Jan 26, 2021

Best Songs of 2020

Will Toledo writes great songs. Fact. His grasp of melody, his knowledge of building momentum and drama in a song is impressive and impeccable. His ability to write songs so personal and yet deeply universal are unmatched. This year his new Car Seat Headrest album was flawed but yet incredible. Full of songs that hit the right spot. One was my favourite song of 2020. One which had three different versions. (Hostiles) was my favourite version of Deadlines. It was uplifting, soaring, down right emotional. I still loved the (Thoughtful) version though with its impeccable groove. Either way Deadlines was the song I played the most in 2020. But there were many other great songs. Waxahatchee had a slew of them on her fantastic new album. Could have chosen many from that wonderful album. Kyoto by Phoebe Bridgers was a near perfect melody of joy. And Fox by Dogleg tore my head off just in the right way. And then we had the Run the Jewels album that provided many fiery and anthemic moments. I was just grateful in a pretty shitty year music still gave us plenty to smile about.

1. Deadlines-Car Seat Headrest
2. Magicians-Young Jesus
3. Kyoto-Phoebe Bridgers
4. Fox-Dogleg
5. Can't Do Much-Waxahatchee
6. Sunblind-Fleet Foxes
7. Campfire-Kevin Morby
8. Julia Take Your Man Home-Wolf Parade
9. Foolssong-Destroyer
10. Amberjack-Stephen Malkmus
11. Stars & Rats-Hamilton Leithauser
12. Knuckleduster-Muzz
13. On the Floor-Perfume Genius
14. Yankee and the Brave (ep. 4)-Run the Jewels
15. Lark-Young Jesus
16. Lilacs-Waxahatchee
17. Wonder-Lomelda
18. Life Worth Missing-Car Seat Headrest
19. Went to LA-Frances Quinlan 
20. Zombie Girl-Adrianne Lenker
21. Pine Trees-Mary Lattimore
22. Reflecting Light-The Avalanches
23. Can I Believe You-Fleet Foxes
24. (Un)knowing-Young Jesus
25. My Rajneesh-Sufjan Stevens
26. Life in Color-Floral Tattoo
27. Sit So Close-Roadside Graves
28. A Bloody Morning-Owen Pallett
29. I Know The End-Phoebe Bridgers
30. Wasted-My Morning Jacket
31. Where Do You Go When You Dream-Woods
32. Valley-Kevin Morby
33. One More Second-Matt Berninger
34. Half-Asleep-Jeff Tweedy
35. Dressing America-Torres
36. Mark Zuckerberg-Nap Eyes
37. Cosmonauts-Fiona Apple
38. America-Sufjan Stevens
39. Fire-Waxahatchee
40. Isabella-Hamilton Leithauser
41. Kawasaki Backflip-Dogleg
42. Mustang-Bartees Strange
43. Sat By A Tree-Dan Deacon
44. Love is The King-Jeff Tweedy
45. There Must Be More Than Blood-Car Seat Headrest
46. Out of Control-Wolf Parade
47. Flashlight On-Told Slant
48. Time Collapse-Fuzz
49. Reach-Lomelda
50. Silver Ladders-Mary Lattimore
51. I'm Not My Season-Fleet Foxes
52. Ooh La La-Run the Jewels 
53. Rosalina-Tina
54. Flowers of Neptune 6-The Flaming Lips
55. Spartacus, Please-Soft Plastics
56. Red Study-Osees
57. Evergreen-Muzz
58. Describe-Perfume Genius
59. Sundowner-Kevin Morby
60. Die Happy-Sufjan Stevens
61. Anything-Adrianne Lenker
62. Phase-Pinegrove
63. Crimson Tide-Destroyer
64. Red Shoulder-Squirrel Flower
65. Lean-Frances Quinlan
66. Returning-Fuzz
67. Here They Come-Hamilton Leithauser
68. Serpentine Prison-Matt Berninger
69. Boomer-Bartees Strange
70. Strange to Explain-Woods
71. 4 American Dollars-U.S. Girls
72. Hannah Sun-Lomelda
73. Bullfrog Choirs-Told Slant
74. Say the Name-clipping.
75. Growing in Age-Tina
76. Cheap Regrets-The Districts
77. Garden Song-Phoebe Bridgers
78. Roll On Babe-Yo La Tengo
79. Whole New Mess-Angel Olsen 
80. The Sea Is Empty-Roadside Graves
81. Cannonball-Dogleg
82. Xian Man-Stephen Malkmus
83. Goonies vs E.T.-Run the Jewels
84. Pigeons-Bill Callahan
85. Hammond Song-Whitney
86. Sweet-Porridge Radio 
87. Kinda Dark-Destroyer
88. Heart of an Animal-The Dears
89. Wolves-e4444e
90. Petty Crime-Vundabar
91. Alexandra-Laura Marling
92. Weeping Birch-Dan Deacon
93. The Static Age-Wolf Parade
94. Sacrifice-Plants and Animals
95. An Olive Coast-The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick
96. Electric War-Osees
97. That Dream (Shitty Beach)-Magik Markers
98. Zeppelin 5-Wasted Shirt
99. Hair Sticks-Tenci
100. Cops-Other Lives

Jan 23, 2021

Best Albums of 2020

Today I will have a look back at my favourites in Music in 2020. If any element of the arts was hardest hit by the pandemic it was surely music. Live music ground to a halt and even though locally it's slowly getting back on its feet it will still be a while before international artists can tour again. Sadly with music today that's where many artists make their living so I implore anyone who loves music to please BUY music rather than just stream. It really supports these remarkable artists.

