2SER’s Favourite Releases of 2020 (So Far)

It’s been a helluva year so far but the music hasn’t stopped and has been a lifeline, salve, and comfort for many. Here are some of your favourite 2SER music shows, in alphabetical order, giving a rundown of their top releases of the first half of 2020.

THE BAND NEXT DOOR WITH CAMERON (Thursdays 10pm-Midnight)

WAWAWOW – Pink Elephant
Intergalactic bit-crushed psychedelic rock that flows as a marathon test of endurance over forty-three minutes of breakneck progressive meltdowns. Essence of hip hop and electronica also bubbles to the surface on this album which adds to the whirlwind of vortex-inducing sonic crunch. Not much else can really be said about this record except it’s an exhausting listen, yet somehow is so energetic it’s a recharge at the same time.

Cable Ties – Far Enough
Don’t be fooled by the first two minutes of the opening track “Hope” by thinking this is an album about melancholic laments. This is punk rock doing what punk rock was born to do: airing grievances and inherently raging against the system. The dynamic display of musicianship amongst this three piece – that often pushes the limits of post-punk into the 5+ minute terrain – is the key to how infectious this record is. A rhythm section that is it’s own primordial being, with a bellowing vocal delivery on top that isn’t commanding you to do anything, just appealing to the conscious inside.

Sachet – Nets
If you’re after an album that isn’t overly showy, stripped of self indulgence and just want a return to the basics of what garage rock is; Sachet’s second LP ‘Nets’ is the album for you. Saturated in plenty of lo-fi fuzz and accompanied by playful borderline retro power-pop melodies, there’s still plenty of noisy moments that flourish with the grainy textures of prolonged bends and bubbling anticipation of red-signalling thresholds.


Andy Golledge – Namoi EP
My top selection has got to be Andy Golledge’s EP ‘Namoi’. When he released “Run to the River” last year, my sister and I played it over and over again throughout the summer and it became a bit of an anthem for us. “1170” is also definitely a favourite. I do a lot of driving and as soon as I heard it I knew it would be my go to highway track. I also got my family absolutely hooked on ‘Namoi’ as soon as it came out and when I went back up to the farm we were all jamming out to it in the kitchen! There could be a little nepotism involved as well because he grew up in rural NSW pretty close to where I did!

Martha High and The Italian Royal Family – Nothing’s Going Wrong
This album could not have come at a better year. 2020 has been so exhausting and sad for so many reasons, but ‘Nothing’s Going Wrong’ has lifted my spirits many a’ morning. Some days it’s honestly really hard to answer the 3:30 alarm and be a happy ole joyful pal on the show, especially when it’s a day where there’s so much bad news. But tracks like “Face My New Future” and “Room at the Top” really get me going, and help me get some motivation back. When I hear them I always imagine myself in a movie in some kind of motivational montage where I’m like getting fit for a boxing fight or solving quantum physics or something. The reality is of course I’m just pouring myself a cup of coffee…

Basia Bulat – Already Forgiven
I broke up with my long term girlfriend this year (first ever breakup) and this album really helped me kind of process it. I know that Basia wrote a lot about her father on this album but that sense of grief, forgiveness and letting go really sat with me. Her voice just cuts through me in a way that made me feel seen in a way? Like a bit of a vocal hug? It’s so raw and honest, and just hit me where I needed it to. Also just looking at the album itself, the inclusion of field recordings from the Mojave desert and moments where the album kind of reflects on the sparseness of the desert is such a beautiful touch.

The Beths – “Dying to Believe”
I was trying really hard to have three albums for you BUT I had to include this track. I. Can’t. Stop. Playing. It!! The whole song is so much fun and really up my alley anyway but I’ve gotta give a special shout out to their last chorus where the back up boys sing ‘aaaaah wooo!’. The first time I ever heard it I couldn’t stop smiling and replayed it like 5 times. I get so excited when I get to play it and always sing along, which is usually okay, except for the other day when I accidentally left my mic on during the song…..sorry to anyone who didn’t want my out of tune ahh woos! Their new album is coming out so so so soon and I’m so excited!!!

