venue to University District house show, Ings, a contemplative guitarist and songwriter with a subtle touch on the guitar, is bound to be somewhere in the mix—likely (and hopefully) sharing her slow-simmering pop songs from behind her signature yellow glasses. With two mellow-yet-poignant EPs under her belt — 2014’s Slaughterhouse-Five and 2016’s Afterthought—Ings is touring extensively this Spring with her band and gearing up to play her first-ever SXSW as an official artist. She’s also bracing to release a new full-length, out later this year.

Recently, she chatted with AudioFemme about her favorite mantras, the key to patience, and her deep love for the DIY community in Seattle. Read on for the full interview.

AF: Tell me a little bit about your background? How’d you get into music?

Ings: I took piano lessons as a kid, and my mom rented a lot of musicals for me and my sister. I would make up a lot of songs. When I was 7, my brother played Ben Folds’ “Philosophy” for me on the stereo, and my mind exploded. I’ve been a deep Ben Folds Five/Ben Folds fan ever since. I started playing guitar when I was 14, and wrote a song for English class. Then I started playing gigs around town and played in some bands—that sort of thing.

AF: You’e not originally from Seattle, though you may as well be a local now. Why did you move out here?

I: I’m from Springfield, Missouri. I moved because the community is wonderful, and I loved [local band] Heatwarmer, and wanted to take guitar/composition lessons from the lead person, Luke Bergman.

AF: How long has Ings been around as a group?

I: My sister calls me Ings, I started performing with that name about 7 years ago. 

AF: Who are you most inspired by?

I: People who demonstrate self-compassion. And, of course, the 6 B’s: Björk, Beyoncé, Blake Mills, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and, of course, Ben Folds. Also, George Gershwin. 

AF: You make great playlists on Spotify—I listen to them all the time. I especially love this month’s playlist, “Patience.” When and why did you start doing that?

I: Because I believe that songs are like software for your mind, it follows that creating a playlist with a certain emotion in mind will facilitate feeling that emotion. Also, because the universe is chaos and right and wrong are relative is important to me to be able to make choices about how I will decide to feel about any given situation and sometimes music can encourage me to be in a more productive, heightened, emotionally intelligent mindset.

AF: Why did you choose patience as a theme? I’m definitely not a patient person—ha! Is patience something you struggle with cultivating?

I: I believe in giving yourself space to grow and change and improve. Part of that space is mental and emotional, but there’s also an aspect of temporal space: giving yourself permission to wait for things and trust that your intention will bring about what you are working towards. In that vein, here’s a limerick:

Because life is unfolding at a constant rate,
and can’t be hurried for worrying’s sake,
you may as well embrace your fate,
And grant a little -ience of pate.

AF: Ha, I love a good limerick! I also loved your last release, Afterthought. Are you working on a new release as Ings?

I: Yes, I have a new album! I’m currently looking for a label. I really really want to release it this year. 

AF: You have ties with labels but you seem to thrive on being independent and DIY. How does the Seattle DIY music community feed your music? What about it draws you in?

I: Barsuk do my licensing/publishing. But other than that, I don’t have a label yet. Even though I produce and write my own music, I definitely flourish in community. I think community is why a lot of people in America are lonely. I think community is as important as water. I do not know where or who I would be without this scene. It’s a “before you came into my life I missed you so bad” kind of thing. I am my realized self at this moment because our scene here in Seattle is so vibrant and supportive.

AF: Do you write while on tour? Is it a creative time for you?

I: I feel so much joy on tour from seeing people and meeting people and jumping in the ocean and stuff! So I feel inspired, but I don’t have much time to sit down and record demos. I take lots of notes, and honor each melody that appears in my mind by recording it in my phone, and then assemble them later.

AF: You recently announced that you’ll be at SXSW this year as an official artist. What does that mean to you?

I: I applied to SXSW every year for a few years and was rejected every time, so it’s nice to officially be part of it this year, while still doing some unofficial showcases. It seems like they are booking more DIY bands and more of my friends’ bands, which I’m really happy to see. So many of my favorite people will be there, I look forward to the joy of being together.

AF: Your songs very often feel like a meditation on a specific mood or feeling or mantra. Do you have a favorite quote or line of philosophy that is guiding your life right now?

I: I started meditating about nine months ago, and it has changed my life. I have a small “menu” of meditative phrases that have occurred to me over this period, the latest one of which is: “I have everything I need.”

Follow Ings on Facebook and Twitter, and check her out live at one of her dates below.


3/5 – Silverton, OR @ Oak Street Church // RSVP
3/6 – Eugene, OR @ Spectrum // RSVP
3/7 – Arcata, CA @ Outer Space // RSVP
3/8 – San Francisco, CA @ Fortress Callosum // RSVP
3/9 – Los Angeles, CA @ Junior High // TICKETS // RSVP
3/11 – Joshua Tree, CA @ The Beatnik // RSVP
3/12 – Phoenix, AZ @ House Show
3/13 – Las Cruces, NM @ Eyeconik Records // RSVP
3/15 – Austin, TX @ 4:15 PM, MIDCOAST TAKEOVER, Shangri-La // RSVP
3/15 – Austin, TX @ 7:00 PM, FEMME FRIDAY SHOWCASE, Hops and Grain // RSVP
3/18 – Springfield, MO @ The Outland TICKETS // RSVP
3/19 – Kansas City, MO @ Mills Record Co. // RSVP
3/21 – St. Louis, MO @ FOAM // RSVP
3/22 – Chicago, IL @ House Show // RSVP
3/23 – Minneapolis, MN @ House Show // RSVP
3/24 – Bismarck, ND @ House Show** // RSVP
3/26 – Missoula, MT @ Hockey House // RSVP
3/27 – Spokane, WA @ Baby Bar // RSVP
3/28 – Moscow, ID @ House Show
4/27 – Vancouver, Canada @ The Cultch // TICKETS // RSVP