2024

  • This Could Be Texas by English Teacher: their songs shift in tempo, have moments of intense musicality, and weave a tapestry of emotion. Most of the songs are guitar-driven, while others are neoclassical folk compositions in which a delicate piano motif intertwines with a flowing bass line and gentle guitar strumming, resulting in a harmonious blend of sounds.

2023

  1. The album Radial Gate by SLUICE, the musical project of Justin Morris, showcases a diverse range of musical expressions, from crunchy little barn-burners to reflective porch-light meditations and raga-like, teeming drones. With its immense appeal, this album is a must-listen for fans of artists like Peter Broderick, Ryley Walker, and Bill Callahan.
  2. False Lankum: The Irish folk group LANKUM combines their own songs with traditional Irish songs, which they skillfully mold to their liking. The mood of this 70-minute record is dark and somber throughout.
  3. The Rotterdam band LEWSBERG deliver their rock songs with a mixture of monotony and melody. Their new album, Out and About, is more dynamic and daring thanks to a new drummer, emphasizing the precious nature of emotion and feeling.
  4. YO LA TENGO’s This Stupid World: Despite the darkly humorous lyrics, the prevailing mood throughout the album is one of good-naturedness. The trio’s 30-year bond elevates the overall experience, adding a sense of camaraderie and warmth to the music.
  5. WEDNESDAY’s Rat Saw Gold: The North Carolina noisy indie band, with Karly Hartzman as singer, transforms their stabbing pain into triumphant rock’n’roll.
  6. I’ve Got Me: their second album and their first as drummer and string arranger, JOANNA STERNBERG deftly blends raw emotion with precise artistry. A gentle expanse for feelings and introspection.
  7. Travel by the Australian jazz trio THE NECKS: The 20-plus minute opening track is almost minimal techno, whereas the 15-plus second track sounds like a veining thunderstorm that just won’t get any closer.
  8. The Record by BOYGENIUS: The voices of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus blend perfectly, the choruses are catchy, the storytelling is vulnerable, sad and authentic, and the melodies are meticulously crafted.
  9. Furling, the first solo album in seven years by MEG BAIRD, the formidable vocalist of Espers and Heron Oblivion. She is a multi-instrumentalist (bringing in piano, percussion, harp, and vibraphone) with deep folk connections.
  10. Fly or Die Fly or Die Fly or Die ((world war)) by jaimie branch: This posthumous release captures the trumpeter at her peak. Despite its heartbreak, it exudes joy and stands as a commendable testament to resilience and meaningful pursuits.
  • The best EP: Rotterdam by TRAMHAUS: What these five talented artists, led by the charismatic frontman Lukas Jansen, present is extremely convincing. It is sexy, full of energy, danceable, cool and performed with fun and bravado.

2022

  1. Ants from Up There by BLACK COUNTRY, NEW ROAD: Postpunk, jazzrock, improvisation, but within the framework of clearly defined songs. Unfortunately, singer Isaac Wood left the band after this release.
  2. Boat Songs by songwriter and guitarist MJ LENDERMAN from Asheville, North Carolina. He was part of the indie band Wednesday. Now he plays solo, creating a fuzz-laden alt-country sound.
  3. The Spur by JOAN SHELLEY: Elegant folk songs in which Shelley worries about her place in the world, as a woman and artist. A reaction to bad politics and dark times in the USA. The combination of Shelley’s crisp vocals and the jazzy guitar riffs by her husband Nathan Salsburg work perfectly on her seventh album.
  4. The self-titled debut album from WET LEG: Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers (both from the Isle of Wight) have the ability to turn a little story into a swinging song.
  5. PERSONAL TRAINER’s Big Love Blanket, the exciting debut of the Amsterdam collective, led by Willem Smit, formerly in Canshaker Pi. A combination of dance rock and guitar pop.
  6. Zone G. Agege, the first solo album by the powerful Ghanaian singer K.O.G. (Kweku of Ghana). Afrofuturism at its best, a combination of reggae and dub, griot songs, soul, jazz, and afrobeat. He sings in Twi, Ga, Pidgin, and English.
  7. Feeding the Machine by saxophonist Binker Golding, drummer Moses Boyd, and producer Max Luthert. Luthert’s manipulations highlight, loop or amplify the moments of greatest connection between BINKER & MOSES, two masters of the London jazz scene.
  8. Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky by PORRIDGE RADIO: Dana Margolin repeats her lyrics until you feel uncomfortable. Although she doesn’t want to be loved, it was a pleasure to see her live in Vera.
  9. Stumpwork by DRY CLEANING. Weird, cool, and clever indie rock, powered by singer Florence Shaw’s snarky vocals. A nice follow-up to New Long Leg.
  10. The self-titled album by the Brooklyn quartet FLORIST. Emily Sprague and her bandmates have created a record that delivers simple songs, artful sonic exploration, and deep emotion.

