KAMP’s Picks of the Year 2019

Each week KAMP’s E-Board and Music Directors post their picks of the week on our whiteboards in the station. These represent music or events that we are really digging at that time. This will be a place for KAMPers to elucidate their highlights of this year. There is no formal style here, KAMPers have written their top picks and could choose to explain them as little or as much as they want. Without further ado, KAMP’s picks of 2019.

Alli – General Manager

Happy New Year everyone! It’s Alli, your General Manager here with my picks of the year 2019. To be honest, I didn’t really stretch out of my comfort zone this year. Nevertheless, my taste in music is somewhat all over the place so I hope you find something for you to enjoy. All of these are from this year; I double checked! I hope you give some of these picks a try!

– affection by BETWEEN FRIENDS (bedroom pop)

– F*ck it I love you by Lana Del Rey (indie pop)

– Running Up Freestyle by Megan Thee Stallion (Southern rap)

– BOOM by NCT DREAM (KPop)

– Cha Cha by Freddie Dredd (grunge rap)

– SNOWCONE by REI AMI (rap/bedroom pop)

– money machine by 100 gecs (experimental PC music)

– holy terrain by FKA twigs (art pop)

– If You Supply the Paint by Donny Electric (indie pop)

– Sympathy by Vampire Weekend (indie pop)

– EARFQUAKE by Tyler, The Creator (hip-hop)

– Selfish by Little Simz, Cleo Sol (R&B)

– Coax & Botany by Gus Dapperton (synth pop)

– Kilmaa (Cover by Miyashita Yuu)by Niru Kajitsu (JRock)

Hibah – Marketing Director

The songs that I have chosen to highlight are related to meaningful events and people who, for better or for worse, have granted me immeasurable insight into the person who I aim to be. In no particular order, here are my top picks of 2019:

1. Boku no Koto- Mrs. Green Apple

I started 2019 with a strong reminder of the precious experiences I made in 2018. A friend I made from the club I joined while studying abroad in Japan was studying at the U of A, and before he went back home after the end of the semester, I offered to show him around Phoenix. One night, I took him to see the Zoo Lights and of all the exhibits there, perhaps the most mesmerizing one was were moving light patterns were cast upon the mountains. While we watched the city lights from the highest point, the frigid air and the rain that started drizzling reminded me of the memories I made in his hometown.

This song especially allows me to relive perhaps my proudest moment: performing live as a band’s lead vocalist. Mrs. Green Apple’s Motoki Omori has such an amazing and powerful voice in which you can hear his cries for hope and optimism. I entered 2019 hoping I could achieve as much as I did in 2018.

Summary: This song makes me shed happy tears and is a really good song to belt during karaoke. 10/10 highly recommend. Disclaimer: has some weeb flair~

2. TLC- The Runaway Club

Like every Spring Break, this year’s was also long-awaited. I thought I would be spending my time sleeping and eating the days away, ya know, giving myself a little TLC. However, the week resulted in sleepless nights filled with worry. My grandfather’s health suddenly deteriorated—one day he was walking and talking just fine and then the next day he didn’t have the strength to bring a spoon to his mouth. I went back to school with a new set of worries, but a greater bond with my family.

TLC. It stands for Tender Loving Care… I didn’t know before (I literally googled it while writing this), I just knew that it had something to with self-care? Everyone needs some TLC. Everyone goes through rough times. Listen to the song. The lyrics may sound silly but it helps put things in perspective.

Summary: Take care of yourself, take care of others.

3. Grow Old Die Young- ONE OK ROCK

I had been waiting to see these guys for YEARS. I wasn’t in the country when they were in America the last time, that is why when I learned they would be passing through Arizona, I would see them in concert no matter what. Japanese rock band ONE OK ROCK has gained an international following with their amazing live performances. Their latest album, “Eye of the Storm,” has been released in two versions, English and Japanese. Straying from their original rock roots, they have embraced a more pop sound; however, all of their songs have feeling—have meaning.

While I was standing pushed up against the crowd, at that moment, I had could have died and had no regrets. Such was the feeling of unity amongst the other OORers.

This song isn’t their best, but I deffo remember that I was singing this one at the top of my lungs. I might’ve shed a tear or two. I don’t remember, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I did. I’m a very emotional person.

Summary: YOLO

4. Everything Sucks- Scott Helman

May 2019. Yikes.

It was hot. Finals killed my soul. I still had to prepare for my MCAT and then take it. The MCAT killed my soul. And I was fasting amidst it all. Honestly, I don’t know how I emerged sane coming out of that month, but I did.

