We are burning up the charts. I am very excited for this portion of the list, because it includes some of my favourite artists and some great new people to the scene. So, let’s get into it as we power through towards #1 of 2020.
30. Ani DiFranco: Do or Die
Ani has returned to her activist best on this track. She is one of the most prolific artists in music history and brought her label Righteous Babe Records to the top of the indie mountain. She is back singing about how we need to make our voices heard. This is a pro – vote pro – get Trump out track. For Ani, being an activist is not simply marching against injustice, but also voting and fighting for voter’s rights. In order to make change your voice needs to be heard and counted in a number of different areas. March in the street and march to the voting booth.
Listen to Do or Die
29. Coriky: Clean Kill
Ian MacKaye and Joe Lally from Fugazi have teamed up with Ian’s wife Amy Farina to create the closest sound to Fugazi out there. Modern punk has thrown back to the 80s Fugazi sound, see Parquet Courts and the next song on this list, so it is great to hear from the originals. Clean Kill has the base lines and unaffected MacKaye has not lost a beat and his vocals bring you right back to 13 Songs or Repeater. The addition of Amy on vocals brings a new dimension to the music that was lacking in Fugazi. Her vocal really freshens up the sound without taking away from what we all love about Fugazi. Fans will love hearing a familiar sound and new fans will enjoy dipping back into Fugazi. Great track.
Listen to Clean Kill
28. The Chats: Identity Theft
Speaking of paying homage to the Fugazi sound from the 80s, here comes The Chats from Australia. They are a mix of a Fugazi stripped back 80s punk vibe with the fun lyrics of a NOFX. I mean, “I was paying for drugs, on the internet /
I was feeling invincible, with my VPN.” This is a band that does not take itself seriously and just wants to jam and have fun. You can’t help but get swept up in the fun with high pace guitar and drums driven punk that is under 2:50 per song. Even though this band is a solid 80s – 90s punk throwback, The Chats have some serious punk chops and are a tight band. For a break from the seriousness, have a wild ride with this track.
Listen to Identity Theft
27. Hachiku: I’ll Probably be Asleep
A new comer to the Australian label Milk Records, who are also home to Courtney Barnett and Jen Cloher, Hachiku’s debut record is making its mark in Australian music. This album is a bold combination of musical genres that produces one of the most unique sounds in indie music…and I’m not just saying that because she wrote me a thank you card for buying her vinyl. She is able to mix New Order style synth electronica with some touches of Tom Waits noise rock, while floating above it with gentle fragile vocals. You find yourself bobbing your head while simultaneously drifting away into the track. This is a complex track where you can marvel in its musical skill, while also emotionally connecting with the touching vocal. I am excited to see what Hachiku brings out next.
Listen to I’ll Probably be Asleep
26. Annie Hamilton: Kitchen
Annie has been releasing a series of singles and EPs over the last few years as she builds up to a LP. Kitchen follows a lot of her themes of relationships and the complex interplay between what you love and what you still long for. Even though you love someone, there are still things that you long for in the relationship. Kitchen tells a story of someone who loves someone, but they have grown apart over time. The central question Annie poses is whether or not they can recapture what they had before, or have they grown into something else. I really like her vocals against some straight up rock guitar and percussion. Her songs have a power behind them not found in a lot of pop music.
Listen to Kitchen
Once again the Aussies have come on strong. Unfortunately, this is the last of the Australian tracks until we hit the top 5. On a better note, from here on out we are going to be getting into some real heavy hitters. You can make an argument that every song from here on out should be in the top 10. Man, 2020 has some strong music.