Photo: Jessica Hanley
KCRW's Best of 2019
KCRW's Best of 2019
KCRW's Best of 2019
KCRW's annual Best Of hub recognizes the best albums of the year (and decade 2010-19), best songs, and best performances that caught our DJs' attention in 2019. These are artists who innovate, inspire, and push culture’s boundaries.

Best Albums



Brittany Howard

Lead singer of Alabama Shakes makes a stunning solo debut. Jaime is a profound, intimate self portrait with a deeply righteous message packed with sublime blues, folk, jazz-rock, and hip-hop influence. — Garth Trinidad




A mysterious band that has captured our imaginations and has a bright future. Their sound is what you get when you merge The Alabama Shakes and The Internet with Danger Mouse drums. — Aaron Byrd



Thom Yorke

Any Radiohead fan is familiar with Thom Yorke’s experimental analog techno tendencies. His latest solo album ANIMA takes it to a deeper level with a fever of gorgeous motion and melody that feels soaked with both dread and tranquilizing comfort. #currentmood — Liza Richardson


Oncle Jazz

Men I Trust

To paraphrase one of this album's standout tracks "Say, Can You Hear?" the music contained within bends around you to fit any occasion. The smooth, yet oddly shaped grooves can be wholly immersive, or blend seamlessly into the ether as you go about your day. In a world where trust in anything is an ever dwindling commodity, take comfort in having records as good as Oncle Jazz to rely upon forever. — Marion Hodges


Jimmy Lee

Raphael Saadiq

Shapeshifting and never compromising, Raphael Saadiq takes us through a more cinematic approach to music making in this stellar tribute to his older brother. A song cycle imbued with longing, regret, forgiveness and deep love. — Chris Douridas



Michael Kiwanuka

Every song on Michael Kiwanuka’s, Kiwanuka, is a classic either from this time or another. His songwriting talent only grows stronger and more beautiful with each release, as does the depth of the production. Love, loss, race, humanity and warmth – it is all here. — Anne Litt




LA-based trio Automatic came storming out of the gates with a debut album that oozes cool and screams for repeated listens. — Travis Holcombe


Bimini Road

Moon Boots

The long-awaited second album from American DJ and producer Moon Boots continues his steadily reliable (but never predictable) blend of the sophistication of European house, the deep feeling of American soul, and masterfully-chosen vocal collaborators. — Scott Dallavo


All Mirrors

Angel Olsen

All Mirrors is Angel Olsen's meditation on lost love and a search for truth in all of it. She finds it behind a Wall of Sound worthy of her girl-group influences, resulting in a haunting & epic masterpiece. — Dan Wilcox


This Is How You Smile

Helado Negro

Few records released this year felt as intimately personal and conversational as This Is How You Smile. In its entirety, Helado Negro’s album feels sonically adventurous and uniquely emblematic to his experience, all while remaining accessible and inviting to listeners of all persuasions. This Is How You Smile is a pure example of creative earnestness transcending musical prejudice – it’s simply a fantastic album; there's something for everyone. — John Moses