It’s been a crazy year, and a depressing year, so perhaps we all retreated more into our record collections to seek out that fleeting joy. On my end, I spent a lot of time running/walking in the ‘burbs, so these are the records that played the most in my life…thus they are my Favorite Albums of 2020. The validity means little to anyone other than myself, but since you stop by, perhaps come by and check out my list!
And, just an FYI…there are 30 bands, and I linked back to Bandcamp pages so you can buy directly from the artists…except that one band because apparently they’re too cool…even though that album rips.
Next Friday, you’re going to want to make sure you’ve ordered a copy of Do the Duvet, the debut LP from Oakland’s Naked Roommate. You see, this is the dance record for these anxious pandemic/political times; it’s clever and hypnotic, yet antagonistic and evasive; you’ll move the whole way through. Take, for instance, “Repeat,” the latest single. For 45 seconds, passive listeners will hear just another electro-pop groove. Sure, that’s omni-present in the beat-making, but wait for Amber Sermeno’s vocals to join up; they come off playful and fun, but there’s this sort of flare of disdain as she’s shouting “look good/smell good.” As the voice fades for a mid-track interlude, you get these little guitar lines dancing in between the beats, teasing the reentry of the vocals. It bursts and blooms, eventually fading away as “repeat” hangs in the distance atop carefully constructed pop notes to draw the tune to a close. If you grab the album on September 4th from Trouble in Mind/Upset the Rhythm, you’ll be ready to shake it, or, as might be preferred, lay on the floor and let the refined subtleties of the band’s craft lift your soul.
Two of my favorite labels, Trouble in Mind & Upset the Rhythm, are teaming up to release the new LP from Naked Roommate. Honestly, the band reminds me a lot of Aussie outfit Holy Balm, perhaps with a nod to the Blow; it’s like house music, but stripped of the reliance on the beat. In leaving the song specially open, they’re allowed to build in their own artistic notes, while still grasping onto our preconceived concepts of what makes a song. Amber Sermeno’s vocals have this matter of fact delivery (which is where I felt the Blow reference), though when she puts emphasis on syllables, they seem to echo through cavernous hallways, ringing out as the beat skips along beneath. Cool vibes going on, so give a listen. Do the Duvet will appear on September 4th.