Indie band The Big Moon released their second studio album “Walking Like We Do” in January of this year." />
While some of the most important and impactful artists of our generation have been praised for their 2020 releases, there have been a plethora of incredible albums that deserve more recognition.
The first album “OTHER WAYS TO VENT” comes from iyla, who, as a singer-songwriter, is kind of difficult to peg down. She blends a lot of soulful, elegant melodies with hard-hitting trap beats and layered instrumentals. Her delivery is especially wonderful, with a lot of witty wordplay mixed with crass humor. What drew me to iyla was how versatile her voice is; she can sing, rap and reach high and low notes – she is very reminiscent of SZA in that respect. Every song is a rollercoaster of Beyoncé-esque harmonies and alternative hip-hop production. The best way I could describe this album is the keen songwriting of Caroline Polachek meets the production and delivery of Ariana Grande and Tinashe. (Favorite songs: “Tattoo Tears,” “Cash Rules [feat. Method Man],” “Naked Girl,” “Bad Side.”)
“II: La Bella Vita” by Niia comes during a year when disco and ‘70s throwback in general has been rather big. Dua Lipa, The Weeknd, Jessie Ware – the genre is definitely inching its way further into the mainstream spotlight. However, sometimes you want less roller garden party disco and more sitting in a lounge drinking cocktails disco. This is where Niia comes in. This entire album feels like lounge singer’s take on ‘70s music and alternative R&B. The orchestral and jazzy production, the funky basslines and the haunting vocals that tie it all together make II: La Bella Vita a unique experience that brings a sensuality and refinement to dance pop in a way that isn’t always seen nowadays. (Favorite songs: “Whatever You Got,” “Obsession,” “Sad Boys,” “Black Dress.”)
Artists like Phoebe Bridgers, The Regrettes and HAIM have really brought female indie pop bands to larger prominence. “Walking Like We Do” by The Big Moon is another example of a group drawing on the conventions of this musical scene to create something wholly unique. In an unquestionably weird blend of both the ‘60s and ‘90s, The Big Moon has created an anthemic indie album full of powerful choruses and tender lyrics. While many songs start out subtle and unassuming, the way that each song builds onto the next is the type of experience that’s best enjoyed driving on I-94 through the city while the sun sets. This year has been an incredibly good year for female-fronted or all-girl rock bands. I see The Big Moon having a very fruitful and busy career. (Favorite songs: “Your Light,” “Dog Eat Dog,” “Why,” “Barcelona.”)
2020 has given us all a great opportunity to explore new music that people would have otherwise missed, especially as the trend of releasing quarantine albums has become so prominent. Try to dig deeper into the current cultural zeitgeist of the music industry and find sounds and albums that resonate with the spirit of this year.