Monday 16 December 2019

EVEN THE STARS ALBUMS OF 2019 - 20 to 17

Today we reveal the first set of our favourite albums of 2019 - from twenty to seventeen


Nev Cotter is one of the most underrated songwriters in Manchester, ploughing his own furrow for many years now across three albums, of which River's Edge is his latest release. There's little showmanship in his work, just straightforward, honest, open songwriting about experiences and observations crafted with a warmth and depth that's an increasing rarity these days. River's Edge is his finest work to date, his voice is living out these stories for us, raw and full of emotional clarity.

Our review concluded : "River's Edge is a wondrous record, perhaps not made for these times of instant gratification. It's best listened to late at night in a dark room where the songs can envelop you, reach under your skin and put you in the shoes of the artist. The rich evocative nature of Nev's voice means that how he sings is almost as important as what he's singing in imparting the stories he's trying to tell. It's a rewarding album though if you let yourself immerse in it, give it your undivided attention and appreciate the talents of a man who should be up there with the feted songwriters of the city we inhabit."

He talks about the album in this great interview with Say It With Garage Flowers.

Nev Cottee's website can be found here. He is also on Facebook and Twitter.


Combat Frock is Emily's debut album and has been a long-time coming following a series of EPs. Fixated with Joe Strummer, those influences are written large across this album, yet Emily isn't afraid to assert her individuality and her personality throughout. Full of humour, sarcasm and not afraid to tell it as how she sees it, referencing both Joey Barton and Morrissey in the lyrics, Combat Frock is a record that doesn't take itself too seriously, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take Emily so.

Our review concluded : "Combat Frock captures Emily perfectly, her personality, her opinions, refusal to be silenced and desire to stand as a strong independent woman coursing through each of these songs. But it's done with an intelligence and wit that makes her stand out from the crowd and which pays tribute to her musical heroes."

Emily Capell is on Facebook and Twitter.


Mano McLaughlin is one of Manchester’s most underrated songwriters, modest, humble and understated and loathe to sing his own praises. Loved by his peers and a small band of followers and championed by the likes of Guy Garvey, his second solo album Then Lightning was six years in the making, but well worth the long wait as it continues in the rich emotional vein of that album and his previous work with Meadow. Stand-out tracks include the title track, Thirteen Pieces Of Quiet (about the Troubles back home in his native Northern Ireland) and Big Truck which rails against the injustices of the Conservative government.

Our review concluded : "It closes the circle on an album that justifies all the praise that's been thrown at Mano over the years either as a solo artist or in bands like Meadow. Like the man himself, it's modest in its outlook, but that simply adds to the charm and makes it easy for the listener to immerse themselves as it's so free of pretense, false statements and compromising to fit a mould. With the aid of Tim on drums and Gary on bass, the songs are given extra life, but without smothering the songwriting ethos that is at the core of the record and which makes it and its creator such an endearing and unique character."

Mano McLaughlin's website can be found here.  He is also on Facebook and Twitter. The album can be bought here.


Fontaines D.C. have very much been at the forefront of a media love-in with all things Dublin in 2019, topping many album of the year polls. Their debut Dogrel is an angry representation of living in the city, dealing with modern life and kicking back against the system that tries to hold you in. Stand out track Big declares “my childhood was small, but I’m going to be big” in a statement of defiance that is representation of the whole album that pulls no punches, refuses to deal in niceties and have its rough edges shaven off for public consumption. Finishing 2019 with a series of huge sold out shows across the UK and Europe, Grian’s prophesy is already coming true.

Our review concluded : "Fontaines D.C. are on the cusp of something huge. They’ve been pulling up trees Stateside with their enthralling live shows going down a storm most recently at SXSW where they were simply on fire. Back in the UK and Ireland they are getting a vast amount of attention right now – the fruits of their labours. It’s safe to say they’re gonna be big."

Fontaines D.C.'s official site can be found here. They are on Facebook and Twitter.

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