Given the absolute hardship that the music industry has had to endure in 2020, it is so important that we continue to acknowledge and support artists in any way we can. Of course, given the shutdown of the live music industry for so much of the year, purchasing (rather than streaming) music is more important than ever.  Then, of course, is also important to acknowledge the quality work that has been produced and released during this period. Therefore, it is time to share my thoughts on the best music releases of the last 12 months.

Now, this list is compiled only from music I have purchased this year in any format (digital, CD, vinyl etc).  After all, if a piece of music isn’t worthy of your money, it can’t be that good. Anybody who says they ‘love’ a band or artist, but only listen to them on streaming services, has no credibility and is certainly not a fan of the artist, or music more broadly.  Sure, free stuff is great and we all take anything free that is in the offing, so the fact that somebody listens to music for free on streaming services is hardly an endorsement as to the talents of an artist or the quality of the music.

If you like it, buy it (and attend concerts and buy merchandise as well) so that artists can actually make some money and be in a position to release some more music that you might also like.

So, that being said, here is a list of the music that has really impressed me this year. It includes a lot of new discoveries and, as always, quite a bit of Australian content. The list only includes albums and EP’s released in 2020 and purchased between January 1 and December 31 and therefore excludes individual song releases. 

Anyway, my top 20 selections from 2020, in no particular order, are:

Pearl Jam – Gigaton

Alex the Astronaut – The Theory of Absolutely Nothing

RVG – Feral

Bad Nerves – Bad Nerves

Liza Anne – Bad Vacation

Pillow Queens – In Waiting

San Cisco – Between You and Me

Maddy Jane – Not all Bad or Good

Ball Park Music – Ball Park Music

Yours Truly – Self Care

Jess Cornelius – Distance

The Beths – Jump Rope Gazers

Dream Wife – So When You Gonna..

Stand Atlantic – Pink Elephant

Tired Lion – Breakfast for Pathetics

Best Coast – Always Tomorrow

Bloxx – Lie Out Loud

Slutface – Sorry for the Late Reply

Ivey – Love + Miscellanea

Jaguar Jonze – Diamonds and Liquid Gold

Perve Endings – Slow Burn

The Buoys – All This Talking Gets Us Nowhere

Eliza and the Delusionals – A State of Living in an Objective Reality

Lauran Hibberd – Everything’s Dogs

Zuzu – How it Feels

With regard to individual songs, I typically prefer to focus on a body of work in evaluating an artist, however, two tracks that stood out for me in 2020 but are yet to be committed to an album or EP release are Harper Bloom’s Walk My Way and Desk Chair by Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers.