—Max Freedman, Emotions are not absolute. Their second album’s roots run deep through their creative output to this point: The chords of b-side standout “Cameo” originally belonged to Hope Downs’ abandoned title track, while the chorus of closer “The Cool Change” first appeared in a song Tom Russo, White and Keaney performed in a previous band back in the 2000s. The intimacy of the story is bolstered by the album’s production and Shauf’s deft instrumentation. 100% Secure Shopping. The Best Albums Of 2020, So Far by American Songwriter July 2, 2020, 4:36 pm It is now July 2, the 183rd day of 2020, and we are now officially into the back half of the calendar year. Grant that their latest, The Prettiest Curse, dropped in June out of sober respect for the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced a reschedule from its original April 3 date. Discover the best new indie, rock & alt music in our April compilation! Its sweet psych and power-pop weren’t fully cooked, but it had palpable charisma and contained seeds of the wide range of sounds they’d explore in the future. She considered leaving music altogether. —Zach Schonfeld, Her sophomore album Punisher cements what may be Bridgers’ most understated gift of all: her seemingly innate ability to capture the mundanity of modern sadness in song. “I don’t forgive you,” she sings as a horn arrangement crests over this mind-numbing scene, “but please don’t hold me to it.” Later, in “Moon Song,” Bridgers traces the blurry boundaries of a complicated relationship before laying it all out in the final verse: “You are sick and you’re married and you might be dying,” she sings over a small crescendo, “but you’re holding me like water in your hands.” —Ben Salmon, Although Soccer Mommy’s 2018 debut studio album Clean transformed her into a critical favorite, indie-rock leader and tour opener for Paramore, Kacey Musgraves and Vampire Weekend, anyone who’s grappled with mental illness knows that success isn’t a salve. From the culture-shaking event that was Fetch the Bolt Cutters to the lesser-known records we’ve fallen in love with this year, here are the best indie rock albums of 2020 so far. It runs on twang, jangle, truth and wide open spaces; on the album cover, Crutchfield, dressed in a billowy baby-blue frock, sprawls across an old Ford truck bearing a license plate from her native Alabama. He’s now wondering aloud about getting a home in Miami, going and getting married and tattooing her name on his arm (“Instant Destiny”) and thinking back on how he was feeling a year prior when he had no cares in the world (“One More Year”). Most of the songs here feel a bit rougher around the edges, which is partly what gives them so much charm. have been used interchangeably in the past decade. Hinds—Carlotta Cosials, Ana Perrote, Amber Grimbergen, and Ade Martin—have a strong grip on their musical identity, and they’re not keen on a makeover. Every aspect of the central storyline—an ex randomly showing up after moving out of town, bad jokes, drunken ramblings—feels like it could be happening at your local dive just a couple blocks from your apartment. Out in the Storm sounds like its title suggests: loud, windy, chaotic and emotionally intense—a tried-and-true breakup album and a throwback to Crutchfield’s punk roots. In Fetch the Bolt Cutters’ case, these psalms beam clearer than ever before. He’s such a changed man that he even admits to being unable to identify with his old records: “There’s no use trying to relate to that old song,” he croons at the beginning of “Tomorrow’s Dust.” And will The Slow Rush blow your mind? Gone were the fortified bedroom pop of 2015’s Ivy Tripp, the rock-tinged freak-folk musings of her 2013 stunner Cerulean Salt and the brainy lo-fi recordings of her 2012 debut American Weekend. New Releases Now - Sign up to find top new songs of 2020 and videos from the best new 2020 albums! Stephen Malkmus - 'Traditional Techniques' … It’s a devastating tune about death and depression, and if it ended at the three-minute mark, it would still be a stunner. Silver Tongue, TORRES’ excellent fourth album—and first for Merge—is the result of that defiant burst. She doesn’t like to do what is expected of her. Fetch the Bolt Cutters is finally here, and it’s another miraculous case of bottled lightning. Before that: Extraordinary Machine, in 2005. Superstar tells a fictionalized, though autobiographically-inspired, story about an up-and-comer seeking a life of stardom, critiquing the protagonist’s self-centered aspirations. ... the