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Arts & Culture

Shuffle: The Best Local Music of 2019

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Take Off Charlie, Peachcurls, Holden Laurence and Coby and the Prisoners were some of WKSU's picks for the best local music of 2019

It was a year of discoveries in local music, as bands who had been dormant for several years returned with new albums. WKSU's Amanda Rabinowitz and contributor Brittany Nader picked their favorite music of 2019. 

Take Off Charlie - “I Was Born to Float"
After a five-year hiatus, the five-piece Akron band is back with a more mature, polished sound. The latest album blends elements of radio rock with introspective lyrics steeped in metaphor, which ruminate themes of once feeling stuck and making the choice to break free—or float above and beyond the surface.
Standout tracks: "I Was Born to Float" and “Glass of Milk

Peachcurls - “Eastside EP
While he can be found lighting up a stage with only his guitar and purring vocals, TJ Maclin’s “Eastside EP” was one of the area’s best hip-hop releases this year. The recording captures a different side of the artist from what audiences see at his intimate live shows will still capturing his alluring charm.
Standout tracks: “Stash” and “Perfume” (not appearing on “Eastside EP” but released as a single in 2019)

Holden Laurence - "Rewire"
Holden is the lead guitarist for the Cleveland band The Modern Electric, but for the last couple years he’s embarked on a solo career. Rewire is his second full-length album. It's a blend of guitars and synth, cutting through his heartfelt and personal lyrics. He's come into his own with this album, solidifying his place among the best songwriters in this region and beyond. 
Standout tracks: "Rewire" and "Speaking in Tongues"

Coby and the Prisoners - “Everyone
Hailing from Dover, Ohio, this five-piece blends elements of Americana and desert highway rock with a dreamy, atmospheric quality. “Everyone,” the group’s newest release following 2017’s “Candy Queen,” shows musical growth and a solemn beauty in its lyrical content that makes this a noteworthy album well beyond regional audiences.
Standout tracks: “Dead Hair” and “Next One Falls

Niights - "Hellebores"
This Cleveland band has been together for the last decade, but spent three years perfecting this album. Lead singer and guitarist Jenna Fournier says they decided to release "Hellebores" in two parts -- half dream pop, half metal.  "We have this approach where we lay down 20 layers of paint and then scrape back what we don't want," Fournier said on WKSU's Shuffle back in February.
Standout tracks: "So Into You" and "Generator"

Amanda's other top 2019 albums: 
Maura Rogers and the Bellows - "Always"
Elijah Bisbee - "Dear George" 
Jul Big Green - “5AM to midnight”
Spirit of the Bear - "Haunt Me" 
The Shootouts "Quick Draw" 
Gretchen Pleuss - "Daughter of the Broader Skies"
Alomar "Soul Case"
Diamond Kites "All Mine" (single) 

Brittany's other top 2019 albums:
Biitchseat - "To Name All the Bees in the Backyard”
G.S. Schray - "First Appearance”
Indre - "Serenity”
neckline – “neckline IV”
ZOD1AC - "Tides"
Murky Waters "refreshed"
Brasko - "SEXDREAMSUPERSTAR"