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: The Mountain Goats – Getting Into Knives

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….

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?

Album Review: Field Medic – Floral Prince

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.

Album Review: Joji – Nectar

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. …