Group Feature: ACRN’s Top 10 Movies of 2020

10. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm [Amazon; 2020]By Kwase Lane, Features Editor Reprising his role as everybody’s favorite bumbling Kazakhstani reporter, Sacha Baron Cohen took a second go at a Borat film, and he stuck the landing even more flawlessly than he did in its predecessor. The first Borat movie does what it sets out to well,…

Group Feature: ACRN’s Top 10 Disappointing Albums of 2020

10. Machinedrum — A View of U, [Ninja Tune; 2020]By Lane Moore, Reviews Editor Machinedrum’s A View of U is perhaps the greatest illusion of the millennium. It’s pretty tough to catch, but if you peer into the soul of this album––or make it past track three or four––you will find that A View of…

Album Review: Sinai Vessel – Ground Aswim

By Ethan Bloomfield, Contributor
[Single Occupancy; 2020]
Rating: 8.5/10
Key tracks: “Where Did You Go?”, “All Days Just End”, “Antechamber”
The rise of maximalism in music is an arms race soon to come to a close, but being as blown out, loud and abrasive as possible can only go so far. It is a spectacle, but one with a firm ceiling until noise becomes a Merzbow-esque discordance of sound and static. All that to say this: understatement in music is almost unfashionable in the modern zeitgeist. The meteoric rise of the likes of 100 gecs might seem like a death knell for the stripped-back, contemplative sounds of Sinai Vessel, but this contrast works to the North Carolina indie rock outfit’s advantage; this true alternative manifests itself in their second studio album, Ground Aswim. It’s an understated and expressive piece of indie rock that’s full of bare-naked lyrics and poignant instrumentals to achieve a captivating, though quiet, forty-seven minutes.

Phoebe Bridgers releases “Savior Complex” video as a Facebook exclusive

By Maddie James, Contributor
[Photo courtesy of Frank Ockenfels]
Indie artist Phoebe Bridgers has released a video for her song “Savior Complex”, a track off her acclaimed 2020 album Punisher. The video is directed by Fleabag creator Phoebe-Waller Bridge and is exclusively available via Facebook.

Album Review: clipping. – Visions of Bodies Being Burned

By: Kwase Lane, Features Editor
[Sub Pop Records; 2020]
Rating: 5/10
Key Tracks: “’96 Neve Campbell”, “Looking Like Meat”, “Eaten Alive”
clipping.’s commitment to fictional perspectives could be really interesting if Daveed Diggs bothered to put any energy into his delivery. Visions of Bodies Being Burned is a testament to how flaccid an album can be if the artist sounds terribly bored by the concept of making music. Every featured artist rides the beat far better than Diggs ever allows himself to, much to the album’s detriment. This project’s production is as unique as ever, but I can’t help but find myself wishing anybody else was responsible for rapping over it.

Album Review: boy pablo – Wachito Rico

By Maddie James, Contributor
[777 Music; 2020]
Rating: 7/10
Key tracks: “honey”, “te vas // don’t go”, “mustache”
Wachito Rico sounds like either incredibly well-produced brain candy or sexy elevator music. The newest release from boy pablo, Wachito Rico is the debut album of the indie-pop project headed by Chilean-Norwegian artist Nicolas Muñoz.

Local Natives’ Kelcey Ayer releases new song

Local Natives’ Kelcey Ayer releases new song
By Kwase Lane, Features Editor
[Photo courtesy of Allister Ann]
Local Natives co-founder Kelcey Ayer has released a new song under the name “Jaws of Love.” titled “m&m”. The track is Ayer’s first solo release of 2020, quickly following the release of Local Natives’ latest EP, Sour Lemon.

Movie Review: The Trial of the Chicago 7

By Ben Lindner, Contributor
[Netflix; 2020]
Rating: 7/10
From the opening minutes of The Trial of the Chicago 7, a story of the aftermath of the riots at the Democratic National Convention in 1968, it is clear exactly what the film is trying to be: an acting showcase with a fast, exciting script. It’s a movie made for people, like myself, who enjoy pointing at the screen and saying, “Hey, isn’t that the guy from that thing?” In that sense, the movie works extremely well.

Album Review: Tricot – 10

By: Kwase Lane, Features Editor
[cutting edge/8902 Records; 2020]
Rating: 9/10
10, Tricot’s second album of the year, demonstrates an almost unbelievable amount of technical and conceptual refinement compared to their previous projects. Like always, the quartet weaves together complex polyrhythms, gentle melodies and impassioned cries, but 10 is marked by the sense of ease that each piece generates. The album flows from aggressive guitar riffs to mild, barely whispered vocals, all the while being imbued with an intricate serenity that feels unknowable and familiar at the same time.

Vaporwave and Punk Rock: Opposite Aesthetics, Similar Goals

By Ethan Bloomfield, Contributor
Anarchy is a complicated idea. Generally, when one thinks of anarchy, they think of burning buildings, burly men with mohawks and motorcycles and a lawlessness only seen on the silver screen. While this is anarchy, the real definition of the word according to Merriam-Webster is simply “an absence of government.” Why does any of this matter? Why am I telling you any of this?

Japanese electronic group Black Boboi announce new album

By Maddie James, Contributor
SILK, the first full album by female Japanese electric group Black Boboi, is set to release Nov. 25. The album’s announcement was accompanied by the release of two songs, “gd612” and “Postwar”.

Movie Review: Mulan

By Ben Lindner, Contributor
[Disney; 2020]
Rating: 2/10
Disney needs to stop. Their live-action remakes are complete failures, no more than obvious cash grabs at beloved childhood stories, and though they all pale in comparison to the originals, Mulan (2020) is the worst of them by a mile. The idea behind this one seems to be a more serious take that is more faithful to the original myth. This is not your grandpa’s Mulan. No more talking dragons voiced by Eddie Murphy, no more songs, no more fun stuff.