30 years ago I was introduced to the cascading guitars and whispering vocals of Lycia. I was floored by what was recorded on a 4 track cassette in June 1991, as I was dabbling with a similar music setup. Ionia was a post-punk musician’s attempt to create an ambient record and became a landmark recording for independent musicians and the underground music scene. Needless to say I was so excited to see it finally being issued on a beautiful double vinyl. A pivotal album for the darkwave and goth scene.
2021 is starting to feel better and definitely sounding better.
The pandemic lasted longer than anyone expected, so a lot of music that was parked is now finally coming out. The quality of the releases are stellar and on par to the amount I would see before SXSW.
Who knows when live shows will return. A few venues that haven’t shuttered for good have started opening up again. Regardless when the music scene returns, Covid will certainly shape how we enjoy live experiences. I’m excited for a return of mosh pits but also to new ways audiences can participate in a live setting.
Things like this – 1:1 concerts
As for the 1st quarter of 2021, lots and lots of new stuff is out.
Here’s a compilation of my favorite tunes so far of the first 3 months of 2021
Much to look forward to
Dan Deacon remixes Future Islands. Two of my favorite bands together.
The new Blanck Mass sounds epic
Loving the new Tigers Jaw record
New Lana Del Ray is excellent
2 bands I haven’t heard in awhile together. The Notwist + Juana Molina is exactly what you’d expect.
Madlib dropping lots of interesting songs.
Highly anticipated Julian Baker finally out
New Middle Kids album is already on my top albums of the year
Same goes for the new Weather Station
Finally some new Youth Code!
Absolutely addicted to the new Hus KingPin
Looking forward to a full release from Skullcrusher
Some new Black Midi
Mr. Twin Sister is back and is sounding different
Some unearthed Tech Level 2 is a solid throwback
20. “Every Sweet Soul” – Tobin Sprout
19. “Weight of That Weekend” – Land of Talk
18. “Double Arrows Down” – The Bombpops
17. “Off My Mind” – Hazel English
16. “Never Come Back” – Caribou
15. “Creep U” – Black Dresses
14. “Tokyo” – Julien Baker
13. “Become a Mountain” – Dan Deacon
12. “Cloud 9” – Beach Bunny
11. “rue” – girl in red
10. “Kyoto” – Phoebe Bridgers
9. “Circle the Drain” – Soccer Mommy
8. “Cool For a Second” – Yumi Zouma
7. “I Am Not Waiting” – Austra
6. “The Steps” – HAIM
5. “Caution” – The Killers
4. “Rush & Fever” – Nation of Language
3. “Sugar” – Sufjan Stevens
2. “Simmer” – Hayley Williams
1. “Say The Name” – clipping.
Listen to the rest of the top 100 songs here on Spotify
Doublehalo Best of 2020
Best Band Names:
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets
Blunt Razors (Planes Mistaken For Stars)
Drug Store Romeos
Here’s another playlist of all the amazing tunes I also absolutely loved
If you liked the bands, go and support them!
Especially during these times.
As always, thanks for listening
Best Debut Album. Samia – The Baby
Twenty three year old Samia Finnerty’s debut album deals with the bad feelings of becoming an adult with soft and subtle lyrics.
10. Dan Deacon- Mystic Familiar
A cohesive album of lush bubbly digital compositions. A bit experimental, but always joyful and fun. A kaleidoscope of trippy sounds to make the day a bit brighter.
9. Sylvan Esso – Free Love
Short & sweet but full of bouncy pop music. Folksy minimal melodies paired with synths and quirky sounds. It feels experimental but you’ll be dancing and head nodding to their fun spectral sound collages.
8. Code Orange – Underneath
Pittsburgh’s hardcore punk quintet brings a maelstrom album full of technical and genre bending songs. Underneath explores how we can possibly exist in a digital landscape. Songs explode, skip, shift and splinter away. Futuristic and punishing. A powerful and creative result from this chaotic musical blender.
