Best records of 2019

Fontaines D.C.
Dogrel (Partisan Records)

Fontaines D.C. hail from Dublin, a fact that would be instantly obvious even if Chatten didn’t open Dogrel by emphatically declaring, “Dublin in the rain is mine/A pregnant city with a Catholic mind.” His unvarnished, melody-averse brogue is the band’s most distinctive feature, and his lyrics are loaded with the sort of regional-landmark references and vivid scenery that will send non-Irish listeners to Google Street View. But while Fontaines D.C. are eager ambassadors for Dublin’s past, they’re less enchanted with its present status as one of Europe’s most bustling tech hubs—and the widening income inequality that comes with it. The jackhammered opener “Big” centers around a bold declaration—“My childhood was small/ But I’m going to be big!”—that initially echoes another famous statement of purpose: Oasis’ “Rock N’ Roll Star.” But in a world where there’s no rock‘n’roll stardom left to aspire to, “Big” doubles as a cautionary caricature of blind ambition and aspirational greed. (source)