2021

  1. Bright Green Field by SQUID (Brighton, UK). A mix of exalted punk-funk in the style of LCD Soundsystem and krautrock in the style of Neu!, with lots of tempo changes, jazz and brass. From hysterical to calm, and back again.
  2. Promises by producer FLOATING POINTS, saxophonist PHAROAH SANDERS and the LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA. Five years in the making, this sublime album transcends the genres of the three all-star collaborators.
  3. REIGNING SOUND’s A Little More Time with: Greg Cartwright recorded a wonderfully warm record in Memphis. Beautiful songs, one after the other, including a cover of Adam Faith’s I Don’t Need That Kinda Lovin’.
  4. For the First Time by BLACK COUNTRY, NEW ROAD (London, UK). Lashing guitars, ominous vocals plus a flute and violin not only disturb but also add exciting textures. Sunglasses is my favorite track. A mix of postpunk and klezmer.
  5. LOW’s Hey What: Mimi Sparhawk and Alan Parker have found a sonic sweet spot between the beauty and the noise. Their 13th album in almost three decades.
  6. Afrique Victime by the Tuareg guitarist MDOU MOCTAR and his bandmates. The album captures the group’s easy chemistry and explosive energy.
  7. Portuguese underground trio 10.000 RUSSOS released their fifth album Superinertia on Fuzz Club Records. Psychedelic krautdrone, with the guitars and electronics moving toward noise.
  8. World What World, the eighth album by the New Haven band MOUNTAIN MOVERS, a combo with Kryssi Battalene raging on her guitar. Krauty and droning.
  9. An Evening with Silk Sonic by BRUNO MARS & ANDERSON .PAAK: soft funky and poppy music. A team of two retro-obsessed musicians with a deep admiration for each other.
  10. CASSANDRA JENKINS’s An Overview On Phenomenal Nature: the New York songwriter’s second album flows like an emotional breakthrough. A whispering voice combined with electronics and Stuart Bogie’s saxophone.

2020

  1. Every bad by PORRIDGE RADIO: Exciting record bythis band from Brighton. PJ Harvey meets Bongwater. Dana Margolin and her band are convincing from beginning to end.
  2. Speed Kills by CHUBBY AND THE GANG: Debut LP from this new street punk band from London. Soulful punk with a liberating energy.
  3. People with Faces by LAMPS. Noise garage rock. Their first album in eight years. Produced by Ty Segall.
  4. THE WILLIAM LOVEDAY INTENTION’s Will There Ever Be a Day that You’re Hung Like a Thief? Billy Childish at his best. Dylanesque, including an organ and harmonica.
  5. Saint Cloud by WAXAHATCHEE, the sound of Katie Crutchfield at her most conscious, comfortable, and controlled. Indie music from Alabama.
  6. Sing in a World That’s Falling Apart by the BLACK LIPS: A great true modern country-garage rock record. Record number nine and their best since Arabia Mountain. Willie Nelson meets the Stones.
  7. The self-titled debut album by the COOL GREENHOUSE: Post-everything existential band from London. Frontman Tom Greenhouse, a spoken word artist, is the reincarnation of Mark E. Smith. Songs about topics such as gentrification and 4chan.
  8. Texas Sun by KHRUANGBIN: Beautiful mini LP featuring the instrumental psychedelic surfers in collaboration with soul singer Leon Bridges. A nice Texas twangy desert atmosphere. The title track is an instant classic.
  9. TAMI NEILSON’s Chickaboom! Soul ballads, rockabilly, rock, and an Everly Brothers pastiche (Any Fool with a Heart). Great voice and for the second time in my annual best albums list.
  10. The self-titled debut album of CORIKY: Back to the 90s with Ian MacKaye and Joe Lally, formerly of Fugazi. New band of this duo, together with Amy Farina who plays drums and sings. And very good.

