It’s tempting to label Savoy Motel as a retro glam revival group, but with the Sorry People video of their self-titled debut album (2015), the American rock band made it clear they don’t want to be seen as such: ‘We aren’t trying to revive anything. We play southern rock in a modern tradition. We try to create music that is all-inclusive escapism.’ Anyway, there is now a second full-length (click here for the commercial promoting Love Your Face) – ten new songs arranged and produced by Ryan Donoho (drums), Tina Norwood (piano), Jeffrey Novak (bass) and Dillon Watson (guitar). They are songs that go in all directions (they remind me of Foxygen at times, but I’m probably not allowed to say that either), songs that indeed allow you to escape the news of last year for 33 minutes.
At the start of each year, I create a playlist to keep track of newly released songs I like. Then, at the end of the year, I pick out the best song from this list to create a year-end mixtape, a playlist I like to return to every now and then, and revisit or rediscover songs and memories of a specific period of time. The thing is, I am not a very efficient person. So basically I drag songs to the playlist for 350 days resulting in quite the mess – the playlist currently has 1944 songs, almost 92 hours of music. Then, with the year coming to its close, I frantically go to work trimming down the playlist to its essence. That’s the hard part, because I am way better in adding stuff than throwing things away, or so I am told. I usually end up with a playlist around 300-400 songs, in spite of my good intentions to keep it shorter. This year is no exception. What I did do differently this year however, is split up the songs in two playlists that reflect my two musical taste buds: a playlist with more straightforward punk, powerpop and garage hits from 2020, and one playlist with a little less distortion (i.e., indiepop, jangle, twee, but also postpunk, and more fuzzy and surfy popsounds). As always, one song per artists. Click read more to check them out. Hope you’ll like ’em, and will uncover some new favorite tunes! BTW, in case this is my final post of the year, take care, be well and see you in 2021!
I am a sucker for year-end lists. They help uncover releases I missed, artists I overlooked, and curators worth following. I equally love the process of creating my own lists. There is an instrinsic value and joy in revisiting and reflecting on the records that come out each year. It offers a reminder that some records take time to appreciate, while others’ immediate appeal ultimately proved to be short-lived. One noticable trend in this streaming age is that artists release a crazy amount of great songs, whereas their albums often fail to live up to that promise. Quite a lot of my favorite songs of the year were on releases I left out my top 50. This top 50 celebrates the art of great collections of songs, records I own, records that are on my wantlist,records I’ve played and enjoyed front to back. What about those great individual songs? I will share my favorites in a playlist before the year is over (Update: I made two). I will also publish a list of my favorite singles (7″, digital) and EP’s of 2020 next week (Update: it’s here). And, of course, don’t forget to check out Dennis’ favorite records of 2020.
Ok, less talk, more rock. Below you’ll find my favorite records of the year. Mostly punk, garage, powerpop, rock-‘n’-roll, indiepop and indierock releases. I’ve added short descriptions of what I love about each record, and sample songs and video’s. If you like what you hear, just click on the album title and AddToWantlist. Oh yeah, and for you streamers out there, there’s a playlist with my favorite song of each record at the bottom of this post. Let’s go!
OK, let’s start with the obligatory cliché intro text. The only good thing about 2020 was that by being at home more often you could listen to even more music and for those who want to hear it, enough good music has been made. Since January I have checked out 1,100+ new albums. Sometimes after half a minute I knew it wasn’t for me, sometimes I just couldn’t get enough. No doubt I missed a few things that I should not have missed, but right now this is what it is. And it doesn’t really matter either. Music lists are by definition debatable, because they say something about taste and taste is personal. What follows does not really say anything about quality, but simply reflects what I have played and enjoyed the most. In my list guitars and distinctive voices predominate, it’s mostly rock orientated (alternative, garage, jangle, roots, post-punk, …) plus a little bit of soul, with both debuting bands and old rockers with renewed energy who could have been their grandfather. It turns out that 2020 was not that bad at all!
True, these 5 songs have been available for 2 months now, but I’m only discovering them now (thanks Shindig! Magazine!) and this debut EP is too good not to share. The 4-peace consists of members of Bottomfeeders and Jeff the Brotherhood and they play driving guitar rock with garage-psych and glam influences that could have come straight from the 70s. The Out Of The Darkness EP is out digitally via Third Man Records and the label promises a self-titled full-length LP for 2021. Yeah!
Add to wantlist: Bandcamp
I know, this 7″ from TV’s Daniel (Daniel Fried from Bad Sports, Mind Spiders, Radioactivity, among others) is over a year old, but the flip side has become one of my favorite Friday night anthems lately. I like the A side of the single – Maybe We’ll All Die, but what I really love is the B-side (always check the B-side!). Sing along: It’s Better Than It’s Been!