Hooray Year's Over, Here's What I Listened To
"No Ties" - Wax Chattels
This album caught me off guard, mainly because I lived in New Zealand for a while and the music I'm used to coming out of there is not this. But of course that's a dumb observation.
Apparently they met at a Preoccupations show. Glad our exports are bringing post punks together 'cross the globe.
It's great from front to back but "No Ties" is tops because I don't think any of their songs need to be longer than this.
Great drumming! All these jazz school kids making the rest of us look bad.
"Dream Machine (Total Control Remix)" - Low Life
I listened to this song a lot because it was the first song on the 2020 playlist I keep on YouTube Music. I have a YouTube Music account because my friend added me to his family account like six years ago and it still works, even though I haven't paid him in a while and I asked him if he wants me to give him some money for it and he said no, so I think he might be charging it to corporate.
The best part of this song is when the guy says "Rihanna Gimme a Shout-Out."
The sax in this song sounds great. I'm glad the sax thing is still going. The best thing Bowie ever did in a lifetime of doing great things was to learn to play the sax.
I haven't listened to the studio version of this song but I don't really feel like I need to, which I guess makes this a successful remix at least across one very specific target demographic (me).
"Limelight (feat. Manchester Orchestra)" - Touché Amoré
Before this song it had been a while since I had thought about Manchester Orchestra. I saw them open for Silversun Pickups once in my hometown. That was a long time ago, and thinking about it makes me feel old.
I remember that the Silversun Pickups drummer had one of those cymbals that was way over his head. It kind of reminds me of how I learned to type with two fingers, which is the wrong way to type, but I got really fast with two fingers even though my sister said I never would. Now I type with all my fingers normally though so it's not really the same.
This review is not about a Silversun Pickups song.
The whole album is great fun which is maybe a weird thing to say about an album about some dude's crippling depression/anxiety, but this song stands out and it was nice to hear Andy Hull's distinctive croon crop up. I always think that rock bands should do the guest thing more. Maybe they will now, because this song.
"Philae" - Insect Ark
A great stoner/doom/post-metal band in the vein of Sleep. Since this album came out early in the year, I spent a lot of time not thinking about things with this on, which was...nice.
"Night Creeps" - Brutal Poodle
Hey I think this was my favourite Van-band song of 2020. It's just great. It's got everything you want from the lottery ball machine of influences -- 90s college, 80s beer can rock, with a nice shimmery modern-but-not-overproduced coat of gloss on it all. BP are one of Van's best rock bands and it's a reputation well earned.
"Street Pulse Beat" - Special Interest
This song sounds like standing on the street corner of a recently gentrified neighbourhood and being pissed off that you still can't get any phone signal.
The combination of influences on this album hit a bunch of pleasure centres for me this year, and it might be my favourite album of 2020. This song brings it all together though, and Alli Logout is a thank you for existing.
"Sweet" - Porridge Radio
Can't say much more about this song that hasn't already been said. This album came out before the pandemic really started to unrecognizably twist our lives, and it's a record that looks in, so listening to it seems sort of navel-gazey contrasted with all that's happened without.
But there's just so much drippy, bitter clove syrup caking the edges of this thing shut that it all seems sort of apt. It captured the essence of what it felt like to be trapped inside something inescapable just as we all became trapped inside something inescapable.
"You'll miss me when I'm not around (V1)" - Grimes
This album had a lot of press leading up to it, then it dropped and it was good but it immediately fell off the collective radar. That happens sometimes, especially with early-year releases. But it's really good and quite witchy, which I always enjoy. Remember that Feist album that was witchy? That's my favourite Feist album!
This song is just such a great fucking pop song, holy shit. Got time for the bass tone.
Claire Boucher's high profile personal life obviously dominates her narrative now and that's of her own devising, but when I listen to her music I feel like her association with Musk and his bullshitty realm of technobroacracy feels both extremely close and completely absent. But that's kind of the genius of Grimes--she's always been the most popular outsider.
"Invisible Wall" - Stuck
Great album, one of my favs of the year for sure. No one song is all that much better than the next and they all work best as a collective, but I'll pick this one because it boils it all down nicely.
Post-punk just seems to work better coming out of some places than others. Obviously Chicago is one of those places, the feelings are baked into the pavement there.
Great no-bullshit guitar album. Expect a left turn from the next thing this band does.
"Somethings Gotta Give" - Crack Cloud
Look, this band gets and represents what's going on in this city of mine in a way that the rest of us can't really touch. This song sounds like it was shot out of a fucking cannon.
The band vaulted over the Gang of Four influences into something that's totally new and their own but also brings their previous (very good) work along for the ride.
So many good tracks to choose from here. "Post Truth" obviously is a banger but this song does something to my insides, and the words are so direct and disarmingly unpretentious.
This is not a song or album that tries to be about 2020, it's a song/album that's about everything that happened before it and all the dried-on shit that will still be here when it's gone.
Long live this batshit collective.