Previously unreleased:

  • Palo Alto by THELONIUS MONK: Danny Scher was 16-years old in 1968 when he organized this high school concert, hoping to encourage contact between black and white people.
  • NEIL YOUNG’s Homegrown: After 46 years, Neil Young unearths a lost but highly consequential album, a collection of humble, stripped-down love songs he began writing at the height of his career.

2019

  1. Every time I listen to this record I want to listen to it again. Indie folk heroes Phoebe Bridges and Conor Oberst shine as BETTER OBLIVION COMMUNITY CENTER.
  2. Remind Me Tomorrow by SHARON VAN ETTEN, a circle of emotional experiences, mostly the tumultuous movements of loving and loving the wrong person.
  3. Peaced and Slightly Pulverized by DAVID NANCE GROUP. He already made my favorite record of 2017. For fans of Neil Young. Powerful guitar music.
  4. Dogrel by FONTAINES DC. This Dublin post-punk band has created a debut album that offers both a storyteller’s narrative voice and a snarling new vision of youthful disillusionment.
  5. Diabolique by L’EPEE: Supergroup consisting of Anton Newcombe (Brian Jonestown Massacre), Emmanuelle Seigner, and the Liminanas. Combination of garage, ye-ye, sleaze rock, cult soundtracks, sci-fi, spaghetti western, and girl-group pop noir. 
  6. The Brooklyn indie-folk quartet BIG THIEF made two great albums in one year. U.F.O.F. this spring and Two Hands this fall.
  7. TROPICAL FUCK STORM: “Listening to Braindrops is like watching a sped-up timeline of rising sea levels and melting glaciers set to long-lost field recordings of maximalist noise rock from the outback. You’re listening to a world falling apart.”
  8. Between the Country by IAN NOE: a great Americana record that tells the back stories of small-town life.
  9. Time Out for Tomorrowby JERRY LEGER. New album from the Toronto troubadour. A beautifully crafted folk-rock record.
  10. Nickel & Dime by LONG HOTS, three girls from Philadelphia, is the best single of the year. Released on Jack White’s Third Man label.

2018

  1. A Laughing Death in Meatspace by Tropical Fuck Storm. Great that you come over from Australia to Europe in 2019.
  2. The self-titled debut album from THE NUDE PARTY. For fans of Television, Velvet Underground, and the Black Lips.
  3. Twin Fantasy by CAR SEAT HEADREST. With my oldest son (19), I saw them in Paradiso Amsterdam. In Vera Groningen my youngest (14) also joined us. Good parenting, or not?
  4. The self-titled debut album of the Washington DC band DES DEMONAS (In the Red Records).
  5. Joy as an Act of Resistance by IDLES. Vital album with songs about Brexit, immigration, or mental health issues, and a wonderful Solomon Burke cover (Cry to me). Excellent concert in Vera.
  6. Your Queen is a Reptile by SONS OF KEMET: Jazz meets Afrofuturism. Featuring the great Shabaka Hutchings on sax.
  7. In the Shadows (Again) by GARRETT T. CAPPS. Space country from San Antonio, TX.
  8. Hope Downs by ROLLING BLACKOUTS COASTAL FEVER. Timeless guitar pop from Australia.
  9. Post– by JEFF ROSENSTOCK. Happy music for unhappy times.
  10. Nonsense and heartache from JERRY LEGER. Great live shows at Take Root and at the Irish Pub O’Ceallaigh in Groningen.

