Canadian rock greats Sloan spent the couple months before the pandemic hit celebrating the reissue of their 1998 album Navy Blues, released stand-alone single "Silence Trumps Lies," and more recently released the first of a few planned b-sides compilations on vinyl. The band's Jay Ferguson and Chris Murphy also launched a podcast centered around Sloan's label, Murderecords, and the Halifax indie rock scene of the '90s.

Next year will likely be a busy one, whether things get back to normal or not, as 2021 will mark the 30th anniversary of the band and see the release of a new album (which will be their 13th). Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, we checked in with the band to see what they've been listening to this year. Chris and Jay told us about some of the music they've liked, while Andrew Scott suggests some podcasts. Check out their 2020 picks, with commentary, below.


Jay Ferguson:

U.S. Girls - Live From The Bunker Studios Sessions video
While “Overtime” from their new LP might be my favourite song of the year, it’s this awesome live session that reminds us what a super lean touring band we missed this year due to the pandemic concert cancellations. A great document.

Cornershop - England Is A Garden
I’m always encouraged by bands that have been around exactly as long as ours and still releasing (quality) records. Plenty of the usual good high-kickers, sitar-infused pop and the prerequisite consistent-out-and-out rocker, “No Rock: Save In Roll.”

The Lemon Twigs - Songs For The General Public
This Long Island band/brothers-in-arms has ended up on all of my year end lists since 2016. Still consistently responsible some of the best melodies, lyrics and arrangements in current rock and roll. Without trying to lean on comparisons, certain corners of this LP sway more towards Steinman-esque street rock, while others towards a more Pilot/Wings touch in the arrangements and melody. Wherever the source, the songs are always winners.

Fiona Apple - Fetch The Bolt Cutters
I recognize this excellent album is going to turn up on every best-of-list, so I’m not sure what to say that will sound new. Wonderful arrangements and some of the best turns of phrase in the biz.

Partner “Honey”
Why this band is not in the midst of rescheduling a sold-out headlining arena tour for 2021 due to the pandemic is beyond me.

Chris Murphy:

Joel Plaskett - 44
My old friend, Joel Plaskett released his most ambitious song set to date on April 17/2020 unfortunately just as covid was shutting down the possibility of touring. The album is called 44 and consists of 44 songs over 4 LP’s and was released the day before Joel turned 45. A quadruple album from a guy who already had a triple album! Joel has made a bunch of solid albums since the turn of the century and I’ve know him since the early 90’s when he was a teenager and in the great band, Thrush Hermit. Almost all of my peers from Halifax who were making music moved to Toronto at some point but not Joel. He is still holding the fort and writing songs that name check local characters. He even mentioned me by name on 44. There is also a beautiful song on there that breaks my heart called “Matthew Grimson Songs” about our mutual friend, Matthew Grimson who died in 2018.

Taylor Locke - The Bitter End EP
My old friend, Taylor Locke released an EP called The Bitter End in 2020. It’s just four songs but I think he is due to make another EP soon so watch for that. Taylor played guitar in the band Rooney around the turn of the century and has since released music as Taylor Locke and the Roughs and now as a solo artist. The guy sickens me with his good looks, his talents as a singer, guitarist, songwriter, producer and most annoyingly, he is way funnier than me. I don’t understand why this guy is not the biggest thing on the planet. Shows what I know.

Andrew Scott:

Ideas with Nahlah Ayed - (CBC radio show - CBC Listen app) :

"The Joy of Mediocrity" episode on Ideas

Almost any of the Massey Lectures

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