2020: Favorite Albums of the Year

Worriers – You or Someone You Know: The record that truly accompanied me through this year. Every song could be my song of the year – and I plan on playing Grand Closing at midnight. Happy fucking new year.

Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher: Probably the best album of the year (though I haven’t given Fiona Apple’s new album enough time yet) From lyrics to production to artwork, a nearly perfect record.

Dream Wife – So When You’re Gonna…: My new discovery of the year. Rock’n’roll! Dream Wife are the kind of band that makes you look forward to the future with more excitement. If I could choose a first show to go to after this pandemic, it would be either Dream Wife or ..

Touche Amore – Lament: A great, almost positive postcore album. Touche Amore is the best hardcore band atm and I’d drive far to see them live. And Reminders is oddly life-affirming (especially if you combine it with the video.) Don’t have the physical vinyl, yet.. 

NOFX/Frank Turner – West Coast vs. Wessex: The album my wife and I listened to the most together. I can’t believe Thatcher Fucked the Kids isn’t actually by NOFX, or Eat the Meek actually by Frank Turner. 

Also amazing:

Bright Eyes – Down in the weeds, where the world once was

Algiers – There Is No Year

Laura Jane Grace – Stay Alive

I’m Glad It’s You – Every Sun, Every Moon

Porridge Radio – Every Bad

Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters

Bruce Springsteen – Letter to You

Run the Jewels – RTJ4

What are your faves of the year?

Burn, Gender Binary, Burn: Against Me! Turn North Carolina Show Into Protest

A while ago, when rock’n’roll behemoths like Bruce Springsteen canceled their respective North Carolina shows in a sign of protest against that state’s anti-anti-discrimination bill HB2, Against Me! and particularly frontwoman Laura Jane Grace announced that they would play their show in Durham, but would turn it into a form of protest. And they weren’t kidding: Laura Jane Grace, who is a trans woman, burned her birth certificate on stage, smiling, saying goodbye to gender. 

In an earlier interview she also pointed out that, in contrast to Springsteen’s mega stadium shows, her cancelling the gig wouldn’t hurt the city or state financially, and only affect the fans (and, let’s be real, the members of Against Me. The band is fairly successful, but losing touring income must still hurt them.)

As stereogum reports, she also made clear that HB2 is about more than just bathroom access:

“You know, there’s been a lot of focus on just the bathroom part of HB2, but one of the other huge parts is that it takes away a transgender person’s right to sue for discrimination on the state level and that is huge. I mean, if someone else has the right to sue for discrimination and I don’t, how that is constitutional?”

All Songs +1: Laura Jane Grace And Lauren Denitzio On Surviving In Punk

This All Songs Considered +1 podcast is a really great conversation with Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!) and Lauren Denitzio (Worriers) about punk, art, touring-as-real-life and gender identity. 

The Worriers’ first LP Imaginary Life, produced by Laura Jane Grace and featuring the song They/Them/Theirs, is amazing, too

All Songs +1: Laura Jane Grace And Lauren Denitzio On Surviving In Punk

Yesterday Against Me! played “Fuckmylife666” on Letterman and it was amazing.
Their new album Transgender Dysphoria Blues is filled with smash hits, in the sense that there are great songs that both smash and hit. Especially the 2 songs previously released as acoustic songs by Laura Jane Grace, Fuckmylife666 and True Trans Soul Rebel, stand out.