Previously unreleased:

  • Any Other Way by Jackie Shane. Nominated for a well deserved Grammy. What a story and what a sound.
  • Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album, the newly discovered, unreleased album from 1963 with the jazz quartet led by saxophone legend John Coltrane.

2017

  1. Negative Boogie by DAVID NANCE (from Omaha). A little bit of the Chrome Cranks, the Gun Club, and the Oblivians and a lot of energy.
  2. The debut album from MATTIEL (from Atlanta). Lots of heavy drums and guitars, a la White Stripes and Black Keys. But also very varied: each song has its own energy.
  3. Relatives in Descent by PROTOMARTYR. Great live. Great chance to win the Vera poll for the 2nd time in a row!
  4. The First Stirrings of Hideous Insect Life by IGUANA DEATH CULT. Psychedelic garage punk (from Rotterdam). Also great live!
  5. The debut album of the RAYS (from Oakland): a lo-fi masterpiece. For fans of the Velvet Underground or the Modern Lovers.
  6. Songs of Sinners by TAMI NEILSON (New Zealand). Tami sings soul, country, gospel, and blues songs by Sister Rosetta Thorpe, Howlin’ Wolf, Mavis Staples, Otis Rush, Johnny Cash, Tom Waits.
  7. Vibe Killer by ENDLESS BOOGIE: Quirky blues, psychedelica, and a touch of krautrock. With great one-liners likes: “KISS on stage, at a kite festival. KISS didn’t bring their own kites, they were kiteless, carefree (Back in ’74).”
  8. Toy by A GIANT DOG: a more than worthy successor to PILE, my favorite record of 2016.
  9. Wisdom Of Elders by SHABAKA AND THE ANCESTORS (from London & South Africa). Great live show at Rockit Festival this year.
  10. La diversion que hacia falta en mi pais by LOS PIRANAS from Colombia. Crazy masters of the cumbia. Great live shows this year at Vera Groningen and WORM Rotterdam.

2016

  1. Pile by A GIANT DOG: mix of sweetness and a whole lot of YOU’RE GONNA DIIIIIIE.
  2. Mosey van DANIEL ROMANO: Nieuwe stap van groot artiest. Was live geweldig in het Grand Theatre.
  3. Black Star van DAVID BOWIE, een zwanenzang van het niveau van Ziggy Stardust en Hunky Dory.
  4. CAR SEAT HEADREST: Will Toledo bezingt 70 minuten lang tienerleed. Voor Nirvana en Pixies fans.
  5. HERON OBLIVION. Exploderende folkrock met prachtige zang van Meg Baird & scheurende gitaren.
  6. Bijzonder sfeervol debuut van JOOST DIJKEMA. Niet langer garagerocker maar gitaartokkelaar.
  7. SCOTT AND CHARLENE’S WEDDING (Australie). Fijne opvolgers van Velvet Underground en Feelies.
  8. Grote verrassing dat ik BEYONCE goed zou vinden. Verreweg meest gedraaide muziek deze zomer.
  9. MICHAEL KIWANUKA maakte eerst met Home Again en nu met Love & Hate wonderschone muziek.
  10. Singing Saw van KEVIN MORBY. Soloplaat van de zanger/guitarist van The Babies.

2015

  1. Indian Ocean van FRAZEY FORD. Officieel uit 2014 maar pas dit jaar gehoord. Wat een mooie stem.
  2. The Agent Intellect van PROTOMARTYR. Overtreffen hun vorige werk enorm.
  3. Sound & Color van the ALABAMA SHAKES. Wat een soul. Aretha Franklin met een gitaar. Groeiplaat.
  4. High van ROYAL HEADACHE. Deze Aussies moeten nu echt een keer overkomen voor een tour.
  5. Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit van COURTNEY BARNETT. Geweldig debuut.
  6. KENDRICK LAMAR’s To Pimp a Butterfly. Voor velen album van het jaar, maar ik vind het minder dan zijn vorige.
  7. The Epic van KAMASI WASHINGTON: 3xLP. Grootste jazztalent.
  8. III van HEX DISPENSERS. Deze rechttoe rechtaan band uit Austin, TX is live geweldig.
  9. Carrie & Lowell van SUFJAN STEVENS. Met deze intieme plaat is hij weer terug op niveau.
  10. I love you honeybear van FATHER JOHN MISTY. Veelzijdig: teder, boos, openhartig en cynisch.

