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Four albums to get excited for in 2019

Gizz, Stella, Danny Brown and Xiu Xiu land on the list.

As with every year, it feels like everything is happening faster in 2019. Beat keeps its nose out of politics usually, though it’s hard not to feel like the world is cycling into a permanent state of disorder. Luckily, musicians are financially obliged to keep creating great music in spite of it all – peering out to the year’s edge, several records stand out. 

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard feat. Gareth Liddiard

Release: Unknown

Melbourne psych-freaks King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard took a year off in 2018 after exhaustively recording and releasing five albums in 2017. Well, that’s if you call a world tour, headlining your own music festival and two Australian tours a year off. On Monday, a Facebook post from the band confirmed Gizz were back recording new music with Tropical Fuck Storm’s iconoclastic frontman Gareth Liddiard in tow, making himself known by giving the camera the bird. Liddiard makes sense as a collaborator – his penchant for discombobulated psych-rock fits the instrumental bill, while his acerbic words could provide some much-needed substance to the band’s often frivolous lyricism. 

Stella Donnelly – Beware of the Dogs

Release: Friday March 8 via Secretly Canadian

West Australian singer-songwriter Stella Donnelly unexpectedly rocked the international circuit with ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ off her 2017 debut EP Thrush Metal. Its unapologetic repudiation of the tired excuses used to defend toxic male behaviour coincided with Woody Allen making one of his own in 2017. Donnelly’s soft-plucked-hard-feelings style is seeing its full-length debut with Beware of the Dogs this year, promising 13 tracks of “shit-stirring” amongst racists, creeps, and oppressors. Lead single ‘Old Man’ showcases a jangly full-band arrangement in contrast to the roughshod vocal-guitar of her debut.

Danny Brown

Release: Unknown

After 2016’s Atrocity Exhibition, Danny Brown could no longer be cast as a gap-toothed party rapper – this was a man with ambition. The Detroit native used post-punk, free-jazz and industrial hip hop to filter his demons out in staggering wordplay. Details are sparse and hype is heavy for his latest project; Brown told Complex last year that it is “produced by one producer, who’s legendary in hip hop” – rapper El-P, one half of Run the Jewels, tweeted on Saturday January 19 that he had heard the record unmixed, and that it was an “instant classic”.

Xiu Xiu – Girl With A Basket of Fruit

Release: Monday February 25 via Polyvinyl

Californian experimental rock group Xiu Xiu’s 11th album is not a blockbuster release; it can’t claim a place alongside Kanye’s ill-fated Yahndi, nor does it rival the hint of new Tame Impala or Bruce Springsteen. What it can claim however, is to be completely fucking bonkers. Lead single ‘Scisssssssors’ ricochets afro-rhythms against twittering synths, while singer-songwriter Jamie Stewart whispers as if he’s scared of his own music. It’s deconstructive and absurd, recalling the group’s earlier work. The album’s release will be accompanied by a three-part music video series, directed by band member Angela Seo, featuring confronting ritualistic images that reference its Carvaggian title.