Celebrate the end of this hellish year, and take a look back at the craziness we’ve all endured with these 2020 end-of-year lists by members of Red Scare Industries bands!
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Kody – The Lillingtons/Teenage Bottlerocket
Top 10 albums of 2020
1: The Beths – Jump Rope Gazers
2: Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
3: Second Sun – Kampen Gär Vidara
4: Screeching Weasel – Some Freaks of Atavism
5: Uada – Djinn
6: Hellripper – The Affair of the Poisons
7: Cult of Fire – Moksha/Nirvana
8: Necrot – Mortal
9: Proton Packs – Paradox
10: Vampire – Rex
5 Best Nintendo Switch games I played this year
1: Golf Story
3: Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
4: Paper Mario: The Origami King
5: Trials of Mana
Abby – Ramona
Songs that came out in 2020 that I’m stoked on:
1: “Consider” – Gouge Awa
2: “Racehorse” – Teenage Halloween
3: “911” – Lady Gaga (really all of Chromatica)
4: “Toxic Eye” – Choir Boy
5: “When’s My Right Time Kent?” – Sarchasm
6: “Bliss Out” – Drug Church
7: “Dirt Pop” – Heavy Lag
Nonfiction books I read in 2020:
1: Bad As I Wanna Be – Dennis Rodman
2: Queen Unseen – Peter Hince
3: The Meaning of Mariah Carey – Mariah Carey
4: Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction – Derek Thompson
5: The Psychology of the Sopranos: Love, Death, Desire and Betrayal in America’s Favorite Gangster Family – Glen Gabbard
6: In Search of Cleo: How I Found My Pussy and Lost My Mind – Gina Gershon
Favorite horror movies I saw in 2020 (as a new horror fan who hasn’t watched a scary movie since the 6th grade):
1: The People Under the Stairs
3: The Blair Witch Project
4: Deep Red
5: Sleepaway Camp
5 lockdown snacks I consumed out of desperation:
1: Olives, straight from the jar, with a fork.
2: Raw tofu, straight from the packaging, also with a fork.
3: Entire can of cooked beets.
4: Vegan chicken nugs with plain mayo for dipping. Sometimes a sprinkling of old bay seasoning on the mayo for “flavor.”
5: Way more Alpha-brand vegan pot pies than I would have expected. I don’t even enjoy them.
Mustafa Daka – The Brokedowns
Top 5 things I started to do during Covid but then, like, yeah, naw:
5: PLAY MORE DRUMS. And perfect my double-stroke roll.
4: READ all these books I keep buying.
3: LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE. It started off bien, but now it’s going no bono.
2: START A PODCAST. What’s up all you whatthefuckers? I still have yet to lock the gate on that one.
1: UNLOCKING THE MYSTERY BEHIND THE MASK-BELOW-THE-NOSE LOGIC. I mean, is it because they got stank breath?
Top 5 Chicago music venues where I got in trouble for using the green room for its intended purpose:
5: Beat Kitchen: What would now be considered legal, I smoked with two members of two bands and went outside to chat. When I got back in, I found out the security guy (who I’ve smoked with at a different venue) said it started to smell like a dope factory, and now the green room was off limits. I had to have the production person unlock it so I could grab my shit that I hid in there.
4: Subterranean: One of my bands was playing a show with a band from England that we were excited to open for. First thing I did was cheef some of that sweet leaf relief in that tiny-ass room, but I guess it was too much for those dudes. After leaving the green room, my homie that works there felt bad to inform me that the green room was now only being intended for the headliner. So, we smoked outside the rest of the night.
3: Quenchers Saloon (RIP): The green room here was the back parking lot. I was told after I was partying back there that the owner was watching on the camera and told me to knock it off. Again, that shit was definitely illegal at the time. No harm, no foul.
2: The Burlington: More like the back bathroom. FYI, it’s not that easy to get away with doing much when there’s always someone ready to go in after you.
