|Reviews That Mention COVID-19|
I might be totally off-base here, but I get the suspicion that a lot of reviews in the last year had a mention of COVID somewhere. Comment yours (or someone else's) below and I'll add it. Maybe in 2025, when we're all old and gray, we can bump this list and reminisce on the g̶o̶o̶d̶ times. Or not, whatever.
New Long Leg
“A.L.C.” is the same way, though with slightly more diverse instrumentation and a solid lyrical focus (daydreaming about going outside while stuck in COVID-19 quarantine).
|2||The Mountain Goats|
Songs for Pierre Chuvin
In the Year of the Novel Coronavirus, The Mountain Goats is once again a singular noun. And it couldn’t feel more fitting.
A Different Kind
Despite a global shutdown in 2020, when coronavirus among many things wreaked havoc also on music, many artists didn’t shelve their plans to release their music to the world and thus provided listeners with a refuge in unprecedented times.
Taylor Swift had to retreat to indie folk because stadium pop couldn't exist without stadiums. Oliver Tree flat out quit because of coronavirus (he got better).
For fans of the band, it has been four nerve-wracking years wondering whether pg.lost's next record can lift the band out of a bit of a rut, not to mention years of radio silence and the added financial pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic throwing the future of many bands into disquiet.
There’s something about this Covid-19 hell that makes death metal sound that much better.
In counting the myriad ways in which I’m privileged, my to-date avoidance of the coronavirus is somewhere near the top of that list.
Thanks to Van Weezer’s hilariously long roll-out – the album was delayed a full year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, even though it has been completed all of that time – its pitfalls only become more glaring and magnified.
|9||Nine Inch Nails|
Ghosts V: Together
If fifteen years from now my son is working on a homework assignment and asks me to recall the COVID-19 pandemic, all I’ll need to do is play this album and it will all come rushing back to me in the worst way.
Lights and Sounds
Months-deep into a quarantine over COVID-19, I’m inching closer and closer to summertime, but things just don’t feel the same anymore.
Love Is The King
He’s crafting songs at a studio he built himself with his family, and is now in COVID-induced isolation.
The New OK
Drive-By Truckers’ thirteenth album, The New OK, comes just three days after the commander in chief dictatorially hijacked the first presidential debates while calling upon white supremacy groups to wait in the wings, and mere hours after learning that he’s now contracted the potentially deadly COVID-19.
Who Is Your Humble? (Demos: 2006-2007)
These are unprecedented times. Entire nations are closing their borders in the wake of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
Its clearly the product of Pecknold’s isolation under quarantine, likely the best piece of Covid-influenced art to date, because it asks the listener to peel apart the layers of our respective isolation. To reflect.
I see reports that enough vaccines for the entire country are in hand, followed swiftly by warnings of newer, more dangerous COVID variants.
Twenty Years of Rascal Flatts: The Greatest Hits
Then of course, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tour was postponed and ultimately cancelled.
The recording quality is excellent since they could set up everything as planned, and of course there was no audience present to interrupt due to Covid regulations, and the mixing is very-well balanced.
The world lives in confinement, subjugated by one of the most destructive pandemics of modern history.
In Quiet Moments
The theme of In Quiet Moments was set by the debacle that was 2020, the year of Covid-19.
On All Fours
Songs like "Once Again" and "Sad Cowboy" paint a pretty picture for the band, the first with a strong vocal chorus that spirals down your brain as the song fades away and the latter with a synth taking the spotlight and inducing a mental dance party of all things potentially doable in a post-covid timeline.
The cheekily titled 'Wu Hen', with it's album cover concept being a comment on the current pandemic situation, is a new album from jazz-fusion artist Kamaal Williams.
|22||Yo La Tengo|
We Have Amnesia Sometimes
The thing I appreciate most about this album is that it was recorded as an improv session during strict lock-down in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
I said it was because I was in Florida and Covid restrictions in New York were tough.
