Mac Demarco – This Old Dog
I found this album disappointing at first and I still think it could be pared down a little for my taste, though it is nice seeing Mac being ambitious. The style, with a lot of acoustic guitar and simple repetitive electronics, has varying results for me depending on mood. Seeing this album live especially demonstrates that there aren’t as many bangers here as his other albums, but the toning down of washy jizz jazz lets the lyrics, which are intimate and heartfelt, room to breathe.
Thee Oh Sees – Orc
Although not one of my most listened to albums of the year, Orc has a great aggressive but playful garage-rock sound and is incredibly consistent. I especially like the synths, that sound quite 8-bit at times.
King Gizzard – Microtonal Flying Bannana
I don’t think any of King Gizzard’s albums this year have been perfect, and though I like Murder of the Universe more than many seem to, Microtonal is more re-listenable and seems to take itself more seriously than their usual output.
Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
Kenny is yet to release an album perfect for me, despite being one of my favourite artists of the moment. Humble, the first track released, is a banger but hard to love when compared with the artistry of To Pimp a Butterfly. DNA, XXX and especially Duckworth all hit hard. Some of the softer songs were really fantastic on initial listens but wore out their charm surprisingly fast. I am not a fan of the Kung Fu Kenny segments and I don’t think they are ageing well beyond the hype-fuelled first listen. Despite all that, I like the conciser selection of mostly great songs.
Japanese Breakfast – Soft Sounds
Not an album that blows me away, but it is a subtle but beautiful record that is more of a sonic hug than a tour de force. This album builds on the dream pop of her last record and steers it into a unique direction.
BROCKHAMPTON – SATURATION II
I don’t have much to say about this mighty album, beside that I was totally addicted to it when I first heard it in a way that I don’t usually get with music: I can usually pace myself. The whacky, synth-heavy beats, eclectic characters in the team and fresh themes won Brockhampton a place in my heart.