The title of this song matches my feelings about this time in my life more than the song’s actual contents but…whateva. Despite the negativity it oozes, the song actually makes me feel good. Idk how to describe it, I just really vibe with it. It’s a weird mashup between sad boi feels and dancing badly at a club on purpose wit yo fwends. (I’ve never done that before tho so take this description with a grain of salt. Thx.)

Summary: Everything sucks but it’ll be alright.

5. Nostalgic- A R I Z O N A

Besides the two holidays Muslims celebrate in a year, the only other time we get lit is at wedDinGZ~

While the wedding isn’t planned until March 2020, I did get to attend the engagement celebration of a woman who is essentially my older sister. The bride-to-be’s younger sister is my best friend (tho we started off as arch enemies—a story for another time) and their family is my family. As she was the first from our generation to get hitched, this was a big deal. I flew to Houston, TX for a weekend to attend an event that lasted a max of 4 hours? But what kind of sister would I be if I hadn’t?

Oof. Seeing her all decked out brought back a flood of memories of when we were young. Our wee selves causing a commotion, fighting and making up…

I cried that night too. (Sorry, not sorry. Tears have been a key component of my 2019.)

Summary: Listen to this song when you want to take a trip down memory lane. Share it with someone you miss from your past and reminisce and turn old memories into new ones.

6. GONG- WANIMA

Hoy boyyy~

I love change. I love trying new things. And, at the beginning of my last year of undergrad, I was getting ready to do A LOT of new things I was super excited for. I was starting positions as a Writing Tutor, a Marketing Director and a Global Ambassador. Plus, I was undertaking two separate research projects I was super passionate about: 1) behavior and cognition in the aging and 2) bioethical issues in anthropological research of the Ainu (the indigenous people of Japan).

Another Japanese rock band, WANIMA, was my most listened to artist in 2019 according to Spotify (they are definitely #1 in my list of bands I want to see perform live). They are fun; they are soulful. This song was featured at the end of the movie One Piece: Stampeded and is about going out and exploring the unknown and continuing even the toughest of journeys because hey, you haven’t completed your goal yet.

Summary: The song is fun and makes you feel like you take on anything. Take these words from the wise Straw Hat Pirate Zoro: “I’ll survive and do what I want to do.”

7. Beauties of Nature- SEKAI NO OWARI

This was my theme song when I finally ventured up to Mt. Lemmon after living in Tucson for 3+ years. I had heard rumors that there’s a point on your way to the top where you doubt you’re still in Arizona. Kinda ironic that I was leading the trip when I had never gone up myself, but it’s fine…everyone got to marvel at a new view of Tucson from 7000 ft in the sky. Getting the last few cookies from the cookie cabin, we watched the sun set and took Polaroids under the starry night sky. That was probably one of the most magical nights I’ve experienced.

It’s a simple song — sounds like it’s from a fairy tale. Reminds me of adventures children go on like catching fireflies, crossing rivers by balancing across logs, rolling around in grassy fields…

Summary: Listen to this track on repeat while stargazing or perform it to woo a special someone.

8. 3 a.m.- Survive Said The Prophet

I don’t do all-nighters. But I will stay up all night to spend extra time with my friends, especially if they are having trouble sleeping. People come first. Tomorrow’s exam means nothing if I know that someone I care about is suffering. Therapy at 3 in the morning wrapped in warm blankets and the best company is the best therapy. Convince me otherwise.

This song is in English, the band is made up of mostly Japanese members (surprise surprise). Emo vibes are strong in this one. I looove the vocalist’s voice, though he does give off a country accent here and there, but it doesn’t bother me 🙂

Summary: I wish I had a husky voice so I could sing this song.

9. Memories- Maroon 5

I heard Maroon 5’s success can due to the deal the made with the devil. Whether you want to admit it or not, you’ve liked at least one of their many hits.

This song made me think about all the new friends I made this year. It made me fear that I may lose them after graduation. I don’t want to lose them. There goes another tear.

If I ever perform a song again, it’s going to be this one, probably at your wedding/graduation/farewell party/other meaningful event. I will make you ugly cry.

Who wants to form a band with me? Disclaimer: be ready to work with a total amateur with no self-confidence.

Summary: I like this song. Don’t hate. Plz.

10. All You Need to Know Ft. Calle Lehmann (acoustic version!!!)- Gryffin

I went to my first rave. I learned I’m not a raver. While I didn’t quite enjoy the music, the experience left me speechless. Music’s power to form a community never ceases to amaze me. I don’t want to relive that weekend again, but despite the numerous traumatic events that occurred (hunger, heartbreak, traffic violations), my friends and I survived with each other’s support.

