Seemingly taking a page from their fellow royals in King Gizzard, Archeron (Stickman Records) is the second album that King Buffalo has released in 2021. This degree of output can make the band’s already prolific discography seem even more muddled, especially since they are so committed to their loose, jammed out take on Heavy Psych. But as pretentious as it sounds, recording Archeron in a cave (WITH A BOX OF SCRAPS!) seems to give the band’s usual sonic landscapes a slightly different makeover.
Funny, before writing this review I had just finished a very interesting conversation about Swedish bands with someone as passionate as I am for Swedish music and we concluded that there must be something about being born in Scandinavia that automatically increases your chances of being good at making music. Spelljammer proves this point with their latest effort Abyssal Trip (RidingEasy Records). An equally catchy, beautiful, heavy, and dark album that brings a scenario that can be only compared as being a collection of BlackSabbath’s darkest, twisted tracks but heavier and more melodic. And it’s impossible not talking about Black Sabbath when talking about a Stoner/Doom Metal band, but this Swedish trio can easily be in the same conversation.
Instead of reminding everyone of the horrible year we’ve had by sharing this list of my top 20 albums of 2020 with all of you, I want to think that I am sharing new music that can keep being an outlet to rely on when times are tough. We’re in a moment in time where we’re all vulnerable and music keeps being one of the best tools to help our mental health. The following albums are the ones that helped me go through the year and I hope you find something that you can add to your playlist and enjoy it as much as I do. Within each album, there is the country, genre, and their Bandcamp links (for those that have Bandcamp) in case you want to directly support them in these troubled times.
Every decade has its own set of trends that define it. It normally takes hindsight to see what will make a particular decade stand out but 2020 has already made a horrifyingly immediate distinction for itself. A pandemic-induced alteration of the scene itself has resulted in delayed releases, canceled tours, musicians at near equal ratios of inspiration and burnout, Zoom as a primary means of communication, and livestreams taking the place of proper concerts. All things considered, I am glad that a top albums list could still be made with a multitude of strong candidates. It’s been a shitty year with the light at the end of the tunnel still out of sight, but we still got tunes.
It feels rather redundant to preface this year’s celebration of the music that got us through what was annus horribilis maximus unprecedentius with much of a narrative of 2020 because we were all affected. We all lived through it. Some of us in un-splendid isolation. Some of us irreversibly overhauling the way we live, work, and support our dependents. Some of us welcomed changes we had to make while mourning the root cause behind them and that each and every person on this planet we call home was affected, impacted, and touched in a negative way by the events of a global pandemic and high-profile political situations.Continue reading →