Group Feature: ACRN’s Top 15 Albums of 2020

15. Rico Nasty – Nightmare Vacation, [Sugar Trap; 2020]By Kwase Lane, Features Editor It’s kind of weird how long Rico Nasty’s been around without dropping a debut album. I mean, I’m not complaining; if anything, this is a bonus. Nightmare Vacation encapsulates all of Rico’s growth as an artist and is a pleasure to listen…

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.

Album Review: EP!

No one would have blamed JPEGMAFIA for having a misstep in 2020 after his track record of fantastic albums. The man is due for a flop at this point, but it seems like Peggy is incapable of slipping up. Over the past few months, Peggy has released a slew of singles back to back, and now, he’s stitched them all into a beautiful Frankenstein’s monster of a project. EP! proves that Peggy is a master of his craft. Who else could add a few flourishes to previously released tracks and have it stand as one of the most coherent, satisfying projects of the year?

Movie Review: On the Rocks

I’m not sure I watched On the Rocks properly. I watched it on my couch on a Wednesday morning, but I feel like it was intended for middle-aged wine moms who, after finally putting their kids to bed, are just waiting to scream “OMG, that’s so true” every time the movie shows how hard marriage is. Outside of that lens, this movie, while functional, is not able to do anything particularly remarkable.

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.

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”.