1: The Double Door: Once I asked security if I could roast some kind buds with my homies, to which they responded “You can smoke crack if you want.” Then one time cigarettes were, I guess, more illegal than crack.
Adam Carroll – Good Friend
Top 5 Albums of 2020:
1: Broadway Calls – Sad in the City
2: Red City Radio – Paradise
3: The Lawrence Arms – Skeleton Coast
4: Anti-Flag – 20/20 Division
5. The BombPops – Death in Venice Beach
Top 5 Irish Coffees:
1: The Dead Rabbit, New York
2: The Bushmills Inn, Bushmills
3: Whites Tavern, Belfast
4: Inn On The Green, Dublin
5: Erin Rose, New Orleans (frozen)
Top 5 reasons Brexit sucks:
1: Northern Ireland is still in the U.K.
2: Traveling musicians may have to buy visas to play in the U.K, making touring almost impossible for low/mid-level bands.
3: Everything will get a lot more expensive.
4: Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, Vladimir Putin, the DUP, George Galloway, Rupert Murdoch, the Daily Telegraph, The S*N, Mail, Express and Nigel Farage all wanted it.
5: The U.K. will leave the world’s fifth-largest economy.
Top 5 places I went (during lockdown):
1: Dunseverick Castle, Dunseverick
2: White Rocks, Portstewart
3: Magilligan Point
4: Benevenagh Point
5: Downhill, Castlerock
Kole – The Lippies
Wow … what a crazy year. They wanted a 2020 end-of-year list, so I’m going to give it a shot, ‘cuz everyone else in the band is busy.
10: Suicide Machines – Revolution Spring: I have been waiting for this record since the band got back together years ago. I am actually friends with these guys. Their new guitarist, Malek, and I used to joke about getting the gig as the new guitarist. Obviously, that fucker got the gig. He’s also infinitely better at guitar than I am and has that beautiful, goth-metal hair going on. I can’t compete with that.
This album is everything I had hoped it would be. I love angry-sounding ska. It’s there in spades. There’s also fun ska, lots of pop-punk and angry punk. Very socially relevant lyrics. “Awkward Always” was actually my most-played song this year. It’s a fuckin’ banger.
9: Quarantine left me with a lot of time to kill. I got all the way to the end of Netflix and Pornhub. After that, I live-streamed a class on how to draw penises. It only happened once, but I made a few hundred dollars off it thanks to the generosity of my friends.
After that, I posted lots of videos of me dumping crayons on my unsuspecting housemates. It was the dumbest thing ever, but somehow people still ask when more videos are coming. My cousin in Portland mailed me an 800-pack of Crayolas. I can’t wait to find new ways to fuck with the mental health of my friends!
8: The Lawrence Arms – Skeleton Coast: I was always more of an Oh Calcutta! guy. I listen to that record at least once a week. Skeleton Coast is nearly that good. Lots more punk edge and experimental shit. But same old Lawrence Arms. It’s fantastic. Check out “Quiet Storm” and “(The) Demon.”
There was also a companion podcast that went with it that explored every TLA record in-depth and expanded to every record Brendan Kelly has been on. I nerd out on shit like that. You could, too! I’m hoping beyond hope that when The Lippies release our new record and the pandemic is over, that we can tour with them again. I’d love to see these tunes in a live setting!
7: Landscaping. I got into tweaking out my yard this year. I’ve never lived anywhere where I gave a shit about the yard. City-dwellers have porches and stoops. That’s where we drink in the summer. Like proper trash people. This year, I put in a ton of work to make a proper playground for us. Among other things, we put in a stone patio with a fire pit complete with color-changing, LED lights.
We only had one injury. Krystal from The Bloody Lips burned the fuck out of her leg and didn’t realize it for a couple of days. Alcohol is amazing that way! Taylor from The Lippies built a shooting range and started amassing a collection of bb guns, including a cowboy six-shooter. Not a single eye was shot out all summer! Seriously though, that’s impressive.
