The Aspie Fantastie aka One Tonne Fun Baton

Reviews 3
Approval 93%

Soundoffs 760
Album Ratings 755
Objectivity 72%

Last Active 02-24-21 3:49 pm
Joined 05-30-20

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02.06.21 albums under 100 ratings [I.] 01.27.21 some twenty-twenty album list (20/20rou
01.19.21 2020 songbook01.18.21 back in the day in Japan
01.16.21 BEST album covers of 2020 hell yeah01.10.21 2020 ketchup
12.25.20 SuperSecretSanta, the BONUS12.25.20 the year in disappointment;
12.07.20 2020 under 2011.28.20 December 2020 Song of the Day
11.26.20 albums under 50 ratings, go cram 11.18.20 jelectrazz & instruhop
10.18.20 the absolute state of Eugene09.18.20 for if you're ever in Prague: undergrou
08.18.20 local scene shoutout08.12.20 new obsession
07.05.20 electronic tonic06.29.20 my synthesiser had dino nuggets (dinosa
More »

some twenty-twenty album list (20/20roughcutAOTYlist)

OH YEAH BAYBEYYY Gene came through and compiled a metric shit tonne of albums. See, now that the year is well over and I am far from finished listening to what I wanted to catch, it is time to publish my own late and yet premature, rough, unconfident roundup list. Let the anxiety over albums forgotten, as yet unheard and ranked below begin.
101Mary Halvorson's Code Girl
Artlessly Falling

Mary Halvorson's Code Girl - Artlessly Falling (#40-45)
Madhouse Express - Surreal Meadow (#76-78)

Clap! Clap! - Liquid Portraits
Svalbard - When I Die, Will I Get Better?
Moses Sumney - grae
Aaron Space and His Terrestrial Underlings - Fishland
Old Man Gloom - Seminar IX: Darkness of Being
Various Artists (Jazz) - Blue Note Re:Imagined
Fennec - free us of this feeling
Armand Hammer - Shrines
Dream Wife - So When You Gonna
100Spiritczualic Enhancement Center
Transporting Salt

Jam Band, Krautrock, Jazz Fusion, Psychedelic Rock, Electronic, Minimal, Improvisation, New Age
99Neptunian Maximalism

Avant-Garde Jazz, Drone Metal, Avant-Garde Metal, Tribal Ambient, Brutal Prog, Free Jazz, Psychedelic Rock, Drone, Spiritual Jazz, Post-Metal
Eternity Of Shaog

Black Metal, Death Metal, Progressive Metal
Unfold the God Man

Progressive Metal, Post-Metal, Atmospheric Sludge Metal
96King Dude
Full Virgo Moon

Gothic Country, Neofolk, Singer/Songwriter

Post-Punk, Indie Rock
94Norah Jones
Pick Me Up Off The Floor

Vocal Jazz, Jazz Pop, Smooth Jazz
93They Came From Visions
Cloak Of Darkness, Dagger Of Night

Atmospheric Black Metal
92Various Artists (Jazz)
New Horizons: A Bristol Jazz Sound

Jazz, Jazz-Fusion, Ambient, Electronic, Post-Rock
*be proud, Sputnikmusic, this is an album that is not in RYM database

IDM, Ambient, Minimal Techno
90Phoebe Bridgers

Singer/Songwriter, Indie Folk, Indie Rock, Chamber Folk
Devouring Ruin

Black Metal, Technical Death Metal, Atmospheric Sludge Metal, Grindcore
88Lauren Bousfield

Glitch Pop, Electro-Industrial, Flashcore, Breakcore, IDM, Hyperpop
87Boldy James and The Alchemist
The Price Of Tea In China

Gangsta Rap, Boom Bap, Conscious Hip Hop
86Aidan Baker/Simon Goff/Thor Harris
The Bit

Ambient, Modern Classical, Tribal Ambient
85The Flaming Lips
American Head

Neo-Psychedelia, Dream Pop, Psychedelic Pop, Chamber Pop, Progressive Pop, Psychedelic Folk
Atlas Vending

