Friday, December 11, 2020

The Ten Best Albums of 2020 - As Chosen By Me

Last week I posted a long, toilsome list of the year's best music albums. Link here.

For those that don't have time for that kind of slog, here's a quick rundown of the year's ten best. And yes I am picking a sleepy little Ozzie wombat pop record as my number one. 

Number 1: Sleeper and Snake - Fresco Shed

Conjures Visions Of: kangaroos, barbecues, Subaru Outbacks, down under blankets, and those frilled-neck lizards that run on their hind legs. Those thorny devils those.

Reminds Me Of: The Moldy Peaches, Young Marble Giants, Lotta Sea Lice, Daniel Johnston.

Why I Like It: drum machines, super catchy songs, saxophones, and a DIY approach. What's not to like?

Number 2: Silverbacks - Fad

Conjures Visions Of: Singing along with the radio.

Reminds Me Of: Camper Van Beethoven, Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, The Hold Steady.

Why I Like It: These Irish lads (and lass) know how to rock.

Number 3: Ron Miles - Rainbow Sign

Conjures Visions Of: Being at one of those ideal jazz clubs like you see in movies, for both the early and late sets (you ain't going nowhere).

Reminds Me Of: Blue Note's golden era where every record was a winner.

Why I Like It: One word - Melody. Ron Miles can write some tunes, and with the best of the best accompanying him this band delivers track after track after track. A soon to be classic.

Number 4: Gillian Welch: Boots No. 2 - The Lost Songs, Vol 1, 2 and 3

Conjures Visions Of: Walking the streets of 'Frisco in a brand new pair of shoes.

Reminds Me Of: Gillian Welch songs willed into existence.

Why I Like It: Quantity and quality. These "throw-away" songs are unbelievably good.

Number 5: Surprise Chef - All News is Good News

Conjures Visions Of: Having a tailor make you a suit designed to look like it came from a thrift store, but with just enough bespoke touches that someone with an eye for it can tell that it's hand made.

Reminds Me Of: That legendary funk jazz album from the 1970's the crate diggers rave about.

Why I Like It: From the sound of it, you would never know that this is another contemporary Australian band. 

Number 6: Bill Frisell - Valentine

Conjures Visions Of: That strange dream you had last night.

Reminds Me Of: Three musicians listening and responding to each other.

Why I Like It: Not many artists produce a career-defining work 30+ years into their career, but Frisell did with Valentine.

Number 7: Elds Mark - Elds Mark

Conjures Visions Of: Strange rituals in the deep dark woods of the far far north.

Reminds Me Of: Everything that's good about Scandinavian music right now.

Why I Like It: You're constantly wondering, "is this the same album?".

Number 8: This Is The Kit - Off Off On

Conjures Visions Of: Popping a cassette tape into the boombox and playing it loud enough so that someone else can hear it besides me.

Reminds Me Of: Someone who writes and creates her own songs, with internal muse as the primary influence.

Why I Like It: What kind of banjo is that she's playing? Then those horns come in.

Number 9: Martin Rude & Jakob Skøtt Duo - The Discipline Of Assent

Conjures Visions Of: Constantly being on the verge of something.

Reminds Me Of: Too much. Desert Blues, Miles Davis, Pink Robots.

Why I Like It: It's what I was looking for.

Number 10: Los Days - Singing Sands

Conjures Visions Of: Tumbleweeds, distant horizons, trotting horses.

Reminds Me Of: Friends of Dean Martinez, Atmospheres and Soundtracks, Ennio Morricone.

Why I Like It: It's Tommy Guerrero.


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