The second year of the COVID pandemic brought more of a sense of familiarity and normalcy with quarantines, cancelled plans, and further delays. While some albums still linger in the shadow of coronavirus, many records have found a place in the new normal and feel less like commentaries on the pandemic and more introspective than years past. Of course there are a few that are direct results of lockdowns (see: the #12 pick on this list). All that being said, it feels good to finally go back to concerts, and many of these records summed up the musical trends, while being some of my favorites.Continue reading
The idea of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus forming a band and releasing a great EP almost sounds like a joke. While each is distinctive from the next, they’re all within the same ballpark; it’s sounds too good to be true. Also, this record is the real fucking deal. It wouldn’t be a shocker if it was a cheap cash-in EP for a massive tour, but it’s an unbelievably dynamic record. If each of these women wanted to quit their solo careers and just focus on boygenius, I’m sure it would be just as compelling. What makes boygenius an engaging listen is the exact same thing that makes each singer’s solo albums engaging, they’re strong women who find that strength in being vulnerable and emotional. Continue reading
There’s never really a bad year for music. There are always going to be great albums from popstars like Lorde or underground masterpieces like Mount Eerie’s new album. When it comes to deciding a personal top ten, it becomes a mix of what releases seemed most significant and what I returned to the most. Where there were excellent albums from Kendrick, Japandroids, and Kesha, these were the albums that defined my year. Also, shoutout to Run the Jewels. RTJ 3 would’ve made the list, but they leaked it Christmas Day 2016, so too bad.
- The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die-Always Foreign
TWIABP continue to carry the torch they helped ignite in the emo revival. Always Foreign sees the band inching forward where Harmlessness left off. It’s the band’s most politically-minded release-to-date. “Marine Tigers” and “Fuzz Minor” are scathing social commentaries delivered by an impassioned David F. Bello. The band also doesn’t shy away from creating indie-rock with a sense of grandeur, as “Infinite Steve” and “Faker” see the band embracing post-rock the size of which the band hasn’t grown to before. With the songs “The Future” and “Dillon and Her Son,” TWIABP don’t shy away from Blink-182 style pop-punk, making this the most diverse set of songs TWIABP have ever released.
There aren’t that many artists that can kick you in the shins emotionally quite the same way that Julien Baker does on her sophomore album Turn Out the Lights. That is to say that these are songs that can make you cry the first time you hear them. If you’re having a tough time in this thing called life, bring a box of tissues to your drunk/hungover/lonesome listening party of this album. From the door creak that opens the album to the final fading notes on the piano, Baker will take you through pain, numbness, uplift, and catharsis. Continue reading
It would have been really simple to write off Phoebe Bridger’s debut album as a Julien Baker clone. Both singer-songwriters write ambient folk rock with a large emotional weight placed on the lyrics. Still, Bridgers’ voice is a refreshing one that really resonates within the pop-punk and emo community. Even though she is a singer-songwriter through and through, her heart-on-her-sleeve and pop culture referencing lyrics certainly welcome her to a number of melancholy artists that have welcomed the likes of Julien Baker. Whether it’s the sweetness of “Killer” or the sadness in “Smoke Signals,” Stranger in the Alps is probably the most exciting debut album to be released this year. Continue reading
Singer-songwriter, Julien Baker just released an excellent new song to coincide with her signing to Matador Records. Check out the live version above.
Following Trump’s election, various artists are calling for help to make their shows safe spaces. Kevin Devine has called to help anyone who may feel unsafe to contact the God Damn Band, Petal, Julien Baker, Pinegrove or himself. Mitski posted a similar message on Instagram: Continue reading
The stripped down song fits well in Brand New’s set. Brand New are still on their tour with The Front Bottoms and Modern Baseball. Baker just set out on tour with Kevin Devine, Petal and Pinegrove.
The atmospheric track also features the wonderful Julien Baker. The gorgeous video is before Stage Four comes out on September 16.
James is on Twitter.
Kevin Devine & the Goddamn Band have announced a fall tour with Julien Baker, Pinegrove, and Petal. Kevin Devine’s 9th LP, also titled Instigator, is due out soon, hopefully in time for this stacked tour lineup. Baker, Pinegrove, and Petal all released excellent albums last year. Detailed tour dates can be found on Devine’s official website.
James is on Twitter.