Obsessive Year-End List Fest 2020: Wait, That’s Not an Album! (and Last Year’s Leftovers)

2020 turned out to be a pretty good year for musical miscellany. With a lot of their plans for big album releases and all the media hype and big tours that typically follow botched by a global pandemic, many artists connected with their fans by going smaller, putting out something sentimental to remind us of past live shows we’d enjoyed being part of, or even documenting the process of performing remotely for socially distanced fans all over the globe. Understandably, many of these artists had to put out something to make ends meet, but given the desperation I was initially anticipating that might have led a lot of favorite artist to clear the vaults of every dodgy demo idea they had once clumsily spouted off into an iPhone, what we got this year clearly exceeded expectations.

Oh, and 2019 gave us a few more good records than I had given it credit for in my last year-end Favorite Albums rundown. Not many more, mind you – and only one of my belated finds is a full-length record this time around – but it’s still a year that I feel like I’m working on unearthing the best of (and that I’m weirdly nostalgic for at this point, seeing as it now feels like it was at least five years ago).

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What Am I Listening To? – January 2020

Since I was busy for most of this month writing up my Top 100 albums list for the last decade, I decided to put a moratorium on listening to new releases until I was done with that project, so that I could completely immerse myself in re-listening to all of those favorite album candidates. I made exceptions for newly released singles and whatever else Spotify’s Release Radar brought to my attention each week, just for the purpose of bookmarking new releases in order to listen to them in full when my project was done. At times it was hard to resist the temptation – especially since 2 of the artists from my lists put out new albums this month, another three surprises me with EPs, and also a member of one of the bands from my list put out a new collaborative album with a band I’d never heard of. So most of this list of new stuff I’ve been listening to for only the last week or so, ironically, covers artists I’ve already talked about in some capacity this month, with a few bands at the bottom of the list that are genuinely new to me.

Also, I realize I’ve got a slew of recommendations from others to get to, both in terms of favorite albums of theirs from 2019 that I slept on or just plain wasn’t aware of, and in terms of standout albums they’ve given kudos to from throughout the last decade that have piqued my interest for one reason or another. I’ll start on that daunting to-do list in February!

Meanwhile, here are my first impressions of the latest from Colony House, The Innocence Mission, Everything Everything, Switchfoot, John Reuben, Stabbing Westward, Sean Watkins & The Bee Eaters, Wolf Parade, and Bombay Bicycle Club.

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Divad’s Soundtrack #37: March-April 2002

I’d have to say that this mix is one of my all-time favorites, just because of the time and the experiences that it represents – in many ways, it’s the soundtrack to falling in love again.

In with the New:
Jimmy Eat World
Plus One
Shaun Groves

Out with the Old:
Audio Adrenaline

Listen on Spotify:

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Divad’s Soundtrack #36: January-February 2002

January 2002 was an important month in my life, because it was when Christine – the one from Hawaii who I would end up marrying – sent the fateful IM that served as our first online contact with one another.

In with the New:
ZOEgirl
Remy Zero
Downhere
Fernando Ortega
Mac Powell (as a solo artist – appears previously with Third Day)

Out with the Old:
Kepano Green

Listen on Spotify:

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Divad’s Soundtrack #35: November-December 2001

As 2001 drew to a close, I found myself experiencing a rebirth of sorts, finally feeling plugged into a church, and really making friends who I could talk to about important, personal matters. I joined a Neighborhood Sedaqah Group (Evergreen’s term for a weekly Bible Study) in Pasadena and finally felt like part of a community.

In with the New:
Corrinne May
Stabbing Westward
Steve
Kepano Green

Out with the Old:
Nicole C. Mullen

Listen on Spotify:

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