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
ERIC – Drums/Vocals
Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
A Cheddar and Sourdough Grilled Cheese Sandwich with a side of Tomato Soup
In a year stained by a collective panic, reignited social cognizance and resounding existential crises’, Punisher offers a warm and surprisingly stern embrace to both the optimistic and pessimistic. Lyrically, Punisher delivers a diary-driven tonality that, however unrelenting, is softened by exhaustion and sadness. While there are brief moments of emotional whimsy and optimism, this album largely embraces a more realistic dissection of existential nothingness. With lyrics like “I want to believe. Instead I look at the sky and I feel nothing. You know I hate to be alone. I want to be wrong” when referring to the concept of an afterlife, there exists this beautiful dread that paints this record in a smoky hue. This record feels like receiving a delightfully blue bubble gum ice cream cone on the worst day of your life.
For something as emotionally intense as Punisher, I think a hardy comfort meal will do the trick quite nicely. The bread and the cheese options are entirely up to you, obvs, but the most important thing to remember is pick something that will make you feel warm inside. Whether it’s a sharp cheddar and pepper jack moment with a creamy rustic bisque (my pick) or a brie and apple jam on rye with a can of Campbell’s tomato situation, this album will unlock some big emotional vibes so make sure you’re prepared. Cheese will help.
Soul Glo – Songs To Yeet At The Sun
A Vegetarian Black Bean Burrito with a Tomatillo and Avocado Salsa
Songs To Yeet At The Sun is a present representation and reminder of why I love Punk. This album imbues, tonally, a severe, chaotic intensity, relinquishing of energy and pent frustration while lyrically critiquing social expectation to participate in capitalism in a white-supremist state. “Our era is a marketplace of contained demolitions, pleasant distractions under commercial supervision, and affordable suicidal coping mechanisms. I catch myself picking at them even when I’m bored awash in the promise that I’ll be destroyed.” In this relatively short release, Soul Glo creates a musical amalgam of early Hardcore Punk, Noise-Rap, and Experimental Noisecore that could rival any sub-generic Punk record of the last five years. It’s earnest, it’s unafraid and it’s brilliant. Listen to Soul Glo.
For this release, I chose a burrito. I’m sure you’re like, “Eric, That’s so simple. Why did you choose a burrito?” I’ve been just as empty and saddened by the lack of live music this year as I’m sure most of you are. When I listen to this record I am reminded of the entire process of going to a show and that includes meeting up with your friends for a quick and easy meal before heading to the venue. The social anxieties of being around so many people, the buzzing of reverb tickling my shoes, the humidity of heavy breathing and the collective energy of a room just vibing. The meal I think of before a show is this burrito. Honestly whatever burrito you want. Fuck, I miss shows.
Choir Boy – Gathering Swans
Wine/Kombucha for dinner
The year is 1982. JK it’s 2020, but listening to this album you could truly not have guessed because Gathering Swans is a bit of a vibe capsule. At its core, it is a mix of soft crooning melodies and ethereal emotional Pop. More than that, what Choir Boy has managed to capture with this record is the essence of a very particular pop cultural era. Imagine sitting in your room, quietly singing every song from Songs From The Big Chair in your Big Country t-shirt, momentarily glancing up at your Joy Division poster. Now add some rose colored bedroom pop filters over that and your pretty close to the vibe. But not quite. For as specific as Gathering Swans is in its musical direction, Choir Boy has managed to create something wholly unique out of something familiar. An incredible record by an incredible band.
For this release, you’re probably too busy writing in your room to make a proper meal. Also you’re not really hungry. You had a croissant a little while ago so the thought of a meal feels obnoxious. In your fridge, there sits a nearly full bottle of White Zinfandel and a rosemary kombucha. You grab either, or both. I know some people are thinking, “doesn’t that seem too acidic?” You’re not worried about that. You’re young and emotional and know that one day you won’t be overlooked by your peers. You’re having wine for dinner.
