Smog – Red Apple Falls

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Americana, Slowcore, Alt-Country, Loner Folk

Vibe: Existential, Warm, Morning, Spiritual, Deadpan, Peaceful, Poetic, Introspective, Lonely, Melancholy, Mellow, Contemplative, Intimate

Musical Qualities: Slow, Lo-fi, Lush, Soft, Sparse, Lyrical

Instrumentation: Pedal Steel, Piano, Hammond Organ, Guitar, Trumpet, Drums, Drum Machine, Hurdy Gurdy, French Horn

Deerhunter – Cryptograms/Fluorescent Grey EP

Style: Noise Pop, Neo-Psychedelia, Shoegaze

Vibe: Cryptic, Surreal, Hypnotic, Ethereal, Nocturnal, Anxious, Washy

Musical Qualities: Noisy, Fuzzy, Catchy, Atmospheric, Lo-fi, Reverbed Production, Repetitive

mewithoutYou – Brother, Sister

Style: Post-Hardcore, Art Rock, Folk-Influenced

Vibe: Spiritual, Poetic, Angsty, Introspective, Psychedelic, Energetic, Autumnal, Passionate, Sombre

Themes: Existential, Religious (Christian), Personal, Allegory, Symbolic, Philosophical

Musical Qualities: Spoken Word, Shouting, Groovy, Lush, Dense, Dynamic, Progressive

Hiss Golden Messenger – Poor Moon

Style: Americana, Country Soul, Singer/Songwriter, Folk Rock

Vibe: Warm, Introspective, Existential, Rustic, Mystical, Reflective, Uplifting, Christian

Musical Qualities: Lush, Melodic, Lyrical

Irreversible Entanglements – Open the Gates

Style: Free Jazz, Future Jazz, Jazz Poetry, Liberation Music

Vibe: Ritualistic, Triumphant, Aquatic, Communal, Futuristic, Philosophical, Poetic, Anthemic, Cerebral, Confident, Conscious, Determined, Epic, Existential, Groovy, Healing, Heavy, Liberation, Political, Powerful, Rebellious, Evocative, Mystical, Intertwined

Musical Qualities: Thematic, Collective Improvisation, Acoustic Instrumentation, Spoken Word, Progressive Structures, Rhythmic, Polyphonic, Dynamic, Complex, Dub Fx

Media Jeweler – The Sublime Sculpture of Being Alive

Style: Post-Punk, Math Rock, Art Rock

Vibes/Moods: Alienation, Overstimulated, Anxious, Urban, Eccentric, Anthemic, Satirical, Dystopian, Angular, Chaotic, Colorful, Urban, Philosophical, Playful

Musical Qualities: Catchy, Dissonant, Riffs, Dynamic, Dense, Melodic, Rhythmic

Van Der Graaf Generator – H to He Who Am the Only One

Style: Progressive Rock, Jazz Rock, Symphonic Prog

Vibe: Alienation, Longing, Sentimental, Dramatic, Heartfelt, Cathartic, Introspective, Existential, Theatric, Lonely, Sad, Passionate, Epic

Musical Qualities: Technical, Progressive, Complex, Dynamic, Ballads

Instrumentation: Piano, Organ, Acoustic Guitar, Saxophones (Alto, Tenor, Baritone), Flute, Drums, Tympani, Electric Bass

Swans – The Glowing Man

Style: Experimental Rock, Post Rock

Vibe: Cathartic, Visceral, Spiritual, Brooding, Shadowy, Apocalyptic, Ritualistic, Suspenseful, Climactic, Dark, Powerful, Heavy, Cryptic, Philosophical, Surreal, Epic, Hypnotic, Sombre, Meditative, Mysterious, Monolithic, Longing, Existential, Disorienting

Musical Qualities: Dynamic, Repetitive, Dense, Crescendo, Rhythmic, Droney

Peter Hammill – The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage

Style: Progressive Songwriter, Art Rock

Vibe: Dramatic, Intimate, Longing, Existential, Theatric, Lonely, Alienation, Ambitious

Musical Qualities: Dynamic, Complex, Progressive, Studio-as-an-Instrument

Instrumentation: Piano, Vocals, Guitars (Acoustic & Electric), Organ, Horns, Flute, Keyboards, Saxophone, Flute, Drums, Mellotron

Loma – Loma

Style: Art Pop, Ambient Pop

Influences: Chamber-Folk, Trip-Hop, Slowcore, Post-Rock

Vibe: Existential, Introspective, Brooding, Gossamer, Dreamy, Melancholy, Reflective, Moody, Eclectic

Musical Qualities: Lush, Atmospheric, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Lyrical

Bobby Brown – The Enlightening Beam of Axonda

Style: Experimental Songwriter, Spiritual Folk, Avant-Folk, Outsider Folk

Vibe: Spiritual, Adventure, Alienation, Cathartic, Cryptic, Eccentric, Existential, Loner, Poetic, Psychedelic, Storytelling, Tribal, Tropical, Warm

Musical Qualities: Homemade Instruments, Acoustic, One Man Band, Percussive, Spoken Word, Progressive

Sarah Louise – Earth Bow

Style: Free Folk, Cosmic Appalachia, Ambient Folk, Healing Music

Vibe: hypnotic, amorphous, confident, cosmic, dreamy, earthy, ethereal, existential, exploratory, forest, warm, spiritual, spontaneous, soothing, psychedelic, passionate, nature, meditative, hallucinogenic