I want to learn to play this song on mi guitarra. Calle Lehmann has an amazing voice.

Summary: The acoustic version of the song you are listening to is probably better.

I really had to dig through my playlist to find songs released in 2019…I usually listen to older songs. But here are some songs released earlier that I listened to on repeat for a while:

Dear Winter 2.0- AJR

Don’t Throw Out My Leggos- AJR

New Light- John Mayer

Sparkle- RADWIMPS

Stacy- Quinn XCII (acoustic version is good too~)

SNOW- WANIMA

All Night Long (Piano version)- NiiHWA

Yokohama Blues- SEKAI NO OWARI

Sims- Lauv

Racists- Anti-Flag

Still Good- DNCE

Favorite Fantasy- Lucky Kilimanjaro

Life in Pink- The Ready Set

Nozomi- Monkey Majik

Tokyo Lights- Monkey Majik

Basho- KICK THE CAN CREW

Like I’m Home- CIRRRCLE

Nate – Engineering Director

Hey Folks, If you have some free time, read this thoroughly and perhaps even listen to the songs I present? I won’t say I have excellent taste but I am confident that you will like something from this list. 2019 has been a pretty good year for me and for music. Similar to last year, I was content to stick with old classics and not really dive too deep into new releases. I will admit I probably passed over some gems but I am not stressed about it; these records may not be the absolute greatest albums but I liked them enough to revisit them here. In no particular order, my picks of the year:

Cruelty and the Beast (Re-Mistressed) – Cradle of Filth

Standout Track: Hallowed be thy Name

An old album remastered, a cash grab as old as time. Or so I thought, before this album absolutely blew me away. If you haven’t heard it, the original album Cruelty and the Beast kind of sounded like shit. It had a strange mix that didn’t really compliment the band and many people bemoaned this fact. In this “Re-mistressed” version, the album sounds fantastic and I enjoy listening to it much more. It retains some of the creepy/campy/cringy vibes of the original while sounding wholly modern and relevant. Disclaimer; if you don’t like Dani Filth’s high screams or long songs about Elizabeth Bathory, then this will not be for you. The final/bonus track is an amazing cover of Iron Maiden’s Hallowed be thy Name, which is a must listen if you are unfamiliar.

The End of an Era|Rebirth – Inferi

Standout Track: The Warrior’s Infinite Opus

Inferi is a band that I have followed since their bandcamp days and they continue their grind as they seek to gain more of a following in the tech death scene. Unfortunately, I was unable to see them live this year, but I hope to rectify that soon. The End of an Era was the band’s sophomore release, dropping way back in 2009. The album that was released in the current year is a rerecorded take on the original, with the band’s more recent lineup. I personally liked the original for its lo fi production, so this new album disappointed me by having a relatively generic tech death mix. That’s not to say the album is bad. Far from it; the new production just allows the guitar work to really shine. Even after 10 years, the riffs and leads of this album are still amazing. To me, Inferi is a band based around guitar, and this album is no different. One curious thing; in the older version of the album Sentenced to Eternal Life is easily my favorite track, but in the newer version I find myself coming back to The Endless Siege or A New Breed of Savior. This is not a complaint, but rather I think it speaks to the quality of the album that it is making me question former favorites.

In Cauda Venenum – Opeth

Standout Track: Lovelorn Crime

No one saw this coming I’m sure. If you aren’t aware, Opeth is my favorite band so it is no surprise that their newest effort makes it onto this list. Now firmly in the prog rock genre, Opeth has found their footing and puts out a cohesive and powerful album that is easily the best of their post-Watershed music imo. Please go and listen to the song Lovelorn Crime. If you want my extended take on In Cauda Venenum, check out the review I wrote back when it came out: Review Here

New Moon – AOA

Standout Track: Ninety Nine

AOA comeback strong with this EP, showing us that they are just as capable as a 5 piece. After their appearance on the Queendom tv show, we basically all expected a comeback by the end of 2019. The songs Egotistic and Sorry were released along with their performance on the show, and they gave us a good taste of AOA the 5 member group. Egotistic is a fucking banger and I recommend you check it out. I’ll readily admit that I was a bit worried and set my expectations relatively low for the album release. New Moon came and quelled my fears. All five songs on the album are great and I have been listening to all of them. This is the first AOA album where I feel that every one of the b tracks is awesome and worth listening to just as much as the lead single. Each song is different in style and it really makes the album an interesting listen. Many people will say that AOA is dead without Choa and Mina but I disagree heartily.