Travis – Bass/Vocals
Amigo the Devil– Covers, Demos, Live Versions, B-Sides
A little bit of this, a little bit of that… if the definition of “this” is Murderfolk and “that” is covers of Carrie Underwood and Tom Jones. With vocals that are almost disarming, Danny Kiranos puts you under his spell and draws you into his dark web of horrors that are oh-so-fucked-up yet oh-so-satisfying. If you close your eyes you can almost smell the jambalaya slowly cooking away over yonder as he serenades you next to a fire, accompanied by nothing but his banjo or a guitar and the songs of cicadas on the bayou as fireflies illuminate the darkness in the distance. Much like a hearty jambalaya, this album incorporates elements from many sources into a delicious mirepoix that is woven together by a brooding tone projected through the inherent darkness of Amigo the Devil. Consider cozying up with a nice bowl of it while giving this album a listen.
Cobra Skulls – Eat Your Babies (re-release from 2005):
Deep dish pizza
While this may not be a “new” release in 2020, it’s definitely something that is new for many ears because it is the first time this album has graced the internet as only a few hundred physical copies were self-produced by the band 15 years ago at the height of the George Dubya era. This is a gritty album with songs covering the topics of capital punishment, media misinformation, and an overreaching government ripe with human rights violations all under the guise of “freedom.” It definitely transports you back to the mid-oughts but with themes that are far from removed from our current day to day lives. Is it cheating to put a re-release on my list? I won’t tell if you won’t. Speaking of cheating, this album absolutely pairs great with your favorite cheat meal: might I suggest a cheesy deep dish pizza with some cured pepperoni made from the ass meat of Jeff B*zos? Nothing more satisfying than eating the fucking rich.
X – Alphabetland
This band has been fundamental to me as a musician since I was a teenager and for their first original release since 1993 (1985 if you count their original lineup) they really came back with a bang! In many cases I’m usually left wanting more when older bands try to rekindle a fire they once possessed but this album really proved to me that grandma and grandpa still got it. Alphabetland feels like it could have been released at any point earlier in their career but with stronger musicianship than they’ve ever had. My pairing for Alphabetland is a hot bowl of Jjapaguri, or “ram-don” for any fans of daddy Bong Joon ho’s Parasite. Jjapaguri is a Korean noodle dish made with a combination of Neoguri and Chapagetti instant noodles which condenses a spicy seafood broth with a sweet black soybean gravy that hits so many flavorful notes. Instant ramen, much like X, evokes a strong nostalgia for me and this dish has definitely been a quarantine staple for me. Consider adding some sliced seared steak because maybe your tastes have advanced a bit with time just like the age of the members of X.
Allweather/Lightweight/Slow Draw/Sad Girlz Club – Endless Sommar
Best listened to during a late night Taco Bell shame run. Putting our own split on this list accompanied with Fourth Meal™? Ain’t no shame in our game! If you’re looking for a strong variety of songs that you can scream along with in the drive through this album is where it’s at, don’t forget the 15 too many Fire sauce packets. We’re absolutely honored to be included on a 4-way split with such talented bands that we also consider to be such great friends. Listening to Endless Sommar brings on a hunger for more from each of these bands that only something like cheesy fiesta potatoes can salve, but alas, the Bell giveth and the Bell taketh. We are so excited to see what the future brings for each of these bands as well as ourselves and the Taco Bell menu (@tacobell really though bring back potatoes. What the fuck, aren’t we friends?)
Shelby – Guitar/Vocals
Haim – Women in Music pt. III
A fresh turkey (or tofu!) sandwich with fresh tomatoes and avocado Haim put out, in my opinion, the best album of the year, and one of my favorite pop/alternative records to date. Full of fun riffs, back up vocals to die for, and really a stand-out record. It’s like if Sheryl Crow and Tom Petty had a baby and that baby grew up to work in the dining industry while playing gigs on the side. Except that they’re already rich.
Moore Family Band – Missy
Peanut butter and Jelly sandwich with sliced apples on the side
With their debut record, The Moore Family Band has come into this year swinging! Out now on Asian Man Records, the siblings bring high energy, and lots of nostalgic vibes. I could listen to Alyssa sing words into my earholes for hours, and I sometimes do! Why not pair with a nostalgic meal from my childhood? This is my list, not yours!
Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
Baked Rigatoni Pasta
There is a ton of pop on my AOTY list, this was the year of pop! Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia came in swinging early in the pandemic. With tones of funk, heavy basslines, and all around “fun” vibes, I think this record pairs best with a hearty pasta to get you through a night of drinking at the club and dancing to every single track on this record!
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