HBO animated series Animals imagined the underfoot world of New York City, populated by dogs, cats, pigeons, squirrels, rats, cockroaches, and other creatures, all of whom had the same neuroses, desires, anger management issues, and other day-to-day problems we all did, all while humans dealt with a global pandemic. The series ended in 2018 but sounds oddly like the year we just had and if you never caught it at the time it's available to stream on HBO Max.

The voice talent behind Animals was pretty incredible, pulling from the world of comedy and music, and featured animal versions of Dinosaur Jr, Kurt Vile, A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg, Killer Mike, Kim Gordon, Ty Segall, and more. There was even an episode set at a music festival, Roachella. It should be no surprise that co-creator Phil Matarese is a huge music fan, and he's sent us his Top 10 Albums of 2020, which include Protomartyr, Fiona Apple, Joyce Manor, Kiwi Jr, and more. Check that out, complete with commentary, below.

Phil also published a book this year, Horn if You're Honkey, which he describes as "a deep, dark journey into the depths of horniness, humanity, and humility - all told through bumper stickers." It's looks awesome but is currently sold-out -- maybe he'll make more.


YouBet - Compare & Despair
A bunch of fantastic, anxious fairytales. An incredible 32 minutes that I’ve listened to more than any other album this year. Favorite of the year.

Pynkie - #37
This album, from a NJ queen, feels like a really, really good day. Funny Boy is one of the greatest love songs of all time.

Ben Seretan - Youth Pastoral
If a bunch of angels started a hardcore band it would sound like Ben Seretan.

Chubby and The Gang - Speed Kills
I don’t want to be limiting - but the only way I can describe this is: extremely my shit. The album name rules, the cover art rules, the opening track is fucking called ‘Chubby and the Gang Rule Ok?’. It’s like they studied the Book of Phil and got an A+.

Joyce Manor - Songs From Northern Torrance
2020 is the year I got into Joyce Manor. They were actually in my top 5 spotify (with 311, Grateful Dead, Bruce Springsteen, Hold Steady). They are hook kings that push all the good-buttons in my brain- in a year I needed it.

Kiwi Jr - Football Money
You know when you watch a movie made by an auteur and you go “damn that Tarantino really loves movies?” That’s how I feel about Kiwi Jr and but with songs. It’s clear they very much so love songs and are very good at writing them.

This album was almost ruined by my friend Courtney describing the singer as having a “serious boy voice.” Luckily, it’s a super-fun serious boy voice. Shit rocks.

Fiona Apple - Fetch The Bolt Cutters
Her albums feel bigger than music. They’re like plays. What a beautiful experience, every time. Does she use a fuckin Bomb SFX as a kick drum in the first track?

Drake - Dark Lane Demo Tapes
This album(?) is fun and loose and is his most 2015-Drake release as of late. I once saw him at a TV show premiere and he is a huge human. Drake’s back is like two normal human’s backs. It scared me in a good way.

Protomartyr - Ultimate Success Today
Protomartyr is, oddly enough, an incredibly comforting band to me. I implore everyone to see this band live. I have more times than I remember. I saw them open for MBV -- and I took an edible and had to leave during MBV because I thought the sound was going to kill me. Anyway, this album rips, as per usual.


Browse our Best of 2020 tag for more year-end lists.

More From Brooklyn Vegan