Matt’s Albums of the Year

In a year turned entirely upside-down by the global pandemic, music still found a way to be awesome and provide respite for our weary souls. For some reason, even-numbered years recently have not had any all-time pantheon-level releases, while odd years have always had one or two albums that tower above the rest; that trend persists here, as this year’s best material—while excellent—doesn’t hit my threshold for glory. If we did numerical ratings here, I would say that 95% and up is that standard, and I don’t think anything from 2020 exceeded about a 92%. But don’t misunderstand; while there’s … Read more

Weekly Release Dump

Hover over foreign scripts for pronunciation and romanization.

Friday, 8 January

B L A C K I E… All Caps, with Spaces – Face the Darkness Ⅱ

35:47
experimental hip-hop
Houston
Independent

The 8-Bit Big Band – Backwards Compatible

60:33
jazz fusion, VGM
New York, New York
Independent

Escaping Aghartha – White-Nose Syndrome

30:03
blackened drone metal
North Carolina
Independent

Kari Ikonen – Impressions, Improvisations and Compositions

38:21
free improvisation
Finland
Ozella

Łukasz Ojdana – Kurpian Songs & Meditations

49:05
folk, classical
Poland
Audio Cave

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Weekly Release Dump

Hover over foreign scripts for pronunciation and romanization.

Friday, 1 January

Æonus – Hymn to Frost Cold as Death

17:59
atmospheric black metal
Yoshkar Ola, Russia
Independent

Anna Pest – Dark Arms Reach skyward with Bone White Fingers

44:07
death metal
Montréal, Québec
Independent

Ben Haskins – Out in the Cold

38:10
post-rock
Cambridge, Ontario
Independent

Déraciné – Sympathetic Nerves

11:48
post-hardcore
Indiana
Middle-Man

Future Machines – Glowing Flying Object

11:09
math rock
Toronto, Ontario
Independent

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XX XX


Well, twenty-twenty has been a year. I’m not here to cover what’s happened outside of music so don’t worry, but one thing COVID-19 couldn’t stop is the relentless tides of music. It did, however, slow them down somewhat, but people cope, adapt, create nonetheless, and, in the end, borne art into the world.

I reviewed, or rather recommended, 175 albums released in 2020; all formats included, I’ve tracked 2,853 releases! Compare this to 2019’s 2,589 and you can see how this is one domain almost untouched by the pandemic. Last year, I had the brilliant idea of putting together a Read more

Void, Yaeth, Svirfneblin, and Nautilus

Void – The Hollow Man (Duplicate)

Remember Ashenspire and/or Vulture Industries and/or A Forest of Stars? Well, Void is a new name to add to this rather short list of theatrical progressive metal purveyors. The Hollow Man is the British band’s third full-length album, and it’s based on the poem of the same name from Thomas Stearns Eliot. The entire album comes out on January 29, and it’s a great opportunity for anyone who misses the lyrical character and exuberance of acts like those I mentioned before, to which I’d add later Slice the Cake as well, although the … Read more