Writing these intros is sometimes a herculean task. Should I be dramatic, funny, or fail at one of those? Look, I found another way. Puh. With that out of the way, let’s get right into it.
regrets are killing me – My own carelessness
September 1 // Slow Down Records
This three-piece are a force of nature, even beyond the point that a Japanese skramz outfit is already sold in my book. My own carelessness carries the vibe of classic Japanese screamo bands like early Envy, Heaven In Her Arms, Struggle on the Practice Room Number Five, or Mims. Another great addition for good skramz in 2020.
Jesse Draxler – Reigning Cement
September 4 // Federal Prisoner
How to follow up after a masterpiece like M For Empathy? Lomelda didn’t even try and put out a vastly different album, closer to your usual indie folk you hear everywhere. How does it stick out? Hannah Read’s incredibly strong songwriting skills and her dreamy, honest, and authentically delivered lyrics.
It’s simply crazy how Ben Sharp just swipes in and shows that Cloudkicker is still the best if you want modern instrumental prog. His ability to balance rhythm and melody within his riffs, carry motifs through songs, and establish strong identities while keeping the flow of the album in check is impressive from start to finish.
Vritra – Sonar
September 4 // Bad Taste
Jazzy and smooth, Vritra is exactly the kind of hip hop I want. Hailing from Louisiana, but based in LA, one can hear influences from those two musical worlds, explaining the interesting mix of warm jazz and dry beats. Sonar is a fantastic little gem for every fan of relaxed and comforting hip hop.
US-based outfit Coma Regalia does the skramz right. Their rough production hits the good posts especially, transporting me back to sweaty basement shows, spinning my head between beautiful clean melodies and tons of feedback. If your hunger for more skramz is as high as mine, get on feasting.
Spectaclist – Our Days Are Multiplied
September 15 // Independent
I have a sweet spot for music written by a drummer. While Spectaclist doesn’t sound like ‘drums first’ music, there is a certain pulse within Our Days Are Multiplied. To quote David Hobizal, the man behind the project: ‘After being ‘just the drummer’ in bands for a billion years, I went out and wrote my first album.’
The Signs of Spiritual Delusion is challenging END‘s Splinters From An Ever-Changing Face. And partly, they are succeeding. Cross Bringer are the fucking bleakest shit you can encounter in 2020, perfectly written and executed. If you need some dark heaviness in your life (2020 doesn’t have enough of that, ay), get the good stuff with this album.
After the magic and impact Yellow Days created with his debut EP Harmless Melodies and his debut full-length Is Everything Okay In Your World, it was hard to follow up. And while A Day in a Yellow Beat can’t reach the ease and flow of those first two releases, it shows George Van Den Broek’s progress and maturing as a songwriter, while keeping his heart by the beat.
There are so many good things happening on Tulpa that even an essay would just scratch the surface. Imagine Moses Sumney with way more jazz and way more Scandinavian elegance, and you are able to slightly figure out how Astrid Engberg sounds on her incredible new album. A rewarding and compelling experience from start to finish.
Buckle up mates, you are in for a ride. If you ever wanted to know how System Of A Down would sound like it they went batshit with their stuff and actually pulled through, Melted Bodies got you covered. Enjoy Yourself is an extravagant piece of art, full of surprises and beautiful weirdness.
ART the Band combine jazz fusion with neo soul guitar runs and tons of smooooooooothness. The band elegantly avoids senseless noodling and shares a lot of sensibilities with acts like Snarky Puppy. Which means I can wholeheartedly recommend their self-titled album to every fan of vibrant modern fusion.
There is so much praise to give to Svalbard as a band and their new album When I Die, Will I Get Better?. Starting from their extremely strong and relevant narrative, to them being one of the main reasons that UK hardcore is still very interesting. Whatever might happen to them, Svalbard will come out even stronger, more compelling, and just better. This band is a treasure.
There is no way to properly describe Obsidian Kingdom other than to call them one of the most interesting and unique metal bands currently working. Meat Machine is just another example of the ever-changing hydra this Spain-based act is. Get ready for an incredibly intense experience.
What can you say about Sufjan Stevens? Some might think he’s overhyped being such a critic’s darling. Others think he’s one of the most influential and important songwriters of our generation. I’m part of the second group, and The Ascension, while not perfect, is another stellar example of his genius.
To fill in J Dilla‘s shoes on Slum Village is a nearly herculean task, but Elzhi managed that with ease. Now, having a strong solo career on his back, he returns with his new album Seven Times Down Eight Times Up, which is full of clever bars, amazing grooves, and just amazing smoothness. Chapeau!
Khotin – Finds You Well
September 25 // Ghostly International
Getting lost into soundscapes, like really dissolving into it, is one of the most precious and beautiful things music can do to us. Transcending beyond the fact that someone created it, but convincing that the music itself is a conscious, ever-changing, and vibrant being is the pure magic. Finds You Well gives you that.
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