Noise Rock, Post-Hardcore, Garage Punk
83Moses Boyd
Dark Matter

Nu Jazz, Spiritual Jazz, Post-Bop, Free Jazz, Avant-Garde Jazz, Jazz Fusion
Abscess Time

Technical Death Metal
Mathcore, Avant-Garde Metal, Noise Rock, Sludge Metal
81Ian William Craig
Red Sun Through Smoke

Ambient, Tape Music, Choral, Modern Classical, Drone

Jazz Fusion, Jazz-Rock, Nu Jazz, Space Rock

Black Metal, Avant-Garde Metal, Electronic
78Bill Callahan
Gold Record

Americana, Singer/Songwriter, Contemporary Folk, Spoken Word
77Kelly Lee Owens
Inner Song

Tech House, Art Pop, Ambient Pop, Minimal Techno
76Dua Lipa
Future Nostalgia

Dance-Pop, Nu-Disco, Synthpop, Funktronica, Electropop
(bruh you diss carly rae but have this on the list bruh. yeah i do come @ me)
75Agnes Obel

Chamber Pop, Art Pop, Ambient Pop
74Einsturzende Neubauten
Alles in Allem

Post-Industrial, Art Pop, Ambient Pop

Post-Punk, Punk Blues, Gothic Rock, Gothic Country, Noise Rock
Animal Bouffe Animal

Black Metal, Sludge Metal, Post-Metal
71Party Dozen
Pray for Party Dozen

Avant-Garde Jazz, Jazz-Rock, Electronic, Free Jazz
70Olafur Arnalds
Some Kind of Peace

Ambient, Modern Classical, Ambient Pop
69Shabaka and the Ancestors
We Are Sent Here By History

Afro-Jazz, Spiritual Jazz, Jazz Poetry
Zombie Techno

Noise Rock, Post-Punk, Stoner Metal, Sludge Metal, Electronic, Psychedelic Rock
From King To A God

East Coast Hip Hop, Hardcore Hip Hop, Boom Bap, Gangsta Rap

Indietronica, Art Pop, Synthpop, Ambient Pop, Dance-Pop
65Gates of Tyrant
Vortex Towards Death

Atmospheric Black Metal
64Jill Rogers
Cloudy Day Sunny

Vocal Jazz, Swing
63Jon Kennedy

Trip Hop, Downtempo, Electronic
62Creative Waste

Grindcore, Deathgrind
Monarchy of Shadows

Black Metal, Death Metal
60Various Artists (Punk)
Really Bad Music For Really Bad People

Garage Punk, Noise Rock, Psychobilly
59Anna von Hausswolff
All Thoughts Fly

Drone, Minimalism, Ambient, Organ Music
Psychic Death - The Shattering of Perceptions

Black Metal
57Caligula's Horse
Rise Radiant

Progressive Metal, Progressive Rock, Djent
56Young Jesus
Welcome to Conceptual Beach

Art Rock, Indie Rock, Post-Rock, Midwest Emo, Progressive Rock
Long Haired Locusts

Art Punk, Dance-Punk, Indie Rock, Garage Rock
To End All Life

Raw Black Metal, Crust Punk, Doom Metal
53Me And That Man
New Man, New Songs, Same Shit Vol. 1

Gothic Country, Americana, Blues Rock, Folk Rock
52Thin (USA-NY)

Mathcore, Grindcore

Balearic Beat, Latin Electronic, UK Bass, Pop Rap, Alternative R&B, Deep House, Neoperreo, Dancehall, Funk carioca
50Hail Spirit Noir
Eden In Reverse

Progressive Metal, Progressive Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Space Rock, Avant-Garde Metal

Hail Spirit Noir have yet again moved in a whole new only subtly differing direction. Throughout their career they went from some prog-doom, through stoner psych to blackened prog to now a space-age odyssey. Perhaps their most lightweight effort yet, what with its heavy use of synths and mostly landscapic prog-rock instrumentation, but it's by far HSN at their most ambitious.
Sulphuric Omnipotence

Black Metal, Death Metal

On one hand, one of the most straightforward and unsurprising blackened death metal albums this year; on the other, some of the heaviest and most ridiculous sounding albums in that regard.
48Eyes (DK)

