We couldn’t be more thrilled that the last premiere of the year is with Asbury Park based band Yawn Mower. The duo of guitarist/vocalist Mike Chick and drummer/vocalist Biff Swenson always brings a smile to my face and that was never more needed than in 2020. “Earworm 2: The Sequel” is off their EP Return of the Lentils that was released back in May on Mint 400 Records. The band brings the fun to all they do but that does not mean they turn a blind eye to cultural events. They had a mobile release party from a van driving to locations and playing the tunes. Whatever money they raised after gas expenses were donated to the ACLU and Campaign Zero. Chick and Swenson are the real deal.
The fact that the video was filmed at Insectropolis, aka “Bugseum of New Jersey”, in Toms River is enough to make this one of our favorite music videos of the year. The patented exemplary fuzz, surf rock that the band do so well is reperented with a rat-a-tat, punch and counter punch delivery. Guest vocal appearance by Rachel Hock is a nice addition. The video gives off a Wes Anderson vibe which is right up my alley. The whimsy, the center composoition shots, the Rushmore-esque framing. And I see that red beanie Biff! Director of Photography Melissa McLaughlin really does an outstanding job here.
In addition to the video, the guys have given us their lists of singles, albums and other media consumables that have made an impact on them this year.
Yawn Mower Best of 2020
2020 was hella solid year of national and local releases. In addition to singles and albums we liked, we added a “consumables” list that includes everything else. Some music wasn’t released in 2020 but was discovered for the first time or revisited. Shout out to all our friends who released music this year and kept it moving. Please check out our new video for “Earworm 2: The Sequel”. Here’s hoping for a better 2021, hope you all have a great holiday season.
Mike Chick (baritone guitar, vox)
Aesop Rock – “Side Quest“
Best song to reference skateboarding since Pedro The Lion’s “Circle K”.
Benny Sings ft. Mac Demarco – “Rolled Up“
The mellowist of combos finally happens. It could get more mellow, but could it?
Common – “Say Peace“
The beat is nice, love the delay. Solid flows from two greats.
Crack Cloud – “Drab Measure“
This song makes me want to pogo uncontrollably for a while.
Dismemberment Plan – “The City“
Where has this song/album been my entire life?
Juniore – Ah Bah D’Accord
This song/album made me want to have a couple beers and see this band in a small venue.
Protomartyr- “Processed by the Boys“
The singer’s delivery is like a frustrated animal trying to punch its way out of confinement.
Stephen Malkmus- “Xian Man“
The king makes some distorted folk with Matt Sweeney? Okay, I’m in.
Wilsen- Feeling Fancy
Good overall song.
Yard Act- Fixer Upper
Best song to reference the housing market since Courtney Barnett’s “Depreston”.
Action Bronson- Only For Dolphins
Would listen to this album for the ad libs alone.
Aesop Rock- Spirit World Field Guide
King of the lyrics game returns and keeps getting better.
Black Thought- Streams of Thought Vol. 3
BT continues to knock it out the box with his third volume of Streams of Thought.
Kiwi Jr. – Football Money
This band sounds like too many other bands I like for me to not like it.
IDLES- Ultra Mono
IDLES is like the kindest kick in the gut you can get. Best band of the year.
Fugazi (all of it)
There had to be some kind of moral compass in 2020.
Lo Tom- 2
LT2 follows up LT1 with another good batch of songs based on big riffs.
OSEES- Protean Threat
They replaced the pummeling with funk, and it works.
Perfume Genius- Set My Heart On Fire
Really enjoyed this one on headphones. A great headphone record.
The Strokes- The New Abnormal
A welcomed addition to their catalog.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
I thought it was really funny.
Down East Dickering
Got into this late. I’m a fan of Facebook Market/eBay so this show hit home.
Jerry Seinfield @ Beacon Theatre January 2020
Huge fan of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, even bigger fan of NYC pizza.
Man or Astroman @ Underground Arts February 2020
The space boys are still time traveling. Maybe someone at that show had Covid-19?
OSEES live stream @ Pappy and Harriet’s (9/26/20)
Just a nice memory of 2020. Brought the TV in the backyard and had some friends over.
Haven’t been as invested in a cast of characters as in this show in a long time.
The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)
Haven’t been as invested in a character as this one since watching Pose.
Beautifully shot movie, couldn’t understand what they were saying half of the time.
Thrasher Magazine- Issue #482 (Sept 2020)
An issue dedicated to BIPOC in the skateboarding world. Great interviews/history.
What Had Happened Was – Prince Paul x Open Mic Eagle Podcast
The most exciting podcast for me this year. Every Wednesday was like Christmas morning.
