2020 has been a strange year, and this blog has had to take a backburner unfortunately due to the pandemic, a job change, and family stuff which did mean my album reviews stopped happening. But 2021 is a new year, and I’m looking to bring The Indie Squid back from the depths and as the live music industry starts back up, bring you mini photographic reviews of the events I attend, with the occasional album review thrown in for good measure!
In the meantime, here’s my favourite music from 2020 in no particular order.
Indian Queens – God is a Woman
When I first heard the opening track Bubblewrap I knew I was in for a treat with the debut album from Indian Queens. Lyrics with meaning and heart, yet with an emotional rawness that felt real. A real treat of an album and I can’t wait to see this fantastic group live after missing out twice this year due to the effing virus.
Hawkwind Light Orchestra – Carnivorous
Dave Brock is back with a great almost solo album Carnivorous (an anagram of Corona Virus) with some help from Richard Chadwick and Magnus Martin. The Light Orchestra portion of the name comes from the fact the full band was not involved in this project.
79 years young, and Dave shows no signs of slowing down. Inspired by the current state of the globe with Coronavirus the album was recorded mostly during the lockdown and is a testament to the fact age is but a number! You can hear sonic influences in this project from across the 50 decades of Dave’s musical career and is a real delight.
Thyla – Everything at Once
It’s a crime that a band as good as Thyla remains unsigned. Millie, the band’s frontwoman sings and plays from the heart, and the band has a powerful and stadium-filling sound. With a new album on the horizon, this is one indie band to watch in 2021.
Small, unsigned acts like Thyla really need our support to help them survive and live they are absolutely awesome – so go listen to their music and watch them live (when we can) before they are huge. You won’t regret it.
The Pineapple Thief – Versions of the Truth
I’m going to put it straight out there and say this isn’t the easiest album in the world to listen to. Dark, brooding and melancholic, Versions of the Truth definitely takes a few listens to fully appreciate the craftsmanship that created this album. Give it time, and this is an album that becomes more than the sum of it’s parts.
This isn’t my favourite PTP album (that goes to Someone here is missing) but it is still one of the best albums this year.
Hawklords – Alive
More fantastic space rock? Ooh, why not! Recorded on their 2019 tour, the band and special guest Nik Turner put on an amazing show, really capturing the 70’s vibe of early Space rock. A mix of classic Hawkwind tunes and original material that slots in perfectly with their roots this has been a constant play over the last few months, just what I needed during the lockdown.
Biianco – Various singles
During the lockdown, synth queen Biianco has been putting out consistently great music and collaborations. Lyrics from the heart and synth playing that become an extension of her emotions here is one awesome performer that deserves 2021 to go big for her.
Writing music that will make you question your own unconscious bias if you listen with an open mind, you may just question your own beliefs and become a better person for it.
Another Sky – I Slept on the Floor
Another Sky is a band that has been on my radar for quite a while, and while on holiday I popped into a little independent record shop in Chichester and was lucky enough to grab myself one of the limited edition vinyl copies. And if there was ever an album that should be listened to on vinyl it’s this one. A beautiful LP, just dripping with emotion and talent and at times the album takes on an almost progressive sound.
This was one album I really, really wanted to write in full, but the combination of a job change and just struggling to find the words to do it justice stopped my publishing it. This album is better than anything I could ever write. Go listen. Now.
Hawkwind – 50 Live
Ok, so I’m fully conscious I’ve included three Hawkwind related albums in my favourites of the year – but it’s been a strange year for music, and I’ve felt some comfort in the only real musical obsession I have.
But on a serious note, this live album is up there with their best and successfully bridges over 50 years of music in just under two hours. Fun and escapist, but with layers of meaning and depth give their music staying power. And in a year when you can’t do this, and you can’t do that, this was just the perfect end to the year and bought back memories of a fantastic night of music and some of the best fans you’ll ever get to meet.