The happiest mouse alive
The Happiest Mouse Alive is short, digestible affair full of heartwarming synth melodies and new agey, slipper wearing good vibes that go hand in hand with lounging around your house and or nature while absolutely ***ing off from the Coronavirus and almost everyone around you.
The Tide of Winter
Sting and Rihanna might have to sell a plane or something to make it through the pandemic, and I'm sure they're all sad about having to hole up in their mansions. But for these little touring bands, if they can't play in front of live audiences, their ability to put food on the table is pretty severely compromised.
They recorded Nature's Light in 2019 for a planned release in April of 2020. Then COVID happened, and, well, you know how that goes.
Red Apple Falls
Listening back to these songs during the coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged the world over twenty years after this album’s release, they seem to remind the listener that the pain is real and valid.
It’s impossible not to hear Stay Inside’s debut LP Viewing in the context of this novel coronavirus.
|29||Lana Del Rey|
Chemtrails Over The Country Club
To summarize: she released a clumsily-titled book full of pretentious poetry called "Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass", coupled with a spoken word record full of recitations of said poems, went off on some bizarre rant about how she's apparently facing some double standard because she writes about uncomfortable subjects that other female pop stars romanticize and getting shit for it, went off on weird racist tangents, did a meet and greet with fans in the midst of a pandemic and wore a face mask made of netting, and so on.
Torch The Faith
Not the good one, where Neil Peart hasn't died, there's no racism and there's no coronavirus, but one that feels we're stuck in the universe of HBO's Watchmen miniseries or that Doom Patrol show.
It's been a strong showing no doubt, bolstered by some great independently released COVID-era singles, but his work with Overview by way of Modify's three incredible selections can't help but steal the show.
|32||Wounds of Recollection|
Nowhere Else Feels More Like Home
Perhaps drawing those initial comparisons to emo/indie ideologies is a bit misguided when bands like Harikiri for the Sky, Ultar and Møl exist in such close proximity, but COVID-era Wounds of Recollection has such a personal touch that it's hard to escape feeling those swells of contemplation and release that made one's favourite touchy-feely records of young adulthood so special.
Stare Into Death and Be Still
Delving into the thick of things, a few months ago - before Coronavirus burst its balloon over my native Russia - I was stationed on a remote alternative education campus some 100 miles out from Yakusk.
|34||Devil Sold His Soul|
Inspiration was overflowing not only because of the reignited passion within the band, but also due to the death of drummer Alex Wood’s mother, various members of the band grappling with anxiety and depression, and the dread which arrived with the Coronavirus epidemic early in 2020.
What would become “2020” was originally written and recorded in 2019 for an early 2020 release, until the original release of this album and it’s supporting tour were cancelled with the United States becoming the nation most heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nightmares of the West
To say that the United State domestically is having a “rough year” would be a massive understatement. A pandemic that has only instilled more doubt and disdain about the country's infrastructure and leadership, a recession caused from said pandemic, riots in every major city in America after the death of George Floyd, secret police being deployed in Portland, and so much more have left lives destitute and scrambling for answers.
|37||Chris Corsano and Bill Orcutt|
Made Out Of Sound
As what we would now call COVID’s first wave hit the city, white collar workers and a vast trove of trust fund wanderers and creatives settled in for the long haul.
When the COVID-19 lockdown hit, Thompson decided to re-visit some of the material he was working on previously and put it in some sense and order that would fit the times.
He specifically singled out live performance as a ritual union, and one of the only examples of such that still exists in the Western world… or at least they will be again once the world at large manages to regain some semblance of normality.
Songs from Isolation
Giving an album the title Songs From Isolation and releasing it towards the tail end of a pandemic which has dramatically curtailed many people’s social lives feels a bit on the nose, but it’s hard to imagine a better artist to pull this off than A.A. Williams.
The LP seems designed as a companion piece for summer escapism, and there are throngs ready for just such a style as the weather gets warmer and the world slowly emerges from the pandemic.