7. Land Of Talk – Indistinct Conversations
Lizzie Powell’s bruised vocals on this a home-recorded album fits the emotional and intimate narratives. The album leaves you feeling vulnerable yet hopeful. A satisfying blend of guitar and lyrical musings but with Land of Talk’s distinctive ambiguity.
6. Adrianne Lenker – Songs
Somber storytelling over hypnotic and rich melodies. Nostalgic imagery of love & loss over patient melody builds. Despite being quiet and shy, the album is a slow burn into examining complex emotions. An extraordinary rich album.
5. HAIM – Women in Music Pt III
A tuneful and jammy soundtrack pulling from many styles & genres. This is easily HAIM’s boldest and polished album yet. It tackles several themes about self discovery and how to cope with loss and grief. The sisters crafted a wonderful album capturing what it’s like being young and sensitive in our current world. The album is full of soothing and vulnerable pop songs that are overflowing with infectious hooks and harmonies. This album is like a great summer book for the beach, but one you’ll want to read again and again.
4. Nation of Language – Presence
This Brooklyn trio brings their take on synth pop on their stellar debut. The crisp production and high craft is found in every sound and beat. Dense synths adequately compliment Ian Devaney’s deep rich and melancholy voice. Although this genre is nothing new, NOL weaves the nostalgia tropes of interlocking synths and electronic drums with purpose and emotion. They are bringing some needed personality into synth-pop, creating an exciting new chapter.
3. Idles – Ultra Mono
I loved every single dropped before this album finally came out. From the first song Ultra Mono grabs you by the face, sits your ass down and forces you to pay attention to its abrasive and incisive commands. This adrenaline fueled album came out at the perfect time of such ambiguously lost year. It is confidant, angry and full of rage towards this modern reality we live in now. By the end of it you’ll be armed to combat anything that’s thrown at you. Whether to drop kick your anger into the other room or to scream and dance it away.
2. Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
This album will take you through all the emotions. It’s a subtle record but over time you become overwhelmed with all the sentiments hidden in every song. The production is so tight with its lush and hypnotic melodies punctuated by brilliant lyricism. Punisher plays like a movie soundtrack criss crossing between memories of a life figuring things out the hard way. Every time I play this album I am still moved and captivated with all the beauty and sadness Phoebe examines in every song.
1. clipping. – Visions of Bodies Being Burned
Clipping’s 2019 horror-core album There Existed an Addiction to Blood ends with nothing but the sound of a piano slowly burning to death. This is a peculiar end for such anxious ridden album. However, it is the ending you would expect from a horror film where the uneasiness of knowing whether the killer is finished or not. The band returns with Visions of Bodies Being Burned which could be a logical sequel to this nightmare. However, it’s not merely an album of extra tracks but rather an evolution of these established themes and builds upon them into unexpected directions. It’s dynamic & devastating and a fitting album for the top spot on 2020.
Finishing up the year with the last playlist.
Some major gems including some that made it to my top 2020 lists.
Despite the obvious slowdown in the music industry,
new releases are still trickling through.
Nothing groundbreaking as of yet this year, but beggars can’t be choosers.
It was sad to see all my concert tickets slowly get refunded, as the hopes for them being postponed a pipe dream.
However a bunch of new releases have distracted me enough.
The new Future Islands is worth a listen.
I’ve been looking forward to hearing the rest of Samia’s new album ever since she’s been teasing out some singles.
Phoebe Bridgers continues to delight me. Be sure to check out her Radiohead cover.
I can’t wait to get my hands on Idles new vinyl.
I’ve always been on the fence about Sufjan Stevens’ latest albums. Still listening to his overly long new release, but “Sugar” is already on my best of the year.
Speaking of best of, several albums are celebrating their 30 year anniversaries in September including:
Megadeth’s Rust in Peace
Godspeed you Black Emperor’s Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven.
Skinny Puppy’s Too Dark Park later this month.
All on my best of the best list.
New Tunes from the past 3 months
and don’t forget to VOTE!!!