With #BestOf2020 coverage having been fully underway here at Nine Circles for a couple of weeks, it’s time for a bit of a breather. Time to crank down the volume, switch off the HM-2 pedal, and talk some non-metal for a change. If you read Ian’s end-of-year Rainbows in the Dark post and thought to yourself, “boy, I sure would like a two-and-a-half-hour audio version of THAT,” well, reader, have I got the post for you!
A little while back — okay, basically a month back now, because I work in a hospital and doing anything productive when I’m not at work has been a tall order this year — fellow non-metal aficionado Chris Voss and I sat down to talk about our favorite stuff from all the other genres that dropped this year. There’s some shoegaze and some folk, some powerful hip-hop and some super-catchy synth pop. We covered as many bases as we could, for a near Buke-sized amount of time.
So if you, too, need a break from all the heavy stuff, jump on in and check it out. If anything strikes your interest, our full lists are included below the episode audio. Maybe some of the stuff that floated our boats will float yours too!
It seems a lot of metal bands these days enjoy playing with subgenres and creating hybrid sounds. I love the creativity of these groups and their courage to explore the space and make something unique. Australia’s Empress is one of those experimental bands and their latest release, Wait ‘Til Night, is an alluring combination of shoegaze, doom, indie, post-metal, and black metal. This album is dark yet delicate, haunting, and dreamy. The band’s signature sound is fine tuned in this, their sophomore album.
Beautiful and harrowing, angry and demanding, blistering yet hopeful, Svalbard’s When I Die Will I Get Better? is a triumph of creativity and authenticity. If you draw a Venn diagram of post-hardcore, shoegaze, and feminist treatise, this album would land smack dab in the center. It isn’t quite any of those things, but it is a brilliant album worth listening to this very instant.
In the liner notes to They Don’t Sleep Anymore, the third full length from Chris Pandolfo, aka Clouds Collide, he concludes with “Unintentionally, It’s far and away the most personal album but I am confident it will find a way to connect to people.” That confidence is well-founded, because like his previous albums, and like so many pieces of art that deal with the intensely personal, those details impart a universal connectedness trivial generalities never could hope to attain.
It also helps that They Don’t Sleep Anymore is fantastic; far and away the best (in a series of great things) thing Clouds Collide have released. Continue reading →
I can’t recall how I stumbled across the first single from Spotted Horse by Glassing, maybe a friend’s recommendation or a random Bandcamp find, but I do know that “Lobe” grabbed me instantly. Raw emotional anger is my catnip, one of the few things that laser focuses my attention, and that 1:47 packed a whole lot. Yet despite the in-your-face post-hardcore nature of the track, the album holds a secret: it’s actually a wonderfully complex post-rock album.Continue reading →