Musical Qualities: Suite, Electro-Acoustic, Studio-as-an-instrument, Loops, Home Recording, Progressive, Field Recordings

Bonnie Prince Billy – Ask Forgiveness

Bonnie covers Björk, Mickey Newbury, Danzig, R. Kelly and others with help from Espers’ Meg Baird & Greg Weeks

Style: Folk, Slowcore, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Introspective, Morning, Melancholy, Existential, Bittersweet

Musical Qualities: Covers, Vocal Harmonies, Sparse, Soft, Acoustic

Richard Dawson – 2020 [Review]

Style: Progressive Songwriter, Art Rock, Progressive Pop

Vibe: Satirical, Depressive, Anxious, Dystopian, Bright, Eccentric, Existential, Longing, Pessimistic, Urban, Storytelling

Musical Qualities: Complex, Dense, Progressive, Intricate, Dynamic, Conceptual

Hiss Golden Messenger – Haw

Style: Country-Soul, Americana, Singer/Songwriter


Vibe: Passionate, Rootsy, Rural, Spiritual, Triumphant, Uplifting, Warm, Contemplative, Introspective

Musical Attributes: Lush, Lyrical

Lyrical Themes: Existential, Christian

Slint – Spiderland

Style: Post-Rock, Math Rock, Post-Hardcore, Slowcore

Vibe: Angsty, Angular, Cold, Heavy, Impressionistic, Suspenseful

Lyrical Themes: Alienation, Existential, Poetic, Storytelling

Musical Attributes: Dynamic, Slow, Dissonant, Raw, Repetitive

Mount Eerie – Sauna

Style: Experimental Singer/Songwriter, Avant-Folk, Drone

Vibe: Winter, Existential, Imaginative, Introspective, Contemplative, Epic, Philosophical, Poetic, Ethereal, Loner, Meditative, Eclectic

Musical Attributes: Atmospheric, Droney, Lo-Fi, Lyrical, Progressive

Holy Sons – Raw & Disfigured

Style: Loner Folk, Psych Rock, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Introspective, Loner, Dark, Nocturnal, Psychedelic

Lyrical Themes: Philosophical, Existential, Death, Personal

Musical Attributes: Lush, Melodic, Lyrical

Loma – Don’t Shy Away

Style: Art Pop, Trip-Hop, Ambient Pop

Vibe: Existential, Brooding, Cathartic, Exploratory, Futuristic, Heartfelt, Introspective, Sentimental

Musical Attributes: Atmospheric, Loops, Polished, Lush, Progressive, Headphone Album, Lyrical

David Bowie – Black Star

Style: Art Rock, Jazz-Rock
Vibe: Introspective, Moody, Passionate, Sentimental, Sombre, Conceptual
Musical Attributes: Lyrical, Complex, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Rhythmic, Progressive
Lyrical Themes: Death, Existential, Personal, Reflective

Lonnie Holley – Mith

Style: Experimental Singer-Songwriter, Soul Blues, Psychedelic Soul

Vibe: Imaginative, Bluesy, Cathartic, Conscious, Cosmic, Spiritual, Heartfelt, Passionate, Psychedelic, Rootsy, Bittersweet, Poetic

Lyrical Themes: Existential, Afro-Futurism, History, Racism, Reflective

Musical Attributes: Atmospheric, Lyrical, Improvisation, Raw, Studio-as-an-Instrument

Instrumentation: Vocals, Piano, Synthesizers, Keyboards, Saxophone, Trombone, Percussion

The Microphones – The Glow Pt. 2

Style: Lo-Fi, Experimental Singer/Songwriter, Loner Folk
Vibe: Heartfelt, Imaginative, Introspective, Nature, Intimate, Loner, Bittersweet, Depressive, Psychedelic, Raw, Lonely
Lyrical Themes: Existential, Alienation, Breakup, Philosophical, Poetic, Personal, Death
Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Noisy, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Analogue Recording, lo-fi, Distorted

Sly & the Family Stone – There’s a Riot Goin’ On

Style: Psychedelic Funk

Vibe: Triumphant, Energetic, Anthemic, Communal, Rebellious, Groovy, Sunny, Psychedelic, Powerful, Confident, Eclectic, Complex

The Flaming Lips – The Terror

Released in 2013 on Bella Union UK Pressing Format: LPx2, Bonus 7″, Holographic Cover Studio album takes up sides A, … More

Human Behavior – Bethpage

The apocalyptic chamber-folk of Bethpage soundtracks multiple chapters of cryptic storytelling, mixing one’s darkest thoughts with religious imagery and allegory through banjo sing-alongs and haunting spoken word passages. The heavy climaxes are whirlwinds of bombastic drums, driving bass, fiddle, clarinet, and banjo that often recall the communal chamber-punk of Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra. While many tracks feel seeped in shadow and darkness, a heavenly light occasionally floods in through some truly serene and beautiful passages.

Young Jesus – The Whole Thing is Just There

The Whole Thing is Just There is another beautiful and life-affirming release from Young Jesus, the second with the current L.A. iteration of the band. Their inter-band chemistry seems stronger than ever, with telepathic improvisations, symbiotic catharses, and a mutual love for each other that is easily felt from a listener’s perspective. The lyrics deal with self-exploration and one’s relationship with the world around them, finding solace in spirituality, existentialism, literature, and the ethos of free jazz. Stylistically the music seems rooted in late-90’s indie rock and emo, with seamless but adventurous detours into post-rock, noisy post-hardcore, and free improvisation. Excited to see where these guys go next.