Sorry that this article was a bit delayed, MATES. I was just busy ya know, teaching America’s youth. I’ll make sure to phone it in next year. They can just do their learning on youtube.
I could have done this like some, and just put my Spotify wrapped on here. *Ahem* shots fired. Regurgitating my data like some sort of joyless momma bird. But this is Indiepong and we talk about new music damnit! (Unless you’re Sunday, Monday and occasionally Tuesday George. Then you just do whatever the hell you please, because time is relative anyways). So, with no further ado, here are my top songs of the year. Enjoy!
Month – Dehd
It’s been a struggle to not to write this whole article about Flower of Devotion by Dehd. This album is that good. The Chicago Trio of Emily Kempf (bass and vocals), Jason Balla (guitar and vocals), and Eric McGrady (drums and, you guessed it, VOCALS) absolutely destroy every song on this album. It would be pretty one-dimensional if I just talked about one album, so I chose just to talk about one track, “Month”. “Month” trudges along like the sands of time, slowly building, until it crests just to crumble; reminding us that everything is temporary, and our perception of the present is just an illusion. Woah…
I know that this song is called “Month”, but it feels exactly like a week to me:
Monday, it’s slow and you’re three coffees deep, shitting your brains out and feeling miserable; it’s just guitar, Jason Balla crooning, and a rumbly tummy.
Tuesday rolls around and we start to get into our groove, cue the drums.
We are at Wednesday now, we are on to the first verse. Everything is (sort of) running smoothly, we think to ourselves, “Hey, maybe I’ll have a beer tonight. I friggin’ deserve it!” A smile crests your face.
Ahh glorious Thursday, now we have some backing vocals, as our internal monologue finally turns positive. Is the sun brighter? Is the guitar a bit faster? Maybe it is, maybe I’m just a happy boy now 🙂
Friday rolls around and we take a moment to breath before we really start to crescendo. We can feel it building in our loins. We can’t hold it back anymore…
WEEKEND! WEEKEND! DISTORTION AND SCREAMS FOR JOY. EVERYTHING MAKES SENSE. THIS IS HOW THEY LIVE IN SPAIN!!!!
And then Monday comes back around, and we are back to shitting our brains out after mildly overdosing on caffeine.
Art really is a reflection of life, huh?
Racetrack – Beach Bunny
This song is so melancholy it’s amazing. I’m pretty sure when I put this on, I manifested a light drizzle and a cardigan. The piano tone in this is what really does it for me. My grandparents had this upright piano in their basement that sounded… dusty. I mean that’s not the technical term but listen to this piano in this song. It’s so dusty, and I love that for it.
At the 1:00 mark there’s an instrumentation that would even make the most stoic listener sway. For whatever reason, it reminds me of those old boxes where a ballerina would spin, and a tune would play when you open it. The whole purpose of this song is to make us sob, which is beautiful but also a little bit rude. I listen to this song in public, Lili Trifilio, and scream crying in a Trader Joes frozen isle is generally frowned upon.
Anyways, this song is rad.
Something to Rap About (feat. Tyler, the Creator) – Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist
Coming into 2020 Freddie Gibbs was on a complete tear. Since 2018 he had released Freddie, Fetti, and Bandana. That’s absolutely wild. I was extremely jazzed when I heard that he was going to be releasing another album with The Alchemist entitled “Fettuccini”. Fettuccini is nothing less than another classic. On the track Something to Rap About, Freddie and Tyler take us on an experience.
This beat is essentially the humidor of rap beats. I’ve never heard an instrumental sound like a bear skin rug and fine brandy, but hey, here we are. On top of this luxurious beats we have Fredward Gibbs just talking his shit. Some lines of note: “God made me sell crack, so I had something to rap about”. Another gem, “Crime fucking pays, but once you’re paid, you got to pay the man”. He continues to show us why all of the most highly regarded producers want to make colab albums with him. I know that I for one would love to see a Knxwledge and Gibbs album in the future. Just saying…
I love Freddie. Completely and unequivocally. Fettuccini, Pinata, and Bandana are three of my favorite rap albums right now. With all that being said, Tyler completely kills this song. He comes in and has one of the best openings to a verse that I’ve maybe ever heard, and it pairs to this beat like an aged gouda and a robust cabernet: “Nail is in the coffin, Freddie sent me this shit. This sound like the boat I haven’t bought yet. This sound like the moment I jump off it. Sun shinin’, cold water fillin’ in my pockets”. Exactly, Tyler… Exactly.
Fire – Waxahatchee
Okay, another song with a dusty piano sound. I think there’s a pattern, but patterns are more of my therapist’s thing. I live in the now babbby. This song is a bit more country leaning than what I would generally indulge in. There’s just something about Katie Crutchfield’s voice that I can’t get enough of.
In my original article that I wrote about this whole album, I said that Katie’s voice was “sort of tinny”. I want to backtrack that. Her voice is cutting. It shines through the subdued piano to bring a listener to their senses, akin to an auditory smelling salt. I still feel like I’m not doing this justice, but seriously, her voice throughout this song is absolutely amazing.
As the song progresses and more instruments are layered over Katie’s Killer Pipes (patent pending) it continues to build depth and emotion. What remains consistent is that auditory smelling salt. Sometimes on these songs where the whole purpose is to layer and texture throughout the song, it can get muddy or overwhelming. Katie’s falsetto keeps us present, keeps us engaged, and washes away any of that fuzziness. It cleanses us, like the waters of the majestic Waxahatchee.
Don’t Give Up – Lee Fields & The Expressions
Okay guys… I’m slipping this one in on a technicality. This song was released as a single in 2019. But, the album that it was released on, Big Crown Vaults Vol. 1 – Lee Fields & The Expressions, came out in 2020. Don’t hate me please.
This song is quickly ascending the ranks as my favorite Lee Fields song. The desperation in Lee Fields voice matched with the string accompaniments is *chefs kiss*. One of my favorite things about this song really has to be the juxtaposition of that guitar riff to the strings. The guitar in the chorus is, by all means, pretty simple with an absolute ripper of a strings arrangement over it. The guitar sets you up just for the strings to kick your ass and tell you, “We do not give up here”.
This song really is a sight to behold… but like for your ears.
– “Lightning” – Tiger Lili
– “One Way Flight” – Benny the Butcher feat Freddie Gibbs
– “Flying” – Dehd
– “Good Girls Don’t Get Used” – Beach Bunny
– “Any More Than You Want” – Twin Peaks
– “Punks in the Palace” – Last Quokka
– “Where to Start” – Bully
– “Best Interest” – Tyler the Creator