CHIMES WITH PAUL GOUGH (Saturdays Midday-1pm)

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Sideways To New Italy
Each sparkling song is packed with jangle, ear worm hooks that will put a smile on your face. The arrival of their album was like welcoming back a dear friend you haven’t seen in ages.

Warmer – Wooden Box With Strings
John Encarnacao stepped out of his comfort zone and into a world of wonder with this his fourth album under the Warmer moniker. This deserves to be played long and loud, clever song writing from one of Sydney’s finest.

CURVED RADIO WITH GAYLE (Sundays 10pm-Midnight)

Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters
A wonderful musician and quirky songwriter, using found sounds and whatever else is happening in the moment.  If she’s not ready to release a new album, she won’t just shackle one together out of bits and pieces because the industry deems it’s time. When she records, she is 150% there, and is not locked into a format. She is not the only woman on the new Bob Dylan album for nothing.

Brigitte Fontaine – Terre Neuve
Brigitte Fontaine is a fabulous outsider who has survived 81 years, and is still rocking it. She is a poet, novelist, actor, playwright, musician, and no compromises woman who is a living treasure.  She has been described as avant garde but has worked with very interesting musicians including  Stereolab, Jean-Claude Vannier, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Archie Shepp, Sonic Youth, Areski Belkacem, Gotan Project, Grace Jones. Brigitte can still keep the world waiting with baited breath for her next album, she never disappoints and still manages to confront, even at 81 years of age.


Cone of Confusion – Cone of Confusion
Cone of Confusion are a Sydney-based group with five musicians from different cultural and musical backgrounds. Gathering knowledge from personal experience and individual influences, this project blends musical curiosity through improvisation. The unusual combination of lead of clarinet, saxophone and vibraphone, along with a strong rhythm section, yields music that is captivating and soulful. I had the pleasure of chatting with Remi, Adam and Juan from the band after picking up their self titled LP, and the thing that struck me the most about their music was the long improviser rhythm and melodies that were quite hypnotic and took you back to a musical throwback journey. Fans of Kraut Electro-Moogrock like Can, Neu, and even early Pink Floyd will love this. Take the trip with tracks like “Patterns of Ignorance” and “Seas of Titan”.

Bananagun – The True Story of Bananagun
As their exuberant band name suggests, Melbourne’s Bananagun have an infectiously bright outlook on the world. Nick van Bakel, a wealth of talented musicians have since been brought in to help bring his bedroom creations to life. The quintet’s colourful offerings so far have brought an impulsive exoticism, merging vibrant Os Mutantes, Brasilian Tropicalia (Band Go The Bongos) Fela Kuti-inspired afrobeat (People Talk To Much) and the St Etienne Sunshine Pop (Out Of Reach). With this in mind, their debut album, ‘The True Story Of Bananagun’, promises rhythmic refuge and takes you to that happy place.

Surprise Chef – All News Is Good News
There is something simultaneously both brand-new and retro about ‘All News Is Good News’ – the debut album from Melbourne’s instrumental soul group Surprise Chef. It sounds like something dreamt up by lo-fi cousins of David Axelrod, and Janko Nilovic, with dramatic Library-music-eqsue cinematic arrangements echoing both light and dark, delving into moments of dissonance and positivity. There is a meticulous education of 1970’s soul on display that touches on the legacies of the great composer / producers, yet at the same time this is a truly contemporary record that could have only been made now. Got to love a band that names themselves from a 70’s TV cooking show, every track on the record has its own inspired ingredients, which creates an appetising musical smorgasbord. Check out their menu of Crayfish Caper, Have You Fed Baby Huey Today and Drinking From The Cup Of Bob Knob..and yes, you will be like “Oliver”..wanting more, sir!!!


Karate Boogaloo – Carn the Boogers
I’ve been groovin’ (and that is absolutely the right word) to Melbourne’s Karate Boogaloo since I heard their first album ‘KB’s Mixtape No 1’ a couple of years ago. Then I went nuts over their weirded out covers album. ‘Carn The Boogers’ is another superlative outing from a band I can’t wait to see live. It’s funk, it’s soul, it’s cool. Real cool.  I’ve bought all three albums on vinyl.

