best indie rock albums 2020

Follow our countdown of the 50 best albums of 2020 But on Likewise, Quinlan hashed everything out with just Reinhart in the studio, giving the tracks more space to breathe than ever before. He felt like he was only going backwards, and he was left wondering why won’t they talk to him. In the case of our present moment, the year’s best indie rock albums are a healthy mix of extremely-indie albums, higher profile events and everything in between. ... the best 50 albums from this year have something for everyone. As a concept album, it documented the titular event, exploring vignettes about all of the party’s various attendees. For 2017’s boxy form/a EP and 2018’s grief-stricken Lavender, she embraced synths that resembled icicles falling onto a patio and shattering—an element previously scattered, but not placed front and center, throughout her work—in service of songs as thoughtfully composed as they were towering and immediate. Compounding that was the fact – in most cases – indie bands were unable to promote their releases with live shows. It runs on twang, jangle, truth and wide open spaces; on the album cover, Crutchfield, dressed in a billowy baby-blue frock, sprawls across an old Ford truck bearing a license plate from her native Alabama. 59 votes, 42 comments. Written about real individuals, some old friends and others strangers, the songs are as manifold as the human lives they encapsulate, with Leithauser often stepping aside to speak in his subjects’ own words. Most of life’s darkest days often occur after two people have committed themselves to one another: Loved ones fall ill or die, responsibilities mount and any number of unexpected catastrophes may land on your doorstep. Angles’ “Taken for a Fool,” Comedown Machine’s “All the Time” and a handful of Impressions songs suggested that our leather-clad early-aughts heroes might still possess a flicker of their initial spark. Out in the Storm sounds like its title suggests: loud, windy, chaotic and emotionally intense—a tried-and-true breakup album and a throwback to Crutchfield’s punk roots. illuminati hotties - FREE I​.​ H: This Is Not The One You've Been Waiting For. But Leithauser has spent his entire career on its wavelength, and dedicates The Loves of Your Life to the people who make the metropolis what it is, bringing all of his skills (he plays most of the instruments on the album) to bear on rendering their stories in poignant detail. As an example, look back to “Funeral,” one of the highlights of Bridgers’ 2017 debut Stranger in the Alps. It’s their first LP since signing with Secretly Canadian, and it follows their 2016 self-recorded debut Rice, Pasta and Other Fillers. But rarely does an artist deconstruct and completely transform a beloved song to the extent that Frances Quinlan does with “Carry the Zero,” the Built to Spill classic that landed at number two on Paste’s best songs of 1999 list. Optimism led him astray. Plus, when you’re battling your own demons, it makes things even harder. Hinds’ usual fuzzed-up rock aesthetic bridges the gap between The Prettiest Curse and I Don’t Run nicely. Saint Cloud is Crutchfield’s country/Americana record. Rose pithily skewered the objectification women must put up with when they enter the limelight and further criticizes the music industry in the accompanying video. —Clare Martin, Some psychedelic albums reach a hypnotic end cheaply. —Zach Schonfeld, Her sophomore album Punisher cements what may be Bridgers’ most understated gift of all: her seemingly innate ability to capture the mundanity of modern sadness in song. —Max Freedman, In 2012, Kevin Parker was an introvert. H.e.a.t II is a gleaming chrome comet of pure class, its core … Sundara Karma – Ulfilas’ Alphabet. (See: The 50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2020) It’s important to note that denotations such as indie rock and alternative rock and pop-rock, etc. —Ellen Johnson, © 2020 Paste Media Group. Now, Shauf is following up his 2016 effort with The Neon Skyline, another concept album about a couple of friends on a night out at the pub. ... and Lilly Hiatt dove headfirst into R.E.M. To call it an early contender for the year’s best indie rock album wouldn’t be an exaggeration. That magic reappears in flashes on The New Abnormal—the first Strokes release since Future Present Past and their first full-length in seven years—but even if the album’s