By Sebastian Arnold
Welcome to the music article of The Jag Post! I’m Sebastian Arnold and I am officially writing it, in place of unofficially writing it! This list is pretty easy to figure out thanks to the title of the article, and I hope it helps people in their journey to broaden their horizons.
1) Sigur Rós-Ágætis byrjun
Genre: Post-Rock, Ambient
I’ve loved Icelandic artists since the first time I heard those cold and industrial sounds from Bjork’s Homogenic, which changed my perspective on art-pop, but I feel as though the depressing and desolate sounds of Ágætis byrjun a re much more fitting for quarantine. There are songs such as “Svefn-g-Englar” which make you grow wings and ascend to the heavens; and songs like the self-titled track can make you feel as though your soul has been cleansed. The album makes you feel alone but at the same time gives you a feeling of revitalization, making you think “is quarantine that bad?” The answer is a hard yes, quarantine sucks, but for an album to make you forget that proves its power.
Favorite Songs: Svefn-g-englar, Olsen Olsen, Ágætis byrjun
2) Charli XCX-how i’m feeling now
Genre: Bubblegum Bass, Electropop
It only makes sense to put an album about quarantine in a list about albums to listen to in quarantine! The incredibly modern and futuristic sounds on this entire record –predominantly “claws” and “forever”– got me totally hooked! If you are a fan of other bubblegum bass groups or artists, like 100 gecs or SOPHIE, you will love this album and all it has to offer; and even if you don’t like those artists, this album has much to offer and is 100% worth a shot!
Favorite Songs: pink diamond, forever, claws, visions
3) Silver Apples-Silver Apples
Genre: Experimental Rock, Psychedelic Rock
Probably one of the more obscure albums on this list, Silver Apples has done a lot for music as a whole, inspiring countless artists (Spiritualized, Portishead, Stereolab, etc.) who you might listen to. This album solidifies their position as a powerhouse of rock; and despite being somewhat obscure, some say Jimi Hendrix was involved in it too! Another huge reason I put it on this list is that one of the co-founders recently passed away, 2020 sucks, and we need to honor them for what they did! This album is great for quarantine and makes you feel some way which can only be experienced and not described!
Favorite Songs: Oscillations, Program, Dust, Dancing Gods
4) Beach House-Devotion
Genre: Dream Pop, Indie Pop, Neo-Psychedelia
It’s no secret that I love Beach House, they are one of my favorite groups of all time and they drop album after album of pure goodness, with Devotion being no exception. This album just makes you feel amazing, and after your first listen, you will find yourself singing along to the catchy riffs and lyrics. Songs like “Wedding Bell” and “Gila” just force me to start singing along and by the end, I’m yelling lyrics and pretending to play the instruments. It really is beautiful and I could go on and on but it really is something that needs to be heard instead of heard about. Favorite Songs: Wedding Bell, Gila, Turtle Island, Astronaut
5) Quasimoto-The Unseen
Genre: Abstract Hip-Hop, Jazz Rap, Experimental
This record is unusual, legendary producer Madlib goes by the alias of Quasimoto and sets the framework for the absolutely incredible Madvilliany, which is a must-listen for every hip-hop head. If you enjoy a sort of dirty, jazzy, and unusual instrumentals then this record is for you. The lyrics make it even better, with Lord Quas talking about how much he hates capitalism and landlords. Hearing this album after Madvilliany makes it even better because you hear so much of what made it amazing: the obscure weird samples, lyrics of world domination, and the jazz sound to back them both up.
Favorite Songs: Bad Character, Basic Instinct, Come on Feet, The Unseen, Discipline 99 Pt. 1
6) Panda Bear-Person Pitch
Genre: Psychedelic Pop, Neo-Psychedelia, Plunderphonics
I rant and rave about Animal Collective all the time, I love them and they are a strong contender for my favorite group, and they are inevitably coming up soon, but for now, I will talk about Panda Bear, their drummer and secondary singer, and his solo record Person Pitch. When I heard about this record I was kind of shocked, Panda Bear is a drummer and a phenomenal one at that –listen to “Chocolate Girl” or “Fireworks”– and he decides to make a record made entirely of samples with no actual drumming! I thought it would just be a failed experiment, but a 9.4 Pitchfork review said otherwise so I listened. It was really really good, and I don’t know how to describe this aquatic, trippy, feel-good, and upbeat album, but it’s great! Songs like “Take Pills” I can just show to anyone and get a good reaction out of it, and songs like “Bros” which I show to my music nerd friends, this album has everything!