RVG – Feral
I came a little late to the RVG party but when I saw them opening for Kurt Vile at the Enmore earlyish last year, I was sold. I adored their first album and was seriously hanging out for ‘Feral’ which is every bit as great. Killer songs, great vocals and playing. Hey, I bought the vinyl * and * the t-shirt too. Did I mention that they’re from Melbourne?

Grace Cummings – Refuge Cove
OK, this came out towards the very end of 2019 but didn’t enter my consciousness  until 2020 so that’s where I’m slotting this superlative singer (think Nina Simone, Odetta, Billie Holiday) and songwriter. This is smouldering, slinky and totally captivating. Did I mention that Cummings is from Melbourne? She is. I didn’t buy the vinyl as the limited edition sold out – but I’m seriously hanging for the repress.

THE HANDS OF TYME WITH ANDRE (Thursdays 2pm-4pm)

Various Artists – Occasional Rain compiled by Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs
Regular listeners of The Hands will know that a favourite segment of the psychedelic era we cover is the period at the start of the ‘70s in the UK. As the decade ticked over there was a sense of burn out and “well, what now?” after the incredibly rapid cultural evolution of “the ‘60s”. A period long maligned as the waiting room between the Summer Of Love and Punk, it was in fact rich in great songwriting finding it could exist in natural interminglings and co-habitions of folk, jazz, and the earlier, more innocent expression of what would be termed progressive rock. All these songs flow with a beautiful melancholy air, and it’s yet another sterling time capsule compiled by Saint Etenne’s Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs. Featuring many tracks you won’t find on streaming services and with excellent liner notes, this is worth reconsidering digging out your CD player for.

Neil Young – Home Grown 
As great as the last few releases from Neil’s archival series of the last few years have been, this has to be the most anticipated. This near mythical set of songs was recorded between June 1974 and January 1975, after the release of On the Beach and before the sessions for Zuma. Many of these songs would appear on later albums and some would only be played live, but a handful of tracks are getting heard for the first time. This period was one of Neil’s numerous peaks, but this mid ‘70s casual meeting point of country rock and singer-songwriter styles popular at the time (and which minted gold with the likes The Eagles and James Taylor leading into peak LA music biz decadence) it was always underscored with intoxicated, ragged rock and lyrics that could be cynical and sensitive, often within the same song.

JUMPING THE GAP WITH PARIS (Wednesdays Midday-2pm)

Amerigo Gazaway – “Indivisible”
Released on Juneteenth / Freedom Day and with all proceeds donated to New York legal defence and educational fund, NAACP (whose remit is to fight for racial justice) the super-talented Latin-American producer, MC and remixer/masher Amerigo Gazaway has always impressed, not only with his productions but also his ideas for blending the works of others and his superb word-plays for titles. Fe La Soul (Fela Kuti blended with De La Soul) is a particular favourite, as well as the beautiful Yasiin Gaye (Mavin Gaye and Mos Def aka Yasiin Bey). For this latest single though, he pulls no punches with a truth-speaking #BlackLivesMatter-focused single about white privilege and living Black or Brown in America. “Yo imagine what would happen if we replaced the presidential cabinet with Angela Davis and Colin Kaepernick / If one out of every three congress members was African and every non-voter became a political activist / Imagine if being black wasn’t hazardous…”  You get the message – now pay what you will and donate to the cause.

Keleketla! and Coldcut – “International Love Affair”
From the upcoming album due out early July, the return of Ninja Tune originators Coldcut always sparks interest, but with this beautifully positive Afrobeat collaborative single with Keleketla! I was immediately swept up by it’s message of needing to come together and harness the healing power of music. The album itself was recorded everywhere from Johannesburg to London, Lagos, to L.A. and West Papua, with everyone from rapper Yugen Blakrok (Black Panther OST) to the recently departed Afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen, alongside Dele Sosimi, legends The Watts Prophets, West Papuan activist Benny Wenda and kinetic New Yorkers Antibalas. As anyone who listens to the Jumping The Gap show will know, we always have to spend some of our weekly 2-hour slot dancing barefoot and kicking up dust on the African continent – and this is one joyous way to do just that. 