My favourite album of 2020 was one that divided critics. Car Seat Headrest's previous album was iconic and perfect and hard to follow. Making a Door Less Open had its flaws and could be messy at times but Will Toledo really went for it and the highs were very high. Anyway it was my favourite and I had to place it at number one. You could make a great case for Waxahatchee for number one though. I can not fault her album and there is not one song even remotely weak. Her partner Kevin Morby also gave us another beautiful album yet again. Some veteran artists showed that they are aging extremly well too. Destroyer and Wolf Parade did Canada proud and The Flaming Lips produced their best work in years. And Stephen Malkmus showed why he is an icon of music yet again. Younger artists that showed that music is in good hands were Dogleg, Lomelda, Tina, Told Slant and Bartees Strange. I loved all of their albums. And if I could just give one album to everyone it would be the one by Young Jesus. An album of breathtaking power of beauty I would love to reach a larger audience.

1. Making A Door Less Open-Car Seat Headrest
2. Saint Cloud-Waxahatchee
3. Have We Met-Destroyer
4. Thin Mind-Wolf Parade
5. Shore-Fleet Foxes
6. Sundowner-Kevin Morby
7. The Loves of Your Life-Hamilton Leithauser
8. Welcome to Conceptual Beach-Young Jesus
9. American Head-The Flaming Lips
10. Muzz-Muzz
11. Traditional Techniques-Stephen Malkmus
12. Melee-Dogleg
13. III-Fuzz
14. Hannah-Lomelda
15. RTJ4-Run the Jewels
16. The Microphones in 2020-The Microphones
17. Strange to Explain-Woods
18. Punisher-Phoebe Bridgers
19. Set My Heart on Fire Immediately-Perfume Genius
20. Mystic Familiar-Dan Deacon
21. We Will Always Love You-The Avalanches
22. Silver Ladders-Mary Lattimore
23. That's Why We're Running Away-Roadside Graves
24. Love is the King-Jeff Tweedy
25. Positive Mental Health Music-Tina
26. Protean Threat-Osees
27. The Ascension-Sufjan Stevens
28. Whole New Mess-Angel Olsen
29. Serpentine Prison-Matt Berninger
30. Likewise-Frances Quinlan
31. Songs-Adrianne Lenker
32. Point the Flashlight and Walk-Told Slant
33. Continuous Portrait-Inventions
34. Eight Gates-Jason Molina
35. Song For Our Daughter-Laura Marling
36. Island-Owen Pallett
37. Live Forever-Bartees Strange
38. 5 Dreams-Soft Plastics
39. Fetch the Bolt Cutters-Fiona Apple
40. Snapshot of a Beginner-Nap Eyes
41. Gold Record-Bill Callahan
42. Silver Tongue-Torres
43. Don't Waste Your Anger-The Smith Street Band
44. I Was Born Swimming-Squirrel Flower
45. What's New, Tomboy?-Damien Jurado
46. Candid-Whitney
47. Every Bad-Porride Radio
48. You Can Never Have a Long Enough Head Start-Floral Tattoo
49. Marigold-Pinegrove
50. Holy Smokes Future Jokes-Blitzen Trapper

Jan 17, 2021

Favourite Films of 2020

Well film started out just great in 2020. First week of the year I saw 1917 and nothing bettered it for the year in my opinion. I thought it should have won Best Picture but I was still really happy to see Parasite win. It was a great film. Terrence Malick returned with the incredible A Hidden Life so that was a special pleasure too. Then cinemas closed in March and lots of films got pushed back into 2021. The two I missed the most were Dune and The French Dispatch. Missing out on Marvel films and the new Bond film not such a worry for me though. As cinemas reopened there was still plenty to see. Lots of smaller independent fare that really delivered. The best being the amazing Nomadland which looks like a major Oscar contender in 2021. Lots of films were sold to streaming services or were already headed there. Netflix gave us films from heavyweights Spike Lee, David Fincher, Charlie Kaufman and Aaron Sorkin and all were worth watching especially the latter three. Amazon Prime had many films to recommend too with the truly superb Sound of Metal becoming one of the best of 2020. So a fractured year but still plenty of good stuff. Here's hoping to 2021 being one of full cinemas and great films for everyone.

2. A Hidden Life
3. Nomadland
4. Mank
5. I'm Thinking of Ending Things
6. Sound Of Metal
7. Little Women
8. The Last Black Man in San Francisco
9. The Trial of the Chicago 7
10. Beanpole

Jan 16, 2021

Best Live Shows of 2020

Well this will will be a short post. Sadly live music ground to a halt in 2020 due to the global pandemic. The year started off brilliantly with the great Vampire Weekend finally returning to Australia and putting on a wonderful show. Sadly there weren't a lot more to go to in 2020. Bill Callahan at the State Theatre was the last one. The following week we were due to see Rhiannon Giddens but she had to cancel and fly home. The National was cancelled soon after too. We had bought tickets to see Patti Smith, Big Thief, The Hold Steady, Angel Olsen, Alex G and Bon Iver. All postponed and eventauuly cancelled. Hopefully 2021 will see some sort of return to normality. 

1. Vampire Weekend @ Enmore Theatre
2. The New Pornographers @ Metro Theatre
3. Allah Las @ Paddington RSL
4. William Tyler @ Seidler Penthouse
5. Bill Callahan @ State Theatre
6. Jay Som @ Oxford Art Factory