Yay! My final year-end Kevin’s 7 list! And it only took me two weeks to write. Anyway, let’s get on with it, shall we?
Here’s a list of some of the tracks that made my year better and brighter, in no particular order...
- The Weeknd - “Blinding Light”
- New Order - “Be A Rebel”
- Charli XCX - “Detonate”
- Nothing But Thieves - “Is Everybody Going Crazy”
- Gorillaz, Peter Hook, Georgia - “Aries”
- Phoebe Bridgers - “Kyoto”
- MxPx - “Fever Dream”
I strongly recommend checking them all out.
Here’s a list of some of my most memorable albums of the year along with a notable track from each, in reverse order...
7. lovelytheband - conversations with myself about you
The final addition to my list as it was also my most recent find. WKQX 101.1 FM played the single “buzz cut” when I was on my way to the gym, so I looked up the album and played my way through the whole thing while working out. Every single track was a great match to my workout. As I’d never heard of the band, I read their profile on Spotify, which mentioned they had one of the longest charting singles of 2018. Intrigued, I played it. Within the first few notes, this “mysterious” new band came into stark focus. Of course I’d heard “broken” many times on the radio, I just had no idea what the title was nor the band performing it. Call me a fan now.
Don’t Forget to Listen to: “buzz cut”
6. Pearl Jam - Gigaton
The second the new Pearl Jam album was announced, it immediately jumped to the top of my most anticipated album list for the year, as any Pearl Jam album does. And it did not disappoint. All of the tracks are pretty fantastic but I still love the lead-off single for its unique sound.
Don’t Forget to Listen to: “Dance of the Clairvoyants”
5. Kelly Lee Owens - Inner Song
I saw Kelly Lee Owens rock the blue stage at the Pitchfork Music Festival in 2018 with her intense electronic mixing and immediately loved it. When I heard she released a new album, I jumped aboard and haven’t looked back. A nice melodic electronic rhythm that was great to work to. She’s accompanied a lot of work days since.
Don’t Forget to Listen to: “Jeanette”
4. The Strokes - The New Abnormal
On the opposite end of the expectation spectrum from Pearl Jam was The Strokes. I liked The Strokes back in their lo-fi garage rock heyday in the realty aughts, but given that they hadn’t released an album in seven years, I figured they’d be a little out of touch. I couldn’t possibly be more wrong. In fact, I actually went out of my way to special order a cassette copy of this album when it came out in conjunction with Record Store Day 2020. I have listened to this album more than almost any other album on this list.
Don’t Forget to Listen to: “Brooklyn Bridge to Chorus”
3. Margo Price - That’s How Rumors Get Started
I’m not entirely certain anymore how I came across Margo Price’s new LP as her country meets Fleetwood Mac vibe is not my usual scene. But, however it happened, I’m thankful. She’s got a magnificent voice and her songwriting is top notch. Plus she’s a lot of fun on social media being one of few Liberal southern country stars. Actually, now that I think about it, it may have been her discovery by Jack White that clued me in.
Don’t Forget to Listen to: “Letting Me Down”
2. Jeff Rosenstock - NO DREAM
Jeff Rosenstock is an artist signed to Polyvinyl Records out of Urbana-Champaign, IL, the label from which I’m most likely to buy an album blindly. This was one such album and Jeff’s punk-fueled rage has gotten me through many a bad pandemic day.
Don’t Forget to Listen to: “N O D R E A M”
1. Vandal Moon - Black Kiss
I love dark wave music. The problem I have with it is that it’s very rare that a dark wave band has a vocalist that doesn’t try way too hard to have a disaffected and dark sound that’s just way too heavy and ruins the musicality. Depeche Mode is one of the few that have made it work best through history. But Vandal Moon may just swipe that honorific from them. Very brooding and infecting and it has been on constant replay since I discovered it in May. It is also the album that I most recommended to others of whom all seemed to enjoy it. I may be better at this music recommending thing than I originally believed.
Don’t Forget to Listen to: “Black Kiss”
Here are a handful of honorable mentions worth checking out as well, in no particular order:
- Japandroids - Massey Fucking Hall (live) - my favorite band, but it’s not on the list because it’s not a new studio album. Maybe soon.
- Of Montreal - UR FUN
- Chloe x Halle - Ungodly Hour
- Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher
- STRFKR - Future Past Life
- Taylor Swift - folklore
- Phantogram - Ceremony
- The Psychedelic Furs - Made of Rain
- Charli xCx - how i’m feeling now
- Thundercat - It Is What It Is
What did your ear holes pick up on this year?