Woody Bianchi / Various – Under The Influence Vol 8
It’s causing me some anxiety to pull together a top-3 that contains no disco (to that end you should know that Sister Sledge’s Kathy Sledge has just released a new disco-house track called ‘Falling Deep In Love’ in collaboration with regular e-queerstrian show jumpers Horse Meat Disco), so I have to throw in a compilation. ‘Under The Influence’ is an always-excellent series and for volume 8 they turn the selection duties over to Italian DJ/producer Woody Bianchi who relishes in rarities on the boogie and disco tip. Even better than getting the kooky gospel-fueled ‘Rapture’ by Reverend Jerry Burns And The Youth Ensemble, or the equally furious at 140+ bmp stonker ‘Can You Feel It’ by Formula One, is having the full 8-minute of Australian rarity ‘Come On Everybody’ by singer Coco York and the Serge Ermoll Ensemble on vinyl. This Australian production comes off an album so hard to find, you wonder how Bianchi landed a copy. Maybe he had an insider trading deal with someone at Brisbane City Council’s Garbage Collection Department, whose street diggers apparently once found a few water-damaged copies of the LP atop a hopper. 


Sophie Forrest – North Melbourne Suburban Boogie
A top notch leftfield-house double sider by the former Sydneysider now based in Melbourne. Bright Jazzy sample based club tunes from the Communications Records label-head.

Andrej Laseech (feat. Javonnte) – More Than Friends
A beautiful under the radar deeper house EP from Croatia featuring the vocals of Javontte (aka Brian Garrett) on the Lumberjacks in Hell label.

Vape Dadz – Clear Vision Pty. Ltd.
Just raw and frivolous (yet with substance) dub/rock and electronica LP from Sydney.


Andy Golledge – Namoi EP
Andy Golledge has been part of our live scene for quite a number of years now, gathering a somewhat healthy following with his action packed, fun, sometimes a little livewire shows in Sydney’s inner-west at pub venues like the Lansdowne. So his debut release ‘Namoi’, a 12” vinyl EP of 6 songs, has been a long time coming. Andy has the voice of an angel and the sweetheart personality to match.

Suicide Swans – Through the Years
Through The Years is a reworking by the band of songs from the Suicide Swans back catalogue. It’s a down home mix of banjo, violin, acoustic guitars, mandolin, piano and harmonies. A reimagining of Suicide Swans’ history all played out within the genres of folk, alt-country and Americana. The Toowoomba, QLD 5 piece Suicide Swans fronted by prolific singer-songwriter-guitarist Kyle Jenkins have previously released 3 albums, of which 2 are double albums, plus an EP. So this essentially is Suicide Swans covering Suicide Swans, in a stripped back more organic way, to hopefully reach a wider audience.

Drive-By Truckers – The Unraveling
The Drive-By Truckers are a Southern rock band based in Athens, Georgia. They’ve been at it since 1996 and count Jason Isbell as a former member. Fronted by singer-songwriters Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley, The Unraveling is their 12th studio album and their first in 4 years. It’s also their best in over a decade by a long-shot. The record is DBT’s overview of their journey from post-election blues, into the heart of Memphis and onward into 2020. It’s politically charged American rock at its poignant best.


R.M.F.C & Set-Top Box – Split
From Ulladulla, released in Germany and Italy,  R.M.F.C (Rock Music Fan Club) is a very young man named Buz Clatworthy making music at home on his own and playing live with pals Grace, Vas and Brinley. Their 2019 debut LP ‘Hive’ is a big favourite on stereos around Psychedelic Sundae residences. 2020’s split 7″ with Sydney’s Set Top Box is our vote for best release of the year so far – that is until we get their new 7″ out on Geelong’s Anti-Fade records in the mail.