2010-2019

  • A Giant Dog: Pile (2016)
  • Arcade Fire: Reflektor (2013)
  • Better Oblivion Community Center (2019)
  • Black Lips: Arabia Mountain (2011)
  • Car Seat Headrest: s/t (2016)
  • Cloud Nothings: Attack on Memory (2012)
  • Daniel Romano: Come Cry with Me (2013)
  • David Bowie: Black Star (2016)
  • David Nance: Negative Boogie (2017)
  • Frazey Ford: Indian Ocean (2015)
  • Gentleman Jesse: Leaving Atlanta (2012)
  • Kendrick Lamar: good kid, m.A.A.d city (2012)
  • Nude Party: s/t (2018)
  • Parquet Courts: Light Up Gold (2012)
  • Protomartyr: The Agent Intellect (2015)
  • Reigning Sound: Shattered (2014)
  • Sharon Van Etten: Remind Me Tomorrow (2019)
  • Tropical Fuck Storm: A Laughing Death in Meatspace (2018)
  • Tune-Yards: Whokill (2011)
  • Wheels on Fire: Liar, Liar (2010)

2000-2009

  • Arcade Fire: Funeral (2004)
  • Black Lips: Let It Bloom (2005)
  • Blonde Redhead: Misery is a Butterfly (2004)
  • Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago (2007)
  • Bright Eyes: Lifted (2002)
  • Dirtbombs: Ultraglide in Black (2001)
  • The Duchess and the Duke: She’s the Duchess, He’s the Duke (2008)
  • Grinderman: s/t (2007)
  • Gutter Twins: Saturnalia (2008)
  • LCD Soundsystem: Sound of Silver (2007)
  • Mark Lanegan: Bubblegum (2004)
  • Outkast: Speakerboxxx/the Love Below (2003)
  • PJ Harvey: White Chalk (2007)
  • Reigning Sound: Time Bomb High School (2002)
  • Sufjan Stevens: Seven Swans (2004)
  • Thermals: More Parts Per Million (2003)
  • Titus Andronicus: The Airing of Grievances (2008)
  • White Stripes: De Stijl (2000)
  • White Stripes: Elephant (2003)
  • Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)

1990-1999

  • Afghan Whigs: Up in It (1990)
  • Blacktop: I Got a Baaad Feelin’ about This (1994)
  • Calexico: The Black Light (1998)
  • DJ Shadow: Endtroducing (1996)
  • Elliott Smith: Either/Or (1997)
  • Gories: I Know You Fine, but How You Doin’ (1990)
  • Honeymoon Killers: Hung Far Low (1991)
  • Jesus Lizard: Goat (1991)
  • Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: Orange (1994)
  • Lauryn Hill: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)
  • Melvins: Lysol (1992)
  • Nas: Illmatic (1994)
  • Oblivians: Play 9 Songs with Mr. Quintron (1997)
  • Palace Brothers: There Is No-One What Will Take Care of You (1993)
  • Pavement: Slanted and Enchanted (1992)
  • Roni Size / Reprazent: New Forms (1997)
  • Serge Gainsbourg: Comic Strip (1996)
  • Slint: Spiderland (1991)
  • Supercharger: Goes Way Out (1993)
  • Thee Headcoats: Beach Bums Must Die (1990)

