The year has been odd (yeah, right), but despite the absence of gigs it has unleashed a cracking haul of music releases. That bit’s been fun.
We’ll stick to ten.
No particular reason. It just feels like a decent number. And, to be quite honest we don’t have the stamina to do 100. We probably could have done 20, but it’s our ball. So we’re running with it.
As many others have said, say, for example, Sun-13, 2020 has been a very strange year, yet has produced a pretty decent haul of excellent music.
In our own conversations with bands and musicians there has been a theme that has developed over the year, namely, even though there are no gigs they can use to promote the release, let’s just get some music out there anyway.
It’s not a universal view and there have been a few who would rather wait until gigs return, but we have been entertained by those who kept plugging on. And we’d suggest the were more of the latter than the former.
The other discussion we’ve had on a few occasions is that of the album v EP v single debate. Singles and EPs are a quick win, whereas an album takes more thought, more structure, more time and more money. And, with that in mind we’re taking a perch on the fence and there is only one criterion for this list. Just great music. We’re not really sticking to one format or another.
In no particular order:
Dream Wife: So When You Gonna …
A perfect piece of punk pop. Includes the glorious Hasta La Vista. The one that Rakel Mjöll said was the band’s Blondie song. She wasn’t wrong. That’s a contender for track of the year.
There’s a hard edge to most of the album that sits well over here, but we’re a sucker for the cheese at times.
Not content with that release in July, we then got the fantastic live album IRL (Live in London) to help us through November. Yah! Boo to gigs.
Lonesaw: Live at the Kazimier Stockroom
This utterly glorious mash of noise, rhythm, synth and sax. It’s a mess but it works in a fashion that no one else can even get near.
A force to be reckoned with as a live act, they will make you question everything you thought you knew about what music ‘should’ sound like.
Recorded live on 31 January 2020, the night the UK crashed out of the EU, this was a perfect soundtrack to that darkest of nights. And if there’s any band we want to see in 2021, it’s Lonesaw.
Barbed Wire Church was released as a single later in the year and it just needs to be heard. Loud
The Twilight Sad: It Won/t Be Like This All The Time Live
With the 2020 tour being postponed, the band released this live re-work of their last studio album on the day they should have been playing Glasgow’s Barrowlands. It’s on BandCamp on a pay what you like basis.
We were a bit late to the party with The Twilight Sad, having only encountered them a couple of years ago, supporting Mogwai, but, hey. They’re ace. And now we know.
Heavy as fuck and truly enjoying their exploits, Haq123 are another band that proves you don’t need to shell out cash for decent music. Formed by ex-Evil Blizzard Bassist (Ha!) Kav and his two kids, Millie and Zac, all their material is on BandCamp for free. 4 is a superb piece of noise / metal / riot and a family project that makes us wonder what they talk about over their tea. We guess they come up with weird song titles like Award Winning Yellow Chicken and Falling of the Human Worm.
Yeah, we know. It’s our list, so it makes the cut.
Sounds exactly like you think it will. After all, it is called Disco.
Svetlanas may not agree (see below). But that’s their loss, not ours. It’s the album Kylie set out to make, and while we thought 2018’s Golden was a more developed set of songs, this one did exactly what it said it would.
Grippers: Black Tears EP
TV Face: Work Hard, Have Fun EP
They’re in here for a number of reasons. Damn fine music for a start. They did an ace 13 Questions with us earlier in the year.
They have a project to release a single on the last Friday or each month throughout 2020, to be collated into a trio of EPs at the end of the year. This is the first one. Lockdown hasn’t stopped them. They keep plugging on, releasing songs as planned. The last one will be out on 25 December 2020. We know it will be ace.
But they will always have a place in our heart because when they heard my Dad had died in June, they sent a lovely email and a preview of their then forthcoming single. They are the kind of people you need in your life.
Gang of Four: Anti Hero EP
Two new tracks, two old ones. Andy Gill written all over them. He will be missed. The band never released a bad track. This EP proves it.
Metz: Atlas Vending
Another riot of noise. They told us in an interview they don’t know if they’re too heavy, or not heavy enough. For us, they’re just fine and their Liverpool gig was amazing.
Svetlanas: Disco Sucks
We needed a sit down after their gig at Rebellion last year. 2020’s Disco Sucks is the one that makes the neighbours call the police. Olga rips through this album like a dementor. But she was cool when we spoke to her on Zoom earlier in the year. The irony of having the Kylie album in the list along with this one does not escape us. But we can live with that.