I’m going to continuously post about these guys. The recent album NON-FICTION from N0V3L is a thoughtful, angular, and pointed critique. In hearing the full set, there is something wonderfully clinical in its approach. Bryce Cloghesy‘s production is clean and crisp, but with a detached ghostly edge that thoroughly aligns with vocalist/guitarist Jon Varley’s deadpan post-capitalist observations.
The new single “Falling In Line” continues their incisive dissection of the right now via a 40 year old post punk lens.
33 of my favorite songs from 2020, hand-mixed in an unranked fashion.
Are these the best songs from 2020? Likely not, but personally these are the tracks that most captured a mood, a time, a production tactic, or a hook that I couldn’t shake for days. In what was an undoubtedly miserable year, there was an abundance of quality music.
An epic ambient remix of the VangelisBlade Runner score from YouTuber Greendragon861. With long stretches of in-between track atmosphere and snippets of dialogue, you can strap on your headphones and be transported for two hours.
Cate Le Bon is likely one of the most daring and singular art-rock-pop musicians from the past decade. From 2009’s freak folk Me Oh My through to last year’s epicReward, her sound has been centered around an increasing clash between dissonant angular forces and killer melodies. An absolute master of the super-treble-attack guitar shred, she has consistently delivered hypnotic live shows that have made her a favorite to see live in The Time Before Covid.
Earlier this year she released an E.P. that radically deconstructs a handful of tracks from her Rewardalbum in conjunction with ambient duo Group Listening. The results are drastic in their difference from the source material, rebuilding each arrangement entirely from scratch and two containing new vocals from UK vocalist Ed Dowie. It’s a bold and creative affair. My favorite take is the new spin on the track “Magnificent Gestures.” The original version (embedded below) is a herky-jerky stomper, while the new creation (linked above) shifts the beat and melodic sequence into a four-on-the-floor crazy-man carnival loop. There’s no singing from Le Bon on this new release, but Dowie’s deadpan reinterpretations provide a relaxed vibe that differ from Cate’s siren skronk calls. The collaboration on display here – as also shown on last year’s tag team with Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox – is inspiring in her willingness to hand control over to others to interpret the material as their own, yet still providing her producer’s hat to keep the boundaries within her sensibilities.
Both tracks are the definition of incessant, but in the best of ways.