best 50 albums from this year have something for everyone. color theory is an astounding feat of lyricism as clever as it is devastating, and Allison’s songwriting, production and voice are likewise orders of magnitude stronger than they were on Clean, recalling ’90s alt radio while pushing Soccer Mommy in galvanizing new directions. An ’80s-style noir flick, maybe, set in some retro-futuristic cityscape where wet pavement glistens with the reflection of neon lights, and the juxtaposition of idiosyncratic lyrics, Bejar’s plummy voice and the squelch of synthesizers makes perfect sense according to some obscure internal logic. Scott remains an improbably vivid writer both lyrically and melodically; throughout Silver Tongue, she takes desire and infatuation as her subject and icy synthesizers as her instrument of choice. —Lizzie Manno, Marigold is the first true collection of Pinegrove songs that addresses (or doesn’t) the events that have unfolded since lead singer Evan Stephens Hall’s admission of sexual coercion in late 2017 via a Facebook post. They make them feel not just sad, but real. It’s one of many moments on Likewise that prove not only that her solo career deserves to exist, but also that she’s able to thrive without her longtime bandmates (or at least without them in their full roles). It’s kind of a “know-it-when-you-hear-it” situation. The following is a list of albums released or scheduled for release in 2020.These are notable albums, defined as having received significant coverage from reliable sources independent of the subject. Working Men's Club - 'Working Men's Club' 18. Probably, but maybe in a much different way than you were likely expecting from a Tame Impala record. —Max Freedman, In 2012, Kevin Parker was an introvert. Eliot, searing, Dylan-esque vocal delivery, chiming guitars straight off Out in the Storm, pastoral folk not unlike that of her 2018 EP Great Thunder. Following the commercial success of Yours Conditionally in 2017, Moore wound up in the hospital with a bad bout of the flu, Riley’s father Edward died of cancer and his mother Karen was hospitalized “on the brink of a stroke,” Moore recalls. Again. One of this year’s highlights arrived early in … It’s one thing for a band to capture a world in chaos, but it’s much more difficult to accurately capture a mind in chaos—Porridge Radio make it look like a cakewalk. From the culture-shaking event that was Fetch the Bolt Cutters to the lesser-known records we’ve fallen in love with this year, here are the best indie rock albums of 2020 so far. As a woman who lives mostly secluded from society and releases music so rarely, she’s frequently the object of speculation and even sexualization (see: the late ’90s). In some ways, it possesses little pieces of all the musical lives Crutchfield has lived before: punk-y vocals à la her once-upon-a-time rock band with Allison, P.S. Dua Lipa's vivid, disco-infused "Future Nostalgia" is an instant pop classic. So it’s funny that Fetch the Bolt Cutters is exactly what so many expected it to be: brilliant. Settling on even the best 15 indie rock records proved quite the task. It can be difficult, at times, to make out what exactly she’s getting at in any given verse, but there’s an overwhelming sensation that what she’s singing is vastly important. He felt like he was only going backwards, and he was left wondering why won’t they talk to him. Moore herself never learned to swim, just as most of us are not taught how to navigate the choppy waters of grief and strife. ... indie rock and folk music to give a record that feels exhilaratingly free. Scott tumbled into self-doubt. Now, though, as her star is rising, Rose has turned that critical eye inward. —Scott Russell, There should be a law requiring Hinds to release all of their future albums during the summer season in perpetuity. —Eric R. Danton, Let’s face it: In 2020, nobody is expecting a new Strokes album to compete with the band’s classic, essentially perfect first two albums. It’s not a set of sugary hooks designed to crack the Discover Weekly algorithm: The record, which is self-produced, sacrifices no ounce of Scott’s sharp-angled, emotionally explosive songcraft. —Steven Edelstone, With The Loves of Your Life, former The Walkmen frontman Hamilton Leithauser expands his scope in a searching spirit, satiating his hunger for connection with the stories of others. Tucked in among the record’s memorable melodies, clever arrangements and impressive guests are a steady stream of details that lend plainspoken