Favorite Songs: Comfy in Nautica, Take Pills, Bros, Good Girl/Carrots
7) Pharoah Sanders-Karma
Genre: Avant-Garde Jazz, Spiritual Jazz
I love Jazz. Whether it’s Mingus, Coltrane(Alice or John), Sanders, or Davis, I listen to quite a bit of Jazz –except swing(unless it’s Ellington). My typical preference for Jazz is it being incorporated into other genres, like Zappa and Captain Beefheart mixing it into rock, or Kendrick Lamar and Tribe Called Quest mixing it into rap. Karma is a Jazz album that makes you forget that other genres even exist, it enthralls you and encapsulates you into the world and mind of Pharoah Sanders. It creates an atmosphere of comfort and discomfort at the same time, keeping you on your toes and waiting for what happens next.
Favorite Songs: It’s only 2 songs so both of them
8) Animal Collective-Strawberry Jam
Genre: Neo-Psychedelia, Art Pop, Electronic
You knew it was coming, and if you didn’t then you must have not read the Person Pitch p art. It’s just too good to not include, this album is so listenable, rain or shine, day or night, sad or happy, this album is always there and always listenable! The lyrics are primarily what every Animal Collective talks about, the juxtaposition of innocent and enjoyable childhood with the misery and failure of adulthood (according to the lyrics this misery is thanks to Capitalism). The lyrics don’t really matter too much to me, it’s the sound and the sound is brilliant, going from electronic to their more traditional psychedelia to full-blown pop, it transcends traditional structure because they straight up abandon it –with the exception of “For Reverend Green” and “Fireworks” which go together.
Favorite Songs: Peacebone, For Reverend Green, Fireworks, #1, Derek
Genre: Black Metal, Shoegaze, Post-Metal, Screamo
Sunbather s houldn’t be a surprise here, it’s celebrated by pretty much everyone who has listened to it, and rightfully so it’s beautiful. I’m not a Metal fan really at all but Sunbather is borderline not metal, it sounds more like Prog-Rock just with someone screaming instead of singing. It is extremely depressing, which is what makes it so good for quarantine. The chord progression is incredible and calculated making it a pretty easy listen for a Black Metal album. The lyrics, well let’s just say the lyrics aren’t easy to understand –screamo record– but they are spectacular and I recommend looking them up; it really gives you an insight into what was in the mind of George Clarke when he was creating this record.
Favorite Songs: Dream House, Irresistible, Sunbather, Vertigo, The Pecan Tree
(i love this album cover)
Genre: Emo Rap, Experimental Hip-Hop, Avant-Garde
WARNING: Bladee requires growing upon, you have to listen to him a bit to fall in love with his music; unless you are clinically insane or me, you probably won’t be a huge fan of this at first. Ok, now to describe this masterpiece, I can’t; Bladee is a master of his craft, having never dropped a bad record and I hope he keeps his streak up. Now, why did I put this record over Eversince o r Red Light which are both better than Icedancer, and the reason is that this record is incredible for quarantine. It is ethereal and desolate, with Bladee’s lyrics being about his search for friends and inability to do so, it is braggadocious, trippy, and very cryptic –as expected with any Bladee record. Another huge reason is that a song from the record has become Tik Tok famous, “Be Nice 2 Me” and I’m sure you’ve probably heard it in a meme. I put it here to hopefully help clear Bladee’s name a little, acknowledging him as far more than a simple meme. There are some songs like “Close” which sort of transcend the limits of rap and create a dream-pop feeling to them, and songs like “Waster” which after 2 listens you find yourself humming along to the hymns and Bladee’s unusual voice he uses for it. If you’d rather not read my psychobabble, here is a summary: it’s phenomenal, listen to it.
Favorite Songs: SmartWater, Be Nice 2 Me, Close, Waster, Anything, The Silent Boy Cries