Top 50 Records of 2020, So Far (PopMatters)

My contribution to PopMatters‘ top 50 (so far):

Chicago-based cellist Alison Chesley is accustomed to providing the sonic equivalent of accent marks and highlights on other people’s statements of intent. She has appeared on some 150 LPs, offering the bowed weep and illuminating scope of her instrument to the likes of Anthrax, Russian Circles, Bob Mould, MONO, and many more. But, when operating under the moniker Helen Money, Chesley has taken a more prominent and, frankly, forward-thinking stance, using emotive compositions to blend the humble nuances of post-classical with the vitriol and venom of metal and post-hardcore.

Chesley has taken a little bit of a new tact with Atomic, the Helen Money LP out recently via Thrill Jockey Records. There is a connective tissue among the record’s 11 tracks, but it’s stretched over raw bone and little else. Or so it seems. The compositions give the impression of sparseness, of vulnerability, often belying the careful constructions and conceits at work within. And, yes, while there is a wonderful kind of shuddering nakedness to it all, Chesley also writes her theses large, digging in the soil for deeper truths about connection – both of the human and musical variety. — Justin Vellucci, PopMatters, June 30, 2020


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