perspective to Bridgers’ emotional highs and (mostly) lows. The album often resembles a reversion to her sparser early work and away from the cavernous jolts of her more recent output. She’s said as much. Within 10 seconds, you know—without a doubt—it’s a Waxahatchee album. Over the course of Half Waif’s discography, Nandi Rose’s music has expanded from bucolic soundscapes into icier portraits. And from those roots, the band continues to grow, excelling at their characteristically propulsive rock while making room for more emotion-imbued softness and nuanced instrumentation to shine through, a natural progression that quietly slips an arm around the listener, rather than grabbing them by the lapels. 59 votes, 42 comments. It’s a world not unlike our own, but that’s part of the appeal, really. He and bassist-producer John Collins (former bandmates in The New Pornographers) take it to the extreme on Destroyer’s latest, Have We Met, on which the only actual instruments are electric guitar and bass—and a whole lot of electronic accompaniment, including synthesizers, keyboards and beats. Sundara Karma – Ulfilas’ Alphabet. That stylized artificiality has been an unspoken running theme in Bejar’s music as Destroyer, at least since Kaputt in 2011. Her record Out in the Storm, which we named one of the best albums of that year, displayed a whole new side of the singer. Because you’ve been there (probably), and because Bridgers has been there, too, and she knows how to make this song about a stranger’s overdose into a highly relatable moment. —Max Freedman, “We’re gonna put you in the movies and our TV / All you’ve got to do is put on this little bikini,” indie rock chameleon Caroline Rose sang on “Bikini” off her breakout 2018 record Loner. It’s a moody, empathetic album, bolstered by repetition and the palpable scenes they create, whether that’s an imagined, heavenly gorge or the melancholy urban landscapes you traverse every day. Effervescence is a key ingredient in all their music, but The Prettiest Curse’s bubbliness is more pronounced, the froth that shapes the band’s rising to the surface in a slightly broader coating. But she tacks on an extra bit that contextualizes the rest of the song: “It’s 4 a.m. again,” she sings flatly, “and I’m doing nothing again.” And all of a sudden … you’re there. It’s quite incredible that Quinlan managed to make the song so unrecognizable that I listened to the whole thing without even realizing it was a cover of the legendary Boise, Idaho indie band’s biggest hit. Married duo Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley, better known as Tennis, have recently endured one of the most difficult stages of their life, but found solace in each other throughout. Quinlan’s ability to bend the track to her will—featuring a bouncy synth later complemented by twisted, harsh guitar screeches—is ingenious and indicative of Quinlan’s ability to experiment outside of her main sound. It’s their first LP since signing with Secretly Canadian, and it follows their 2016 self-recorded debut Rice, Pasta and Other Fillers. Like every record before it, her latest album Fetch the Bolt Cutters taps into both the repulsive and the revolutionary. Hinds’ usual fuzzed-up rock aesthetic bridges the gap between The Prettiest Curse and I Don’t Run nicely. INDIE BASEMENT BEST ALBUMS OF 2020 SO FAR Activity - Unmask Whoever (Western Vinyl) Gone are the cathartic, fist-pumping moments from “Cadmium,” the louder, capital-R Rock aesthetics from “Then Again” or the bruising solos à la “Aphasia.” Hall & co. respond with a more refined batch of songs on Marigold. The 10 Best Indie Rock Albums of 2020. Through scratchy indie rock (“Don’t Ask Me Twice,” “Give/Take”), grand punk (“Lilac”) and even auto-tuned pop (“Something”), Porridge Radio take pop songs much further than listeners might’ve thought possible. —Clare Martin, Even when they were young teens, it was obvious that Disq knew how to write great pop songs. You’re not seeking a partner for a pleasure cruise, but rather for an intrepid, Magellan-style circumnavigation, in which sailors get scurvy or fall overboard because they mistook a manatee for a mermaid. The former reads mostly the same, but occasionally brightened with layers of pop. After recruiting three more full-time members—Shannon Connor (guitar, keys), Logan Severson (guitar/backing vocals) and Brendan Manley (drums)—and signing to Saddle Creek for their debut album, Disq were fully equipped to bring their distinct charm and varying influences to life. Hop Along