Gorillaz returns with what is perhaps their most ambitious project to date, Song Machine. Instead of a traditional album release format, the album is essentially a collection of singles, as each song is accompanied by an “episode,” lyric video or both on YouTube.
By Ethan Bloomfield, Contributor
[Single Occupancy; 2020]
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.
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?
By: Kwase Lane, Features Editor
[Sub Pop Records; 2020]
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.
By Maddie James, Contributor
[777 Music; 2020]
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.
By Ethan Bloomfield, Contributor[Merge; 2020]Rating: 6/10 Key Tracks: “The Last Place I Saw You Alive”, “Bell Swamp Connection”, “Getting Into Knives” What can be said about The Mountain Goats that hasn’t been? John Darnielle and company have created 13 studio albums and some of the biggest indie classics for the better part of three decades….
By Lauren McCain, Columns Editor [Republic Records; 2020]Rating: 7.5/10 Key tracks: “positions”, “34+35”, “safety net (feat. Ty Dolla $ign)”, “pov” After the whirlwind of her albums Sweetener and thank u, next less than five months apart in 2019, in 2020, Ariana Grande brings a more intimate, sultry R&B sound to the table with Positions. Positions makes…
By Lauren Patterson, Copy Editor Hip-hop duo Run The Jewels have announced a limited edition T-shirt collection, “Hold Our Hands,” with Charitees. The announcement came Monday via Twitter, urging voting and supporting organizations. All proceeds from the tees go to corresponding charities, Brooklyn Vegan reported. Read more: Japanese electronic group Black Boboi announce new album…
By Jonah Krueger, News Editor[Epitaph; 2020]Rating: 8.5/10 Key tracks: “Come Heroine”, “Reminders”, “Limelight”, “Deflector” Touché Amoré has rightly become an emo A-lister, managing to vary its approach to songwriting while remaining remarkably consistent in quality with each release. Yet, the glamorous rise of the band was abruptly halted with the release of their fourth album. …
By Ethan Bloomfield, Contributor
[Run For Cover Records; 2020]
Rating: 7/10 Key tracks: “-h-o-u-s-e-k-e-y-z-”, “older now (it hurts)”, “before your body goes” 2020 is not a year for connection. Amidst the pandemic and months of isolation, it is sometimes hard to feel a true, heartfelt connection with others. During this time, though, music remains one of the main defenses against boredom for many people, and reminders of humanity and closeness still shines through in it. This is more than evident on Floral Prince, the new full-length project from lo-fi musician Field Medic, aka Kevin Patrick Sullivan.
In his book Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste, Carl Wilson puts forth the idea that perhaps no historically detested sect of popular music is beyond postmortem redemption. Metal, disco, emo—all looked down upon during their respective peaks in popularity by cultural tastemakers, only to be retroactively saved once the dust settled and the commercial machine had moved on to the next fad. The past few years have seen nu-metal, maybe the most detested of the detested sects, start to receive this treatment thanks to the particular arty bands of the genre; chiefly, Deftones.
By Ethan Bloomfield, Contributor[88rising; 2020]Rating: 8/10 Key Tracks: “Run”, “Afterthought”, “Like You Do” Nectar is the highly anticipated, second full-length release of lo-fi and R&B artist George Miller, aka Joji. Dropping almost two full years after Ballads 1, Joji takes his signature sound to a much cleaner, more focused and emotionally mature place on Nectar. …