1980-1989

  • Bad Brains: Rock for Light (1983)
  • Big Black: Atomizer (1986)
  • Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band: Doc at the Radar Station (1980)
  • Dinosaur Jr: You’re Living All over Me (1987)
  • Feelies: Crazy Rhythms (1980)
  • Giant Sand: Ballad of a Thin Line Man (1986)
  • Jesus and Mary Chain: Psychocandy (1985)
  • Meat Puppets: II (1984)
  • Minutemen: Double Nickels on the Dime (1984)
  • Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: Kicking Against the Pricks (1986)
  • Pixies: Surfer Rosa (1988)
  • Pogues: Rum, Sodomy & the Lash (1985)
  • Public Enemy: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)
  • Replacements: Let It Be (1984)
  • Slayer: Reign in Blood (1986)
  • Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation (1988)
  • Talking Heads: Remain in Light (1980)
  • Tom Waits: Swordfishtrombones (1983)
  • Violent Femmes: s/t (1983)
  • Wipers: Over the Edge (1984)

1970-1979

  • Al Green: I’m Still in Love with You (1972)
  • Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks (1975)
  • Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band: Clear Spot (1972)
  • Congos: Heart of the Congos (1977)
  • Curtis Mayfield: Curtis (1970)
  • David Bowie: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders of Mars (1972)
  • Elvis Costello: My Aim Is True (1977)
  • Gram Parsons: Grievous Angel (1974)
  • Joni Mitchell: Blue (1971)
  • Mahmoud Ahmed: Ere mela mela (1975)
  • Marvin Gaye: What’s Going on (1971)
  • Neu!: s/t (1972)
  • Pere Ubu: The Modern Dance (1978)
  • Ramones: s/t (1976)
  • Richard Hell & the Voidoids: Blank Generation (1977)
  • Rolling Stones: Exile on Main street (1972)
  • Roxy Music: Roxy Music (1972)
  • Stooges: Fun House (1970)
  • Syd Barrett: The Madcap Laughs (1970)
  • Television: Marquee moon (1977)

1960-1969

  • Aretha Franklin: I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You (1967)
  • Beach Boys: Pet Sounds (1966)
  • Beatles: Revolver (1966)
  • Bo Diddley: Bo Diddley is a Lover (1961)
  • Bob Dylan: Blonde on Blonde (1966)
  • Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band: Trout Mask Replica (1969)
  • Eric Dolphy: Out to Lunch (1964)
  • Flying Burrito Brothers: The Gilded Palace of Sin (1969)
  • Howlin’ Wolf: Rockin’ the Blues (1962)
  • James Brown: Live at The Apollo, October 24, 1962 (1963)
  • John Coltrane: A Love Supreme (1965)
  • Karen Dalton: It’s So Hard to Tell Who’s Going to Love You the Best (1969)
  • Lee Morgan: The Sidewinder (1964)
  • Neil Young: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969)
  • Nick Drake: Five Leaves Left (1969)
  • Otis Redding: Otis Blue – Otis Redding Sings Soul (1965)
  • Sam Cooke: Night Beat (1963)
  • Stooges: s/t (1969)
  • Van Morrison: Astral Weeks (1968)
  • Velvet Underground: Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)

1959 and earlier

  • Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers: Moanin’ (1958)
  • Cannonball Adderley: Somethin’ Else (1958)
  • Charles Mingus: Mingus Ah Um (1959)
  • Charlie Patton: The Definitive (1929-1934)
  • Dave Brubeck: Time Out (1959)
  • Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong: s/t (1956)
  • Elmore James: Coming Home (1957)
  • Elvis Presley: The Sun Sessions (1954-1955)
  • Hank Williams: 40 Greatest Hits (1947-1953)
  • Harry Smith: Anthology of American Folk Music (1952)
  • Horace Silver & the Jazz Messengers: s/t (1956)
  • John Lee Hooker: The Legendary Modern Recordings (1948-1954)
  • Miles Davis: Ascenseur pour l’échafaud (1957)
  • Miles Davis: Kind of Blue (1959)
  • Muddy Waters: The Real Folk Blues (1947-1964)
  • Ray Charles: The Genius of Ray Charles (1959)
  • Robert Johnson: Complete Recordings (1936-1937)
  • Sonny Rollins: Saxophone Colossus (1956)
  • Staple Singers: Uncloudy Day (1959)
  • Woody Guthrie: Bound for Glory (1956)