Biff Swenson (Drums, Backing Vox)
Still Woozy – “Window“
Favorite song of the year, hands down. Sven has crushed it from minute one. I can’t wait for the Still Woozy debut full-length. It’s sexy, catchy, and current.
Tyler, The Creator – “BEST INTEREST“
IGOR was a favorite of mine last year, so naturally a b-side would end up on my list the following year. Tyler is peaking hard right now.
Bon Iver – “PDLIF“
This was the perfect song to come out in the midst of a global pandemic. It’s eerie and hypnotic. Justin has figured out every trick it takes to create a perfect low-key song.
Frank Ocean – “Dear April“
Another passing year, not much closer to another LP. I yearn for any offering his bestows upon us, and I gladly welcome any loose singles he’s willing to gift us. Frank is one of the greatest artists of our lifetime.
Daði Freyr – “Think About Things“
This shit popped up in a weekly playlist of suggested tracks from Spotify – and holy shit were they right. I haven’t skipped this song once when it pops up on shuffle. What an absolute killer bass groove and syncopation. This is a left field banger.
BENEE + Gus Dapperton – “Supalonely“
Two great artists come together to create a perfect pop bop. Be sad, but keep it sexy.
DOUBLECAMP – “Wake Up“
Instagram sponsored ad got me down pat with this one. This is very much in the vein of all the digital “rock” bands that have overtaken 104.5, i.e. Twenty One Pilots or AJR.. but I’m in.
LoveLeo – “ROSIE“
Loved this track long before I found out this is John C. Reilly’s son. The visuals and style of this dude plays an equal role in his total package as much as the tunes themselves.. but his EP didn’t pan out to be nearly as cool as this track.
Perfume Genius – “Describe“
This album was on my long-list of albums, but ultimately slid down far enough to miss the cut. However, this song plays in my van once a week minimum. The guitar tones are impeccable, and the vocals are delicately soothing. A beautiful composition with an obnoxious outro.
Thundercat + Steve Lacy – “Black Qualls“
Two of the best artists of the past decade create a perfect funky groove. Childish Gambino contributing vocals, throwback vibes, endless smoothness. The album was a bit of a letdown, but this song holds the fuck up.
No Rome + Bearface – “1:45AM“
Don’t know much about No Rome other than they’ve done an excellent job of picking collaborators. I’ve been waiting to see more BROCKHAMPTON members branch out as solo artists, so I was ecstatic to see Bearface contribute lead vocals to this 90’s House throwback cut.
Drug Church – “Bliss Out“
I almost always hate heavy music. I just take my anger out in other places. Music is my calming agent. B U T when Drug Church drops heat, I’m always ready to gobble it up. They’re very tongue in cheek, and very brutal in a totally tolerable way.
Tierra Whack – “Peppers and Onions“
The Queen of Philadelphia is back and better than ever. This Timbaland-esque mouth-noise driven beat is so playful and inviting. I can’t wait to hear a proper full length pop up sooner than later.
Anderson .Paak, JID, Noname, Jay Rock – “Lockdown (Remix)“
AP has been on fire since inception, but this all-star cast of rappers make this remix one of the most important songs of the movement. It was awesome to bare witness to artists creating music in real time to speak to the current social climate we are living through.
JAWNY – “Anything You Want”
This song fucks and pays for dinner. Perfectly blend of lo-fi vibes with carefully constructed poppiness. I would do anything JAWNY wants for more tracks like this!
IDLES – Ultra Mono
Turning macho hardcore vibes on it’s head! This is powerful and impactful. IDLES will have the same cultural significance as Rage Against The Machine, quote me!
Tame Impala – The Slow Rush
Kevin strikes again. It comes as no surprise that he had one of the best albums of the year.
The Strokes – The New Abnormal
I love the Rick Rubin touch this album has. It’s The Strokes a little different than we’ve seen them before, and I’m rejoicing that they aren’t trying to recreate past magic.
HAIM – Women in Music Pt.III
These sisters keep getting better! Rostam knew exactly what bells and whistles were needed, and the girls knew exactly how to write 16 smash hits.
Yves Tumor – Heaven to a Tortured Mind
I didn’t see this one coming. More than one friend sent this to me knowing it was up my alley. I was so thrown off by how effortlessly cool Yves is! Even the visuals are otherworldly.
TV Girl – The Night in Question
This band is just a vibe. One vibe. If you love vibing, leave this on. If you’re looking for something more deep and meaningful – probably look elsewhere?
King Krule – Man Alive!
It’s been a slow crawl for me to come around to King Krule. Some Krule songs are beautiful, some are punishing. However this album was a perfect melding of the two in a mostly digestible way.
