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25 – 11 | 10 – 1

10. Earth Tongue – Floating Being

10et
Genre: Heavy Psych/Fuzz | [Bandcamp]

Marrying the sound of bands like Big|Brave or True Widow with the imagery of Dr. Who (the connection makes a lot of sense in my head somehow), this couple from New Zealand were one of my most precious discoveries this year. Heavy fuzz, with emphasis on heavy, splattered with psychedelia, prog rock, and vocal acrobatics. In just 30 minutes, Gussie Larkin (also of psyche pop act Mermaidens) and Ezra Simons will take you on a journey through microscopic worlds and galactic wonders unlike anything you’ve seen. –Dewinged

9. Rachael Roberts – Rachael Roberts

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Genre: Country/Folk | [Official site]

I’ve barely spent enough time with this record to be repping it this much, but needless to say I was immediately captivated by this hidden gem. If you’re someone who can accept its instantaneous turns between forlorn indie folk, straight-up country, and expansive alternative rock (and sometimes all three at once), then look no further. Roberts manages to spin all these contradictory elements into something that might not be wholly cohesive, but sells each individual feeling as true and exciting from moment-to-moment. So let’s make a deal: I’ll give this a few more listens while I give y’all a chance to catch up and get on this! –neekafat

8. Polo G – Die a Legend

8pgd
Genre: Trap/Pop Rap | [Soundcloud]

Die A Legend is unabashedly sentimental, perhaps even perilously close to schmaltz, but it’s balanced by a sense of catharsis so pure and relentless that every moment feels earned. While Polo G proves he has the pop hooks and versatile flows to be a star, he more vitally proves he has a keen eye for detail and the unguarded honesty of an artist. Every last line the young rapper pens feels crushingly consequential, a direct feed of fear, anger, and regret; opener “Lost Files” catalogues the heartbreak of a fallen friend, only for that grief to calcify into anger, resulting in a remorseless revenge killing. It’s genuinely chilling and affecting stuff, and Polo G brings that same diaristic and uncompromising energy to every track. Even the radio hit “Pop Out”, which sees Polo G indulge in some carefree flexing, ends with Lil Tjay’s sobering verse speaking on the death of his brother and the effects the life he’s lived has had on him and vice versa. It’s a poignant reminder that behind the braggadocio lies a path paved in blood, whether its Polo’s or the blood of those who weren’t lucky enough to make it out alive. Die A Legend is practically PTSD in audio form but it never succumbs, always looking to the future while never forgetting the past. –Slex

7. Alexia Avina – All That I Can’t See

7aaatics
Genre: Indie Folk/Ambient Pop | [Bandcamp]

Fans of Grouper, Many Rooms, and Johanna Warren will be delighted with Canadian singer songwriter Alexia Avina’s sophomore album All That I Can’t See. It departs from the dream pop vibes of her debut Betting on an Island to delve deeper into the ethereal, strictly acoustic approach of the artists aforementioned. Avina’s second release is the stuff of winter nights, of long walks under the snow, and even if it was released several months ago, it has found its place under my roof in the last few weeks. –Dewinged

6. Brume (USA-CA) – Rabbits

6br
Genre: Doom Metal | [Bandcamp]

Hey, look! A cute little bunny wabbit… seriously though, these guys have been releasing albums with animal names for a few years now, but I admit that this is the first I’ve heard of the Bay Area trio, who add provoking doom rhythms like brushstrokes on canvas. Despite the formula, Rabbits brings some YOB-styled soundscapes into a semi-unique, yet highly-approachable doom. Susie McMullan’s often dreamy vocal passages add lustre across the breadth of the record, while the psyche of the music takes the loosest of Sabbath translations and turns them into something  remarkable. –Nocte

5. The Lumberjack Feedback – Mere Mortals

5tlfmm
Genre: Atmospheric Sludge Metal | [Bandcamp]

Mere Mortals defines ‘off the radar’. Released in the dying embers of April, this monolith of low-end compositional lumberings bridges the cleaner buzz of guitar-driven sounds and desert-nuanced sludge, becoming occasionally formless as it stretches from the beginning to the other end of the disc. Just like two sides of the same coin, when Mere Mortals chooses to slam grooves into ethereal dreaminess without conforming to traditional song structures, one can’t help but be enamored with the result. –Nocte

4. for your health / Shin Guard – Death of Spring

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Genre: Screamo/Emoviolence | [Bandcamp]

Mark my words: a couple years from now, when screamo is deep in the throes of a total renaissance, we’ll all look back and point to Shin Guard as the band that started the genre’s revitalization in earnest. Sure, other bands may have released better screamo albums this year and last, but no band has made me more excited to see where screamo is capable of going than Shin Guard. At the beginning of the year, Shin Guard made a formidable mark on the screamo scene with their sophomore full-length 2020, but Death of Spring is just as commanding a sample of their sound, which incorporates shoegaze tones and Fall of Troy-esque leads without compromising on a ferocious hardcore bite.