Metalcore, Hardcore Punk, Mathcore

Eyes are not reinventing the genre. Heck, they're barely reinventing the wheel. They're playing to the strengths the genre has to offer and to their own strengths and experience from their previous album too. So what have they done instead of pushing forward, challenging themselves? They've improved their skill, their song-writing abilities and production. Instead of trying out new things to see if they fail or succeed, they've moved towards a more safe, but admirable effort, to just make the best with what they know and have experience in.
47Alex Rex

Avant-Folk, Indie Folk, Indie Rock

I still think that this sounds like Alex Rex playing Tindersticks covers in the style of his past bands, but somehow more epic and accessible than either of those things. That being said, epic and accessible is also great, especially when the songs are this sharply written and often have a hypnotic quality to them.

Crust Punk, Black Metal

I've mentioned this in my songs-of-the-year list, but I greatly appreciate this trend in the underground of fusing black metal and crust punk (this also goes for the more polished black metal and hardcore punk). It's not even a recent trend; it's as old as either genres have coexisted. Just lately there seems to be either a resurgence or I am discovering more and more acts in it by happenstance. Whatever the case, Morket's quick and brazen craziness "ORO" is one of this year's prime examples. It wastes no time hitting you over the head and also wastes no time pretending to be some musically sophisticated art piece, just fucks you up fam like blunt force trauma.
45Run the Jewels

Hardcore Hip Hop, Political Hip Hop

Depends on who you ask, either a punching bag of cringy preachings or saviours of hardcore hip-hop. I kind of lean towards both. RTJ's most preachy and in-your-face lyrical statements often come with a tongue-in-cheek undertone, as well as their most joking songs always set a serious tone at some point of its runtime. Let's ignore the socio-historical context this album comes into for a moment and only admire the musician-and-penmanship so effortlessly crafted by Mike and El-P.
44Matthew Tavares and Leland Whitty

Jazz Fusion, Avant-Garde Jazz, Spiritual Jazz

I am always in need of some straightforward jazz. And we might not get another Badbadnotgood album in a long time (or at least not the same quality level as we used to), so to have this collaborative album from two of its members is a nice parting gift by Matt Tavares. Hope his future endeavours are as fruitful and passionate as this.
43Moor Jewelry
True Opera

Noise Rock, Post-Punk, No Wave, Industrial Rock

One of the most straightforward no wave albums I've heard, but also one of the most riveting. Much has been left difficult to unravel upon my first listen. Indeed, I've started warming up to 'True Opera' as it went along. Songs' hidden beauty under chaos only revealed itself to me as I heard it all and had time to process. For an album as immediate as this, it certainly requires patience.
42A.A.L. (Against All Logic)

Post-Industrial Techno, House, IDM, Deconstructed Club, Microhouse

Nicolas Jaar had plenty projects this year, one of them was a collection of off-the-cuff house play-arounds from recent years. I haven't much more to say other than a good house record is something I always welcome, even if it is a little dissonant pacing-wise.
41Paradise Cinema
Paradise Cinema

Tribal Ambient, Electroacoustic, Ambient, Minimalism, Mbalax, Field Recordings

I was led to believe (or made myself believe) that this'd be some insane afrobeat jazz spasm attack. It's quite the opposite, a sweet softly played electronic music loosely inspired by Senegalese music and culture. I find myself every now and again in need of gourmet but also relaxing music. Not many this year achieve that.
40Plesata zpevacka
Vlasy dievčat

Noise Rock, Sludge Metal

Who knew that (one of) this year's most abrasive metal project comes from my neck of the woods (even though they sing in a different language). It's a clusterfuck of strange out-of-nowhere influences pulling from every stylistic direction, there's noise punk and blackened death metal, but also blues and thrash metal. It's tongue-in-cheek and the fun the band is having with it is part of what makes it so energising and enjoyable.
39Teho Teardo
Ellipses dans l’Harmonie - Lumi al buio

Electroacoustic, Modern Classical, Post-Minimalism

Teho, one of the masterminds behind one of 2010s best albums 'Still Smiling' (the other being Blixa Bargeld), which I highly recommend you listen, has come through with a minimalist electro-classical album most people have barely registered even came out. And the ones that did notice seem passive in reception. Sure, Teho ventured into full-on soundtrack territory here, but there's beauty in it, ethereal and serene.
38Alice Boman
Dream On

