2020: Tom's Top Ten

by Tom Haugen

I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of great music that came out in 2020. I was also able to spend much more time listening to music this year than in previous years. Of course, when your work closes down for four months, that helps quite a bit. Here's my most visited albums from the year in no particular order, except Bob Mould; I played that one the most by far and consider it the best record of the year.


Bob Mould – Blue Hearts

Today's political climate has given Mould plenty of fodder for his bristling guitar-fueled anthems, where the intensity here can parallel the greatness he achieved with Husker Du in the '80s.


Seized Up – Brace Yourself

A bunch of punk rock veterans come together for a lively and often abrasive album that embraces all the hallmarks of the genre with a gritty, frenzied, and raw delivery.


The Psychedelic Furs – Made Of Rain

The '80s legends return and are in fine form as they revisit their classic sound with a hazy, textured, and synth-filled paradise.


Terry Ohms – Cold Cold Shoulder

A guitarist and songwriter from The South who's intimately familiar with alt rock, Americana, post-rock, and even dance rock, Ohms is never easy to categorize but always impresses.


People Years – Animalism

An obscure outfit from Birmingham, People Years bring us back to the early days of alt rock in a way that's danceable but also somehow seems indebted to classic rock. Like much of the indie rock coming out of this part of the country, it's difficult to classify, and that's part of the intrigue.


The Lawrence Arms – Skeleton Coast

One of the best from Chicago to ever do it, The Lawrence Arms is well-versed in the raspy yet tuneful ideas of modern punk rock. This is one of their best in an exceptional two decade career.


David Dondero – The Filter Bubble Blues

Not unlike a modern day Woody Guthrie, Dondero has been hailed by NPR as one of the “best living songwriters,” and this modern day protest album certainly lives up to that praise.


Territories – When The Day Is Done

This is Canadian punk that's not short on melody, sing-alongs, and sharp wordplay. It’s not quite pop punk and not abrasive enough for hardcore. Territories is somewhere in the middle and we're all better off for it.


Big Loser – Love You, Barely Living

Guitar rock from Austin that's kind of alt rock, sort of indie rock, and even rubs elbow with punk, if the members of Alkaline Trio and The Weakerthans formed a band, it might sound like this.


Zephr – Don't Worry About It

A Colorado outfit who probably owns some records by Hot Water Music and Small Brown Bike, Zephr mashes power pop, post hardcore, and some very inviting throaty vocals on this very well-crafted '90s influenced album.

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