Spikey Tee – Between Wake and Sleep
I have picked this amazing and very personal debut album from Australia’s Spikey Tee. Well known for his talents as a DJ, MC and Vocalist, Spikey Tee has a 30 year career behind him working with international legends such as Horace Andy, Jah Wobble and Bomb the Bass. Released in February this year, Between Sleep and Wake out on Tokyo Dawn Records is an impressive debut to say the least! With mind blowing collabs with some of my fave artists including Sydney’s Mark Pritchard and Suff Daddly, this album will delight a wide variety of music lovers, with elements of roots, Reggae, R’n’B, Jungle and Hip Hop. A Shadows of Tomorrow favourite! You can hear a selection of tunes from Spikey Tee’s new album the June 22nd edition of Shadows of Tomorrow. – Sofie

Teklife – Teklife VIP 2020
I have been rinsing this compilation over the last few months, so many gems on it designed for the high tempo dance music lovers of the world.  In this release, Teklife artists have reworked classic tracks from across many diverse genres into Footwork VIP’s. My stand out favourite on the compilation has to be the remake of “Bostich” by Yello, a classic dance tune back in its day and a seminal track in its own right. Coming in at a close number two is a rework of another classic breakbeat / Drum & Bass track from the late 90’s by Adam F called Circles. You can download this VIP for free from Teklife’s Soundcloud page. – Sofie


Brown Spirits – Vol 3
he second album from Melbourne’s premier kosmische psych jammers is heavy on groove and thick with fuzz.

D.C. Cross – Terabithian
Homegrown Takoma style guitar soli that builds on a confident debut with a follow up executed with moderation and grace.

Turtle Skull – Monoliths
Debut full length delivers a rib-rattling riff fest, elevated with harmony and positive vibrations = flower doom.

THE SPACE IN BETWEEN WITH ANDRE (Tuesdays 10pm-Midnight)

The Sweet Enoughs – Marshmallow 
Few have touched upon the late ‘50s Exotica sound of Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman’s since the Lounge revival of the ‘90s. But this project of Hiatus Kaiyote bass player Paul Bender (along with HK keys man Simon Mavin and guitarist Lachlan Mitchell) artfully reminds listeners of the intimacy and delicate melancholy inherent in the sound, thankfully more so than tiki mugs and the now outdated cultural appropriation and stereotypes it had at the centre of it. Elsewhere the album feels like a soulful update of the wistful nostalgic fog of acts like The High Llamas.

Carmen Villain – Affection In A Time Of Crisis
June saw a trove of four new releases from deep listening label Longform Editions. Often it feels as if these commissions of longer pieces are something artists have always wanted to do. Such is the case with Norwegian – Mexican performer, Carmen Villain. Fans of her two superb albums on Smalltown Supersound will find much to get lost in and contemplate here. The Space loves playing longer pieces, so expect to soon hear this month’s other releases from, Chihei Hatakeyama (one of show’s the most played artists), a one hour piece from the reliably great Celer and NYC artist Michael Vincent Waller. It’s well worth considering the subscription service offered by the label on Bandcamp, where new releases come to you as soon as they are uploaded.

STATIC WITH BERKO & MICK (Thursdays 8pm-10pm & repeated Saturdays 7:30am-10:30am)

Holy Fuck – Deleters
I would never have envisaged that one of 2020’s most d-floor ready albums would come from a bunch of Canadian dads, but it’s been an unpredictable kind of year. Pieced together at jams during soundchecks and in rehearsal spaces, “Deleter” had an urgency in its rave-riddled noise-pop, but also took time to smell the flowers with motorik krautrock (“Near Mint”) and sludgy doom-rock (“San Sebastian”). Its big shake-up was incorporating guest vocalists into the band’s songs for the first time ever – Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip), as well as Aussies Angus Andrew (Liars) and Nicholas Allbrook (Pond) – gave the record greater depth and personality, and made it one hell of a cool party. Listen to the “Static” interview with Graham from Holy Fuck here and watch the film clip for “Luxe” featuring Alexis Taylor below. – Berko

Primo! – Sogni
Recorded in various home studios and living rooms across Melbourne – and now featuring two members of Terry – the second album from Primo! oozed a casual charm, but was never sloppy. Its chiming post-punk and off-kilter jangle was an exercise in economy and restraint – a keyboard line here (“Comedy Show”), a skronky saxophone there (“Rolling Stone”).  And where some of their contemporaries can tend towards the glib in their lyrics, Primo! used the opportunity to examine their lives, and both reflect and project. “Best & Fairest” questioned “What makes a life a rich one? What company will you be keeping?” Primo! are great company on this record, and it’s a wise life-choice to hang out with them. Listen to the “Static” interview with Xanthe from Primo! here and watch the film clip for “Machine” below. – Berko

