TRAKSE.NET


BEST OF 2020

90

DOWN TO THE LOWEST TERMS: THE SOUL SESSIONS

STEVE ARRINGTON
Down to the Lowest Terms: The Soul Sessions is an album first envisioned by Steve as a young man, essentially decades in the making. The recording took place in 2019-2020 in collaboration with a cast of a new generation of talented producers, orchestrated with the help of Stones Throw founder Peanut Butter Wolf.

89

STRAY

BAMBARA
One thing you won’t be able to avoid on Bambara’s Stray is death. It’s everywhere and inescapable, abstract and personified – perhaps the key to the whole record. Death, however, won’t be the first thing that strikes you about the group’s fourth – and greatest – album to date. That instead will be its pulverising soundscape; by turns, vast, atmospheric, cool, broiling and at times – on stand out tracks like “Sing Me To The Street” and “Serafina” – simply overwhelming.

88

HEAD ABOVE THE WATER

BRIGID MAE POWER
Brigid Mae Power paints expansive songs that are effortless, hypnotic and folk-oriented like Judee Sill, Bill Callahan and Sharon Van Etten. The third album from the celebrated singer/songwriter, ‘Head Above The Water’ is a coming of age opus featuring a ground-breaking amalgamation of traditional folk and country - an engaging blend of strings, bouzouki, piano and Power’s distinctive vocal make this an achingly beautiful body of work.

87

MAGIC TOUCH

JACK NAME
"His songs sound like memories, as familiar as they are foreign. I’m addicted to this record.” - Cate Le Bon. In a time rife with alienation, Magic Touch, the third album by the ubiquitous and mysterious Jack Name, offers the comfort of contact. With a body of work that ranges from the catchy to the cacophonous, Name has earned the reputation of a musician who’s difficult to define. For over a decade, he’s been a fixture in the Los Angeles underground. His songs have appeared on albums by U.S. Girls (Heavy Light, 2020) and White Fence (Family Perfume, 2012); he’s produced recordings for Cass McCombs and collaborated with Ariel Pink; and his experimental music has been performed at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

86

JACQUELINE

JACKIE LYNN
Jackie’s trip is an analog evoking, among other things, the spiraling times of a traveling musician. The conversation with yourself just keeps coming back around. Every night with a peak and a valley. Practical things that are fun are also fault lines with existential depths opening up underneath. Is going forward getting somewhere, or is the road just crumbling behind you?

85

SORRY YOU COULDN'T MAKE IT

SWAMP DOGG
'Sorry You Couldn't Make It' is the long awaited "country album" from the legendary Swamp Dogg. Recorded in Nashville, featuring John Prine, Justin Vernon, Jenny Lewis, and others. Jerry Williams’ aka Swamp Dogg first love was country music, listening to it as a Navy family kid growing up in Portsmouth, Virginia. “My granddaddy, he just bought country records out the asshole,” Swamp remembers. “Every Friday when he came home from the Navy yard he’d stop off and get his records. His first time performing on stage, in fact, was a country song at a talent show when he was six years old: “I did Red Foley’s version of ‘Peace in the Valley.’”

84

MISS ANTHROPOCENE

GRIMES
Even before you get into the music of Miss Anthropocene, the fifth studio LP from Grimes, it is apparent that this record finds the one born Claire Boucher on a much darker tip than its predecessor Art Angels. From the unsettling artwork to track titles such as ‘So Heavy I Fell Through The Earth’, ‘Delete Forever’ and the i_o-featuring ‘Violence’, Miss Anthropocene’s aesthetic promises perhaps the darkest Grimes album to date.

83

1995

KRUDER & DORFMEISTER
1995 is the Kruder and Dorfmeister debut album that never was. Recently rescued from a box of old DAT tapes, it captures them on the brink of stardom, after their debut EP G-Stoned (1993) but before the much-lauded mix album DJ Kicks (1996) and their astonishing downtempo reinventions for other artists on The K&D Sessions (1998). Recorded at a relaxed pace in a front room in Vienna using a few samplers, keyboards and effects units, the tapes eventually coalesced into a 15-track album. Just 10 test copies were pressed to vinyl, 4 of them given away to friends. And then…nothing. The project was shelved as production and performing commitments took over, and soon it seemed everyone wanted a piece of K&D – including just about every goddamn cafe on planet Earth.

82

BAKED

EXTRAA
Extraa is the new pop formula enriched with sweet melodies, warm basslines and smooth rhythms. In their Paris based lab, Alix, Antoine, Thomas and Pedro took the best from the sixties Swinging London and injected some rejuvenating care between the eyes. The result? Classy and genuine songwriting, better than any poser from the indie-game. Take care, listening to Extraa may give you side effects, a blasting smile and an urge to live urgently and to fly over the city like The Big Lebowski over Los Angeles. Extraa c’est extra !

81

WATCH THIS LIQUID POUR ITSELF

OKAY KAYA
In Okay Kaya songs, her world looks a lot like ours — Netflix, jetlag, vegan peanut butter and chocolate ice cream, lonely bowls of ramen, diet trends. But unlike ours, each of these vibrates and shimmers with deeper, darker meaning, with existential dread and desire for understanding. Through Norwegian-raised New Yorker Kaya’s dreamy soft-focus lens, the language of Twitter memes becomes modernist poetry as her breathy contralto voice sings lines like, “If you don’t love me at my guttural sound, you don’t deserve me at my guttural sound.” This is Sade for nihilists. On the opening track of her new record she sings, “I used to fight the feeling, always let it win.” As she transforms these feelings, defeats, and victories into songs, the lyrics often involve pools of sweat, oceans, and other forms of wetness. But Okay Kaya’s world is not one of renewal and rebirth—it’s not water at all, actually. “It’s more like bile,” Kaya says, “It’s what comes out in the purge.” In these songs, Kaya swims through her melancholy and anxiety— not as a way of cleansing herself, but as an understanding of their depths