Pittsburgh musician Derek Zanetti's punk collective The Homeless Gospel Choir released a new album, This Land Is Your Landfill, this year via Anti-Flag's A-F Records. They were also supposed to tour with Good Riddance, Death by Stereo, and Clowns in the spring, but COVID got in the way of that. Derek still played A-F Records' "Takeover Fest" livestream, however, and appeared on labelmate Jon Snodgrass' new album.
To cap off the year, we asked Derek what his favorite releases of 2020 are, and he made us a list, commentary included, featuring Fiona Apple, Run the Jewels, Coriky (Ian MacKaye's band with his Fugazi bandmate Joe Lally and his wife/Evens bandmate Amy Farina), Bartees Strange, Bully, and more. Read that, and stream This Land Is Your Landfill, below.
The Homeless Gospel Choir’s favorite albums of 2020:
Fiona Apple / Fetch the Bolt Cutters
I knew from the very first time I heard this record that it would be album of the year for me. This album is a wide open view into the genius that is Fiona Apple. I was mesmerized by the production on the flawless percussion section. Her voice and her breath is absolutely unmatched on any album she’s ever put out. Years from now when art critics refer to the legacy of Fiona Apple, Fetch The Bolt Cutters will be at the top of everyone’s list.
Coriky / Coriky
Before quarantine trapped us inside in mid-March of this year I happened to be in Harrisburg Pennsylvania rehearsing new material, and we heard a rumor that Joe and Ian of Fugazi and Amy of the Evens had a new three-piece band that was playing a free show at the Midtown scholar bookstore in downtown Harrisburg. They set up their own gear, they had no road crew or assistance. They had volunteers from the community hold buckets at the door to receive donations for the show and then they began to play songs off of their upcoming debut LP. The songs blew my mind live as they did when I listened to them recorded. Everything about this record Is amazing and if I could give two #1 places for album of the year 2020, this would be it. Perfect guitar tone, unique percussion, and Joe on bass… come on!
Nana Grizol / South Somewhere Else
This record was very much anticipated for me. I’ve always been a huge Defiance Ohio fan, and I saw Nana Grizol at a small DIY show at the Mr. Roboto Project in Pittsburgh last year as they were playing songs off their upcoming record South Somewhere Else. There was an electrical current or anticipation buzzing about this album months before it was released. There’s a very intense and deeply personal narrative weaved all through this record mixed with strong political commentary that makes it stand out in a way that few records do.
Bad Moves / Untenable
Another home run for Washington DC’s finest. Interesting, unpredictable, emotional pop punk anthems drenched in political awareness and overwhelming pop sensibility. If this record came out in 1994 people would be saying… "Green Day who?” Its melodies are captivating and arrangements thoughtful and engaging. If you like punk music at all you can’t ignore Untenable. I’ve always been a giant fan of David Combs and the tangential projects in which they have labored in (Spoon Boy, The Max Levine Ensemble), and although I knew that this record was going to be amazing I had no idea it would be so important to hear in 2020.
Bully / SUGAREGG
This is urgent, angst-ridden, perfectly distorted punk rock at its very best. This record gave me 1000 amazing nostalgic feelings for a time when rock’n roll ruled the world. The album art was the first thing to draw me in and the songs kept me there. Great album!
Bike Thiefs / Leaking
Canadian three-piece punk outfit brandishing a unique sound we needed this year. Interesting, fun, and smart. Catchy yet unpredictable. The recording captures a certain magic that makes punk rock special. I love this band and I think you will too.
Run The Jewels / RTJ4
It’s amazing. It's political. The beats are sick. The verses are Killer Mike’s best yet. Amazing features by Pharell Williams and Zack de la Rocha. I wanted it to be great and it was.
Bartees Strange / Live Forever
A fantastic display of brave songwriting defying the boundaries of genre. This wasn’t an immediate “YES” for me, I didn’t understand it on the first pass through, but as I played it again and again I began to understand the genius in the songwriting. Well done.
Dream Nails / Dream Nails
In your face, unapologetic, radical queer Femme punk rock. Catchy and fun, yet brutally true and purposefully combative. I love it.
Browse our Best of 2020 tag for more year-end lists.