I bought eleven albums that were released this year to prove some sort of point to myself. I'm going to tell you about them! All the artists were new to me (except Deerhoof) . I've put a link to a good track from each underneath the title
Caribou – Suddenly
Never Come Back youtube link Spotify link
I get the feeling this is an artist everyone else has already heard of. To me this sounds like fairly straightforward chilled summery pop music. There's a few tracks with pleasing pop spaghetti noodley weird mess on it. The best track is just a straight melancholy dance track. The more I listened to the lyrics the less I liked the guy. He seems to be whinging about a relationship that ended 5 years ago. Get over it.
Laura Marling – Song For Our Daughter
Fortune Spotify link Youtube Link
Indie Folk? Really listenable, mellow timbre. Some of the picking styles remind me of Leonard Cohen. I really love how the last three tracks of this sound like really good album closers. It's solid the whole way through. The LP didn't come with a download code >:(
Mamaleek – come & see
Eating Unblessed Meat Spotify link Youtube link
This is my favourite album of the year so far. I guess I'd describe it as progressive noise-rock with blues and metal influences. Bits of it remind of me of Jesus Lizard, some birthday party side projects, that sort of thing. Except the song structure is pretty out there, and someone is doing black metal screaming over all of it. I thought it was complete madness but I've found repeat listens really rewarding.
Agnes Obel – Myopia
Island Of Doom Spotify Link Youtube Link
I think people who enjoy voices like Lisa Gerrard (Dead Can Dance), Liz Frazer (Cocteau Twins), Kate Bush (Kate Bush) might like this. An excellent strangelady voice. The instrumentation is mostly very echoey dreamy piano, some strings, very little percussion... there's a great deal of vocal manipulation – pitch shifting etc. This is good to listen to in the dark before bed.
Aiming For Enrike – Music For Working Out
Hard Dance Brainia Youtube link (!!!Silly video warning!!!) Spotify Link
This is pretty much synthwave, but it's microdosing on noise, math-rock, etc??? It has big sound and makes me want to drive a car. Some of it is deeper than it first seems, some of it isn't.
Dogleg – Melee
Fox Spotify Link Youtube Link
I see peb Kacharach mentioned this. I guess it's basically emo except that I like it a lot, so maybe that makes it not emo. My closest frame of reference is mclusky. It's heavy, it's melodic, it's shouty, it's very satisfying. All bangers, no clangers.
Ghostpoet – I Grow Tired But Dare Not Fall Asleep
When Mouths Collide Youtube Link Spotify Link
A man talks over music, rhythmically. It's not rap. A lot of the music itself is quite indie guitar band in its instrumentation, some of it more electronic. It's very solid melodically, but the real attraction is the lyricism. The poetry is top-notch commentary of Britain in 2020. Strong sense of background dread. Ahhhh.
Deerhoof – Future Teenage Cave Artists
New Orphan Asylum For Spirited Deerhchildren Youtube Link Spotify Link
I was going to buy this regardless of what it sounded like, I'm a big deerhoof fan. This is one of their most difficult albums to listen to, certainly in the last 15 years, maybe ever. It's them exploring apocalypse themes, based on how horrible America is right now. The whole thing sounds intentionally fucked, something you'd pull out of the dust of a burned world. I would not recommend this album to anyone except Deerhoof fans. But more people should be deerhoof fans, they have a lot of excellent albums and are the best live band.
Melt Yourself Down – 100% Yes
Crocodile Spotify Link Youtube link
This is fun saxophone rock. There's a few solid tracks. But some of it gives me feelings of posh white people doing multiculturalism, like they'd be saxophoning outside a hip bar in August, and they'd be wearing loathsome hats, and a bunch of berks would enjoy it while I'm trying to be depressed. I do really like a couple of the tracks though. There's a clear focus on fun in this music.
Downy – Untitled 7th Album
Good News Youtube Link Spotify Link
Japanese Post-rock, electronic rock, math rock, moody, progressive etc etc. Complicated drumming, distorted guitar, electric noises. It's very Japanese, and its “what language are they singing in” game is extremely strong. It's quite dense and shoegazy sometimes, and quite digital - the production could be better in some places. It's quite expensive too, even on bandcamp friday. I ended up buying it from Amazon music.
Katie Dey – Mydata
Leaving Spotify Link Youtube Link
Glitchy pop. I don't feel like I can really describe this on its own, just compare it to her 2016 album “Flood Network” which was brilliant nightmare pop distorted to the complete beyond. Mydata feels a lot more conventional, but a lot more confident at the same time. Again it's introspective, vulnerable, frail, big, noisey, glitchy. But it's overall less expansive and a bit more “song” based.
I think I'd recommend getting Flood Network, and then checking this out if you really like that.