Its release in the summer of 2020—where demonstrations for basic human rights have exploded globally, the fires stoked by an anomalous global pandemic—feels like a perfectly appropriate time for such a document.
|43||Shabason, Krgovich and Harris|
Although Joseph Shabason, Nicholas Krgovich, and Chris Harris recorded Philadelphia in the autumn of 2019, its themes of solitude and homey comfort feel especially poignant in the year of social distancing and quarantine.
Tyler recently moved back to his hometown of Nashville to be closer to his parents during the pandemic, and he credits a subsequent reconnection with the “sonic building blocks” that initially inspired his own music—old cassettes of Protestant hymns, records that have seen decades of use, the fuzzy hiss of AM radio as dusk settles—for New Vanitas’ homespun quality.
Finds You Well
Finds You Well grapples with sincerity and human connection in the shadow of the pandemic through lively and danceable upbeat tracks, as well as distant and frigid ambient work.
As a profoundly significant side-effect of all this, media that is not music and is less easily consumable under normal circumstances (the entirety of Terrace House) or usually unavailable (Covid-19 live news channels, that Tricot YouTube chat from last night) is now a moral imperative.
TAKE ME AWAY FROM TOKYO
2020 being what it is, nobody needs a recap of the many, many reasons why it’s a bit of an imperative to confront multiple months’ worth of latent stir craziness some time around right now. Varying periods of varying levels of confinement have drastically altered the lifestyles of literally everybody, and so it’s only natural for a certain measure of cooped-up, unreleased energy to pass from between their four walls to studios across the world, and back again.
|48||Nick Cave and Warren Ellis|
That red herring overture yields to eight succinct showcases of shifting narratives, clashing tones and momentous oscillations of intensity, threaded together by a twisted logic at times stylistically jarring but instantly familiar with the spirit of Covid-era online reality.
The relation in this case is purely epimusical, but amplify that alignment four times over and you’ll have a pretty good sense of what it feels like to listen to Mudai (7) in the ages of Covid-19.
|50||Show Me A Dinosaur|
The contents of Plantgazer mimic the fluctuating moods of the secluded individual, illustrating the lonely box quarantine all have been placed in and the struggle to identify beauty when it has apparently dried up.
|51||The Motion Mosaic|
Despite the Covid-fueled analogies and the self-aware description offered by its title, this sophomore effort is far from scattered; elements such as the heaviness and intricacies of Betrayer-era Harlots find themselves melded with the melodic tendencies of the Greyhavens of the world and the progressive elements of Name.
A self-titled effort, released posthumously during a quarantine push to finalize past works, is the lasting testament.
Be it for the unyielding approach of a global pandemic, dissatisfaction with political action or inaction, not having reliable employment, or whatever other reason supplied by the pandemonium of 2020, artists are responding in kind.
|54||Croy and the Boys|
Of Course They Do
I never thought I’d live to see the day I heard a cover of Crass’ “Do They Owe Us A Living?” in the key of “americana, country, roots, tex-mex, honky-tonk, Austin” (cheers, Bandcamp tags), though it seems anything goes in a pandemic world.
The guitar riff is just BEGGING to be played at a beach somewhere right now. If you're looking for songs like that to throw on your post-quarantine summer playlist, definitely check out this one.
I listened to Clarity and thought it was okay. I remember thinking that there was nothing exceptional about the beats or production, as this was around the time when Charli XCX and Jessie Ware had both dropped their quarantine-opuses how i'm feeling now and What's Your Pleasure? respectively.
We Will Always Love You
"For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love" said Sagan in Contact, and surely thoughts like this have passed through all our minds as we have struggled with our relationships throughout COVID-19's reign.
It's almost cliché at this point to reference the current pandemic times we are now living in.
like summer, but colder
How many recent reviews started with an unoriginal summary ranting about how the current pandemic situation impacts our daily life?
The New Abnormal
This record is cool at its core, fueled with breezy tunes to spend your post-quarantine parties to.