strong songs are among the liveliest, most effortless music the band has made in over a decade, their bursting energy only modestly offsets the LP’s many sharp lows. Scott remains an improbably vivid writer both lyrically and melodically; throughout Silver Tongue, she takes desire and infatuation as her subject and icy synthesizers as her instrument of choice. Now, a few decades after the golden age of ’90s indie rock, that’s not so much the case. On “Blinking Light,” a synth-pop ballad that flows like a gentle stream, Rose describes circling the drain and leaving texts unread, and though the image of a neglectful Rose is bleak, the song’s slow glide toward her belting away her agony is equally somber and invigorating. Set My Heart on Fire Immediately, the fifth studio album by Perfume Genius, boasts the best album title of 2020. Those kinds of moments pop up all over Punisher, which is generally noisier and more upbeat than its predecessor. —Lizzie Manno, Marigold is the first true collection of Pinegrove songs that addresses (or doesn’t) the events that have unfolded since lead singer Evan Stephens Hall’s admission of sexual coercion in late 2017 via a Facebook post. She shakes and shimmies as a smarmy male singer, while bikini-clad babes dance behind her or unconvincingly “play” instruments. To say the album is derivative is to miss the point. Over the best and most inventive psychedelic rock instrumentals in decades, Parker let all of his apprehensions and regrets out, knowing full well he’s “gotta be above it now” and that he “can’t let them bring me down” though he’s long realized they will. The 50 Best Albums of 2020. From the culture-shaking event that was Fetch the Bolt Cutters to the lesser-known records we’ve fallen in love with this year, here are the best indie rock albums of 2020 so far. July … Gone are the cathartic, fist-pumping moments from “Cadmium,” the louder, capital-R Rock aesthetics from “Then Again” or the bruising solos à la “Aphasia.” Hall & co. respond with a more refined batch of songs on Marigold. Working Men's Club - 'Working Men's Club' 18. That stylized artificiality has been an unspoken running theme in Bejar’s music as Destroyer, at least since Kaputt in 2011. There are moments of wonder and discovery, but often those are bookended by rough seas. Its sweet psych and power-pop weren’t fully cooked, but it had palpable charisma and contained seeds of the wide range of sounds they’d explore in the future. Instead, she started writing, and didn’t stop for months. And from those roots, the band continues to grow, excelling at their characteristically propulsive rock while making room for more emotion-imbued softness and nuanced instrumentation to shine through, a natural progression that quietly slips an arm around the listener, rather than grabbing them by the lapels. After recruiting three more full-time members—Shannon Connor (guitar, keys), Logan Severson (guitar/backing vocals) and Brendan Manley (drums)—and signing to Saddle Creek for their debut album, Disq were fully equipped to bring their distinct charm and varying influences to life. Yet, it’s different from anything she’s ever released before. As a woman who lives mostly secluded from society and releases music so rarely, she’s frequently the object of speculation and even sexualization (see: the late ’90s). ... self-titled album is more indie-rock than anything else, it could be safely argued. —Steven Edelstone, In April 2018, Mackenzie Scott, the preternaturally talented songwriter who records under the name TORRES, announced on Twitter that her storied label, 4AD, had dropped her from a planned three-album deal “for not being commercially successful enough.” It was an upsetting blow, particularly given the strength of TORRES’ third album, Three Futures, an alluring art-pop concept album examining bodily pleasure with Kraftwerk and CAN as aural reference points. Our full range of studio equipment from all the leading equipment and software brands. It’s no wonder he titled his now classic sophomore record Lonerism: Those 12 songs document the internal anger, anxiety and social self-sabotage of a man who so badly wanted to be personable and in love, but was legitimately unable to even muster up the courage to talk to a woman he was interested in. Through scratchy indie rock (“Don’t Ask Me Twice,” “Give/Take”), grand punk (“Lilac”) and even auto-tuned pop (“Something”), Porridge