But I don’t want to short-change For Your Health, whose contribution to the split is just as unique and promising. The band divide their attention between the aggressive, dissonant side of screamo and the cathartic, melodic side, but their impressive musicianship, refreshing songwriting choices, and Hayden Rodriguez’s harrowing vocals make it all cohere. As screamo approaches another heyday, For Your Health is yet another band to watch. –hesperus

3. Kelela + Asmara – Aquaphoria

3kaa
Genre: Ambient/Ambient Pop/Alternative R&B | [Soundcloud]

Remember when we grew up, and R&B stars would never come close to Aphex Twin or Autechre? Those days are long since over, and Kelela and Asmara are doing their parts to completely demolish any distinctions. Both R&B artists who have dropped projects on Warp, this DJ mix makes a different kind of case for why fans of either style shouldn’t exclude themselves from the other. Where their previous projects (especially Kelela’s excellent 2017 LP Take Me Apart) show how the weirder side of modern electronica can be used for gestural beats, Aquaphoria shows how R&B vocals and lyrics pair naturally with the gentler, ambient side of IDM. Soft and honest, their work is not only beautiful, but border-breaking. –granitenotebook

2. Green Milk from the Planet Orange – Third

2gmftpo
Genre: Psychedelic/Progressive/Post-Hardcore | [Bandcamp]

Around May this year, I was lucky enough to join an absurd noise prog punk band from Kobe (Japan) and resume my long-forgotten drumming adventures. This granted me the opportunity to share the stage with the weirdest acts I’ve ever seen. One of them, if not the most impressive of the bunch, was Green Milk of the Planet Orange. Three dudes that have been playing for like 20 years (with an impasse of 8 years or so in the middle), sitting on a chair, while making progressive space rock look like the coolest thing out there. Third is the album that solidified their return with a new bass player, the former gone to join the most recent incarnation of the Japanese gods of prog rock, Acid Mothers Temple. Three tracks that hover around the 15-minute mark, Motorpsycho-style, featuring the craziest drumming you have heard in a good while and Gibson SG-certified riffage from the unfathomable corners of the Universe. –Dewinged

1. Maison Book Girl – Umi to Uchuu no Kodomotachi

1mbg
Genre: Art Pop/J-Pop | [Official site]

Maison Book Girl’s classy as hell brand of off-kilter, Steve Reich-esque math pop has never sounded as listener-friendly as on their new album. Jangly guitar and piano patterns pop and bounce as the foursome deliver their catchiest vocal performance to date in a seamlessly cohesive set of individually memorable pop tracks. Many of the more esoteric elements of their past work are scaled back in favour of a more refined, immediate sound. Umi no Uchuu no Kodomotachi is a late addition to the 2019 (quote-unquote) art pop landscape, but essential listening for anyone looking to round things off on that front… and it doesn’t hurt that it lands a strong contender for the song of the year in the mesmerisingly intricate ballad “Silhouette”. –JohnnyoftheWell

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Jom
01.02.20
Part II of the contributors' mini-feature.

Global Top 50 of 2019 publishes next week for those interested!

Sniff
01.02.20
Hmm lumberjack :eyes:

WatchItExplode
01.02.20
Rabbits. How can I not listen to Rabbits?

Lord(e)Po)))ts
01.02.20
"Psychedelic/Heavy Fuzz "

biggest genre tag fail ever

Atari
01.02.20
loved this feature, nice job to all involved

haven't heard any of these but will likely start with 9 and 7.

Nocte
01.03.20
Atari has got the idea for this. Hopefully all these albums get a well deserved bump.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
01.03.20
"Heavy Psych/Fuzz"

.................................................................


SHOW YOURSELF



granitenotebook
01.03.20
good work everyone :)

Sniff
01.03.20
Can't wait for user 2019

Nocte
01.03.20
Pretty sure we had to choose between that and this. Sorry bud

TheNotrap
01.03.20
Unfurl sounds nice, I'll take a peek

AmericanFlagAsh
01.03.20
Fuck I need to hear this Kelela mix

DrGonzo1937
01.03.20
nice work guys.

dmathias52
01.03.20
Across this whole list, I’ve only heard of one these (Proper.), which I’ve still only listened to once. What a cool feature! Some crazy sounding stuff on here

Divaman
01.05.20
I liked that Alexia Avina track.

DungeonBoy
01.09.20
Weirdest drum mixing of the year goes to 5, congrats!

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