Dream Pop, Indie Pop, Singer/Songwriter, Ambient Pop, Art Pop, Chamber Pop

Two things were major surprises to me regarding this album: for one, my enjoyment of it, as I am not usually a fan of this softly sung childishly naive singer-songwriter albums; and second, how coldly it has been received by both this community and the world at large. It seems that a rare occasion an album like this appeals to me, the connoisseurs typically revelling in this sort of gentle, thematically vaguely lovesick balladry are all against it.
37Sivyj Yar/Stworz

Atmospheric Black Metal, Pagan Black Metal, Blackgaze

So for some reason, this split release was only featured in the database as an EP under Sivyj Yar. Not sure why, but whatever. As if this list needed more atmospheric black metal. Guess what, it absolutely did.
36Muriel Grossman
Quiet Earth

Spiritual Jazz, Soul Jazz

Bandcamp finds are hit or miss sometimes, but in jazz section is is a rare letdown. Muriel Grossman is a sax player at it since forever and I know that this isn't going to do much to get her name out there, but I can at least try. It's breezy, summery, swift and electrifying.
Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress

Metalcore, Power-Violence, Hardcore Punk

Absolutely disgusting. There is perhaps something little derivative about it, but at nearly every song Gulch pull off a beastly move with their instrumental work somehow turning whatever horrifying madness they've played until that point even more mesmerising.
34Voyage Futur
Inner Sphere

Vaporwave, New Age, Progressive Electronic, Tribal Ambient

Goodness, it's been the longest while since I've heard vaporwave. Sure I find a random lo-fi remix on Youtube once in a blue moon, but not a full album. And granted, 'Inner Sphere' goes more into the ambient side of vaporwave, swivelling around you a lovely atmosphere of calm.

Ritual Ambient, Dark Folk, Swedish Folk Music

I'm a noob to Pagan music (if that even can have a noob listener), as I entered the genre through Heilung. Causally then the likes of Forndom were revealed to me. I cant really explain to you much more than what your common sense and expectations probably already tell you. It's a solid atmospheric beauty that makes you feel like joining a forest-dwelling cult.
32Thomas Azier
Love, Disorderly

Art Pop, Synthpop, Electropop, Synthwave, Minimal Synth

An album hyped through the stratosphere on this site, but actually deserving it. Thomas Azier reportedly decided at some point of his career that he is no longer satisfied with the creative direction he's been taking up to that point and took some time off to craft a whole new aesthetic. It seems the transition has been a success, because 'Love, Disorderly' sounds fresh and invigorating, but it also pays homage to the old-school pop and disco waves.
31Denzel Curry and Kenny Beats

Hardcore Hip Hop, Southern Hip Hop, Boom Bap, Wonky

The Curry/Beats symposium have graced us with more material. An extension of their The Cave collaboration, this album throws Kenny's most insane and zany production choices and Denzel's most dichotomous lyrics, tongue-in-cheek and fun but also relating to a very real side of his psyche and opinions.

Afro-Jazz, Afrobeat, Jazz-Funk, Nu Jazz

In a wonderful display of musical power, Coldcut duo signed a whole brigade of musical aficionados to help them craft what might be described by many as a jazz(-adjacent) album of the year and certainly an effort that will be recognised in the future (perhaps in some decade-end lists) much more than it is now. I can barely find a weak spot on the album. My only issue was that some of its songs went on for too long and apart from subtle instrumentation changes didn't really show much progression, but that's it. It is a masterful work. Plain and simple.
29Seigen Tokuzawa and Masaki Hayashi

Modern Classical, Chamber Music, Piano and Cello

'Drift' has the potential to do two things and probably not much else: it'll wither enthral you, put you in awe of its floating light as a feather atmosphere and capture all the melancholy of this our world in its smouldering isolation of mere cello and piano and literally nothing else throughout its entire runtime; or it will bore you to tears, you'll think it's simplicity is overbearing, you'll struggle to notice the melodic component and you will find it extremely difficult to sit through the entire almost hour of material.
28Black Foxxes
Black Foxxes