actually began as a solo project in the mid-2000s, but by the time the band started to take off with 2012’s Get Disowned, it was a full outfit, complete with Quinlan’s brother Mark on drums, bassist Tyler Long and multi-instrumentalist Joe Reinhart, who has produced each of their records since. —Lizzie Manno, In 2017, Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfeld quite literally blew the music world away. Their half-hearted performance brought to mind the women in the background of Robert Palmer videos, who serve as ornamentation at best. —Ellen Johnson, © 2020 Paste Media Group. As … That magic reappears in flashes on The New Abnormal—the first Strokes release since Future Present Past and their first full-length in seven years—but even if the album’s strong songs are among the liveliest, most effortless music the band has made in over a decade, their bursting energy only modestly offsets the LP’s many sharp lows. Success neither curing mental illness nor reversing a parent’s medical death sentence is a lot for a 22-year-old to face, but Allison is more than up to the task. To say the album is derivative is to miss the point. Most of life’s darkest days often occur after two people have committed themselves to one another: Loved ones fall ill or die, responsibilities mount and any number of unexpected catastrophes may land on your doorstep. Indie rock is an ever-evolving genre spanning bedroom recordings and Jack Antonoff-produced powerhouses. That’s particularly obvious on “The Alarmist,” as Hall nearly whispers the final line of the first verse: “I whisper to myself / Then I’m spinning it half around / Like an echo / A faraway sound / Saying, ‘be good to me.’” Though the first stanza makes it seem like this is a song about the breakdown of a relationship and Hall’s inability to communicate effectively, that raw “be good to me” refrain feels wholly personal, directed towards himself and no one else. Follow our countdown of the 50 best albums of 2020 1.6m members in the indieheads community. Marigold also follows Skylight’s tendencies to aim for a softer, more delicate, more intimate sound than anything on Cardinal. December 3, 2020 Lis Sinatra. Eight years later, things are wildly different. The word “indie” once strictly implied “independent,” meaning the release, be it a film or album or what have you, was put out without the money and resources that come along with a major label (your Atlantics, Columbias, etc.) While earning their stripes as an opening band, playing with acts like Shame, Jay Som and Girlpool, it was hard to determine which direction they would go since their shows were much punkier than any of their recordings up until that point. Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround, Part One (Remastered Expanded 50th Anniversary Edition), Daniel Romano's Outfit - How Ill Thy World Is Ordered, illuminati hotties - FREE I​.​H: This Is Not The One You've Been Waiting For, Catholic Action - Celebrated By Strangers, Hamilton Leithauser - The Loves of Your Life, Young Jesus - Welcome to Conceptual Beach, ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead - X: The Godless Void and Other Stories, The Airborne Toxic Event - Hollywood Park, Users' Highest Rated Indie Rock Albums of 2020. Yet, it’s different from anything she’s ever released before. —Steven Edelstone, Rarely when uttering the words “for better or for worse” on their wedding day do couples really consider the latter half of that sentiment. —Ellen Johnson, Fiona Apple engages our minds like no one else. Compounding that was the fact – in most cases – indie bands were unable to promote their releases with live shows. Best Rock And Indie Albums Of 2020. Those kinds of moments pop up all over Punisher, which is generally noisier and more upbeat than its predecessor. Optimism led him astray. But it’s put to such superbly squalling ends, resulting in the breakthrough of one of the best British indie-rock bands in ages. Shauf’s storytelling and uncanny realism have long been the linchpin of his appeal as an artist, though his previous release, The Party, showcased his talent on a whole other level. Not so with The Prettiest Curse. Seemingly in direct response to those criticisms, Julian Casablancas and co. have avoided anything resembling musical consistency on every Strokes release since. Guaranteed fast delivery and low prices. or studio (Universal, Disney, Warner Bros….). Superstar proves itself a tightly knit satire of celebrity, effective thanks to Rose’s sharp storytelling and her