We also started donating all of our returnable empties to the local crackhead population! OK, so we didn’t actually donate anything. They would show up after we went to bed and steal empty beer cans from our yard. Crackheads are jerks.
6: AC/DC – Power Up: I’m a huge AC/DC fan. Fukin’ huge. Eat a dick. This band is amazing. This record used a lot of riffs that Malcolm Young had recorded before he passed. It also has THE classic, Johnson-era lineups on it. These songs are typical AC/DC. The only spot where they kinda veer off into different territory is the track “Through The Mists of Time.” But, it’s still a really good track and oddly works!
The whole record holds up, and “Shot in the Dark” is my favorite track. I’d give the album more credit, but I pre-ordered the vinyl with a shirt and they sent me a 2X instead of a medium. I was pissed. I’m still a little salty about it. I’d send them a sternly worded letter, but I kinda think they don’t give a fuck. I don’t know a single Australian that gives a fuck about anything. Sigh …
5: The pandemic closed down everything here in Michigan. Life stopped being normal. We’re a bunch of crusty, gutter, DIY punks over here. We decided to take it upon ourselves and collect that sweet, sweet government unemployment. Since we had so much time on our hands, we decided to create our own new world and run an illegal restaurant operation out of our yard, cuz fuck you, there’s no rules anymore. We spent two days a week serving AMAZING ethnic food out of our yard to friends and friends of friends.
The operation was surprisingly successful! If you’re ever swinging through Grand Rapids, get at me! Let us serve you food! You probably eat things off your floor after dropping it (five-second rule). We are waaaaaay more sanitary than that! And Krystal from The Bloody Lips has traveled the world with her cooking skills. She knows ethnic food better than Popeye’s knows chicken!
4: The Lippies – Pop ‘n’ Lockdown EP: Shameless self-promotion? Damn right. I love our band and the noise we make. We recorded a fun little, anti-45 song this year that just straight up mocks him. We were trying to find a way to release it, and Toby sold us on a digital EP.
The two other songs were recorded for our first full-length years ago, and they happen to fit in lyrically with our current times. Fun facts: I drew the artwork for the cover. I do that kind of shit sometimes. Also, “Get Out of Bed” was originally supposed to be an intro to “Fuck the Customer.” I still don’t know if we’ll ever play these live, but it’s a fun little snippet of shit to come for sure.
3: Idles – Ultra Mono: It took me a minute to get into these cats, but holy shit, this record is amazing. Punchy, noisy, melodic, and chaotic. I miss this kind of post-punk madness. If we were still going to shows, I’d spend every dime I have following them on tour. Their live shows look so intense! If you haven’t checked these guys out, you’re fucking up. “War” and “Grounds” are two stand-out tracks.
2: Scooters. Our city decided to participate in a pilot program to bring in electric scooters and place them everywhere for people to rent. They did this same thing in Chicago, and it was not received well. I was told stories of scooters being tossed into the Chicago River. I think Chicago had the wrong attitude about these.
We have held scooter races in our yard, built sweet ramps to launch off of, ridden them INSIDE MY APARTMENT, and have even taken them to bed with us. We’re having a riot of a time with them! But we’re also a bunch of dumb hicks from Michigan, so of course we’re going to find the fun in the most mundane and annoying things.
1: Run The Jewels 4: THIS RECORD IS A CRUSHER FROM FRONT TO BACK, AND WE CAN’T GET SICK OF IT. Seriously, it’s so good. We literally play it around here EVERY DAY. I think the last time that happened with a rap record was 36 Chambers from Wu Tang Clan. We play that one every day too.
Socially conscious, the music is sick; Zach from Rage Against the Machine makes an appearance, too! Every song on here is top-tier shit. “Ooh la la,” “Walking in the Snow,” and “Ju$t” are my favorites. This record will absolutely go down as one of the most important hip-hop records ever. Bank on that.
Images courtesy of Red Scare Industries.