Radio take pop songs much further than listeners might’ve thought possible. Rose’s Lavender follow-up The Caretaker is smaller in scale. The latter plays strictly in the mode of garage rock. —Scott Russell, Dan Bejar’s songs often sound like part of the soundtrack to a movie that exists only in his mind. It can be difficult, at times, to make out what exactly she’s getting at in any given verse, but there’s an overwhelming sensation that what she’s singing is vastly important. As Rose embraces her craft’s most hermit-like aspects, she consolidates her longtime fascinations with change and disconnectedness into grim portraits of whom she becomes when she doesn’t maintain her closest relationships and properly tend to (the ever-marketable art of) self-care. Shauf’s storytelling and uncanny realism have long been the linchpin of his appeal as an artist, though his previous release, The Party, showcased his talent on a whole other level. But Apple isn’t just sitting on these songs during the long gaps between albums; she’s buffing them to perfection. Silver Tongue, TORRES’ excellent fourth album—and first for Merge—is the result of that defiant burst. Her record Out in the Storm, which we named one of the best albums of that year, displayed a whole new side of the singer. or studio (Universal, Disney, Warner Bros….). Facebook10LikeShareTweet With this being the year of the pandemic, many indie rock bands and artists’ 2020 releases were simply ‘missed’ as indie music fans’ lives were turned upside down. She’s said as much. DJ equipment. Not so with The Prettiest Curse. —Steven Edelstone, With The Loves of Your Life, former The Walkmen frontman Hamilton Leithauser expands his scope in a searching spirit, satiating his hunger for connection with the stories of others. One of this year’s highlights arrived early in … Brighton, U.K. quartet Porridge Radio grapple with these questions on their new album Every Bad. Beabadoobee – Fake It Flowers [Dirty Hit] Fake It Flowers, the debut from the British singer-songwriter Bea Kristi, is such an earnest homage to the 1990s that it's hard to find fault with it. It’s a devastating tune about death and depression, and if it ended at the three-minute mark, it would still be a stunner. Because you’ve been there (probably), and because Bridgers has been there, too, and she knows how to make this song about a stranger’s overdose into a highly relatable moment. The word “indie” once strictly implied “independent,” meaning the release, be it a film or album or what have you, was put out without the money and resources that come along with a major label (your Atlantics, Columbias, etc.) It’s an astute pivot for Rose, and an indicator that she is anything but your typical ascendant artist. On Loner, Rose placed the system surrounding fame and celebrity squarely in her crosshairs. Superstar proves itself a tightly knit satire of celebrity, effective thanks to Rose’s sharp storytelling and her calculated use of distortion, which highlights the artificial quality of the protagonist’s new surroundings. As … Every aspect of the central storyline—an ex randomly showing up after moving out of town, bad jokes, drunken ramblings—feels like it could be happening at your local dive just a couple blocks from your apartment. Saint Cloud is a whole new world. They’re also masters of grooves both meditative and invigorating, and they experiment with foreground and background sounds in mind-numbing ways. It’s quite incredible that Quinlan managed to make the song so unrecognizable that I listened to the whole thing without even realizing it was a cover of the legendary Boise, Idaho indie band’s biggest hit. Their second album’s roots run deep through their creative output to this point: The chords of b-side standout “Cameo” originally belonged to Hope Downs’ abandoned title track, while the chorus of closer “The Cool Change” first appeared in a song Tom Russo, White and Keaney performed in a previous band back in the 2000s. Visit Juno Studio. Gone were the fortified bedroom pop of 2015’s Ivy Tripp, the rock-tinged freak-folk musings of her 2013 stunner Cerulean Salt and the brainy lo-fi recordings of her 2012 debut American Weekend. These kinds of details ground her work in the same way shading makes a still life painting pop. Marigold also follows Skylight’s tendencies to aim for a softer, more delicate, more intimate sound than anything on Cardinal. Over