calculated use of distortion, which highlights the artificial quality of the protagonist’s new surroundings. With lots of new albums from bands such as Bombay Bicycle Club, Twin Atlantic, Blossoms or The 1975 in the making, 2020 promises to … Over the last 25 years, she has made five albums that have all—in due time—ascended to holy text status, even if it took some longer than others to come around to her genius. As Rose embraces her craft’s most hermit-like aspects, she consolidates her longtime fascinations with change and disconnectedness into grim portraits of whom she becomes when she doesn’t maintain her closest relationships and properly tend to (the ever-marketable art of) self-care. 20. Instead of aiming to melt the brains of tens of thousands of twenty-somethings in a field on psychedelics (though this likely still will, let’s be honest), Parker instead turns his eye toward dancehalls, replacing fuzzy guitars and impressive percussion with bouncy piano and dance-y synths. They’re also masters of grooves both meditative and invigorating, and they experiment with foreground and background sounds in mind-numbing ways. The quintet—which comprises singer-songwriter-guitarist trio Tom Russo, Joe White and Fran Keaney, plus bassist Joe Russo and drummer Marcel Tussie—arrived essentially fully formed with 2016’s Talk Tight, and have remained remarkably consistent since, from 2017 EP The French Press to their acclaimed full-length debut, 2018 standout Hope Downs. illuminati hotties - FREE I​.​ H: This Is Not The One You've Been Waiting For. Apple has never been one to deliver approachable melodies or catchy choruses—she repeatedly serves us the abnormal, in all its twisted glory, with minor chords and off-kilter rhythms, often constructed with everyday objects rather than musical instruments. Listening to Fiona Apple is often like bearing witness to a prophet speaking in tongues. But Leithauser has spent his entire career on its wavelength, and dedicates The Loves of Your Life to the people who make the metropolis what it is, bringing all of his skills (he plays most of the instruments on the album) to bear on rendering their stories in poignant detail. Facebook10LikeShareTweet With this being the year of the pandemic, many indie rock bands and artists’ 2020 releases were simply ‘missed’ as indie music fans’ lives were turned upside down. Brighton, U.K. quartet Porridge Radio grapple with these questions on their new album Every Bad. Her most recent, the staggeringly good The Idler Wheel… arrived in 2012. Saint Cloud is Crutchfield’s country/Americana record. Understandably, The Caretaker’s stories are often not pretty sights, even if the music always is. For the public to forgive him for his past misdeeds (if it ever will), he needs to forgive himself first to find a way forward. Saint Cloud is a whole new world. Hear the hot songs of the year and all important new cd releases of 2020 in one place. Written about real individuals, some old friends and others strangers, the songs are as manifold as the human lives they encapsulate, with Leithauser often stepping aside to speak in his subjects’ own words. Starting out as a duo of Isaac deBroux-Slone and Raina Bock in Madison, Wisc., the band self-recorded their first release—an EP titled Disq 1—in deBroux-Slone’s basement and released it in 2016. Throughout “In August,” she looks back despondently on the fallout of a once-strong companionship: “I have lost your friendship / What does that say about me?” As pillowy synths burst into a mournful geyser of sound, the track takes on a rejuvenating air. On “Blinking Light,” a synth-pop ballad that flows like a gentle stream, Rose describes circling the drain and leaving texts unread, and though the image of a neglectful Rose is bleak, the song’s slow glide toward her belting away her agony is equally somber and invigorating. —Scott Russell, Dan Bejar’s songs often sound like part of the soundtrack to a movie that exists only in his mind. It seems Hall realized yelps and screams don’t necessarily attract the most attention; he now recognizes that by being even more vulnerable than ever before, he’s capable of producing his finest songwriting yet. If Out in the Storm was a tornado of sound and emotion, Saint Cloud, Crutchfield’s fifth album under the Waxahatchee alias (out Friday, March 27 on Merge Records) is the calm that comes afterwards. Swimmer was borne from this heart wrenching period of time, a fitting name considering the sailing motif in Tennis’ discography (Cape Dory recounts