It Is What It Is
A pure product of his generation, which manages to create memes about the biggest pandemic in a century, Thundercat is capable of laughing at his own misfortune, and injects a shaggy silliness into his darkest thoughts.
It is fitting in these times, as clubs shut down in the midst of a virus outbreak.
Such factors may include the level of unhinged desperation or guttural atrophy in the vocals or the necessity to avoid rampant (understatement of the year besides "COVID-19 kind of sucks") copy-catting in the guitar work, which naturally becomes more and more difficult as the progress through the underground moves above ground.
What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down
With the overall mediocre to outright bad recording quality of both the vocals and DJing, I'm not sure why they bothered recording during a massive worldwide pandemic anyway.
You Can’t Go Back
From that point on, a slow but patient process ensued that saw some recording in London, Ontario, a new bassist (Andrew) officially join in 2019, a pandemic that dented everyone and their grandmother's plans for the entirety of 2020, and then finally a crack of light at the end of the tunnel.
It seems for all the restraints a world of Covid could apply to a seminal black metal band their time wasn’t spent re-arranging the house or licking the paint off the walls.
Yeah, the themes are a bit reaching, delivered in the form of screams, roars, fancy guitar leads and blasting drum work - but in comparison to a lot of other groups within the death metal genre we could forgive Abiotic’s attempts to appeal to a modern world, especially on the back of a pandemic crisis.
Blood and Stone
Two years and a “Covid filled 2020 later” I’m glad I didn’t promise anyone I’d eat my hat if they returned to form because Blood & Stone is that, and more.
Dealing With Demons I
Ironically, especially considering the world’s Covid predicament at the moment comes the new record’s opening track, “Keep Away From Me”.
|70||Maddie and Tae|
The Way It Feels
Sure, there’s been ample time for the girls to get the creative juices going (to which they own co-writing rights to fourteen of the fifteen tracks on their 2020 release), but without a steady release schedule or the backing of an original label, Maddie & Tae’s path to success had a few left turns and forks to slow their second studio full-length (not to mention a possibility that Covid - 19 would delay the record further).
Green to Gold
Not to say the album is totally free of the darkness The Antlers have always fought: "It Is What It Is" seems to grapple with the fallout of the Trump administration's handling of COVID (or lack thereof) with precise and cutting language, while "Volunteer" frames a bittersweet kiss-off to a previous life with a shoegazey build that wouldn't be out of place on Undersea.
'OK Human' puts Rivers Cuomo’s criticism of technology on full display, being fully recorded during the COVID-19 lockdowns with entirely analog equipment and a 38-piece orchestra.
Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible
We aren’t prepared for this and we are about to crash (and in many ways American is seeing the crash with the COVID-19 pandemic), and the world as we know it is not only changing but changing in a bad way.
|74||All Them Witches|
Nothing as the Ideal
On “See You Next Fall” each musician is afforded the space to playfully explore a hypnotic bassy groove. The result is a track that elicits the experience of swaying in a crowded hot dark bar, drink in hand. (Maybe next fall?)
I accidentally stumbled upon this album yesterday when looking for something to fill my Sunday's COVID-19 confinement.
Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine
Now that they've broken, healed, and come together, we see them lift each other up and support one another through several notable struggles: the pandemic, isolation, insecurity, loss, things they have indeed covered before.
Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine
In 2021 Humans will wear half a face. They will walk empty streets forced to change and reform.
World's Most Stressed Out Gardener
Of course, it was also mostly recorded during quarantine, so it also makes the requisite allusions to isolation and boredom (“days keep rolling away, like every one is the same / and every step that you take is like you’re forcing the motion” is handily the most heartbreaking line on the album).
|79||Bull Of Heaven|
The notions of apocalypse and isolation have, naturally, been on my mind a lot recently. While it is, at this juncture, still pretty unreasonable to expect the COVID-19 pandemic to result in some kind of widespread disintegration of human society as we know it, watching the world economy crash and burn as thousands upon thousands fall gravely ill and die naturally calls to mind images of such a collapse.
i'm nothing if not a silly girl
The opening sections of “quilt pearls of cum” tackle jittery avant-pop in a Feels-era Animal Collective mold, and the chorus of “i’m ocean foam, let me die.” nudges blearily against spiky riot grrrl tones like a quarantine-addled Bikini Kill.
