Radio Quarantine -X Harlow – Anchorite

Released Nov. 2020

Interesting backstory on this one:

X Harlow’s sophomore album Anchorite combines their use of dark, brooding post-punk with an exploration of Gregorian chant, ambient and hip hop. “Anchorite” gets its title from the medieval figures of the same name: those who withdraw from society, trap themselves in place and pray for those around them in isolation. Written during the darkest months of New York’s coronavirus epidemic, the album is an emotional meditation on mourning family and an indictment of the state’s incompetence in public health. The rhythms are driving, the music haunting and the lyrics thoughtful and challenging.”

I feel this one and I’m not sure how I missed it when it was released back in November of 2020. It was mid-Autumn. The days were getting shorter and colder and a very different holiday season was bearing down quickly on us. It was strange and it’s hard to say if things are any less strange. Things are starting to open up but nobody even knows if thats the right thing to do, if one is to be honest. I think it’s all more of a question of the sustainability, and I used the word sustainability a lot. It’s because we stick in patterns or ruts and work for a time, until the deleterious effects of remaining in any pattern at all, despite the benefits, can become… unsustainable.

We’re getting little bouts of spring weather though and with them are the usual feelings of awakening and rebirth. People are anxious for some kind of change and a release from this alien grind. More than anything I think we all just want to feel okay, and if we can’t feel okay now we want to feel that we will be okay. The truth is really the same as it ever was. Many of us will be okay, and then some will not be. There are many variables that we have no control of whatsoever. Will the vaccines really work? Will the virus mutate? Are we still vulnerable to a new virus? Those are only the beginning of the unanswered questions. But many of us will truly be okay. Some will be very far from okay.

Anchorite definitely captures the sense of isolation and uncertainty and melancholy. It nails it better than most music recorded in 2020 that I’ve heard. Other music captures some of the other feelings better, but if we’re talking isolation and melancholy, this is where to turn. It’s also one of the best coldwave, post-punk albums at not sounding like any of the 80s bands at all. It’s pretty unique in that respect. Not that borrowing from any of the 80s bands is a bad thing. It’s a vibe that’s managed to last globally for almost 40 years, so I’d say the idea is worthy, wouldn’t you?

It’s obvious that I’m still “feeling some kinda way” about the anniversary of the lockdown. It won’t be long now before my routine changes. It won’t be Radio Quarantine time anymore and I’ll be back on the train in the morning and grinding away somewhere else, and then back home again. it’s not that big a deal. It’s something I’ve done my whole life. That doesn’t mean it’s something to look forward to though. I’ll be okay. Being okay is how I do… ya know? This can’t last forever. The solitude has been helpful, but as I was just saying, even good things aren’t always sustainable and it’s not like there hasn’t been any downsides but I’m not going to get into those. It’s not all about me and my preferences anyway. Other people have lives to lead and things to get back to.

A year of this… wow.

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