Here then is the list of my favorite records released before 2020 that I discovered this past year.
• Mol - Penumbra:
Melodic, heavy, and mysterious. I love Mol's Penumbra record.
• Iress - Prey
One of those great Bandcamp discoveries, Los Angeles's Iress have crafted a perfect balance between metal and 'grunge' with 2015's Prey. And in locating a picture of this one's album art, I realized Iress released a record this past September that's bound to be one of those that would have made this year's list had I heard it in time. This year, there's been quite a few of those, so I may do a 'booster' next week of those 2020 records that should have made the Top Ten but just barely missed out.
• The Plimsouls - Everywhere at Once
Thanks to Bret Easton Ellis, Valley Girl (OG), and Cameron on Halt and Catch Fire for all simultaneously introducing me to this fabulous 80s LA band.
• La Hell Gang - Thru Me Again:
A band I discovered through Henry Rollins's KCRW radioshow, La Hell Gang are kind of a more low-key Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Great album though, one that drifts through sandy, sudsy rock n roll atmosphere.
• Mannequin Pussy - Patience:
What can I say about Mannequin Pussy? I came for the name, stayed for the unbelievable songs. Kind of like if Hole had a talented songwriter who I didn't find too obnoxious to even look at, there's the spirit of the 90s here, but it's tempered with the same kind of time and distance that bands like M83 and Cut Copy did for the 80s.
Thus begins the section for my MVPs. My list of 2020's favs from last week can't even hold a candle for what these three records did for me this year:
• White Lung - Paradise:
Fucking perfect from start to finish and impossible to turn off after only three full-run throughs, White Lung have never recorded a song I don't love, but this record, from start to finish, is above and beyond even that.
• Michael Kiwanuka - KIWANUKA
A late entry, Michael Kiwanuka's KIWANUKA is an album I have been unable to turn off for the past two weeks, and my rabid love of its 14 songs shows no sign of abating, much like my love of this year's Number One record:
• Low Cut Connie - Hi Honey:
Mr. Brown must have told me to check these guys out a thousand fucking times. I get caught up in my own little scene - especially when I'm knee-deep in writing something utilizing specific musical muses - but I always get around to stuff eventually. Usually, I happen upon these records when I need them most, and boy howdy, if that isn't true of Low Cut Connie's Hi Honey, then I don't know what is. I feel like it's only a slight embellishment to say this record more than any other saved me from 2020 - I put on The Royal Screw or Danny's Outta Money and I immediately feel great. Thus is the power of Soul. Destined to be one of my favorite records ever.