Best of Summer 2020!

The band, Constellations, who is one of the best of summer 2020, poses in blue and red hued light.
[Constellations is a melodic metalcore band from Phoenix, Arizona. Image by Kelly Fox.]

The Best of Summer 2020 are here!

It’s that time again! I’m excited to announce my favorite music of the season, highlighting some of the musicians that deserve recognition the most for the best of summer 2020!

While I can only include my top five submissions, please know that if your band/your favorite band wasn’t included, it does NOT mean they lack in any way, it just means that the field is so competitive that only the best of the best (in my opinion) can be considered.

Everything about these submissions was analyzed, from the production of the record as a whole to the quality of each instrument and vocal part. Without further ado, these are my top five records out of submissions from June-August, including singles, albums, and EPs:

5. Quarantine Dream by assorted artists

Quarantine Dream is proof that music can be a catalyst for real change in the world. When musicians come together with a cause, magic can happen. This is exactly the case with Quarantine Dream, a benefit album created with the selfless intentions of Minnesota musicians.

The album features Tim Cheesebrow and Ted Hajnasiewicz, who should be familiar faces for those who follow this blog. In addition, artists like Waltzing on Waves will wow listeners anew. “One of the album’s highlights is “Cadiz,”a surprisingly sunny pop tune written by Minnesota rock veteran Adam Levy(The Honeydogs, Turn Turn Turn). It also features a special guest appearance by Jessa Roquet herself.”

Quarantine Dream is certainly musically diverse, but is also carefully “woven together by a contemplative quality that seems to suit the seriousness of these times”. Every listener will be able to find a song that suits their individual tastes.

-“Quarantine Dream: Musicians Sharing a Vision of Hope

Quarantine Dream debuted digitally on August 7, 2020 on BandCamp. All proceeds go to Jessa Roquet’s medical expenses, and donations can also be made through Jessa’s GoFundMe campaign.

4. Creature by Old Old (EP)

An audio clip of the first track of Old Old’s EP, Creature.

Creature is the classically punk release we all need to get through a year without basement shows, dive bars, and backyard venues. Old Old’s understanding of their own sound is fluid in this record in the best way: Many of these tracks could be featured on indie playlists as well as punk playlists, a great thing for today’s melding of musical worlds.

The first track of Creature is “Skreamer. ” Bringing us into the EP with classic punk guitar lines and energy to spare, the song shows off the spaces between notes as much as its inherent rhythms. “Skreamer” is guided through its 3:30 running time by bouncy bass and dynamic percussion, every instrumental part falling into line to create a solid, steady song, even without vocals in the first two minutes. When the vocals do enter in an edgy mix of distorted whispers, the track is given extra depth and atmosphere, making it a great start to the record.

-“‘Creature’ by Old Old is the New New

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Want more punk vibes? Check out Sweet Hollow, Grief Ritual, and A Sunday Fire!

3. “Venus Infers” by Bad Ties

The single art for Bad Ties' "Venus Infers," one of the best of summer 2020!
The single art for Bad Ties’ “Venus Infers.”

Bad Ties always makes poetry cool! With “Venus Infers,” the group blended irresistibly dreamy instrumentals with masterful storytelling to create another compelling record.

The track gets into the thick of things with dreamy bass, staccato drum beats, and loaded keyboard, all ready to spring into the story. Steadily creating an ambiance to help set the scene for the story, the instrumentals steady behind the vocals. Soon, the bass breaks free, its rhythms echoing the vocals’ rise and fall. The lyrics are delivered in spoken-word style, their balance wavering to reflect the story as it grows and swells.

-“Bad Ties Returns with Venus Infers

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Read more about Bad Ties’ previous album in Bad Ties Makes Poetry Cool(er)!

2. “CTRL” by Heavenly Faded

Heavenly Faded has produced some of my favorite tracks to date, and it’s not uncommon to find some of their songs mixed into my daily playlists. With “CTRL,” the band showcases the best of their booming, unafraid attitude and technical instrumental skills.

Much like my other favorite Heavenly Faded tracks such as “Beach Days” and “Constellations,” their latest single is full of attitude. Starting off a steady storm of sound, boomy bass and rippling classic guitar riffs mark the song as something special. The entrance of slanting vocals adds another layer of energy, echoed by the snap in the instrumentals and adding depth to the audio. Static and dynamic all at once, the track moves through differing phases, but never loses its strength or ardor.

-“Heavenly Faded is in CTRL and Here to Stay”

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Want more? Check out Heavenly Faded’s New Single Shines Bright!

In the same vein of alternative rock, take a look at Raid the QuarryQuorum, and Wasting Moonlight!

1. I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore by Constellations (EP)

Constellations combines raw, powerful lyrical delivery with catchy instrumentals for the perfect mix of punk and pop. Not only is this album a pleasure to listen to, but it carries important commentary on everything from mental health and unhealthy coping mechanisms to the state of today’s world.

“Cursed” starts things off with swinging guitar rhythms and a swell of incoming instrumentals. Sweetly rough vocals enter the mix, layering attitude and emotion over the foundation laid by classic pop-punk drum beats. Perfect for fans of Doll Skin, the track’s vocal phrasing combined with its instrumental rhythms make it easy to move to.

Powerful, self-assured lyrical delivery during the chorus combines with detailed verses to form a song that is equal parts catchy and full of story.

“Constellations Will help You Feel at Home in This World”

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Love Constellations? Check out Above a WhisperRaid the Quarry, and A Sunday Fire!

Which tracks from summer 2020 were your favorites? Tell me how our rankings compare in the comments!

Want to read other “Best of” articles? Check out more below!

Best of Spring 2020
Winter 2020!
Best of 2019!
Best Albums of Fall 2019!
Singles of Fall 2019!

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