Alternative Rock, Emo, Post-Hardcore, Art Rock, Post-Rock

If I had to list my biggest surprises this year, this'd rate at the first spot most likely. See it's one thing to be taken by surprise by an album or an artists you had no prior knowledge of or familiarity with, but a whole other level is to be discredited in my eyes and then turn the course of the discourse around and completely dominate my listening preference for a week or so. I did not care at all for Black Foxxes' work until now, but they've started pulling from post-rock and spacey art-rock, diversified their production sound and taught the singer to only use his voice to his abilities. All to stellar results. This is the future of emo music, I hope and believe, as long as emo music stays oriented towards rock/punk and doesn't devolve into trap.
27R.A.P. Ferreira
purple moonlight pages

Jazz Rap, Abstract Hip Hop, Conscious Hip Hop, Jazz Poetry

Rory aka Milo aka bazillion other nicknames he's assumed over the years, is back with maybe one of his most consistent and solid outings to date. The lyrical narratives, poetry here, the chill atmosphere that still communicates command and seriousness is impeccable.
26Kashiwa Daisuke
Program Music III

Modern Classical, Electronic, Post-Rock, Glitch, Drum and Bass, IDM, Breakcore, Chamber Music, Hip Hop, Cinematic Classical, Chamber Jazz

Just because an album is an hour long and is classical electronica doesn't automatically mean it is flawless. Just putting it out there. This album has issues in pacing and transitions especially, even though its entire nature and vast mature compositions will most likely make you initially believe your ears have stumbled upon present day equivalent of a timeless Beethoven's sonata.
25Kairon IRSE!

Shoegaze, Space Rock, Neo-Psychedelia, Post-Rock, Progressive Rock

By every possible metric, Kairon are playing into their strengths and doing their absolute most typical prog-psych atmosphericism, landscapism and mythicism. All of this album's surprises are laid out entirely in the song-writing. The way every song swirls to a grind, swelling and thickening its atmosphere progressively in the same manner every time, its awe-inducing. It really is one of those albums that makes you wanna watch the stars fall in slow motion.
24Norken and Nyquist
Synchronized Minds

Breakbeat, Ambient Techno, Tech House, Electro, IDM, Acid House

I blame the cover for making me always associate the sound of 'Synchronized Minds' with some freezing winter atmosphere. Sure the electronic quirks employed by the duo are certainly cold and nautical, but it's that image that cemented in my mind that this should only be played at some remote desolate meteorological station.
23Melt Yourself Down
100% Yes

Art Punk, Dance-Punk, Afrobeat, Jazz-Rock, Post-Punk, Synth Punk

Moving on from complete freeze to scorching heat. Melt Yourself Down have a way of using cultural influences, from Latin jazz, to Afrobeat, to Caribbean music to even some Middle-Eastern musical benchmarks, and throwing them all into a frenzied hodgepodge of only the most infectious hooks and musicianship. Underneath that summery heart attack of fun, there is serious horror and anguish happening. Many lyrics here deal with issues of cultural prejudice and ostracising, substance abuse and depression, all veiled in a thick layer of ridiculously fun music.
22New Primals
Horse Girl Energy

Noise Rock

Most surprises this year came from things I found completely at random. New Primals, for example I don't even know how I know. They just one magical day appeared in my to-listen list. And listen I did. Folks, I kid you not when I say this is some of the most abrasive and energetic noise rock out there. Sure, derivative to a tee and very short, but fun and blood pumping with every moment.
21Gia Margaret
Mia Gargaret

Ambient, Field Recordings, Post-Minimalism, Folktronica

Calmly and quietly, Gia Margaret has perfected the art of ambient pop: not too quiet and uneventful, not too flashy and kitsch. There is serene beauty and lush, lovely atmosphere. Every song seems like it can turn either into pristine ambient chillout relaxing session or into a pop anthem.
The All Is One

Progressive Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Heavy Psych, Space Rock

