|Top 10 Local (NY) Albums of 2020|
Every year for my blog, besides a Top 10 Albums list and a Top 20 Songs list, I also do a Top 10 Local Albums list for albums by artists, indie and otherwise, from the New York and Tri-State Area. Here's this year's list.
All Your Favorite Songs
This isn't the first time that local rocker Tom Ciorciari (aka Deerheart) has made this list. He's always had a great Springsteen/Petty/Mellancamp kind of vibe to him, and this album continues in that tradition.
Binary Code is a progressive metal band originally formed in Bergen County, New Jersey that now resides in Brooklyn, NY. They've got a sound that's powerful and maybe even a little bleak (making them the perfect band for this past year.) Sputnik Music has this listed this as their sixth full-length album, and who am I to argue?
|8||Sufjan Stevens and Lowell Brams|
This LP finds transplanted Michigan native Sufjan Stevens teaming up with his stepfather Lowell Brams (of "Carrie and Lowell" fame) to deliver an album of transcendent ambient music that will soothe your spirit and expand your mind. Well played, gentlemen. Well played.
|7||Blue Oyster Cult|
The Symbol Remains
Who knew these guys still had an album this good in them? These guys have been rocking since the early '70s, and they've still obviously got a lot left in the tank. If live concerts ever become a thing again, I might have to finally go and check them out.
|6||Off Road Minivan|
This is the debut LP from Dutchess County band Off Road Minivan, and it's a little bit of alt rock heaven. I'm hoping this is just the beginning of a long career.
|5||Nation of Language|
This is another debut full-lengther, this time by Brooklyn-based synth-popper Ian Richard Devaney, aka Nation of Language. This is a man who clearly loves the '80s and takes his inspiration from artists such as New Order and Joy Division.
Sufjan fans were divided over the merits of this LP, especially in comparison to his previous effort, 2015's "Carrie and Lowell." I get it, and I agree in a way -- "Carrie and Lowell" is probably a stronger album artistically. Unfortunately, with its themes of mental illness and child neglect, it's also about as much fun as visiting a sick friend in the hospital. For me, "The Ascension," with its mild and tasteful electronic stylings, is a far more enjoyable LP, and one I'm more likely to keep coming back to.
Strange To Explain
Woods is a Brooklyn-based outfit that combines elements of rock, folk and psychedelic music. Depending on who you listen to, "Strange to Explain" is anywhere from their ninth to their eleventh studio album. Suffice it to say these guys have been playing together for awhile, and it shows. I found it to be the kind of LP where you can just close your eyes for a bit and let the music carry you away, which is a good thing. I'm sorry I was never aware of them before this year.
Although Long-Island-turned-Connecticut folk artist Kenn Morr and his band are unknown on the national scene, they've put out a lot of excellent music over the years. This LP is one of their best. As always, the music is gentle and optimistic, anchored by Kenn's deep, somewhat gruff vocals and the band's elegant musicianship. It's always nice to see old friends do well.
Never Not Together
I haven't listened to this New York-based alternative rock band since their debut album "High/Low" in 1996, on which they had a minor novelty single called "Popular." I don't know if I've ever even given them a second thought since then. But based on this album, wow, have I been missing out. Every year, there are LPs I check out more or less just for the hell of it that blow me away. This was one of those. It's a little bit of alt rock perfection.