Thou’s Bryan Funck discusses favorite albums, books & more of 2020
Earlier this week, we posted Thou guitarist Andy Gibbs' 10 favorite albums of 2020, and now here's a list from another Thou member, vocalist Bryan Funck. The only time their lists cross over is MJ Guider; otherwise, Bryan's list includes Special Interest, Fiona Apple, and more, as well as some non-music stuff (a YouTube channel, two books, and a photographer). Bryan provided in-depth commentary on each one. Read on for what he had to says...
Silver Godling - Ravel
Emily McWilliams immediately elevates any project she gets involved with by sheet talent and raw emotion. But her solo music is on another level. I’m blessed to hear a lot of this material in its formative stages with just vocals and piano in my living room, and it’s incredible and soul crushing. The record also features a great list of criminally underrated local musicians: Kallie Tiffault (Ex Specter), Beck Levy (Hand Grenade Job), Steve Wiegand (The World is a Vampire), and Switch (Little Death). Dark pop music from New Orleans by my favorite person in the world. I am admittedly biased about this record and this project, but I don’t care. It rules.
MJ Guider - Sour Cherry Bell
I’ve known Melissa for over twenty years, and it’s absolutely amazing to see what a talented and focused musician she’s become. This stuff is light years away from the earlier pop punk bands she was in but till, somehow, embodies that same spirit of 90s alternative grunge that those bands embodied. Pervasive melancholia? Ephemeral wistfulness? I don’t know what it is, but this record definitely speaks to me in a way that only the music of my formative years can.
Special Interest - The Passion Of
The current leaders of the New Orleans scene. The promise of art punk fulfilled. Nowe Miasto is dead, long live Nowe Miasto.
High - Out My Scope
New Orleans post pop punk. Middle-aged, scene veterans whose music has evolved beyond the genre tropes of youthfulness while retaining the core values of its soul. Catchy, poppy, straight forward. Some of the hardest working dudes in The SceneTM.
Fiona Apple - Fetch the Bolt Cutters
I came to Fiona Apple late in the game with the Jon Brion version of Extraordinary Machine, but I’ve been obsessed ever since. I listened to Idler Wheel on repeat in Europe the night it started streaming. Andy Gibbs’ attorneys have sent me a gag order to try and stop me from talking about the Fiona Apple tribute Thou is going to do, but I will not be silenced! [We asked Bryan if this is true, but alas: "No. Never. Unless we upgrade singers."]
Somewhere around the end of 2019 or the start of 2020 I did a deep dive into the works of Barry Windsor-Smith. It probably started with The Comics Journal interview with Gary Groth; there was so much in that interview that perfectly articulated how I had been feeling about Thou, music, etc. I got pulled back into his work in a way bordering on obsession. You know when you find a record that you love and that’s all you can listen to, over and over and over and over again? You try to put something else on, but it just won’t do! That’s how it’s been for the past year with BWS. I’m one thousand percent positive the folks at my comic shop are sick of hearing me talk about him. Wait till they see the enormous fanzine I’m working on…
I found out about this video channel while on the hunt for interviews with Barry Windsor-Smith. In a comic book world crowded with knuckle draggers and chuckle heads, Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor stand towering above the rest. The content that they focus on, their perspective as fans, and their technical insight as professionals—these guys cannot be touched. This is one of the only podcasts that’s held my interest, and by holding my interest, I mean I’ve watched almost all 500 videos they’ve released, and I usually look at them the day they come out. These two guys along with Lieutenant Tom Scioli have gotten me back into comics DEEPLY, turning me on to some of my favorite comics, and putting the battery in my back to stock some of this stuff at Sisters in Christ.
Al Columbia - Pim & Francie book
Fifties style Disney cartooning with two children running around a nightmare hellscape. This is easily the most disturbing comic I’ve ever read. Watch the Cartoonist Kayfabe flip through on this. Buy the comic. Freak the fuck out.
Charles Burns - Black Hole book
Anyone in my life who knew about this comic and never said anything about it to me can no longer be my friend. Lose my number. Forget my name. We’re done.
Easily one of my favorite modern photographers along with Ellen Jane Rogers and Teddie Taylor. Craig’s talent and creativity is being squandered in the world of corporate photography. We were lucky enough to get to work with Craig on the collaborations with Emma Ruth Rundle, and I cannot stress how instrumental he was in righting the ship when we ran into some major printing issues. To say that he single handedly saved our asses is not an understatement.
Compare Bryan's list to Andy's HERE.
Thou's busy 2020 included their excellent collaborative album with Emma Ruth Rundle, contributions to two Black Sabbath tribute albums and one Alice In Chains tribute album, contributions to two anti-racist benefit comps (one of which saw them covering Bad Religion), and a Nirvana covers album.