Motorpsycho cannot be not recording new music. And every new project for them means a whole new musical journey they dive into head first. They've been consistently high quality since forever and even though "The All Is One" barely presents any newness for the band, there's not quite many artists that can confidently deliver a prog album this consistently good.
19Maarja Nuut and Ruum
World Inverted

Electronic, Ambient Pop, Ambient Techno

Minimalism is not absence of substance. Minimalism is communicating great meaning and leaving immense impact with maximum limitations and fewest means possible. Maarja Nuut and Ruum show just what that means, as 'World Inverted' is very quiet and it is genuinely difficult to find anything to grab unto. Every instrument is subdued to a point of being near impossible to distinguish, every melodic change is understated, only the vocals stand out striking. It's an album whose isolating sound forces you to work hard to find and define its beauty.
Descendants Of Cain

East Coast Hip Hop, Abstract Hip Hop, Conscious Hip Hop, Experimental Hip Hop

Ka once again borrows from religious mythology to make a point and tell an allegory. By all means, 'Descendants of Cain' is perhaps his most roughly structured work yet, as the theme this time around of Biblical links to his life and influence it had over him and the world he inhabits is sometimes left underexplored. Nevertheless, Ka's brilliant poetry, unique delivery style and serene production bring about one electrifying track after another.

Black Metal, Avant-Garde Metal, Progressive Metal

Some strange ugly magic happens on 'Rzeczom'. Band's approach to black metal is difficult to explain. In theory, there is nothing spectacularly atypical about it. In practice, there are sections intentionally "misproduced" or instrumental choices and solo sections so detached from the general expected vibe you are left scratching your head. It all makes sense together, but just trying to define and analyse this mosaic where every piece is black or rotten... difficult task, really.
16Old Man Gloom
Seminar VIII: Light Of Meaning

Sludge Metal, Post-Metal, Noise Rock, Noise, Dark Ambient

I don't know what it is that cause my dissonance in opinion between Seminars VIII and IX, but where the latter mostly feels like a statement of presence, the "I am here, the mighty, admire my skill", the former accomplishes much more. 'Light of Meaning' in the subtle-most way possible stretches Old Man Gloom's typical body of work to great lengths of instrumental and deep song-writing skill.
15The Strokes
The New Abnormal

Indie Rock, Post-Punk Revival, New Wave, Synthpop

The Strokes still write songs fit for a high school coming of age romcom, but also for existential mature sci-fi adventure (sorry, the "At the Door" music video is forever stuck in my head). But even though their songs work in the style of naivity and cuteness, these are professional musicians who craft these tunes carefully, working diligently on each moment, each melodic turn, any instrumental addition. It's actually a brilliantly constructed rock album. Nothing more, nothing less.
14Imperial Triumphant

Avant-Garde Metal, Technical Death Metal, Avant-Garde Jazz, Black Metal

I've seen a video of behind-the-scenes for this album and it kind of ruined my image of the band. Well okay, it didn't ruin it, but I just always picture three New York art-school teachers in turtlenecks discussing some new study on Sartre, whenever I listen to anything by this band. But let that not affect my love for this album. 'Alphaville' is every bit as eccentric and twisted as a proper Imperial Triumphant album should be. Not only that, it also, I believe, serves to unite fans of the band and those who have had reservations against band's style before. But in no way is this accessible or easy to decypher.
13Laurel Halo

Ambient, Film Score, Modern Classical, Soundtracks, Electroacoustic

I am as surprised as anyone to have a soundtrack album on the list, not to mention placed this high. Laurel Halo's work, as intimate and style-stretching as it is, can perfectly fit as a soundtrack to many things in media. But the great nature of 'Possessed' is that is perfectly captures Laurel's diverse scale of influences and stylistic abilities. There are ambient tracks, some more abstract electronic cuts and many purely instrumental classical pieces. It's the Laurel Halo Through the Years: A Summary, pretty much. But it does lean more towards the classical aspect.
12Cable Ties
Far Enough

Post-Punk, Indie Rock, Garage Punk

Hardly something to be a grand musical revelation to most of you, as Cable Ties are not the kind of band that'd try to astonish their listeners with larger-than-life song-writing, important socio-political issues in lyricism, or really do anything other than sing about personal stuff, play it the way they like it and has been done before and generally have fun with it or vent about various things bothering them. And this should have, by all means, been a run-of-the-mill unremarkable rock album, but it's that kind of rare instance when these commonplace aspects come together into an actually brilliant piece of work.
Dwellers of the Deep

