The Advisory Circle – Ways Of Seeing (Ghost Box)
I consider The Advisory Circle’s “From Out Here” to be a definitive album of the Hauntology genre. Jon Brooks pushes things further with “Ways of Seeing” rather than sticking to a successful formula. His gift for melancholy melody is enhanced by a thicker palette of nostalgic electronics.
Gaye Su Akyol – İstikrarlı Hayal Hakikattir (Glitterbeat Records / Dunganga Records)
Turkish female vocalist Akyol mixes classical tradition, surf and alternative rock sounds in a psychedelic swirl.
Ben Chisholm & Felix Skinner – Burgeoning Verse (Weyrd Son Records)
Chisholm (of Chelsea Wolfe’s band) and Skinner (of Wreck and Reference) collaborate on a dynamic collection of moody textures. Heavy ambient drones made with a wide range of instruments.
Color TV – S/T
Excited to finally have a full-length album from this Minneapolis quartet after eagerly devouring all of their singles. High energy poppy punk in the kinetic spirit of The Dickies.
Further Reading: The Holland Project | Sorry State Records | College Media Network | Scene Point Blank
Deadly Avenger – I Am Godzilla, You Are Japan
Minimalist beats and gravely electronics make for a perfect kaiju monster tribute. The mostly monotone repetitive bass reinforces the unstoppable stomp of our lizard hero. Another perfect package in Burning Witches Records’ consistent catalog of cinematic synth creep-outs.
Further Reading: Two Headed Dog | Complex Distractions | Light in the Attic
FACS – Negative Houses
Dark and tense post-punk by former members of Disappears. One of those bands that understands the seductive power of a noir sax solo.
Further Reading: Punktastic | Apathy & Exhaustion | Dusted | The Joy of Violent Movement
Insect Ark – Marrow Hymns
Instrumental doom duo of Dana Schechter (bass, lap steel guitar and electronics) and Ashley Spungin (drums and electronics). Schechter’s sliding drones and wails bring visions of an apocalyptic desert landscape.
Further Reading: Antihero | SF Sonic | Grizzly Butts | Chimera Magazine
The Mystery Of The Bulgarian Voices Featuring Lisa Gerrard – BooCheeMish
Probably the most obvious pairing of traditional vocalists and a student of their magical influence. Thankfully the first recording of The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices in over 20 years doesn’t rely on trendy production tricks or unnecessary padding (a few tracks featuring beatboxer SkilleR notwithstanding). Beautiful and celebratory.
Further Reading: Freq
C. Samms – Synthetic Properties
Funky retro synthpop recorded with a room full of vintage electronic gear. Check his video if there’s any doubt of a Kraftwerk influence.
Further Reading: CollegeRadio.org
Shannon Shaw – Shannon In Nashville
In a fair world Shaw’s first solo album should propel her into the pantheon of revered country queens like Dolly Parton and Patsy Cline. The lush retro-tinged production breaks away from the campy garage sound of her band Shannon and the Clams (whose great album “Onion” was also released this year) and spotlights her powerful chops.
Further Reading: Paper Magazine
Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois – S/T
An unlikely team-up by two masters of very different modes. Pedal steel guitar meets complex glitchtronica in a brave diversion for both parties. There’s real beauty in what could have easily been an experimental mess.
Further Reading: Spill Magazine
Vienna Ditto – Flat Earth
Much anticipated release by the “drum machine gospel duo.” Sultry electro-blues that’s no less powerful for being somewhat tongue-in-cheek.
Further Reading: The Sunday Experience
VOWWS – Under The World
The Australian duo’s slithering soul blows me away with darkly delicious harmonies and melodic left-turns. A unique and infectious sound grown from gothic roots.
Further Reading: Anti Language
- Recap: Around 2018 in 12 Weeks – Pt. 2
- Best New Music From Boston and New England of 2017 – Songs 31-50
- Recap: Compilations from June 2020
- Best New Music From Boston and New England of 2017 – Songs 71-87
- Recap: Compilations from April
- 2020 in Review / Ten Favorite Albums of Matthew J. Rolin - 26th January 2021
- 2020 in Review // Mix by TQN-aut - 25th January 2021
- Track-by-Track: This Ship Argo – Always the Bees: Never the Honey - 24th January 2021