Bad Moves, Blitzen Trapper, Chris Church, Dave Kuchler, Ed Ryan, El Goodo, Gary Ritchie, Geoff Palmer and Lucy Ellis, Gregory Pepper and his Problems, Jim Shorts, John Dunbar, Juniper, Mo Troper, Mom, Nick Pipitone, Nite Sobs, Peggy Sue, Richard Turgeon, The August Teens, The Happy Fits, The Rockyts, The Speedways, The Vapour Trails, The Yum Yums, Vanilla
I know, you’re too busy to scour the racks for great singles. If only you could find some great albums to kick back with? Something to slip on the old record player and enjoy with a cool drink. Well here at Poprock Record we feel your pain. So we’ve assembled the crack team you see above to vet the very best LPs from throughout the year that was 2020. The kids may be a tad young for martinis but do not doubt their vinyl erudition and exquisite taste. From more than a hundred possibilities they’ve whittled things down to an essential 25 albums that you must possess to say you’ve really experienced the past twelve months of melodic music. Fill your K-Tel Record Selector with these super fantastic long players!
So, let’s get to it – Poprock Record’s 25 must-have LPs for 2020:
1. Gregory Pepper and His Problems I Know Why You Cry
2. The Happy Fits What Could Be Better
3. Nite Sobs Do the Sob!
4. Mo Troper Natural Beauty
5. Mom Pleasure Island
6. The Rockyts Come On and Dance
7. Peggy Sue Vices
8. Chris Church Backwards Compatible
9. Richard Turgeon Sea Change
10. Juniper Juniper
11. Dave Kuchler It’s Pronounced …
12. The Vapour Trails Golden Sunshine
13. El Goodo Zombie
14. Geoff Palmer and Lucy Ellis Your Face is Weird
15. Vanilla Limerance
16. Bad Moves Untenable
17. Blitzen Trapper Holy Smokes Future Jokes
18. The August Teens I’m Selfish and So Is My Cat
19. Jim Shorts Late to the Feast
20. John Dunbar Oh Wellness
21. Gary Ritchie Head on a Swivel
22. Ed Ryan Even Time
23. The Yum Yums For Those About to Pop!
24. Nick Pipitone Thiensville
25. The Speedways Radio Days
Gregory Pepper dominated my listening for 2020 with his outrageously good I Know Why You Cry. The album was his own specially curated re-recordings of tracks originally composed during his year long Song-of-the-Week extravaganza. There’s whimsy, there’s pathos, there’s references to Enya. It’s the kind of poprock that makes my heart burst, a never-fail mood improver. Coming up second this year was the kick-ass second album from The Happy Fits, What Could Be Better. Other than Pepper, I’m hard pressed to suggest anything. This whole album is a killer production that puts the cello at the centre of melodic rock and roll (where it belongs). Here are songs and performances that inspire descriptions like ‘thrilling’ and ‘exciting’. And then there’s the extreme hooky pleasantness of Nite Sobs throughout Do The Sob! An impressive head-bopping good time. And so on. All the records here really pay dividends via repeated listens so carve out some time to enjoy them. The great lost art of an album-long musical vision lives on with these 25 selections.
Next up, Poprock Record’s top five EPs for 2020:
1. Gregory Pepper Under a Heather Moon
2. David Woodard Grand Scheme of Things
3. Danny McDonald Modern Architecture
4. Brad Marino False Alarm
5. Aaron Lee Tasjan Found Songs Vol. 1
What?! Another Pepper selection topping the chart. Fear not dear reader, our completely unscientific selection process has not erred here. Hey, I just really like Pepper’s stuff. And he is crazy talented, as is obvious from this stylistically varied and pumped up collection of song snippets, 10 in all amounting to just 15 minutes of music. But what a ride. I mean, just check out the brilliant 17 second track, “Do Sports.” I want more! These other EPs are pretty special too and fabulous for those times when you can barely sit down and squeeze in a quick sherry.
And let’s not forget, Poprock Record’s best compilations for 2020:
1. Garden of Earthly Delights: An XTC Celebration
2. Wild Honey Records: The Benefit of Things to Come
3. John Wicks: For the Record
2020 tried our patience but, glass half full, it did provide a bit of downtime. That allowed for a lot more album listening than normal and what a treat that turned out to be. And given the impact of 2020 on live music, artists need albums sales more than ever. So let the rewards flow freely from your e-wallet to theirs.