the course of Half Waif’s discography, Nandi Rose’s music has expanded from bucolic soundscapes into icier portraits. That’s particularly obvious on “The Alarmist,” as Hall nearly whispers the final line of the first verse: “I whisper to myself / Then I’m spinning it half around / Like an echo / A faraway sound / Saying, ‘be good to me.’” Though the first stanza makes it seem like this is a song about the breakdown of a relationship and Hall’s inability to communicate effectively, that raw “be good to me” refrain feels wholly personal, directed towards himself and no one else. The former reads mostly the same, but occasionally brightened with layers of pop. —Max Freedman, Emotions are not absolute. But Shadow Talk, the second album from Chicago experimental five-piece Cafe Racer, reaches heady emotional and sonic heights, not by leaning on overused effects or sprinkling meaningless, abstract imagery, but by expecting more out of a song and its lyrics. In comparison to the expansive sound of his recent work with indie four-piece Foxwarren, the woozy woodwind, warm piano and guitar (all played by Shauf himself) come across as if they are being played in the small back room of a bar. So it’s funny that Fetch the Bolt Cutters is exactly what so many expected it to be: brilliant. The things we want and need are always changing, and trying to communicate that to other people often leads to confusion or frustration. —Scott Russell, There should be a law requiring Hinds to release all of their future albums during the summer season in perpetuity. If Out in the Storm was a tornado of sound and emotion, Saint Cloud, Crutchfield’s fifth album under the Waxahatchee alias (out Friday, March 27 on Merge Records) is the calm that comes afterwards. —Lizzie Manno, The whole idea behind releasing or performing a cover is to add your own spin to it: Otherwise, what’s the point? Most of the songs here feel a bit rougher around the edges, which is partly what gives them so much charm. She doesn’t like to do what is expected of her. Now, though, as her star is rising, Rose has turned that critical eye inward. Written, recorded, produced and mixed in Leithauser’s cramped, DIY New York City studio The Struggle Hut, the album achieves a powerful sense of place, capturing the city and its innumerable narratives—NYC is well-trod creative territory, to say the least, and could have easily made for a mundane effort in the hands of a lesser songwriter. It’s one thing for a band to capture a world in chaos, but it’s much more difficult to accurately capture a mind in chaos—Porridge Radio make it look like a cakewalk. —Clare Martin, Even when they were young teens, it was obvious that Disq knew how to write great pop songs. The words “I’m not knocking,” even when spoken out of context, will get “Carry the Zero” stuck in one’s head for hours. It’s kind of a “know-it-when-you-hear-it” situation. The intimacy of the story is bolstered by the album’s production and Shauf’s deft instrumentation. While earning their stripes as an opening band, playing with acts like Shame, Jay Som and Girlpool, it was hard to determine which direction they would go since their shows were much punkier than any of their recordings up until that point. Over the last 25 years, she has made five albums that have all—in due time—ascended to holy text status, even if it took some longer than others to come around to her genius. 100% Secure Shopping. Britpop Dream Pop Grunge Indie Rock Industrial Rock Rap Rock Garage Rock Latin Alternative Post-Punk Emo Punk Rock Echoes A Life Divided 2020 $1.95 Haunted Painting Sad13 2020 $1.65 Headlining festivals and writing for pop and rap stars, Kevin Parker is finally confident. “Can’t Do Much,” a single released ahead of the record, possesses that old-time lilt and a head-over-heels chorus that sounds like something Lucinda Williams may have spat out on Essence. Indie rock is an ever-evolving genre spanning bedroom recordings and Jack Antonoff-produced powerhouses. It’s a world not unlike our own, but that’s part of the appeal, really. The album’s clear standout (and one of the year’s best songs), “Kyoto,” features Bridgers’ crunchiest guitar riffs yet, a soaring chorus and the travails of dealing with someone who can’t quite get their shit together juxtaposed with a wander through a 7-11 and trip to the suburbs to stare at chemtrails. 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