Hannah Williams & The Affirmations’ New LP Towers Over Its Counterparts In Phil’s Picks 2019 Top 10 New Albums List

Courtesy: Record Kicks

As the year finally winds down its final days, the attention for many companies turns to the new year and the new crop of records already planned for the first quarter of the year.  As attentions turn to thew new year and its new albums, attention should also remain on the current year’s albums.  This year produced so many standout records from across the musical universe.  From rock and hard rock to pop to neo-soul and more, the offerings presented to audiences were many to say the very least.  Keeping that in mind, any critic will agree assembling the list of the year’s top new albums overall is a chore, but one that must happen.  This year’s top new albums are mainstream and independent alike, at least on this critic’s list.

Hannah Williams & The Affirmations easily made their way onto this critic’s final musical year-ender list with their new album 50 Foot Woman as did Slipknot, Sara Potenza and even Joel Ross.  Again, this list was anything but easy to assemble, but it did finally come together.  It is presented here complete with five honorable mention titles.  Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2019 Top 10 New Albums.



  1. Hannah Williams & The Affirmations — 50 Foot Woman
  2. Devin Townsend — Empath
  3. Slipknot — We Are Not Your Kind
  4. Joel Ross — Kingmaker
  5. Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra w/ Wynton Marsalis — Jazz & Art
  6. Lakou Mizik — HaitiaNola
  7. Diana Panton — Cheerful Little Earful
  8. Am I Dead Yet? — Am I Dead Yet?
  9. Carlos Santana — Africa Speaks
  10. The Magpie Salute — Highwater II
  11. Tedeschi Trucks Band — Signs
  12. The Sh-Booms — The Blurred Odyssey
  13. Sara Potenza — Sara Potenza
  14. Wargirl — Wargirl
  15. Hootie & The Blowfish — Imperfect Circle


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Hannah Williams & The Affirmations Stand Tall Among 2019’s New Independent Albums

Courtesy: Record Kicks

The old year is almost gone and the new year is on the way.  With the countdown to the calendar change nearing its annual end, critics are preparing their annual year-ender lists or have already posted said “Best Of” lists.  This critic has waited a while to make sure as many albums and EPs have been considered, and now with less than two weeks left in the year, the time is right to offer the first of many “Best Of” lists.

Opening this year’s multitude of year end “Best Of” lists from Phil’s Picks is the year’s top new independent albums.  Independent can mean acts signed to independent labels — of which there are many — and those who are straight up unsigned.  This year’s list presents a variety of acts and sounds, not the least of which is Hannah Williams & The Affirmations’ new album 50 Foot Woman.  Also featured in this year’s list is the surprisingly enjoyable self-titled album from Am I Dead Yet.  Its mix of David Bowie, Pink Floyd and other similar acts makes its musical content strong in its own right.  The addition of its lyrical content adds even more interest to its whole.  Hard rock band Bad Blood is also featured in this year’s list with its self-titled debut.  These are just some of the acts featured in Phil’s Picks 2019 Top 10 New Independent Albums.  It should be noted that while the list is the “Top 10,” it features five additional honorable mention titles for a grand total of 15 albums, as in every past year.

It should be noted that the choices featured on this list were not easy.  The honorable mention titles are not bad albums.  They are all good in their own way.  It was just that difficult to choose, as every listed album had its own positives. Some had more positives than others. Now with all that said here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2019 Top 10 New Independent Albums.



1.Hannah Williams & The Affirmations — 50 Foot Woman

2. Am I Dead Yet? — Am I Dead Yet?

3. Bad Blood — Bad Blood

4. The Sh-Booms — The Blurred Odyssey

5. Aree And The Pure Hearts — Never Gonna Die

6. Wargirl — Wargirl

7. Lullwater — Voodoo

8. Sara Potenza — Road To Rome

9. Corroded — Bitter

10. Awake At Last — The Change

11. Blacktop Mojo — Under The Sun

12. Stone Leaders — Stone Leaders

13. Dark Station — Down in The Dark

14. Them Guns — From The Shadows

15. Damn Your Eyes — Kill The Outside


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The First Time Could Be The Charm For Wargirl

Courtesy: Clouds Hill

Independent music collective Wargirl is scheduled to release its self-titled debut album next week.  The California-based group’s 10-song, 38-minute album is a work that will appeal easily to fans of acts, such as Amy Winehouse, Meghan Trainor and Nikki Yanofsky.  This is evident in the album’s latest single ‘How You Feel,’ which will be discussed shortly.  ‘Mess Around’ exemplifies those statements just as much as ‘How You Feel,’ and will be discussed a little later.  ‘No Difference,’ the album’s midway point, is yet another example of the album’s ability to reach so many listeners with its musical and lyrical content with ease.  It is hardly the last of the album’s most notable works.  ‘I Know I,’ which comes late in the album’s almost 40-minute run, ‘Last Time’ and ‘Sass Girl’ are just as notable as the trio of songs directly addressed here.  When they are all considered along with the album’s four remaining songs, the whole becomes a record will make the first time – not the third – the charm for the group.

