It’s been a crazy year, and a depressing year, so perhaps we all retreated more into our record collections to seek out that fleeting joy. On my end, I spent a lot of time running/walking in the ‘burbs, so these are the records that played the most in my life…thus they are my Favorite Albums of 2020. The validity means little to anyone other than myself, but since you stop by, perhaps come by and check out my list!
And, just an FYI…there are 30 bands, and I linked back to Bandcamp pages so you can buy directly from the artists…except that one band because apparently they’re too cool…even though that album rips.
So, lists are pretty arbitrary, especially for a site like ours, where you mostly know what you’re going to get each day. But, still, I always fall for the “Best Of” lists, though this year, I’m personally staying away from the numbering system; it just doesn’t really mean much to me these days. That said, I do spend a lot of time covering Aussie acts, more than most, so for me, its fun to revisit my favorites. Without further hoopla…here’s my Top Aussie Releases of 2020.
Earlier this year, Girlatones released one hell of a sophomore record, Horn if You’re Honky, and they’ve turned right around to give us another offering this year by way of the Short & Sweet EP. I was pleased to find that the band would be taking on a similar downtrodden mood, as was present on the standout single from HiYH, “Get to the End.” I was happily basking in my solitude while listening here, when a sudden uptick in the sound perked me up; you’ll hear a slight tonal bounce around the 1:30 mark, offering up this tiny sparkle of promise before receding back to the solemn notes of the verse. Despite its shifting moods, you’d be missing out if you didn’t hear the faintest dash of hope on the horizon in the band’s pop sensibility. They’ll release Short & Sweet on October 2nd via limited cassettes! (Photo by Izzie Austin)
We’re a few weeks away from Horn if You’re Honky, the brand new record from Girlatones; it’s one of the records I’ve been most looking forward to in this busy Spring season. Their newest single has this sprightly bounce to it, using these playful guitar lines and precision percussion to give the song a hop and a step that will surely lift your spirits. The warmth of the chorus adds in a layered melody and pop sensibility that’s so brief and delicate that it slides into your subconscious begging to be played on repeat. For my two cents, the track helps illustrate the variance on the new record, which actually has me more excited. I’ve loved every single thus far, and none of them sound exactly alike, so we’re all in for a collection of 10 solid hits! Horn if You’re Honky drops via Meritorio and Lost and Lonesome on March 20th.
Opening a song with the chorus seems dangerous, unless you’re Girlatones; they’re a fearless pop outfit from Australia with loads of experience in writing hits. Their newest single jumps right in with this bouncing bop; you can’t listen to those first 15 seconds and not be in head over heels with this tune. The verses don’t let you down either, shimmering like some of the best power-pop you’re likely to hear this day, or ever. Oh, and just a little melodic left turn at the 1:10 minute? You didn’t see that coming did you! Horn if You’re Honky already has my favorite tune of the year, so add this to another reason we’ll be pumped for its release by Lost and Lonesome/Meritorio Records on March 20th.
Aside from the fact that I can’t stop giggling at the title of the new LP from Australia’s Girlatones, I’m totally sold on the opening single they’ve shared with the record announcement. It’s this soft bit of pop, crafted beautifully on the back of a piano, touched up with some light percussion and delicate little arrangements; I loved the crisp guitar notes at the 3 minute mark. Honestly, it kind of reminds me of the slow-core stylings of maybe Bedhead, though spun through a different set of influences; the song sort of builds and builds, peaking as the song draws to a close. Horn if You’re Honky will be out on March 20th via Meritorio and Lost and Lonesome.
For the 8 or so people who read this blog on the regular, you’ll likely be aware of my affection for all things Oceanic, primarily New Zealand and Australia. So, with year end lists in mind, I thought I’d offer up my personal takes on the best tunes to come out of the area in 2017. There’s no particular order, just my sixteen favorites of the year.
There’s even a fun little playlist at the bottom for you to enjoy!
Not too long ago I brought you a tune from Australia’s Girlatones, an act I had penned as an up-and-coming powerhouse…but today I’m here with the stream of their album, Fitting In Well. Across 9 songs, the band takes you all over the pop spectrum. You, of course, get to start off with the infectious “Share the Love,” bringing a bouncing bit of casual pop. But, my favorite highlight in the album’s opening moments was “You’re My Friend;” it reminds me of listening to Richie Valens in the kitchen as a kid. Then you’ll find the dark brood of “Misunderstood,” which stretches out into a minor jam before settling back into the groove. My two cents would also be well spent on “Put Me Back Together,” a track that definitely seems rooted in the well-discussed regional vibe (especially as of late). Saying that Fitting In Well is a gem from start to finish seems like a bit of an understatement, as each track could easily stand on its own. But, lucky for us all, it’s a complete collection; you can buy it directly from the band HERE.
In what continues as my undying love for all things from Melbourne, Australia, I’m here to ask you to take a look at another hot act from the city, Girlatones. They’ll entertain you with infectious dueling harmonies from male and female vocalists, but there’s enough attitude kicking here to make sure you don’t get carried away think their a simple pop band. I particularly love how they employ the slightest hint of Western swing in their ringing guitars, while the rhythm section helps the group keep the perfect pacing. This is the title track from the group’s new effort, Fitting In Well, and it seems just, as the group will surely be fitting into my heavy rotation of great Aussie acts in 2017.