Tug Baker’s Top Albums of 2019

I feel like I had more albums than ever in my running yearlong playlist this year, but I didn’t get to spend nearly the time with all of them that I would have liked to. Here’s my list of the albums that rose above the noise in 2019. (Minus metal records. Those might get their own list later.) And a handy playlist too!

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Ryan Adams covers Vampire Weekend twice via webcam

Ryan Adams has just finished an acoustic tour of Europe. Upon his return he set up his webcam and let fly a few Vampire Weekend covers. First he dissects “Mansford Roof,” stripping the song from its original buoyant quirkiness and giving it the morose shellacking he gave Oasis’ “Wonderwall.”

His take on Vampire Weekend’s “Oxford Comma” is not quite as arresting, but he still manages to side-step the inherent bounciness and pare it down to its naked essence.

VIDEO: Vampire Weekend “Giving Up the Gun”

Love them or hate them, Vampire Weekend know how to polarize and confuse an audience. The band’s new video for “Giving Up the Gun” features Joe Jonas, Lil John, Jake Gyllenhaal, and RZA. The WTF-iness of it all is a spectacle in and of itself, but the video is nothing if not amusing. Surreal is probably a more apt description. But it’s beautifully shot and the bizarro cast gives great performances. I’m not sure about Ezra Koenig’s headband, though.