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Critics weigh in on the best Seattle music albums of 2019

The Seattle Times has released its second annual critics poll of the best Seattle music albums of the year. The Times solicited input from more than 20 writers, radio tastemakers and plugged-in media folks. Michael Rietmulder curated the list and joined us to talk about the top five albums. 

5. Reckless Endangerment by Travis Thompson

“Travis Thompson had a great year. Reckless Endangerment is the first album he put out since signing with Epic Records, which of course is always kind of a big deal when local artists are getting attention from the major labels. So this was kind of his first full length since signing that deal, and he really came through on it.”

4.somesurprises by somesurprises

“This is one that you can sit down and completely get lost in. There’s sort of these dreamy, psychedelic rock influences going on. Really thick, dense reverb and these songs that progress very slowly and methodically, and they really bloom into these big payoffs at the end.”

3. Bobby Ro$$ by Perry Porter

“Perry is one of the most uniquely talented in the area right now. He was formerly in a group called Sleep Steady, which was sort of this rowdier, sort of mosh rap…very heavy, heavy beats. He can still do that. He has these very heavy hitting, sort of 'bangers' you might call them, but with Bobby Ro$$ he can also slow it down, and has these cool, deep moving tracks.”

2.Four of Arrows by Great Grandpa

“They’ve kind of shifted things up a little bit, where they are blending elements of folk rock and emo and a little more lush arrangements and things going on. And this was a record that got a fair amount of love outside of Seattle as well, so this felt like a really big record for them."

1. Fantasmagoria by Guayaba

“This is one of those albums that every time you listen to it, you kind of pick up new things because there is so much going on. And it’s only been about a month, but honestly every time I listen to it I’m picking out new elements that I find endearing. This album really feels like they took their time. It’s this big, fully realized artistic statement where it feels like a bizzaro hip-hop fantasia world that they built here."

Michael Rietmulder covers music for the Seattle Times, and curated the second annual Best Seattle Albums of the year list. You can see the complete list by clicking here.

Kevin Kniestedt is a journalist, host and producer who began his career at KNKX in 2003. Over his 17 years with the station, he worked as a full time jazz host, a news host and produced the weekly show Sound Effect. Kevin has conducted or produced hundreds of interviews, has won local and national awards for newscasts and commentary.