their post-college sailing trip along the East Coast, and most of Yours Conditionally was written during their journey at sea from San Diego to the Sea of Cortez). But Shadow Talk, the second album from Chicago experimental five-piece Cafe Racer, reaches heady emotional and sonic heights, not by leaning on overused effects or sprinkling meaningless, abstract imagery, but by expecting more out of a song and its lyrics. But on Likewise, Quinlan hashed everything out with just Reinhart in the studio, giving the tracks more space to breathe than ever before. The best albums of 2020 so far. She shakes and shimmies as a smarmy male singer, while bikini-clad babes dance behind her or unconvincingly “play” instruments. The Best Indie Rock Albums of 2020. “I was in a really bad place,” she reflected in a more recent interview SPIN. Quinlan has long had one of the best voices in indie rock, so why not essentially subtract everything else and give it 100 percent of the spotlight? The latter plays strictly in the mode of garage rock. The album’s clear standout (and one of the year’s best songs), “Kyoto,” features Bridgers’ crunchiest guitar riffs yet, a soaring chorus and the travails of dealing with someone who can’t quite get their shit together juxtaposed with a wander through a 7-11 and trip to the suburbs to stare at chemtrails. On Loner, Rose placed the system surrounding fame and celebrity squarely in her crosshairs. H.e.a.t - H.e.a.t II. These challenges lied solely at the periphery of Clean’s tales about youthful, regretful romantic breakdowns and insecurities, but on her eagerly anticipated Clean follow-up color theory, Allison bravely pulls her mental illness from the sidelines to the forefront, and she also tackles a grave subject she’s spoken about far less frequently: her mother’s terminal cancer. It’s no wonder he titled his now classic sophomore record Lonerism: Those 12 songs document the internal anger, anxiety and social self-sabotage of a man who so badly wanted to be personable and in love, but was legitimately unable to even muster up the courage to talk to a woman he was interested in. With each Hop Along release, as Quinlan mentioned in her recent Paste session, the four members act as a collective, workshopping the songs together after the demo stage. 2020 is going to be another exciting year for the indie music scene and the beginning of a new decade. It’s an astute pivot for Rose, and an indicator that she is anything but your typical ascendant artist. It leans into the electro-pop atmosphere of Three Futures, but the textures are so unsettling and lonely that it would never scan as a bid for crossover appeal. Headlining festivals and writing for pop and rap stars, Kevin Parker is finally confident. Discover and listen to new music releases and 2020's best new album releases this week and every week here. Every Bad is the nuanced album that indie rock has needed for years. Set My Heart on Fire Immediately, the fifth studio album by Perfume Genius, boasts the best album title of 2020. In a surprise to probably no one, Fiona Apple is now five for five. Everything Indie Music related; from the newest releases and news, to discussion on … Now, Shauf is following up his 2016 effort with The Neon Skyline, another concept album about a couple of friends on a night out at the pub. It’s an extremely calming album until it isn’t—the guitar and synth fury on “Faces” is life-affirming, the guitar solo in “Exile” is painfully emotive and its subsequent outro track creates blistering, ambient havoc. Angles’ “Taken for a Fool,” Comedown Machine’s “All the Time” and a handful of Impressions songs suggested that our leather-clad early-aughts heroes might still possess a flicker of their initial spark. Visit Juno Studio. Now that their Rob Schnapf-produced (Beck, Elliott Smith) first album Collector has arrived, we have an answer: It’s perhaps more uniform in sound than their debut EP and live shows would suggest, but it shows off their dynamic guitar triple-threat, down-to-earth lyrics and instantaneous pop know-how that made them so enjoyable and relatable in the first place. Each time we publish a list of indie rock albums, we’re once again met with the question of what actually defines an indie rock album. The 50 Best Albums of 2020. (See: The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2020) It’s important to note that denotations such as indie rock and alternative rock and pop-rock, etc. Doves - 'The Universal Want' 19. 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