If you think you know what a D.C. band will sound like because you're aware of the rich musical history of this area, you're probably going to be wrong. And if there was ever a group who were intent on pushing boundaries and upsetting all expectations of what D.C. music sounds like, Bottled Up are such a group. Their new album, Crystal, reveals how this outfit, behind singer Rohit Rao, blend elements of glam and Britpop up with a really forceful form of post-punk. I liked nearly every cut on this one, folks.

One of the bands whose sound seems to define the appeal of the skewed-and-scuzzy pop of the PNKSLM label for me, Black Mekon are back. The duo's newest record, The Lumpiness of Demand, serves up the sort of nastiness that makes rock-and-roll a still-dangerous proposition in 2020. And in a year with death hanging over all our shoulders, sometimes we need a little fiery nastiness to give us a reason to rock out.

The new album from Hiroki Tanaka, Kaigo Kioku Kyoku translates into "Caregiving Memory Songs" and that makes sense since it's the result of the musician's experiences serving as the caretaker for his grandmother with Alzheimer's, and uncle with terminal cancer. The record is an odd mix of warmth and glossy electronic textures, but it's one which succeeds at crafting a lingering mood.

Lindsey Radice has made a record that's unassuming and modest and which contains some of the best lo-fi power-pop you're going to hear in 2020. The cuts here are simple and easy to enjoy, and yet they're similar enough to things we've heard before from Young Guv, for example, to make a listener such as myself very, very happy. In that sense, #37, out as of yesterday, is a real treat, and one of this week's best offerings.

I'm cynical enough to say this right off: Kevin Morby desperately wants to be Leonard Cohen. I know I sound like an asshole but I defy you to listen to Sundowner, the new one from the former Babies front-man, out today via Dead Oceans, and tell me that it doens't sound like the late legend. Read into that dig from me a sort of backhanded compliment that Morby almost pulls it off.

It seems like Beabadoobee has spent the last few years building up the sort of buzz that was never going to be entirely sustainable without the eventual delivery of something substantial. The Philippines-born, London-based singer, after releasing a few EP's and other tracks, is here with her debut album. Fake It Flowers, out tomorrow via Dirty Hit, illustrates how well Beabadoobee can translate the quirky appeal of her earlier DIY indie into something a good deal bigger in scope.

A band who sound absolutely nothing like what you think they'll sound like if you look at that picture up there, London's Tugboat Captain are an oddly charming link in a style of music that goes back to The Auteurs and David Devant & His Spirit Wife. The four-piece's newest album, Rut, is out now via Double A-Side Records, and it is full of the kind of tunes that are right up my alley.

Laraaji has made music for decades and whatever he touches is going to be special. The newest release, Moon Piano, out now via All Saints Records, is full of beautiful material that soothes and enriches the soul. There's no other way to state the power that this musician brings to his output.

New Zealand's Dons Savage would be famous enough just for being one of the backing singers on The Chills' legendary "Heavenly Pop Hit" single but she's also famous for her own band. Dead Famous People were one of the seminal New Zealand acts, recording for Flying Nun, and getting played by John Peel, but they never quite achieved the level of attenton that other outfits from that scene received.

By Jay Mukherjee

For those not familiar with David Newton's career, he was one of the founding members of one of my all-time favorite 80's bands, The Mighty Lemon Drops. That group released 6 good-to-great records from 1986 to their ultimate demise in 1993. Newton moved to the United States from his native England in the mid-90's. Since then he has been both a member of some really good bands (like indie-rockers Fonda) and a producer for other cool acts, including the great L.A.
Loading