Let's throw this year in the bin by talking about the music we love. It's been the longest twelve months of our lives, and as per usual we've clung to music to get us by. Whether it's an act of escapism, a pick-me-up, or a lockdown rave session, we've been blessed with some massive LPs from our local heroes.
So as we get to the end of the year, we countdown some of our faves in no particular order.
Ball Park Music - Ball Park Music
Australian favourites Ball Park Music extend upon their previous works in a linear fashion, with their latest releases complimenting their ongoing distinctive style and bringing it to the forefront of the Australian indie genre. With hints of hopefulness cascading along with waterfalls of synths, soaring vocals and catchy guitar riffs, their whole album is full of tracks that will get stuck in your head. This latest self-titled album shows the flexibility of the band, and their ability to cement themselves firmly in the hearts of everyone through emotion-packed tunes that are meant to be shouted in a jam packed festival mosh.
Faves: Cherub, Day & Age, Head Like A Sieve, Spark Up!
Stevan - Just Kids (Mixtape)
Stevan’s debut album Just Kids (Mixtape) features lo-fi drums, dreamy vocals, catchy riffs and laid-back beats. The mixtape incorporates pop, rock, r'n'b and hip-hop influences to create a warm and whimsical indie sound. The self-taught vocalist, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist writes sentimental tunes with themes of escapism.
Faves: Time, Warm
Kuya James - ISA
Kuya James' groundbreaking debut album ISA shines a light on the Asian Australian music community and beyond, representing this country’s melting pot of cultures in 2020. Infusing punchy electronic beats with oriental soundscapes and spanning genres from hip hop to disco, this record is as diverse as the artists featured on it. With themes of ancestry and individuality, artists can even be heard singing and rapping in their native tongue, making it truly a transcendental feast for the ears!
Faves: No Country, Goodbye
Violent Soho - Everything Is A-OK
Violent Soho’s fifth studio album Everything Is A-OK is a fresh direction for the Brisbane rockers. Instead of the headbanging and aggressive undertones fans are familiar with, we’re treated to a cathartic and introspective look on facing modern expectations. There’s a plethora of moody tracks that still fit within their grunge sound, but this time, the angst is expressed through purposeful storytelling rather than screaming into the void. It’s a fitting album for the clusterf*ck that is 2020 and reminds us that while everything is not okay, we can still hold onto the moments that make it bearable.
Faves: Canada, Sleep Year, Slow Down Sonic
A.Swayze and the Ghosts - Paid Salvation
A true showcase of Australian-alternative rock, A.Swayze and the Ghosts prove their undeniable post-punk cool on their debut album Paid Salvation. It’s hard to believe the Tassie favourites are still flying under the radar after delivering a debut album as clean, tight, angstsy and perfectly loud as Paid Salvation. A politically motivated album, the band screams and shouts about everything from problematic social media to tall poppy syndrome. Punchy lyrics, and even harder-hitting riffs; this album is completely reminiscent of late 70s Aus Pub-Rock. A debut album for the ages - everyone should be listening to A.Swayze and the Ghosts.
Faves: Suddenly, Nothing Left to Do, Mess of Me, Connect to Consume
Vacations - Forever In Bloom
Forever In Bloom marks Vacations’ tightest, wooziest and most contemplative collection yet. The album features tracks which recall their earlier surf-rock sound and evoke their Novocastrian roots, along with some glossier jams and more impassioned ballads which reflect their edge towards the pop scene and make this album feel fully realised. Forever In Bloom builds you up with pulses of high-energy songs, only to bring you back down with some slow burners as if to say “Just let the sauce simmer”. And then it explodes. The result is a juicy, flavour-intensive piece of holistic music that somehow manages to perfectly capture both a moment in time, and a universal experience. Play it if you want a bop, or play it if you want a silent cry; it won’t disappoint either way.
Faves: ‘Panache’ (feat. Sarah Sykes and Craterface), ‘Wildflower’, ‘Take Care’