Fiona Apple – Fetch The Bolt Cutters
I was told to pay attention to the layers of percussion, and I certainly did. This was one of the most thoughtfully crafted recordings I’ve heard in a while. This is so raw, gritty, and dirty – all while being powerful, moving, and uniquely original. I had no clue at 9 years old, watching the “Criminal” video on MTV, that I would still be eating up everything Fiona is doing decades later.
Mac Miller – Circles
I was into Mac from the start, and it was incredible to see his transformation as a white college rapper into a much more sophisticated artist. It was a huge bummer to lose him when he finally started to identify his voice in music and his potential to cross genre barriers. This album is really endearing and slue of warning signs for his inevitable passing.
Caribou – Suddenly
Dan Snaith is one of those musicians who I’d hear songs by in passing and ask who I was listening to. This is the first Caribou release that I was anticipating as a fan – and it didn’t disappoint. I love the samples, bob with the grooves, and appreciate the vibes.
Kid Cudi – Man On The Moon III
Late stage add. Didn’t know this was even coming when I started this list, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like it more than most of the above entries. This is classic Cudi mixed with a meta take on the younger artists he inspired now inspiring him. Love the addition of adlibs. The Phoebe feature was sick.
Binging with Babish (YouTube)
I would be lying if I said I ingested anything else on this list as much as I have this series. I’ve created many of the things I’ve witnessed him make this quarantine.. best one was the 48 hour bone broth, hands down! You can add that shit to anything.
Dissect Podcast (Spotify)
It absolutely helps that almost every album selection has been a favorite of mine, but the way Cole dives into the musical composition, melodic intention, lyrical analysis, and broad social strokes of genius that goes into these albums only makes we want to create more work of my own. This podcast has 100% made me reconsider my approach to songwriting and production.
The Last Dance (Netflix/ESPN)
I love to watch winners winning. I love to see the absolute peak of perfection further propel themselves into the stratosphere. I was a huge Rodman fan as a kid, and now I have a much deeper appreciation for what it is I was loving. It’s a great use of non-linear storytelling, as well as an amazing portrayal of exactly who Michael Jordan was. He was kind of an asshole, but he demanded greatness cause he was extruding greatness. Want a championship? Fall in line, know your place.
Palm Springs (Hulu)
An updated take of Groundhog’s Day, but with the absurdism that only The Lonely Island can bring to the table. This was an unexpected gem. Andy Sandberg can do no wrong.
Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
This movie was fantastic! Another exemplary example of a timeless Spike Lee joint. The acting was superb, the Marvin Gaye soundtrack was an incredible choice, the social commentary was timely, and the changing of aspect ratios is an always welcomed vehicle for flashbacks. It was such a huge loss for the world to say goodbye to the Blank Panther himself, Chadwick Boseman! This is just another major moment in cinema history that he blessed us with before his passing, working through cancer unbeknownst to any of his co-workers. This movie was so impactful and didn’t feel at all too long, regardless of it boasting a 2.5 hour runtime. I felt their anger, I felt their frustration, and I felt their sorrow. Spike Lee always does a fantastic job of creating characters that you can identify with, regardless of how much you might disagree with their stances. It also speaks to the acting chops of this all-star cast.
His House (Netflix)
Deeply unsettling! This heartbreaking tale of refugees seeking a new life quickly escalates into one of the most chilling horror movies I’ve seen this year. Kept me guessing throughout. The jump scares were always on point, and the slow scares were anxiety inducing. The haunting soundscapes and elaborate set designs make this beautifully shot thriller much more than I bargained for. I have not seen a movie like this before!
Big Time Adolescence (Hulu)
I was at the UCB theatre the night Pete Davidson was part of the showcase where NBC execs first discovered him prior to becoming the youngest cast member to ever join SNL. I’ve had a special fondness for him ever since. I want to see this obnoxious New Yorker succeed. This movie obviously was a little surface level and predictable, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
The King of Staten Island
See above spiel above on why I love Pete Davidson. Great cast in lighthearted, easy to ingest “dramatic” comedy. No groundbreaking cinematography or Good Will Hunting-esque monologues about love here, but still an enjoyable movie.
Vivarium (Amazon Prime)
This was unsettling in an all too calming way. The child was unnerving to say the least. The premise was a little too close to home as I spent most of my quarantine in a very monotonous development. Clever intro, great ending, original premise.
This surreal tail of a deteriorating gangster wasn’t flawless, but Tom Hardy did a fantastic job portraying the dying criminal. The stroke delusions were a great change of pace for a mostly sad story. I will always love a good (or even just decent) mob story.
This channel is on whenever I’m doing chores or editing footage. Minimal beats, beautiful jazz progressions, ambient soundscapes.. all the vibes needed to keep the vibe chill while you’re studying or smoking or relaxing.
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