2020 was quite a year. It was a year full of unimaginable things. You couldn't even write a movie about it - although, undoubtedly someone will.
It was full of heartbreak, anxiety, violence, and worldwide fear and pain. Amidst all of it, there was also hope and a stronger understanding of the human connection, being formed.
In the middle of it all, there was also music. Whether it was artists learning the 'new normal' and playing shows online - starting with free YouTube acoustic sets, and growing in to full blown produced shows and everything in between, or releasing new music. There was a lot to be thankful for.
With that, here is our part 1 of the Guppies - this is probably a good time to explain what exactly the Guppies are...they are our take on The Office's Dundies, which was a take on the Grammies/any awards. So, these are our Top 10 albums of 2020 (part 2 comes next week).
You can listen to the episode on your favourite podcast app, or in the video below. If you don't want to listen, and just want to skip straight to the list, you'll find it below the video.
David's Top 10
10. Neck Deep - All Distortions Are Intentional
9. Seaway - Big Vibe
8. Bearings - Hello, It's You
7. Slick Shoes - Rotation & Frequency
6. Spanish Love Songs - Brave Faces Everyone
5. Hot Mulligan - You'll Be Fine
Hot Mulligan is a band I've been familiar with for quite some time, but they were a band that just kind of was. I had enjoyed their previous albums, but nothing outside of a handful of listens for each. With You'll Be Fine, that was all flipped on its head. With each listen this record gets better.
4. Touché Amoré - Lament
Touché Amoré is never an easy band to listen to. Musically they are dynamic, and incredible. Lyrically they are always hard. Jeremy Bolm is so raw in what he shares, it's hard not to get caught up. If you're looking for a musical journey with a happy ending, you won't find it on Lament. It's a musical journey alright, but you're punched in the gut just as hard from beginning to end.
3. The Casket Lottery - Short Songs for End Times
The Casket Lottery triumphantly returned with Short Songs for End Times, their first record since 2012. It's not just a mediocre return either, as this record is up there with the best in their library - maybe even standing alone as their best release. It has everything fans of the band would expect, but the songwriting is elevated from their previous releases.
2. Four Year Strong - Brain Pain
When Brain Pain came out, I was immediately blown away. I was very late to the party with Four Year Strong, as I hadn't really listened to them before they announced this album. The lead singles were all good, but it's some of the album's deeper cuts that really sold this record for me.
1. Be Well - The Weight and The Cost
Be Well really came out of nowhere, for me, with their album The Weight and The Cost. Post-hardcore that was dripping in emotion. With vocals that are incredibly urgent, and music to back it up, this record really packs a punch. Brian McTernan isn't afraid to open up, lyrically, but he also provides hope in the midst of despair.
Aaron's Top 10
10. The Fizzgigs - Weeeeeeeeeeeee Are the Fizzgigs
9. Seaway - Big Vibe
8. Misery Signals - Ultraviolet
7. Silverstein - A Beautiful Place To Drown
6. Polaris - The Death of Me
5. Lightworker - Fury By Failure
Lightworker is the newest band on this list by far, but a band with a very seasoned sound. The way they blend heavy and melodic both musically and vocally is very impressive. There's a lot of great dynamics on Fury By Failure. No two songs sound the same, yet the songs fit very well together. I always feel like I've been on a journey when I listen through this album. There's so much to take and enjoy from this album. If you love melody and dynamics in your heavy music, then this is for you!
4. Slick Shoes - Rotation and Frequency
An album that was so many years in the making that most believed this would never happen, but here we are, and boy have they brought the fire! They don't miss a beat in bringing the fast, technical, melodic punk that they are known for. Rotation and Frequency has so much to offer and I find myself going back to it over and over again because there's so much to take away from what they offer to the listener. So happy to have Slick Shoes back!
3. Dragged Under - The World Is In Your Way
It's hard to find a band that can combine so many elements and influences, yet release an album's worth of songs that sounds cohesive and engaging. Dragged Under is a new band that sounds like they've been playing together for years. The World Is In Your Way is heavy, melodic, super catchy, emotional, and many other things. It keeps you on your toes and expectant of what's next.
2. Four Year Strong - Brain Pain
Highly anticipated and Brain Pain met every expectation I had. That brings me so much joy when that happens. Four Year Strong brings you everything you hope for and more. Sprinkling in some 90's alternative influences, as well as some slower jams, helps this album to feel dynamic without losing any of the high energy and catchiness that you expect from FYS. I have listened to this album so many times without losing interest.
1. August Burns Red - Guardians
August Burns Red is a band that never gets boring. Do some of their albums and songs sound similar and run into each other at times? Sure, but what band with 10 albums doesn't have that problem? Even when that's the case, the songs and musicianship are so top-notch that you can't help but enjoy the songs. Even after this long, the band continues to release heavy banger after banger, while keeping the feeling fresh and exciting. Guardians is no exception. I'll never get tired of listening to this band.
So there you have it. Those were our respective Top 10 Punk/Adjacent records of 2020. It was a crappy year all around, but the music was good.
Like lists? How about Five Punk Rock Books You Need To Read.