Andy's top 5 albums of 2020 so far
New Records in Human Power (Dine Alone)
DBOY is an enigmatic rock band with a singer who perfectly fits this band. DBOY performs a lot of songs about DBOY. DBOY’s New Records in Human Power is energetic, plenty snotty, often catchy, and one of my favorite straight-up punk records I’ve come across in a long time.
Good Songs for Bad People (Bella Union)
This hazy, mysterious, and alluring album combines a plethora of interesting sounds, many seemingly pulled from the sounds of yesteryear. It kind of reminds me of a happening upon a piece of thrift store vinyl that you come to treasure in short order.
Travel Time (Orange Milk Records)
An engrossing journey through the lighter side of electronic music with fantastic synth work and an eclectic sound palette. It’s also a very nice (and much needed) pick-me-up sort of album.
Nine Inch Nails
Ghosts V & VI (The Null Corporation)
Somewhat similar to the Tiger King series, these albums seemed to drop at the perfect time and effectively captured the sometimes hopeful, sometimes quite gloomy world of 2020. I’m around 50-50 in my feelings toward the often formulaic post-Fragile Trent Reznor music, so I was pleasantly surprised by the change of pace provided by both Bad Witch and this pair of ambient releases.
Times and Tides (Independent)
Didn’t really have any expectations going into this one, but I was pretty amazed by this epic concept album (replete with a spoken word prequel) full of memorable tracks, nifty instrumental parts, and powerhouse vocals. A genuine stunner.
Mirza's top 5 albums of 2020 so far
Chubby and the Gang
There was great hype around these guys when Speed Kills came out early this year. And rightly so - this is a short, sharp shock full of hardcore punk energy and rowdy pub sing-a-longs, with some added social commentary thrown in. Just listen to closer Grenfell Forever, an ode to the victims of the horrific tower block fire in 2017 and a kick in the teeth to lazy politicians. Party music with a pathos.
Best band I’ve seen live in the last five years. And you can really tell how manic their live shows are, even on a record. No mean feat. These Colombians have carved out a solid underground following in the last couple of years and you can see why. Relentless energy along with great songs. In a year that’s already given us some pure bangers in the hardcore punk arena, Pacificar truly stands out. Not band when you consider Game and Rat Cage, among other greats, have also released full lengths this year.
In my book, Nicke Andersson can do no wrong when it comes to music. He’s one of those artists that can effortlessly switch music styles but still make great music, no matter what he plays. This occult doom rock, where he plays drums, is another gem of a band. But as good as the 70s-style music is, the album really belongs to vocalist Johanna Adonis, who lifts every song with her rich, velvety voice.
The Outskirts of Reality
These west coast Swedes are like a modern, instrumental version of Hawkwind. Repetitive, meditative psychedelia with a lot of layers that is the perfect companion for a long drive through an empty desert. If you like your music to be allowed to breathe and don’t expect an end goal in sight for every song than this is the album for you.
Another psychedelic, progressive release that stands out as one of the year’s highlights, but this time with singing. Ever since I hear Elder for the first time in the spring of 2018 and subsequently saw them live, I’ve been hooked. And the band continues to evolve with each recording. It’s now more krautrock, more layered, more textured and deeper. Now excuse me while I put on some headphones, crank up Omens and go for a walk in the woods.
Chris's top 5 albums of 2020 so far
Solid Metal that brings you back to your roots. This album hits hard without stopping. Thrash metal that reminds us all what metal should sound like. I feel that it will be my go to album for the rest of the summer, seeing as nothing has been released that can shred any better. Bring on the contenders!
Ok. Poppy is a strange person, but crazy entertaining. This was easily my surprise favorite this year. Her videos are great, the songwriting hits all the right tones and harmonies and this is wall punching metal. It’s the Metal/Pop combo that you’ve always wanted.
Living Room Power Set 2020
Knower is nuts. If you don't know who Louis Cole is then it's time to start. Where some his songwriting can be categorized as slow jams, the Funk they punch out is top notch. The band is even tighter in their live sessions. Louis Cole can also be seen in another famous YouTube video, Hell - Clowncore. It's all amazing.
Enter the Mirror
Maserati has that driving force of songwriting that doesn’t allow you to follow a song, the band brings you with them on a rhythmic musical soundscape. One of my favorite instrumentalists, they continue to impress.
The Sword is easily the best Stoner Metal you can get. You know them, you love them. This album puts together 26 tracks from live recordings to studio recorded songs. If there was ever any doubt that this band was tight as hell live, then you've been proven wrong. There's enough metal here to quench anyones thirst.