“Ojos Del Sol,” by Y La Bamba — Portlandians Y La Bamba make eclectic alternative tracks for the growing intersection of Latin-based American indie-folk, garnering incredible support from big names like Billboard and NPR.
“I Ni Sogoma,” by Dinosaur Feathers — Self-described “Brooklyn-based indie-pop purveyors” Dinosaur Feathers are a new age of pop, albeit they’ve been in action for roughly 13 years at this point. Regardless, tracks like “I Ni Sogoma” encapsulate a notably new and fun sound that has long been absent from the COVID-19 soundscape.
“Dream Baby Dream,” by Suicide — Music duo Suicide, composed of vocalist Alan Vega and instrumentalist Martin Rev, were some of the first to coin the phrase “punk music,” though they clearly sit comfortably in some sort of electronica / art-punk genre as opposed to the stereotypical punk image. Rolling Stone once called the crew “an unmeasurable influence” on the sounds of the 1980s and 90s, citing them as progenitors of sounds like synth pop and techno to name a few.
“Dragonball Durag,” by Thundercat — Now a proud double-Grammy winner for his 2020 album It Is What It Is as well as his 2016 contribution on the Kendrick Lamar track “These Walls,” Thundercat stands among many legendary artists as a major name in contemporary R&B and other adjacent genres. “Dragonball Durag” may have dropped a while ago, but it remains a solid psychedelic listen.
“Monks,” by Frank Ocean — An underrated track off of Frank Ocean’s critically acclaimed channel ORANGE, “Monks” tends to slip under radars, but it has earned its place as an integral part of Frank’s discography.
“Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On),” by Talking Heads — I’m a tumbler. I’m a government man.
“Daft Punk Is Playing at My House,” by LCD Soundsystem — We’re all going to miss Daft Punk whether we want to admit it or not.
“Those Who Can’t, Cheat,” by Clarence Clarity — The enigmatic Clarence Clarity, born Adam Mark Crisp, has an unarguable maximalist approach to his own unique form of glitch-pop-meets-funk-meets-noise, earning him oodles of respect from like-minded music artists like Rina Sawayama and Dorian Electra. “Those Who Can’t, Cheat” is off of his legendary 2015 project No NOW, an album marked by its incredibly complex production.
“Man Of Oil,” by Animal Collective — Neo-psychedelia powerhouse Animal Collective rarely makes casual listening sense, hitting and missing repeatedly over their impressive 20+ year run — but they impress much more often than they disappoint. “Man Of Oil” is off of their EP Meeting of the Waters.
“People,” by Silver Jews — Silver Jews initially formed with members David Berman, Bob Nastanovich and Pavement’s own Stephen Malkmus, though Berman proved to be the only constant. This being said, Silver Jews presented Americana in ways no one had thought possible: they made it casually listenable.
“Kaputt,” by Destroyer — Canadian indie rock band Destroyer markedly change their influences every album; frontman Dan Bejar had even stated at one point his goal was to “start from scratch every time” he was in the recording studio. “Kaputt,” off of the aptly titled Kaputt, fails to summarize Destroyer in this regard, but it remains a fairly comfortable listen off of Pitchfork’s second-best album of 2011.
“Grave Architecture,” by Pavement — American indie rock band Pavement initially ignored any sort of public appearance or press, garnering support from the underground with their album releases alone.
“Sea of Nothing,” by Drugdealer — Michael Collins has long experimented with his musical identity, employing different monikers like Run DMT, Salvia Plath and Silk Rhodes for his various projects; Drugdealer stands as his title for his album The End of Comedy, affirming that if people don’t enjoy his pen names, “they probably won’t really like the songs, and that’s just a-ok with me.”