Symphonic Prog, Progressive Rock

I have already submitted my 2020 top albums ballot, when I heard this album. I believe it was just a few days before deadline, so I had to quickly go change that list to fit Wobbler in it. Anyway, Wobbler continue to masterfully write progressive rock anthems. Both standard for prog music in many respects and fresh as opposed to many contemporary artists. 'Dwellers of the Deep' constantly throws a curve ball in each of its massive tracks. Every song is built on the best tradition of the genre, constantly switching up its melody, adding layers and sectioning its many complex structures.
10Cindy Lee
What's Tonight to Eternity

Hypnagogic Pop, Noise Pop, Dream Pop, Brill Building, Noise

Questions, so many questions arise listening to this album. I have never come across anything labelled "hypnagogic pop". Heck, I'm not sure what it even means, really. But let's try to describe it based off of this album alone: it's something that plays with lo-fi and industrial production, makes every instrumental bit, each twang of guitar, clattering of drums and any synth line sound abrasive, as if it came from a blackened crust album; then, it requires gorgeous melodies that sound taken from a fairy tale; it makes those melodies sound cute and gentle; it layers the fucked up noise of machinery of a production over the gorgeous sounding Disney songs. Yeah, hypnagogic pop, i'll delve deeper into you.
Btw, apparently there's another Cindy Lee album this year, but I couldn't find it.
9Rina Sawayama

Dance-Pop, Contemporary R&B, Electropop, Alternative Rock, Pop Rock, Alternative Metal

Rina Sawayama attempts what many have deemed a terrible choice (myself included), as in case it doesn't go 100% perfectly, it can sound awkward and pompous: combining explosive flashy diva pop music with heavy metallic production and instrumentation. Versatility Rina shows is astonishing. Album's wild to say the least, but not at all overwhelming or exhausting. At no point does it sound like "trying too hard" or "weird just because". Any strange or crazy musical choice is justified and every tune is catchy. Certainly catchier than many other pop songs in 2020.
8Baxter Dury
The Night Chancers

Synthpop, Chamber Pop, French Pop, Spoken Word, Art Pop

Caught between some dirty swagger of about 20 years ago and mature creativity found in ageing introspection, Baxter Dury has long been at a path to perfecting minimalist sophisticated pop music (not to be mistaken with sophisti-pop, or maybe it is exactly that... actually, I don't know). He barely sings, mostly just lets his confident baritone pulsate and deliver whatever line he decides should sound cool now, while the synths mostly cover the white cracks on the canvas.
I actually wrote this down about this album and for some reason it didn't seem stupid at the time: "He sounds like he doesn't fuck, but make love." But he does (in a good way).
7Jessie Ware
What's Your Pleasure?

Dance-Pop, Nu-Disco, Synthpop, Synth Funk, Smooth Soul, Boogie, Freestyle, Contemporary R&B

Considering this is a straightforward disco revival album with lyrics that aren't exactly masterpiece of poetry and all by a popstress that isn't particularly the frontrunner of today's pop scene, mainstream or otherwise, with 'What's Your Pleasure?' I had no expectation of anything really. I didn't even know it was coming out and I didn't care when it did. But then people around me (this site including) kept nagging and shouting into every direction how fantastic this is. I just assumed it's another vaguely catchy what's-her-face for people to drool over for whenever their real life ailments become overwhelming (like Carly Rae Jepsen. there, I said it, come @ me). And in many superficial respects, it kind of is just that. But I really needed some unwinding relaxing turn-your-head-off-move-yer-booty lovesick pop.
Welcome to Bobby's Motel

Dance-Punk, Art Punk, Post-Punk, Funk Rock, Psychedelic Rock

I don't wanna throw the term "critically underrated" around, but this is injustice of the highest order. 3.6 average at 26 rating (as of right now) probably aren't ample reasons for being distraught over an album's popularity and I can' tell why it upsets me so. By the whole fabric of this album's being it felt like something that'd sweep the site clean. "Hey have you heard that album that sounds like Talking Heads on speed channelling their inner demons of dance and sex?" Ain't that just the best thing fucking ever?
5Fiona Apple
Fetch The Bolt Cutters