Sonic Boom – All Things Being Equal
This year has thrown up a lot of surprises, but perhaps the biggest one was the gift of a new studio album by Spacemen 3 co-founder Pete Kember – his first in 31 years. Plenty of his trademarks were present, such as the gurgling synth trippery of opener “Just Imagine” and the intergalactic shoegaze noise suffused through “I Can See Light Bend”. But he’d learned a lot of new tricks in his absent years via his production work, and you could hear the artists he’d worked with rub off on him – Panda Bear’s chant-like vocal mantras on “Just A Little Piece Of Me”, and MGMT’s spectral psych-pop on “Things Like This (A Little Bit Deeper)”. It was also a product of his environment – nowadays based in Portugal, the album’s lyrics were a cornucopia of positivity, and vivid with mentions of clouds, rain, trees and grass. Now less taking drugs and more giving hugs, this Sonic Boom album was a warm embrace. Listen to the “Static” interview with Sonic Boom here and watch the film clip for “Things Like This (A Little Bit Deeper)” below. – Berko


r.beny –  Natural Fiction
California’s r.beny has been releasing low key incredible ambient sounds for a few years now, a recent box set collection has shone a light on his warm and wistful nostalgic sounds. An antidote to these dark times.

Sofie Birch – Hidden Terraces
Sofie Birch creates vast sound worlds that captivate. The minute attention to detail leaves you breathless at times. Her latest stems from a trip to Colombia and collects a wide array of field recordings, from bird song to Colombian instruments and jungle ambiance. An armchair travelling experience you don’t want to escape from. Catch Sofie’s release in full on the June 29th edition of Used Parts Galaxy.

WHEN THE LEVEE BREAKS WITH ERICA & PETE (Saturdays 6pm-8pm & repeated Mondays 2pm-4pm)

Mildlife – “Rare Air”
Funky prog space disco – Melbournian dancefloor grooves with an international, intelligent twist off their album ‘Automatic’ out in September. From the same stomping ground / musical family as King Gizzard and Amyl & The Sniffers.


Too Free – Love in High Demand
My first pick goes to this criminally slept-on, debut album released back in February by the Washington D.C. trio who counts Merchandise’s Carson Cox, and Big Freedia collaborator Awad Bilal as members. It’s a sublime release that genre hops between dance-pop, electronica, funk and more, while evoking the pliable grooves of a Blood Orange or Prince record. Check out the video for “Too Free” below, a track that has lifted my spirits many times this year.

RVG – Feral
RVG get a special mention for being one of the few bands that can simultaneously sell devastation and catharsis, on the one album, so well. The Melbourne outfit have come into fine form in their songwriting on ‘Feral’, and their version of post-punk/guitar pop is really one of the best in Australia.

Kate NV – Room for the Moon
The second album from this Moscow musician is such a joy to listen to. Kraftwerk and The Knife come to mind, but there’s a definite pop mindset on these odd-ball songs which take influence from anime, and 80s Soviet pop music and films. Kate smoothly interchanges between Russian, French, and English, on the backdrop of synth, bass and sax heavy tracks for a whimsically, escapist listen.


Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
Nothing can devastate or delight quite like a Phoebe Bridgers line. Full of wit, detail, and insight, her verses often stun the listener like a suckerpunch out of nowhere. Bearing both the ecstasy of true love and the melancholia of Los Angeles, Punisher is a joyous ode to depression and dependence, and confirms Bridgers’ place as one of the best lyricists in American music.

Jack Colwell – SWANDREAM
With a voice that can stretch from the operatic power of an artist like ANOHNI to the death-growl of a punk singer like Fucked Up’s Damian Abrahams, Colwell is a singer who sounds like little else in this country. Melding emotional and melodramatic piano ballads with punk-rock swagger, SWANDREAM is a powerful statement about growing up queer in Australia.

Waxahatchee – Saint Cloud
After the grungy breakdown of 2017’s break-up album Out in the Storm, singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield strips away her early riot grrrl influences for a transformative Americana record about returning home and falling in love. Deeply confessional and quietly devastating, Saint Cloud is Crutchfield’s masterpiece.

Thursday 2nd of July, 2020

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