Wicca Phase tells us his top 10 LPs of 2019; tour w/ Glitterer, Creeks, Anxious begins
Three solo offshoots of key 2010s emo/punk/post-hardcore bands are beginning a tour together this week: Wicca Phase Springs Eternal (the emo-trap project of former Tigers Jaw co-frontman Adam McIlwee), Glitterer (the bedroom pop project of Title Fight co-frontman Ned Russin), and Creeks (the auto-tune-friendly project of Jon Simmons, frontman of the now-defunct Balance and Composure). Also along for the ride is Anxious, a promising new Triple B Records-signed Connecticut emo/post-hardcore band who should very much appeal to fans of Tigers Jaw, Title Fight, and Balance and Composure.
The tour begins in Brooklyn on Friday (12/6) at The Kingsland (tickets). All dates are listed, alongside streams of Wicca Phase’s new album Suffer On, Glitterer’s new album Looking Through The Shades, Creeks’ Summer Demo, and Anxious’ Never Better EP.
Meanwhile, as the year is coming to a a close, we asked Wicca Phase what his ten favorite albums of 2019 were, and he sent a musically diverse list that includes Darcy Baylis (who worked on the just-released solo album by Camp Cope’s Georgia Maq, who released a collab with Wicca Phase last year), indie/alternative legends like Nick Cave and Mount Eerie, mega pop star Ariana Grande, rappers Big Baby Scumbag anad Kevin Gates (both of whom Wicca Phase said made the best punk albums of 2019), and more. Check out his full list, with very intriguing commentary on each pick, below.
WICCA PHASE’S TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2019
Darcy Baylis – A House Breaking
A House Breaking is such a focused, thoughtful record. It’s more than just a collection of songs and each track sounds like it was written with the intent of serving the album’s higher purpose. The lyrics, production, and song structures all feel deliberate without feeling forced. This is the type of album that makes me both incredibly jealous and motivated to write something as well-written as this.
Mount Eerie – Lost Wisdom pt. 2
Phil Elverum doesn’t need me – and probably doesn’t want me – to write about this album, and while I will talk about his work at every chance I get, I don’t want to cheapen it by trying to write about why I think Lost Wisdom pt. 2 is good. Everything he releases is good, and I love everything about this album.
døves – 333
døves is so interesting. When an artist I’ve been following releases something new, I usually try to listen with the artists’ previous release in mind to see what changes they made between works – or, if the artist releases something that’s a massive departure from their previous work, I’ll try to reexamine the artists’ catalogue with the new, very different-sounding album in mind.
I don’t do that with døves albums. Like Darcy Baylis, I see døves as an artist that puts intent and deliberation behind what he chooses to release. It seems pointless to discuss genre in 2019, but døves uses genre the same way bands use different guitar tones on their album: it influences the sound of the album, and can influence the emotion conveyed in each song, but it doesn’t necessarily always define the work itself. When døves releases something with a specific genre influence, it feels as if that is his definitive take on the genre – and then he moves on. Rather than a linear set of works, I see døves’ discography as a series of concise, focused takes on genre that contribute towards the larger project we know as døves, and 333 does the most to help shape that identity.
Big Baby Scumbag – Juvenile Hell
This is the best punk album of 2019.
Ethel Cain – Golden Age
Ethel Cain has an amazing voice and the production on Golden Age is so good, but it’s the mature songwriting and understanding of melody that makes this EP stand out for me. I put Ethel Cain in the same category of artist as Zubin, Alice Glass, or Mirsy, who are extremely talented songwriters that are able to elevate their songs with naturally great voices, and Ethel Cain’s next release is already my most anticipated.
Kevin Gates – I’m Him
This is the second best punk album of 2019.
Little Wings – People
I first heard Little Wings around the same time I discovered The Microphones and other K Records artists, which was also the time I was consuming music through CDs and free MP3 downloads from labels’ websites. It wasn’t until earlier this year that I remembered how much I loved his Light Green Leaves and Magic Wand albums, totally ignorant of any post-2005 Little Wings albums. Along with 2015’s Explain, Little Wings’ People made me realize that I probably needed fourteen years to grow up and understand exactly why Little Wings is so good. The way Kyle Field is able to write songs with simple structures, sparse accompaniment, and lyrics with both levity and purpose is something I couldn’t fully appreciate when 13-year-old me was trying to consume music that was solely raw and overly dramatic – but now I’m an adult, and I’ve realized that Little Wings is the best.
Holy Mountain – Crisis Actor
I think of Holy Mountain in a similar way I think of Ethel Cain, in that they’re both artists that don’t have large back catalogues – so when they do release extended projects, it feels important. Crisis Actor is so honest and well-written, and every time I think Holy Mountain is going to take a verse structure or lyric pattern in one direction, he does something completely different in a way that would only feel natural coming from him. I think “Center of Attention” is the best song that came out in 2019.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen
When artists I love (specifically Mount Eerie, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Bladee – and in this case, Nick Cave) release new albums, I usually wait a few weeks to listen so I have time to prepare myself for the crushing weight of the level of talent and songwriting skill that I’m about to take in. Because I’m a self-centered person, my first listen of any album is usually done within the context of how I feel my songwriting compares to it. When I listen to Nick Cave records, I’m reminded of how much room I have to grow. Ghosteen does that to the tenth power.
Ariana Grande – thank u, next
Presented without comment.
Wicca Phase / Glitterer / Anxious / Creeks — 2019 Tour Dates
12/06 Brooklyn, NY @ The Kingsland
12/07 Hartford, CT @ Webster Underground
12/08 Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair Music Hall
12/10 Toronto, ON @ Hard Luck Bar
12/11 Lakewood, OH @ Mahall’s Locker Room
12/12 Detroit, MI @ The Sanctuary
12/13 Chicago, IL @ Subterranean
12/14 Burnsville, MN @ The Garage
12/15 Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
12/18 Cincinnati, OH @ Legends
12/19 Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar
12/20 Philadelphia, PA @ The Foundry