There's less than a month left in 2020, and the year-end lists are officially pouring in (we've been posting a bunch by artists and other tastemakers, and our own lists are coming soon), but great 2020 albums aren't done coming out yet - especially this year, which has more notable December releases than usual (probably due to delays caused by COVID-19).

I highlight five of this week's new albums below, but first, some honorable mentions: the final Joan of Arc album, Drakeo The Ruler, the Quarter-Life Crisis (aka Ryan Hemsworth) EP (ft. members of Hop Along, Hand Habits, Hovvdy, Claud & Yohuna), Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross' Mank score, the Steve Lacy demos comp, Red City Radio, Retaliate, SUSS, Dezron Douglas & Brandee Younger, Lavender Diamond, Alex Maas (Black Angels), Cryptodira, Growing Stone (Taking Meds), the Yung Baby Tate EP, the Late Ones EP, the cursetheknife EP, the Kelly Moran / Prurient split, the Arctic Monkeys live album, the Deafheaven live-in-studio album, the orchestral Sigur Ros album, the Raging Nathans/Reaganomics split EP, Khruangbin's Late Night Tales, Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders' GarciaLive Volume 15, the Calexico holiday album, the Mark Lanegan holiday album (as Dark Mark), and the White Stripes greatest hits.

Today is also another of Bandcamp's monthly fundraisers, during which Bandcamp waives their cut of sales and gives 100% of profits to artists and labels, so if you're buying new music today, we recommend doing it there. We also have a separate list of special/exclusive Bandcamp releases that are out today (including some that raise money for charity).

Read on for my five picks. What's your favorite release of the week?


Respire - Black Line
Church Road

Toronto's Respire have been making boundary-pushing heavy music since debuting a half-decade ago, and their third album Black Line just might be their best yet. Previously a band known for introspection, this record looks outwards at "a world growing increasingly ill... a world that abets the rise of fascism and drives climate catastrophe," and it's also their most musically ambitious. It's got melodic black metal blasts that nail the heavy/beautiful divide as well as anything by Deafheaven or Alcest, orchestral post-rock that's towering enough to rival Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and shouty screamo that brings to mind the emotive yet experimental sounds of bands like Circle Takes The Square and City of Caterpillar. It also works in an array of other sounds, from clean-sung emo to roaring sludge metal, and it does all of this in a way that's entirely seamless. This is an album where you don't know if you should call it screamo or metal or none of the above; it can't be pigeonholed. It's also an album that feels like heavy music's answer to Broken Social Scene - like on that band's classics, almost every individual song on Black Line is a mini epic of its own, and they're so climactic that almost any of them sound like they could be the grand finale. When do you finally get to the closing crescendo of final track "Catacombs Part II," though, you'd never argue with Black Line's sequencing. There's no better way this intense journey could have ended.

Black Line is pay-what-you-want on Bandcamp today through Monday.

Rico Nasty Nightmare Vacation

Rico Nasty - Nightmare Vacation
Sugar Trap/Atlantic)

Rico Nasty became a household name by the end of 2018, the year she released her breakthrough and Atlantic debut, Nasty, and she kept that momentum going with the Kenny Beats-produced Anger Management in early 2019, when her hype was at its highest. As good as Anger Management was, it was a shorter, lower-stakes release, not exactly the proper full-length followup to Nasty. Now, over year and a half after Anger Management and two and a half years after Nasty, Rico has released her long-awaited full-length, Nightmare Vacation. Kenny Beats may have been Rico's go-to producer as she was breaking through, but here she works with a new cast of producers -- including Take A Daytrip (Sheck Wes, Travis Scott), Buddah Bless (Megan Thee Stallion, Migos), Avedon (Megan Thee Stallion, Tee Grizzley), and members of hyperpop duo 100 gecs -- who help her expand her sound in all kinds of exciting ways. Nightmare Vacation has plenty of Rico Nasty's classic punk-rap sound, but it also has the warmer, smoother sounds of the Aminé-featuring "Back & Forth," the rubbery funk slap of "Own It," some of 100 gecs' own hyperpop on "IPHONE," and a handful of other tweaks to Rico's sound. Nasty was kind of a grower within the collective consciousness, so it's hard to say how this album (which comes after several major music publications already published their year-end lists) will ultimately be received in comparison, but it feels like an undeniably strong batch of songs and it finds Rico successfully navigating new territory without abandoning the sound she made her mark with. For an artist who's still relatively new, that's a good place to be.

Rico also put out a video for "STFU" along with the album:

Your Old Droog

Your Old Droog - Dump YOD: Krutoy Edition
Mongoloid Banks

Brooklyn rapper Your Old Droog released three albums in 2019 but then had a mostly quiet 2020, until finally emerging with this new album. While his previous album Jewelry found him embracing his Jewish heritage, this new album finds the Ukranian-American rapper exploring his Eastern European roots. Droog does that in his lyrics and with some of his samples, but the overall vibe is still what Droog fans know and love: '90s-style New York rap with bars that hit hard enough to rival Droog's biggest influences. (To quote a line from Droog's 2017 album Packs: "I'm sick of these sycophants that want make their idols proud, I want my hero to hear me and shit his pants." Judging by this new album, his goals haven't changed.) The album was executive produced by Mach-Hommy and Tha God Fahim, and they both appear on the album, alongside El-P, Black Thought, Phonte of Little Brother, billy woods, and Tvoy. That list includes some of the most legendary MCs to ever appear on a Your Old Droog album, and Droog still stands tall next to the best of them.


Clearbody - One More Day

The crossover between shoegaze and heavy music has birthed more new bands in the past few years than it ever has before. But even as this subgenre gets increasingly crowded, and even as classic bands like Hum and Deftones released landmark albums in this style this year, there's always room for another band to leave their mark, and one of the latest bands to do so is North Carolina's Clearbody. Their debut album One More Day is a lean eight songs, one of which is a lovely acoustic song, and the other seven of which show off a masterful blend of punk and shoegaze. Comparisons to Hum, Title Fight, Nothing, etc will be made, but Clearbody stand out because they really bring their own distinct vibe to the table. It's easy for shoegazy bands to crank up the reverb and fall into "style over substance" territory, but Clearbody are great songwriters whose music is just as powerful when it's just a guitar and a voice (as that acoustic song proves). Their songs really stick with you, and with just a short, rock-solid selection of them, Clearbody leave you wanting more.

Moore Family Band

The Moore Family Band - Missy
Asian Man Records

The Moore Family Band were formed during the pandemic by three siblings who moved back home together, Alyssa (lead vocals), Randy (guitar/bass), and Dylan Moore (drums/back-up vocals), the latter two of whom also play in indie-punk band Get Married (regular of The Fest, 924 Gilman, etc). They not only quickly gained the support of venerable label Asian Man Records (which Get Married is also signed to) but of scene veterans Jeff Rosenstock and Dan Potthast, both of whom play on this record. Their debut album Missy (named after the family dog) is 22 and a half minutes of crunchy, catchy power pop in the spirit of '90s bands like Weezer and that dog., and TMFB do a ton of justice to that sound. It may have been created in isolation, but it's a bright, loud record full of songs that could soar through a cavernous venue or festival crowd. It's a short, fast, unfussy batch of songs, and it's super fun to listen to. A nice little silver lining of the limitations of quarantine.


Looking for more recent releases? Browse the Notable Releases archive or keep scrolling down for previous weeks.

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