Wednesday, 9 December 2020

20 for 2020 #1

Well. Fuck me! That was one completely messed up year, wasn't it? The things we'll tell our grandchildren about 2020. The pessimist in me wonders if they'll say: "We know what a pandemic is granddad, we've had six of them in our liftetime!"

And on that jolly old prediction of the future, let's look back at the sounds that got me through the weirdest 12 months I've ever known. I've already told you about some of my fave records of the first half of 2020 in my Lockdown posts, but it's time to round up the whole damn year. There have been quite a lot of really good records, despite many getting delayed and delayed again, now not due until 2021. But, of those that did make it out into the big bad world, I've chosen what is probably my top 20. These are the albums that kept me going, the ones that made me smile, that made me sing, that made me feel some sense of normality when the rest of the world was bulk-buying bog roll, hand sanitiser and alcohol.

I'm going to give you five records a week for four Wednesdays - today you get my Top 5, the rest will be in no particular order. All five of these are nestled snugly in my vinyl collection.

I mentioned this album back in April and said it would be right up there on my best of the year list come December. And what do you know - it is. not only that, it holds the honour of being my album of the year. A wonderful record I haven't remotely tired of.

IST IST 'Architecture'
Another one I featured a while back - it's perhaps to easy to write off Manchester's Ist Ist as mere Joy Division revivalists, but while their debut album evokes the spirits of Ian Curtis et al, it also has some exceptional songs. So good they are in fact, that 'Architecture' is also one of MrsRobster's fave albums of 2020. High praise indeed.

THE BETHS 'Jump Rope Gazers'
New Zealand's best new band continue to show their worth. Their second album feels a little darker than its predecessor, yet after a few listens it truly sparkles. The title track could well be my song of the year. In Elizabeth Stokes, The Beths have one of the most promising songwriters in pop music right now. The video is, I think, some metaphor on falling in love. Personally, I think you should listen to the song without the visuals. It's perfect that way...

NADINE SHAH 'Kitchen Sink'
It's bound to happen one day that Nadine Shah will let us down, but she is showing no signs of that at the moment. 'Kitchen Sink' is another collection of songs tinged with biting social comment and sharp wit, delivered in Nadine's inimitable style.

And wrestling with Ist Ist for the title of debut album of the year is this little beauty. Katy J. Pearson has been teasing her album all year. When it finally arrived, we weren't disappointed. I absolutely love her voice, which certainly evokes Stevie Nicks in places - a very good thing in my book.

There'll be another selection next Wednesday.


  1. So much music has slipped by me these past couple of years it's embarrassing, so I'm particularly looking forward to the festive listing season to offer a little guidance. I really enjoyed Waxahatchee, Nadine and Katy from this bunch.
    Great to hear from you Robster. Looking forward to the next batch.

  2. Robster! Glad you're doing this list. I thought Jump Rope Gazers was a terrific follow up, but we seem to be in the minority. Feels like it came and went in a flash. I don't get it.