Wargirl’s self-titled debut album, due out April 19 via Clouds Hill Records, is a solid starting point for the independent Califonia-based musical collective.  That is because it is such an easily accessible record in terms of its musical and lyrical content.  Those statements are supported in part through the album’s latest single ‘How You Feel.’  That is due in no small part to the song’s arrangement.  The old-school soul/funk vibe takes listeners immediately back to the 1960s with its bongos, keyboards, guitars and horns.  Vocalist Samantha Park’s – the daughter of classic funk group Bull & The Matadors front man James Lafayette Parks —  vocals add a certain soulfulness that is rarely recreated by today’s female vocalists.  The closest comparison that can perhaps be made is to the likes of Amy winehouse.  Even the sound of drummer Erik Nieto’s own percussive part has its own throwback sound and vibe that, when added to the mix, helps create a sound and feel that instantly appeals to any listener.  All things considered here, the song’s infectious arrangement is just one part of what makes the song in whole so appealing.  The song’s lyrical content is just as accessible as its musical arrangement.

The song’s lyrical content clearly takes the time-honored path of tackling relationships in music.  This is made obvious as Park sings in the song’s lead verse, “How you feel about me now/Got my emotions running wild/And you’re asking yourself how/I’m not your baby/Ain’t your child/Don’t contradict me when I ask you to decide…to stay or go…/How you feel about me now…listen I will not be held down.”  She goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “You patronize me when I say/I ought to let you go/Honey, I’ve decided though/You ain’t need to set nobody free/Why the hell did I keep on stalling/While you wore me out/Reality is setting in/So how you feel about me now.”  Simply put, this is someone telling another person to make up their mind after realizing how things have been for such a long time.  The certain edge in the song’s arrangement does a good job of capturing the emotion in the discussion, showing the time and thought that was put into joining the elements.  The end result is a work that is just one of a handful of works that makes Wargirl a solid start for Wargirl.  ‘Mess Around’ is another example of what makes Wargirl work as well as it does.

‘Mess Around’ is among Wargirl’s most notable additions because in part because of its musical arrangement.  As with ‘How You Feel,’ this song’s arrangement also throws back to the 1960s, much as with works from Winehouse, Trainor and Yanofsky.  Whereas the previously discussed work boasted more of a mid-tempo arrangement and was much more old school in its approach, this work is far more upbeat, and presents much more of a pop vibe.  The old-school influence is not lacking here by any mean, but rather is mixed more with a modern sound for a whole that is certain to make it another fan favorite.  In terms of its lyrical content, the song proves just as accessible again, focusing yet again on relationships in proud fashion.

Park sings in the song’s lead verse, “If you’re gonna put me down/I ain’t gonna hang around with you/If you’re gonna mess around/Baby, know that you and I are through/Well the sky is full of thunder/And the land is filled with rain/Do I always have to wonder/What goes on inside your brain.”  Park repeats the lead verse’s main two lines to open the song’s second verse, before switching things up a bit and singing, “Well you lost me with your lying/And you lost me with your truth/And you always take my money/You always take the rules.”  From there, the song enters its bridge, during which Park’s subject tells the alleged two-timer that no one wants that person.  Simply put, this is a proud statement from a jilted lover who is telling another person that she is not going to put up with that person’s ways.  It is a message to which plenty of listeners will relate.  That is especially when that message is joined with the song’s musical arrangement, which does a good job of illustrating the main subject’s emotion in delivering the noted message.  Keeping this in mind, it becomes clear why this song is another important addition to Wargirl, showing even more, the album’s mainstream appeal.  It still is not the last of the album’s most notable works.  ‘No Difference,’ shows Wargirl’s strength just as much as ‘Mess Around’ and ‘How You Feel.’

‘No Difference’ boasts a musical arrangement that is full on classic funk complete with a driving bongo line at its center.  The addition of the guitar, keyboards and cowbell makes for comparisons to some of the best works of Sly and the Family Stone.  That in itself does more than enough to make this work engaging and entertaining for listeners.  When it is joined with the seeming social commentary in the song’s lyrical content, those positive vibes presented by both sides makes the song that much more enjoyable.

The seeming social commentary is inferred as Park sings in the song’s lead verse, “I want everything/I am the wind and rain/I see a future great/Because I want everything/There’s no difference between us.”  She adds in the song’s second verse, “I want everything/Voices inside my brain/Say, “I feel a little strange,” ‘cause I want everything/There’s no difference between us.”  From there, she continues to repeat that last line multiple time as the song’s arrangement once more takes center stage.  This is important to note, as the positive energy exuded in the arrangement works in tandem with the seeming positive message about self-confidence and not letting differences stop one’s self to generate quite the positive vibe for the song.  It is just one more example of why Wargirl is such a strong debut for Wargirl.  It continues to positive vibes presented through the other songs noted here and through the rest of the album.  When those songs are considered along with this work, the end result is an album that can potentially be the charm for the band on just its first try.

Wargirl’s self-titled debut album, set for release on April 19, is a work that is certain to appeal to fans of Meghan Trainor, Nikki Yanofsky and Amy Winehouse.  That is evident throughout the course of the album, including the three songs discussed here.  Between the positive sound and vibes in the songs’ arrangements and the equally positive messages in the songs’ lyrical content, the record offers plenty for listeners to appreciate.  Considering this and the right support, Wargirl could very well prove the first time is the charm for Wargirl instead of the third.  More information on Wargirl is available online along with all of Wargirl’s latest news and more at:



Website: http://wargirlband.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wargirlband

Twitter: http://twitter.com/wargirlband




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