Art Pop, Singer/Songwriter, Progressive Pop, Piano Rock, Jazz Pop, Cabaret

The 0 of you who were placing bets on this list are probably rejoicing that the least surprising pick for a list like this has finally appeared. It feels like Fiona has dominated the musical discourse in one way or another ever since the announcement of this album and her presence and praise only accumulated as people had more time to digest and mature to it. Even if you loved the 'Bolt Cutters' from the get-go, I still suggest examining it from a distance, give it time to open all of its secrets to you. Don't be a casual listener (don't be one to any piece of music). Try analysing what you hear, picking it apart. It's really a rewarding puzzle, this.
4Blu and Exile

Conscious Hip Hop, West Coast Hip Hop, Jazz Rap, Boom Bap, Political Hip Hop, Neo-Soul

Keen on using multi-layered metaphors and stretch his lyrical narratives to a full-scale epic story (narrative poem is the proper term, but that doesn't really immediately convey the scale of it). Accompanied by Exile's flavourful production, Blu writes tales of great figures in African-American history, relays cultural and musical benchmarks that made him and his country and relates his life and struggle to that of Miles Davis, compares Miles Davis' work, life and times to the African-Americans as people and the United States as a place, culturally and socially. And all of that with a runtime of 90 minute that breezes by so quickly, you'd be certain you've encountered a wormhole in time.
Come and See

Experimental Rock, Avant-Garde Metal, Noise Rock, Jazz-Rock, Black Metal, Noise Rock, Post-Hardcore, Blues Rock

More than usual, my 2020 list is filled with albums I find kind of off-putting. Nobody this year has been quite so off-putting or putrid as Mamaleek's latest travesty. However, the likes of Plesata zpevacka or Morket or Gulch or Odraza were disgusting by the fabric of their nature. Something subtle distinguishes 'Come and See' from the likes of those other projects. Sure one would think what possible subtlety could there be about Mamaleek. Well, you won't believe this maybe, there is pristine beauty here. For real, I found these songs so ungodly that they started to actually reveal some loveliness, emotion, flowery atmosphere. It's a conclusion difficult to justify, if you're only familiar with band's work superficially or if you only left 'Come and See' after one spin thinking you've heard all you needed to, but it's there.
Ultimate Success Today

Post-Punk, Art Punk, Noise Rock

I'm toying with the idea that 'Ultimate Success Today' is Protomartyr's best album, honestly. 'Relatives in Descent' has reached a classic status for me, but it was raw, unbridled, showing signs of punk recklessness. 'UST' is different in only the subtle-most way Protomartyr can. It grows even wearier of the worldly ailments, it throws more chaos and stultified indifference in its lyrics, it is even more deliberate in its pace, but by no means calmer. Bear with me here, I'm going to make a vague attempt at identifying with an album: I feel Joe Casey here very much. He is angry, but doesn't have the energy expressing it properly; most things irritate him, but he just deals with it; he is confused, but doesn't care for deciphering anything anymore. Gee, Joe, if you and I find any more similarities like this, I'll have to suggest you get screened for Asperger's.
1Dan Deacon
Mystic Familiar

Neo-Psychedelia, Indietronica

More than reassurance of socio-political anguish from a historical (and personal) view, more than the same dread from of a jaded ageing alcoholic's view, more than the absolute pious ugliness of existence that tries to find beauty and inner peace, more than any of these things vaguely describing the 3 previous entries on the list, what we needed this year is the reminder that things, people and circumstances can be bright and sunny, cheerful and friendly, loving and loveable. And I personally have Dan Deacon and his eternally joyous experiments to thank for that reassurance. I often find it difficult stomaching music too energetic or too happy-go-lucky in times I'm feeling unwell and down (and vice versa), but I always could listen to Mystic Familiar and let myself be swept away by this mystical, magical adventure in dreamland filled with kindness and love (even if through the bittersweet prism).
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