The Best of March 2020 and Monthly Staff Playlist

Posted: by admin

Graphic by Julia Carbone

Pronoun paired the release of their one-off track “Song Number 1.5” with a tweet stating it was something they threw on the back burner in 2015 with no concrete plans of releasing it publicly. Even the track’s title itself sounds like a placeholder. It has the serene, ambient production of their previous album, but with a more chiming sound, similar to Long Beard.

Vundabar shared a vibrant, swirling record that’s zhuzhed up by the addition of a vibraphone on several tracks, an instrument that doesn’t make its way into a lot of contemporary music. It’s the most prevalent on “Burned Off,” where it provides a rousing melody.  “Easier” evokes memories of MGMT, namely because of the slick falsettos. The lyricism feels less linear and more like a collage of sentences. It seems like there’s tangible subject matter behind every song, even if it’s not overt. There’s also several idioms worth dissecting. Like towards the end of the breathy, crisp ballad “Montage Music,” a song about wanting a clean slate, comes the line “your tea is burning in a pot with no water.” Literally speaking, that’s implausible, if not impossible. But more metaphorically, it could refer to the concept of exerting effort only to receive nothing in return. In “Paid For,” vocalist Brandon Hagen sings “a hand can’t stamp itself,” exemplifying how crucial it is for people to help each other. 

Dogleg overlaps with other burly emo groups like Free Throw, but what they excel in particularly is upholding guitar work with virtually no lulls. The riffs congeal seamlessly, and the basslines exude zeal throughout every incline and decline. 

Bacchae is difficult to pinpoint. There’s a swift, jerky momentum to their music that feels derived from punk, but it’s also coherent and rhythmic. If it’s punk, but scaled back, pop punk might feel like a natural guess – but they’re more plush than that. A lot of their themes hit on the different manifestations of anxiety. “Stop Looking” is a swanky tune about the awkwardness of social interaction. “Life Online” is about a shopping frenzy that, in theory, should be relaxing and straightforward, considering it’s all happening online without any external distractions. But visiting website upon website can incite option paralysis, and giving in too much to the allure of purchases that aren’t quite necessary can induce guilt.

It Looks Sad.’s latest EP Songs For Quarantine is comprised of a handful of lo-fi tracks that embody the bleariness of a lot of shoegaze music. Deerhoof released two futuristic, bristly sounding songs, resembling Glass Animals in that sense.


Written by Bineet Kaur / @hellobineet

Playlist curated by our staff and assembled by Lindsy Carrasquillo / @lindsy_carr

The Alternative is ad-free and 100% supported by our readers. If you’d like to help us produce more content and promote more great new music, please consider donating to our Patreon page, which also allows you to receive sweet perks like free albums and The Alternative merch.