This year has been… a year. While everyone seemed to have what we could collectively describe as a “shitty year,” everyone has had a very different 2020. This year, we couldn’t all meet up at festivals all over the country or the world. This year we couldn’t high five each other, chug cheap beer, and scream along to songs in a basement (or garage or sticky venue) on a Friday night. All the things that seemingly made us “us” were stripped away, leaving other facets of ourselves that we had long since forgotten or placed on an upper shelf to collect dust for some day when we would have more free time.
I’ve spoken to people who feel like they lost their hold on music and others who clung onto it for dear life like a life preserver. It’s been… a year. And while everyone has bravely faced 2020 with a different arsenal of supplies, this resulted in a variety different outcomes. That’s why, in addition to our contributors’ End of the Year Lists, we at Bad Copy have reached out to a handful of friends involved in music this year and asked them to share their top lists. Music, movies, photos, memories, new hobbies – much like 2020, nothing is off the table when it comes to these lists. Let’s find a little good in the bad, try to laugh at what we can’t control, and pray that we will be able to safely see each other soon. First round is on me. – Kendra Sheetz, Editor
– Best Album: Jeff Rosenstock – NO DREAM
I don’t think this one will be a surprise to anyone, and it’ll probably be at the top of a lot of people’s end of year lists, but I loved every last detail of this record. I read a review once where someone suggested Jeff Rosenstock should be “President of Music,” which is 1. heaps funny, and 2. well, NO DREAM is pretty good, to say the least. Jeff Rosenstock is someone who is able to consistently put out game- changing records (I mean he’s given us We Cool?, Worry, POST- and NO DREAM in the space of about five years) that push the envelope musically, melodically and lyrically and NO DREAM does exactly that.
I love that this record is blisteringly fast at times, fiercely melodic, lyrically funny, and lyrically relevant too regarding a lot of the crazy shit which has been happening in the US over the past few years, and I also love the stripped back, hectic, erratic, unique nature of it, and as an extension, I guess of Rosenstock’s authentically magic brain.
My favourite songs off this one are: “State Line,” “***BNB,” “Old Crap,” “Scram!,” “The Beauty of Breathing” and “Monday At The Beach.”
Jeff Rosenstock is someone who is doing music, on his own terms, for the right reasons and absolutely smashing it, and NO DREAM fucking rocks, also the extra songs he released soon after this as “2020 DUMP” are very much worth checking out too.
– Second Favourites: Anti-Flag – 20/20 Vision and PEARS – Self Titled/III
– Best Video Game: Hyrule Warriors – Age of Calamity
I don’t get heaps of time to play video games, however when I do, it’s usually a Zelda title. The Hyrule Warriors games are kind of Zelda spin offs, and it’s more of a hack and slash large scale combat game than the traditionally Zelda RPG quest style.
In the past I haven’t really liked the Hyrule Warriors series but this one is fucking cool. It’s got it’s own story which is part of the Zelda canon, and functions as a direct prequel to Breath of the Wild. It’s also artistically identical to BOTW and set in a lot of the same landscapes. The gameplay is pretty cool, you get to play as a lot of other characters from the Zelda universe including Zelda and Impa and you get to pilot the divine beasts from BOTW too. Nintendo seem to be at a stage where they can give us a new awesome Zelda title every five years or so, Age of Calamity helps to bridge that gap and provides something that feels authentically Zelda to help get us through.
– Best Book: Do What You Want – The Story Of Bad Religion – Jim Rutland
I love a good band bio, and I’ve read all of Greg Graffin’s books so it was nice to be able to hear the story of Bad Religion told by a third party who managed to interview all the Bad Religion alumni and compile their legacy in this way. I’m pretty obsessed with Bad Religion, so I might just be the target audience for this book but obviously I thought it was pretty good. Do What You Want encapsulates the 40 years of BR history without getting boring, and even gives some insight into a few of the darker periods for the band like the release of Into The Unknown, the years on Atlantic Records without Brett Gurewitz playing guitar, and the departure of various members throughout their long and legendary timeline. It’s cool to hear interesting perspectives on the songs you love by the people who wrote them, and the bigger ideas behind the songs too.
– Best Movie: Pick It Up! – Ska in the 1990s
I suppose everyone had a lot of time to watch movies this year, and my experience wasn’t too different. I think after I exhausted Netflix I found myself sifting through band documentaries and trying to remind myself of all the possible fun which exists out there, and might be able to be had again at some point – hopefully soon. Anyway, one in particular stood out to me, one of them was narrated by Tim Armstrong. All jokes aside, I think most people know I’m pretty obsessed with Ska – maybe not Brent Friedman from We Are The Union level obsessed, but like pretty close?
One of the things I really liked about this documentary is that it provides a really good way to explain/introduce Ska to people who might not know what it is – for those of us who’ve been having to say “You know, like fast Reggae? A bit like Punk but with horns?” to our confused work colleagues when we tell them we play in Ska bands for the past decade, now there’s a film! I feel like it’s somewhat the most overlooked of the Punk-associated-genres, and I really like that now there’s an official movie I can direct people to… and did I mention it’s narrated by Tim Armstrong? I probably did, but that’s not even the best part, Mike Park is in it too, so check it out!
Best Show: Frenzal Rhomb – The Newport Hotel – Fremantle, WA 23.02.2020
Now this one doesn’t really count, because it was of course; the year of no shows – However, I felt really lucky that we were able to squeeze one in with my all-time-favourite-Australian-Punk-band before everything got cancelled.
I’ve missed Frenzal the last handful of times they came to Perth due to being on tour, but this time the stars aligned so to speak and I was able to hear all the songs about cones, goon bags, bucket bongs and other various Aussie traditions in shall we say, a relevant setting? This was also the first time I got to see Frenzal featuring their newest member; Mr. Dal Failure from Local Resident Failure playing bass, which as a fan of both bands was very exciting for me, and probably the rest of the Aussie Punk scene, let’s be real. Frenzal busted out super old songs like “Richer Than You,” “Punch In The Face,” “Mr. Charisma,” “Do You Wanna Fight Me,” and a bunch of new ones off Smoko and their latest record Hi Vis High Tea as well. Of all the many times I’ve seen Frenzal, this was definitely one of them.
Best Live Stream: Chad Price and Scott Reynolds from ALL a heap of times, rad!!
I think I even got to watch one while I was at work. Let’s just say at least this weird post apocalyptic future has a few perks.