Podcast the Sixteenth: November 2020 In Review

A bit of a rewind here, but we stay true-to-form. Get you some!

Zack’s Top 3 Albums of the Month:

3. Chris Stapleton – Starting Over
2. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – K.G.
1. Aesop Rock – Spirit World Field Guide

Jeremy’s Top 3 Albums of the Month:

3. Yukon Blonde – Vindicator
2. Aesop Rock – Spirit World Field Guide (not a typo)
1. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – K.G. (also not a typo, Jeremy and Zack are the Borg)

Dan’s Top 3 Hit Songs of the Month:

3. Billie Eilish – Therefore I Am
2. Harry Styles – Golden
1. Chris Stapleton – Starting Over

The Hit Songs of November 2020

Well this was a much calmer month, thankfully. It feels like the pop charts slowed down a bit for the holidays. Just a quick note for this list next month: the only Christmas songs that will hit this list next month will be brand new ones. So I’m not reviewing All I Want For Christmas Is You. Unless we do some list or pod about Christmas songs. Then all bets are off. Whelp, here we go, crap first then scroll down for the good stuff.

13 – Morgan Wallen – More Than My Hometown
There’s an example of country done right towards the top of the list. This is country done… well, I’d say wrong but this is just what the genre is now. The production’s the easy part. It’s a cookie cutter country track. There’s a steel guitar in there, there’s a Telecaster set to maximum twang and an even, if not boring drum track. Now let’s get to the worst part: lyrics. I can’t roll my eyes harder at the thesis of this song: oh, I love you more than all of these great big things in this great big world, but I can’t love you more than this one stoplight holler in the backwoods of bumfuck, wherever. So enjoy life, girl, where people drive electric cars and fancy apps deliver you food and you don’t have to walk to the back of the property to take a shit. Songs like this are the reason the genre has picked up the reputation it has over the last two decades.

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November 13, 2020

Yukon Blonde – Vindicator (Dine Alone Music)

It’s a little “on the nose” that a Canadian indie-pop outfit would go by the same name as a Territory of the Great White North, but I can’t really fault them for the homage to home turf. And at least one of them is actually mostly blonde. So there’s that. 

This is their 7th studio album under the name Yukon Blonde (they actually had 2 EPs as Alphababy beforehand…what do you think of the name change?), and I have to say, they absolutely nailed it. I can find no fault in anything on the record. Vindicator focuses a lot of attention on being smooth as melty ice cream and as funky as the weekly sock laundry. 

Wait…I mean…You know what I’m saying?

There is a flare for creativity that doesn’t often get heard outside of a Beck album. Take “You Were Mine”, for example. It starts out sounding like a Michael Jackson tune, played through a box fan, then breaks down as a slow jam love-child of George Clinton and Teddy Pendergrass, before going full-on funkadelic. And that only covers 5 minutes of the release. 

Wonky, warped synth sounds are the dominant trait of the album, perfectly orchestrated atop beautiful R&B vocals. This is all backed by a rhythm section that should be heralded: bass for days and some of the tightest drumming in pop music. 

The stand-out tracks on Vindicator are the aforementioned “You Are Mine” as well as a few mid-album cuts. “Good Times” is a sad, wallflower anthem set to a slow club beat, and “Fuck It” is a Flaming Lips-esque jam about doing your own thing. 

Honestly, the whole thing is a romp. 

FFO: Jamie Lidell, MGMT, Portugal. The Man

-JR

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