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5 Records that Stood Out in Q1 of 2020

Since I’m not on the air to do Something Completely Different, my “Best of 2020 (so far)” Sp*tify collaborative playlist is at the bottom, feel free to follow/add to it. Here are five full-length albums that held my attention for the 34-60 minutes they lasted. Stay safe, y’all!

The Turning Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

I’m getting serious nostalgia vibes listening to a movie soundtrack for a horror movie I will probably never watch. L.A. producer Lawrence Rothman curated a laundry list of indie rock and pop talent contributing ALL ORIGINAL SONGS tied to the latest jump-scare snoozer The Turning. Soccer Mommy, Cherry Glazerr and Warpaint all bring especially spooky tracks while Mitski goes full Sabbath on album highlight “Cop Car.”

Boldy James- The Price of Tea in China

James’ mid-tempo flow and straightforward delivery is a breath of fresh air in today’s mix of gangster rap. The Detroit native’s gritty minimalism makes lines like “Dope shooters walk my block like it’s the Land of the Lost” ring hard against the textured beats of The Alchemist-who produced the entire record-that shift from smooth to jagged on a dime. Vince Staples and Freddie Gibbs also make welcomed guest appearances!

Honey Harper- Starmaker

Harper’s debut full-length continually gets compared to Gram Parsons, but that does not give enough credit to how lush “Starmaker” sounds. His southern lilt softly weaves into the ethereal acoustic guitar and string arrangements. A sound so celestial yet so earthy, one could only describe it as “cosmic dream country.”

Ides- Hikikomori

“Hikikomori” is the condition in which individuals isolate themselves away from society (…). These New Jersey rabble rousers call themselves weirdo mosh, which undersells their experimentation and grab bag of influences. A tense hardcore punk record with everything from Smashing Pumpkins alt-rock guitars to Primus funk-metal grooves, all pushed to the breaking point by vocalist Jill Keates’ raspy snarl.

Raanan Hershberg- Downhill Ever Since

If you enjoy the act of listening to audio of stand-up comedy, definitely check out this self-proclaimed “Jew from KY.” I saw him perform the bit from the track “Manatee” live at Comedy Off Broadway (remember seeing live events?) and it still makes me giggle.

Something Completely Different with Stephen Hicks (normally) airs Friday from noon-2pm on WRFL.

Click here for the best of 2020 (so far) playlist by Stephen Hicks on Spotify

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