Now, after an auto accident almost killed their drummer and a global pandemic scuttled their upcoming live dates, Glass Animals have delivered Dreamland, simultaneously their most personal and most frustratingly anonymous work yet.
|82||Ian William Craig|
Red Sun Through Smoke
Six months to two years from now there will be an onslaught of artists releasing albums inspired by the current shut down of the world due to COVID-19, each one claiming to have stretched their own artistic abilities to create a magnum opus.
Fish Pond Fish
My family is incredibly close and my dad wanted nothing more than for us to be together at all times. We tried as much as we could, but this year made it harder than normal due to COVID.
The Black Hole Understands
Living in unprecedented times of a pandemic can evoke emotions of gloom and despair. Given this, one would expect an album fully recorded during quarantine to convey similar emotions.
|85||Danny L Harle|
If you’ve also been locked inside during the pandemic and itching to get back to raves and re-live the clubbing days of your teenage years, then Harlecore will boot you straight back there – bonus points if you were clubbing in Central Europe or knew how to shuffle.
Put on Sufjan Steven’s Michigan or Illinois and they seem to capture the sadness of our isolation and disparity during these “unprecedented” times with the COVID19 pandemic - even though both albums were released years ago.
How I'm Feeling Now
Charli herself has been asking us fans to collaborate with her on making the music video for her lead single, Forever* to show how we all will not let the coronavirus pandemic win.
The Things They Believe
Other songs are equally cleverly titled, such as ‘The Year Everything and Nothing Happened’ (2020, get it, virus but also no concerts and stuff) and ‘The Rain Outside…’ (probably alludes to rain outside which can be nice but also not nice, really depends on the situation and whether you have to leave the house or not).
Me and My Absent Mind Again
Simultaneously, the inverse could be true as blissful ignorance can be annihilated: remember the relative collective optimism of the first corona-lockdown, one year ago?
|90||Black Moth Super Rainbow|
To be fair to Black Moth Super Rainbow, although 2020 was the source of much blooming panic for billions worldwide, it does seem like covid-19 will be, if not defeated, at least tamed by science and the dozens of modifications we’re all making to our behaviour and social norms.
American Love Story
Today is May 8th, 2020. The world has, for the most part, stood still due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Guitarist Owen Traynor describes getting stuck in a creative rut during the pandemic and being unsatisfied with the music they were writing for Shin Guard, and how shifting to a style inspired by the heavy music they liked when they were younger allowed them to move forward.
Notes on a Conditional Form
Life is too short, even in the midst of a pandemic where we are all at home.
An instrumental, reminiscent of Gavin's Gruvis Malt days,news reports in the background speak of all the normal "zombie" things, such as quarantine, chaos, etc. etc.
A tweet by Pat Miranda of the excellent Californian band ‘Movements’ (who are not dissimilar to this band and someone you should definitely check out) describing what quarantine is like saw this EP’s ‘Fierce Grace’ coming through loud and clear and l was instantly transfixed.
Rush had been experimenting with hip hop even before his release from the wrestling goliath due to largely unnecessary corona-related budget cuts, having already dropped the incredibly average 11:11 EP in late 2019, which was more or less a middling introduction of sorts; the kid could definitely carry a mindless tune if nothing else, but obviously you have to strive for something more if you want to perfect your craft.
Whole Lotta Red
No, because of course they did, this was clearly orchestrated because what else are you going to do when your hardcore fans have been asking for this album for over a year, and your management is begging you to wait until post COVID to release?
The Third Chimpanzee
Excused from the pressures of penning another Depeche Mode album by the pandemic, The Third Chimpanzee sees Martin exploring the blurred line between humans and their simian relatives.
