Category 2020s

Ducks Ltd. Album Reviews

The duo of Tom McGreevy and Evan Lewis met on the Toronto scene, bonding over their shared love of vintage indie jangle-pop. They now split their time between Toronto and Geelong, Australia. It makes sense because their jangling recalls Antipodean…

Is It Over Now? by Taylor Swift

Every New Zealand #1 single… 8 Is It Over Now? Topped the NZ chart: from 6 November 2023 for 1 week It’s a little perverse for the randomiser to suggest a Taylor Swift song for this column when she’s just…

Katie Pruitt Album Reviews

Katie Pruitt grew up in Atlanta and was raised Catholic. She attended Catholic school and mass. She got into music in middle school, learning the guitar and enjoying musical theatre. But she quickly became interested in songwriting, using it to…

Squid Album Reviews

Introduction A whole crop of young, critically acclaimed post-punk bands emerged in the UK around 2020. It’s tough to keep up – I can barely differentiate Dry Cleaning from Black Country, New Road. My favourite of the crop is probably…

Olivia Rodrigo Album Reviews

Introduction Olivia Isabel Rodrigo came to prominence as an actor, appearing in Bizaardvark and High School Musical. She signed a recording contract in 2020, and quickly become a pop superstar. Debut single ‘Driver’s License’ debuted at number one on Billboard, while third single…

Boygenius Album Reviews

Female solo artists Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker, and Phoebe Bridgers had never all been in the same room together when they decided to form a band. The three had collaborated on tours – Dacus and Bridgers had both opened for…

Arooj Aftab Album Reviews

Arooj Aftab was born in Saudi Arabia to Pakistani parents. She taught herself guitar and became a viral sensation in Pakistan, an early adopter of the internet with hits ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Mera Pyaar’. She moved to the US at the…

Caroline Polachek Album Reviews

Caroline Polachek grew up in Connecticut and was formerly the vocalist for the indie-pop duo Chairlift. Chairlift enjoyed a surprise hit in 2008 with ‘Bruises’, which featured in an Apple commercial. Polachek’s previously flirted with a solo career, releasing albums…

Sault Album Reviews

British collective Sault have eschewed all the usual rules of music-making in their brief and eventful career. They’ve veiled their identities, never played a live gig, never released a music video, and have produced material at a breakneck pace. Sault have…

Maggie Rogers Album Reviews

Margaret Debay Rogers grew up in Maryland, the daughter of a Ford salesman and a nurse. She began learning the harp at seven and writing songs by thirteen. In high school she indulged a wide range of musical interests, playing…

Nilüfer Yanya Album Reviews

Indie artist Nilüfer Yanya was born in Chelsea, West London. She’s the daughter of two visual artists, with Turkish, Irish and Barbadian heritage. Yanya grew up listening to her father’s Turkish music and her mother’s classical, but gravitated to the…

2020s Miscellany Part 2

The consequence of reviewing new releases each week is that I already have too many records for one page. Here’s part two, continuing from part one. 2020s Album Reviews Manchester Orchestra The Million Masks of God 2021, 8.5/1021st-century arena rock…

Dua Lipa Album Reviews

Pop music has become a much more respected art form in the past decade. Records like Taylor Swift’s 1989, Carly Rae Jepsen’s Emotion, and Robyn’s Honey have attained the acclaim usually reserved for more critically favoured musical genres. Introduction Dua Lipa’s an obvious candidate…

Cleo Sol Album Reviews

Introduction Born in London, Cleopatra Nikolic’s parents met in a jazz band – her Jamaican dad plays bass and piano, while her Serbian/Spanish mother sings and plays guitar and flute. Cleo Sol was inspired to take up music by Stevie…

Magdalena Bay Album Reviews

Miami synth-pop duo Magdalena Bay consists of songwriter/vocalist Mica Tenenbaum and musician/producer Matthew Lewin. The pair met as high school students, first playing together at Live! Modern School of Music. They formed a progressive rock band named Tabula Rasa, before…

Snail Mail Album Reviews

Lindsey Jordan grew up in Baltimore also home to Beach House and Wye Oak, while at one point her guitar teacher was Helium’s Mary Timony. Seeing Paramore at the age of 8 made Jordan question her previously held assumption that…

Billie Eilish Album Reviews

Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell was the first musician born in the 21st century to score a number one single in the United States. Eilish had already been building a profile for a few years, debuting on SoundCloud and building…

Natalie Hemby Album Reviews

Natalie Hemby was born in Illinois, the daughter of a Nashville studio guitarist. She almost signed a record deal with Sony in her early 20s but it fell through. Instead, she worked in marketing but started collaborating with Miranda Lambert…

Black Midi Album Reviews

The members of Black Midi met at the BRIT School in London, a performing art college whose other alumni include Amy Winehouse, Adele, FKA Twigs, and Imogen Heap. With access to the studio during school, they were able to get…

Erika de Casier Album Reviews

Smooth R&B artist Erika de Casier was born in Portugal with a Belgian mother and Cape Verdean father. She’s now based in Copenhagen, Denmark, starting her career working in a kindergarten. She spent time in the duo Saint Cava –…

Kelly Lee Owens Album Reviews

Producer and musician Kelly Lee Owens grew up in a small Welsh village. She sang in her school choir and played bass and drums in indie bands. She became an auxiliary nurse at a cancer treatment hospital in Manchester, but…

Tricot – 10

Kyoto math rock band Tricot’s 真っ黒 (Pure Black) was the first 2020 album I reviewed on this site. There have been other excellent records this year, from HAIM, Owen Pallett, and The 1975, but 真っ黒 is now facing its most…

2020s Miscellany

This page collects album reviews for 2020s artists of whom I’ve only reviewed one or two albums. This page became a little long to edit easily so there’s a part two covering M-Z. Alex G God Save the Animals 2022,…

2020s Album Reviews

Less than two years into the new decade, it’s already been eventful. A global pandemic and #blacklivesmatter protests have already created ten years’ worth of chaos. Because the decade’s only just started, it will take a while to populate this…

Phoebe Bridgers Album Reviews

Indie singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers was born in Los Angeles and studied vocal jazz at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. Bridgers grew up with parents who were involved in the entertainment industry – her mother encouraged her…

Soccer Mommy Album Reviews

Sophie Allison was born in Switzerland and grew up in Nashville. She self-released guitar-pop as a teenager on Bandcamp, before releasing her official debut, Clean, in 2018. While she records with a band, Soccer Mommy is effectively an alias for…