Crack Cloud – Live Leak

cover image of Crack Cloud - Live Leak

My current favorite post-punks, Crack Cloud, have a new live album out on Bandcamp. Comprised of takes from two 2019 sessions at KXLU radio in L.A. and BBC 6 in London, they cover a span of material from their two prior EPs and this past July’s excellent Pain Olympics. It’s far more raw in production and rocking than any of the studio recordings, with a significant bpm increase and a firmer leaning into the punk side of the equation. That revved up added muscle tends to obliterate any of the more nuanced melodic side that is present in some of the studio versions of these songs – enough so that this may not be the best entry point for new listeners – but combined with their incredible host of YouTube material and live clips, it firmly cements them as the one act that I’d most like to see in person when that time arrives again.

SAULT – Untitled (Rise)

For the second time this year, the mysterious SAULT collective have released an album that is consistently incredible, front to back (they pulled off the same double threat in 2019 as well). Post-funk, with a heavy dose of Nile Rodgers + afro beat styles + a fierce political edge. This is music for right now.

Best Game of 2018 – Into the Breach

I’ve enjoyed a wide breadth of games this year, but Into the Breach has been the one that I’ve gone back to repeatedly. Best summarized as robots vs. kaiju chess, it has clever puzzle-like mechanics, unending replayability, and a perfect tough-but-fair balance that has led to many late nights. I bought it a second time for the Nintendo Switch just to ensure that I can take it on the road with me this holiday season. Best part: it’s $15. If you are a fan of strategy titles, this will serve you well.