12th House Rock
Releasing a record during a pandemic in which bands are unable to tour is unfortunate; Narrow Head will have people clamoring for their live return immediately.
“Big Climb,” replaced at the last minute as the lead single due to its unfortunate implications in a COVID-addled world, is classic Everything Everything, showcasing off-kilter rhythms, guitars that might as well be squawky keyboards, and Higgs running the vocal gamut with layered harmonies, uncountable jumps from chest to head voice, and rapid-fire (nearly rapped, even. Remember “Blast Doors?”), snarled flows.
|101||Make Them Suffer|
How to Survive a Funeral
Maybe I should’ve spent my last 10 bucks of Corona relief on Misery Signals or Xibalba.
Arbeit Macht Frei
With protests manifesting themselves the world over in light of the malignant police violence that resulted in the death of G. Floyd on the 25th of May 2020, it is becoming abundantly clear that the corona epidemic isn’t the only turbulent crisis to be imposed upon the world this year.
Their steady, yet fast-paced evolution, result of their assurance of their compositional and instrumental prowess, seemed to climax with the 2016 album The Holographic Principle , and – global pandemic aside – it is not specifically weird to see the band occupied with side-quests, releasing renditions of Attack on Titan songs, a book, and an EP, which while not valuable to their catalogue, kept their audience entertained, attracted new fans and gave them incentive to continue.
McCartney III, then, is simultaneously a product of Covid-19, and a celebration of the times that preceded it.
A Deeper Shade of Sorrow
The third decade of the millennium is off to a dismal start, be it the impending environmental apocalypse, a planet-wide pandemic, the slow collapse of capitalism as we know it, or the various other class struggles and tribulations going seemingly unnoticed.
Gold and Grey
The themes are especially resonant during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
While written before the COVID-19 pandemic, the album's lamentation of public anti-intellectualism and disinformation, along with humanity's capacity for selfishness and cruelty has become more relevant than ever.
|108||The Soft Pink Truth|
Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase?
Released during a time of global isolation and crisis, Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase is a beautiful piece of music that is genuinely healing, a meticulously crafted odyssey that nudges one toward a better state of mind.
Punching the Sky
Through a year that will forever be remembered as the one in our lifetimes marred by a global pandemic and social unrest, music is one of the mediums through which people have found peace, and it is fitting that into the final quarter, we have a solid contender for Album Of The Year.
After a year of worldwide lockdowns during the covid pandemic, a short but sweet album filled to the brim with introspective intimacy might just be what the world needs.
Immediately, you get the sense that the band are simply at ease with their output here, the none-too-serious opener “Rum, Women, Victory” galloping along with renewed vigour and accompanied by a fan-bolstered video which reminds us all to make the most of 2020's dire global situation.
Long Trip Alone
Whether it be through divisive over-politicization or global pandemics locking us away from our loved ones, 2020 has been a disaster.
There’s an unpleasant feeling in my stomach. I can’t tell if it’s the coffee I drank, the breakfast sandwich I ate, the Zoom outage that disrupted my first day back to school, living during a pandemic, the video of Jacob Blake being shot seven times in the back by a police officer, the third largest wildfire in California’s history raging up north with limited resources to contain it, the inmate firefighters being paid three dollars a day to help manage it, the underpaid migrant workers that hand-pick food for vegans—and are under constant duress from their employers who threaten to call ICE on them—who are still working in this undying heatwave.
|114||Regional Justice Center|
Crime and Punishment
Fresh outta quarantine, Seattle-based powerviolence collective Regional Justice Center offer their sophomore album Crime And Punishment in the form of ten haymakers straight to the listeners eardrum.
As the snow falls on a world of virus and hate, sometimes the darkest forms of music can be the most comforting.
|116||Five Iron Frenzy|
Until This Shakes Apart
In While Supplies Last Roper concentrates the most anger of any song on the album, decrying the hypocrisy of leaders who minimized the COVID crisis while evidently taking precautions for themselves and their families.