• The Loop Team

Isolation Station Mix #4 - Izzy Millen

By Izzy Millen

Well, this is a bit weird isn’t it? When I went home in the middle of March I expected to be back in my flat after Easter and that this was all just a temporary blip and we’d be back to normal by now. Alas, that hasn’t happened. So for most of us, it’s been a time to get creative.

One of my favourite things to do has been watch what artists have been getting up to in isolation. Some, such as Yungblud and Oh Wonder have been live streaming from concerts from their homes. Others have taken up new hobbies. Lorde is baking bread, Lizzo has been leading guided meditation on Instagram and HAIM have been teaching the choreography for their music videos over Zoom. Some have been manically creating music to reflect the changing world we live in - Charli XCX produced an entire album from scratch in 40 days with what she had available in her house, getting fans to email her beats and getting them to vote on favourite song lyrics.

I have not been that productive during this strange time to be honest. However, I did finally get round to organising my 8tracks account from my early teen years (to conclude, 14 year old Izzy was basically listening to Lungs, Halcyon Days and I Love You on repeat). And in a way, it’s been reassuring. I’ve had time to think about how these albums defined periods in my life, and rediscover my old favourites. I’ve been slowly making my way back through NME’s Best 100 Albums of the Decade. Having all this time has given me time to reflect and appreciate the music which defined the last decade, both in terms of the changing musical sphere, and for me personally. The nostalgia has been comforting during these wild times.

And there’s been some cracking releases during the last few months. The Strokes made a triumphant return with The New Abnormal, their first album in seven years. Rina Sawayama produced this year's best debut album with Sawayama, an album that defies genre. Hayley Williams rewrote the narrative around being a woman in rock with Petals for Armor. This year is shaping up to be a stacked one for albums, and I already have so many favourites, it’s going to be hard doing my top 10 in December (and we’re not even halfway through). We’re connecting more through music than ever before, and the lack of distractions has allowed us to be more introspective and opened up wider discussion. It’s been great.

Normally around this time of the year, artists are preparing for festivals and outdoor summer gigs. But this year has been anything but normal. Artists and venues are going to struggle this year. So buy your favourite bands merchandise, donate to your local venues to help keep them afloat, and support in any way you can. But here’s some tunes - some of my old favourites, some of my favourite releases of the last year, and some songs which are just perfect for the weird times we’re living in to keep you company. Expect genre whiplash abound.

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