Music Discoveries — 2020 Mega Catch Up Post Pt. 1

Hi! Here is some cool music I’ve found in the last couple months!

Bring Me The Horizon — POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR
Genre: Alt Metal, Alt Rock, Nu Metal
Recommended track:
Teardrops, Kingslayer

Bring Me The Horizon are a name long cursed in purist metalhead circles for having been apart of the initial wave of popular deathcore bands in the early 2000s. They have long since abandoned that particular sound for explorations in electronic music, industrial rock, alternative rock, and alternative metal– again, all realms typically maligned by trü internet metal heads. I must admit I’ve avoided them until now. By happenstance, I encountered the track Teardrops with its stuttering synths, angst-ridden lyrics, and chunky alt-nu-metal guitars. “Hey this sounds exactly like Hybrid Theory or Meteora-era Linkin Park!” And it does! The rush of nostalgia for anyone that dug that infectious fusion of sounds, either as a guilty pleasure or with full-throated support, will be immediate.

The album is a concept album about dealing with quarantine and Covid. It asks us to regress to our angsty teenage selves. Why not indulge in a little nostalgia? This genre of music, heavy-handed though it may be, has always been a place for people to explore themes like mental illness, depression, and stress. It remains that here with Devil May Cry soundtrack -tier fusions of industrial rock and alt metal with big radio pop rock hooks. Eclecticism in the form of occasional pulls from all corners of the metal world, riffs, djenty breakdowns, and a soaring Baby Metal feature round out the album nicely. Embrace your inner thirteen year-old! The ballad closer features Amy Lee of Evanescence for god sakes!

Pink Siifu — NEGRO
Genre: Hip hop, Sound Collage, Industrial, Hardcore Punk
Recommended track:
ON FIRE, PRAY!

This album is an experimental wash of noisy electronic intensity that, through all its eclecticism, stays focused on the brutality of living life as a Black man in the US. It is not the first album to present the topic, but it is one of the most artsy, ugly, psychedelic, and violent portrayals. The album has a few modes that it cycles through with reckless abandon, oftentimes more than once in the same track, and gives not a single care for whether the listener enjoys anything that’s happening. Collaged samples of speeches and conversations and news footage, plundered free jazz instrumentals, unsettling industrial noise, Jpegmafia-esque experimental hip hop, and pummeling head-bobbing lo-fi Black-centered hardcore punk that calls to mind Ice T’s Body Count as much as it reminds me of modern eclectic punk-noise-hip hop bands like Show Me The Body. It’s a fantastically strange and unsettling piece of Black art perfectly painted in and for the year of fire and death that birthed it. Any open-minded listener should experience this one.

Ulver — Flowers of Evil
Genre: Synth pop
Recommended track:
Machine Guns and Peacock Feathers

Norwegian musical chameleons Ulver continue their synth pop era. Depeche Mode-isms abound. The biggest criticism I read about this album and era in Ulver’s music is that it’s too much like Depeche Mode– just a big ol’ 2nd rate knockoff. Even if it is heavily influenced, why not embrace more of that sound? It’s good stuff! And Garm’s ethereal, accomplished, unmistakable vocals carry this like any other Ulver release. It’s a good time for fans of that dark sad boy synth pop sound and the wave of new bands bringing it like Drab Majesty. Ulver do it with a maturity and elegance that only a legendary, decades spanning career like theirs can deliver.

clipping. — Visions of Bodies Being Burned
Genre: Hip hop, Industrial Hip hop, Horrorcore
Recommended track:
Something Underneath

clipping’s There Existed an Addiction to Blood was my album of the year 2019. This is the follow-up. Here they continue perfecting their unique, masterfully executed blend of horrorcore hip hop, industrial, noise, and experimental music. Daveed Diggs is one of the most technically gifted rappers alive and his spitfiring, time signature shifting delivery, wordplay, and spooky horror storytelling will make your head spin. This album is everything that’s great about their catalogue with great production and a little bit of everything in terms of their sound. While for me it doesn’t quite reach the high highs of There Existed an Addiction to Blood, it’s still a near perfect album, paced wonderfully, intense, atmospheric, and just plain incredible. It’s a great place to jump in and experience Clipping if you’ve never heard them before.

Undeath — Lesions of a Different Kind
Genre: Death Metal
Recommended track:
Acidic Twilight Visions

Old school death metal with a touch of eclecticism for its genre in the form of some surprisingly diverse riffing styles. Rumbling meat and potatoes osdm groove gives way to bouncy technicality gives way to sludgy slow banging death doom. This band is just a riff factory for days. Incredible thuddy drums that sound just perfect and great overall production on this one. Headbanging on and on and on. This band has a big hype factor right now in the death metal world and it’s totally deserved for their interesting songwriting, great drumming, great riffs, and just doing death metal so very right.

Yukika — Soul Lady
Genre: Kpop, City Pop
Recommended track:
Soul Lady

I’ve been waiting patiently for the nostalgia of vaporwave and future funk to finally push the light-hearted loveliness of 80s/90s Japanese city pop music back into the mainstream consciousness. Yukika is the harbinger of this new wave (at least I hope!). This thing just pulses with catchy, cool, 80s disco and sunny atmospheric city pop vibes. It’s an extremely catchy and easily repeatable listen and that’s just what I’ve been doing for weeks now. It’s like walking into ideal 80s Japan, but it’s K-pop and is also teeming with those unmistakable idol music vibes below its sunny surface. This modern city pop take rules, and I want more of it!

Field Medic — Floral Prince
Genre: Indie Folk
Recommended track:
It’s so Lonely Being Sober

Reminding me a bit like an off-brand lo-fi Father John Misty, Field Medic is singer songwriter Kevin Patrick. His songs are simple, straightforward, emotional, and lovingly crafted indie folk tunes. His work evokes the listlessness of growing older while still being in your twenties and still being young and wild in your own ways. His voice exudes a bit of a Tallest Man On Earth twang that is like a warm blanket or a fine wood grain. I miss encountering artists like this on DIY show bills, the kind with simple music that punches to the heart of my experience, and that’s what makes it great for me. Your milage may vary in the emotional relatability department, but these rock solid tunes can be enjoyed by one and all.

Open Mike Eagle — Anime, Trauma, and Divorce
Genre: Abstract Hip Hop
Recommended track:
Sweatpants Spiderman

Open Mike Eagle is my favorite indie rapper. He just seems like a dude I could genuinely be friends with. He had a bad year last year. This album is a deeply personal expression of that year. The weight and voyeuristic quality of experiencing this expression– though they vary in emotional intensities of sadness, anger, and joy– brings to mind the window into the soul style experience of Mount Eerie’s A Crow Looked At Me. While that album is a deeply personal account of dealing with death and loss, and this album never reaches the depth of empty sadness that one does, much like that album, Anime, Trauma, and Divorce is a portrait of grief. OME tries to find opportunity in the upheaval in his life, shouts in frustration at the collapse, and grips onto the joy that’s still left.

While the emotional narrative is the most gripping part of the album for me, musically OME brings the subtle poetic hooks and flows we’ve known him for on top of lovely instrumental choices that compliment him wonderfully. We have upbeat hooky tracks and dark melancholy songs about his divorce, having to move out, therapy, self-care, and his comedy show being canceled. The final track, a little silly song about being afraid of water him and his son wrote, is delivered with such emotional gravitas and climactic energy it made me tear up. I’m really rooting for OME and I hope he bounces back hard. This thirty-four minute album is a great first step.

While you’re here, why not be Very Cool and donate to the NAACP Defense Fund?

Senior Interactive Designer. Music. Nerd. Always learning. Neither tarrying nor hurrying. He/him.