Author’s Note: I, for one, hate best-of lists. You can’t make me narrow down the myriad releases of the year into a top ten, a top twenty, or a top one hundred. What I will do, however, is break down a handful of the great EPs and full-lengths that have been released this year, and recommend a handful of them based on their genre. Everybody’s looking for something, as the Annie Lennox line goes, and thus, I bring you these genre round-ups.
Blac Kolor - Extinction (aufnahme + wiedergabe)
Coldwave is all about minimalism, with a less is more approach favored over a bunch of bells, whistles, and bullshit. Blac Kolor marry that with the old dub sound on Extinction, a four-track release that is effective and substantial, clocking in at nearly thirty minutes. Will these four numbers wreck a dance floor? Debatable. Are they still damn fun to move along to? Absolutely. The closing “Screwdriver” provides a harsher sound, while its predecessor “Viper” sets up an ominous vibe beforehand.
Julien-K - Harmonic Disruptor (self-released)
Closing the four-year gap between this and their previous release, Julien-K looked for $10,000 to finance production of this record and wound up with nearly five times that amount. The idea behind this record was to revisit their original darker sound, and to some extent, mission accomplished. “Burn the System” has the feel of the group’s main project Orgy, going back to that late Nineties / early Naughties alt-rock sound, while “Lies Like Fire” feels more modern. The closing “Undo Everything” brings things closer to the industrial and electronic side of things, but maintains the rock backbone off of which this whole album is constructed.
The Anix - Graphite (FiXT)
Though the knee-jerk reaction may be to call The Anix electronic rock, there’s plenty of meat on the bone, enough that limiting the perception to just that label is doing a disservice. The opening “Still Standing” invokes memories of Mellon Collie-era Smashing Pumpkins, while “Die With You” stands as an alt-rock anthem. Tracks like “Do You Remember” and “Illusion of Control,” the latter of which features Aura Shred, lean more on the electronic side of things, but this one never stays in one realm or another for long. Go out of your way to seek this record out, it’s a dream to listen to.
Trevor Something - Microwaves & Deep Wave Data Dark Web Daemons (Independent)
Trevor Something is a one-man electronic project that can take many different forms. Between his two 2020 releases, there are flavors of synthwave, industrial, hip-hop, and ambient music, and it feels incredibly fresh the whole way through. “Machina” has a feeling of Naughties-era NIN, while “Selling My Soul” brings some hard guitars for a more metallic sheen. Microwaves features a titular interlude with the titular appliance, before “No One Cares” brings in some dreamy synthpop. As of this printing, both records are Name Your Price on Bandcamp, so there’s not much to lose by giving these variety show type of records a spin each.