Veleno – Fleshgod Apocalypse

Standout Track: Monnalisa

With the departure of some members a few years back, Francesco Paoli is playing drums, guitar, and vocals for Fleshgod Apocalypse on this album. I am not sure if this is a necessarily good or bad thing but I can say that this album is very good. In standard Fleshgod fashion, opera and technical death metal are mixed to create and eclectic sound that is equally terrifying and gorgeous. In the album there are extremely heavy parts and extremely tender parts. Notably, this album has a ‘ballad’ song in the beautiful track The Day We’ll Be Gone. The mixing is awesome, vocals and instruments blend well with the symphonic tracks. I have heard many complaints about this album suffering from a overcompressed master, but I did not hear anything too egregious. Perhaps I have not reached that level of music snobbery yet. My favorite song is certainly Monnalisa; five and a half minutes of pure banger. It combines well written symphonic elements with tight and fast metal sections. Vocals are good, lyrics are good, it just is a good song. Check out the instrumental version if you don’t like growls.

Spiritual Instinct – Alcest

Standout Track: Sapphire

An album I slept on to be honest. I really enjoyed the singles when they came out and then I pretty much forgot about this record. Listening back to it as I write this I am thoroughly enjoying it. This album combines black metal with shoegaze and alt for a unique feel that works much better than you think it would. The composition of the songs is superb, each one is a journey and full of pleasant melodies and riffs. Many of the riffs sound alike, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. For me this aided the continuity of the album and helped keep up the feel and atmosphere, similar to how Electric Wizard uses the same riffs over and over but it works.

Orphans – The Agonist

Standout Track: As One We Survive

To be honest, the single As One We Survive is the pretty much the only song I really like on this album. But that being said, this is a good album. If you are at all a fan of melodeath or female vocals, you will like this. If you like Arch Enemy or The Agonist or Jinjer, this has something for you and I recommend you check it out. The guitar riffs are consistent and catchy, the mix is heavy and good, not many complaints about this album. The vocals are a highlight, moving from clean to growls and many shades in between. Vocalist Vicky Psarakis has great control and her screaming tone is good in both her high and low screams. Her clean vocals are also surprisingly mellifluous.

!!!!Album of the Year!!!!:

Gryningsvisor – Ofdrykkja

You may be surprised to see that Opeth’s release didn’t seize the top spot. There is good reason for this. I previously had never heard of the Swedish band Ofdrykkja but I stumbled upon this release browsing through my apple music just about a month ago. I was immediately struck by how good this album was. Within a few songs I knew this was AOTY material.

The album could be considered black metal, but it also sits firmly in the dark ambient/atmospheric genres. It certainly reminds me of GY!BE and also of later Burzum. I would say that The Ways of Yore by Burzum is a potent analogy. I am a big fan of dungeon synth vibes and this record is good for that while also incorporating more traditional black metal elements. This album encapsulates everything that I love about black metal. It has a heavy focus on the atmosphere and has extremely well written guitar parts and melodies. Female vocals are used as well as spoken word and standard black metal shrieks. This combination allows for some truly gorgeous and dark songs such as Ensam or Swallowed by the Night. If you want an album to use as background music/fall asleep to, listen to this album. If you want an album to musically dissect and listen to over and over, this will work for that. I cannot recommend this album enough. I bought it on vinyl and plan to revisit it often. Bleak, meditative, beautiful, this album is my album of the year without question.

Bennett – Hip Hop Director

MY TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2019

Crush by Floating Points

The third album from English neuroscientist-turned-DJ, Sam Shepherd, Crush floats between dance floor breakbeat and cool ambient IDM. Textures float in and out of opener “Falaise” as strings weave to a staccatoed climax, while pulsing bass grooves call to awaken breakneck rhythms on “Bias”. The strength of Crush is in its mercurial disposition, content to be the life of the party in one moment, ready to vibe and chill out the next.

Feet of Clay by Earl Sweatshirt

Earl’s follow up to last years massively successful Some Rap Songs is the brief Feet of Clay. Although only 15 minutes, Earl makes the most of his time and shines against some of his most abstract production yet. If you’re a fan of his new style you probably know by now, but this album converted me. From the deadpan “MTOMB” to the dreamy “4N”, Earl continues to push the boundaries of hip hop.

Itekoma Hits by Otoboke Beaver 

Do you ever want to go apeshit? Otoboke Beaver have you covered. The quartet blast through 14 hardcore punk songs in the time it takes for you apologize to your significant other for whatever careless thing you did this time. My favorite is “S’il vous plait”. Strictly music for being furiously productive. Get some aggression out!