Avatar's Johannes Eckerström Picks Favorite Albums of 2020 | Revolver

Avatar's Johannes Eckerström Picks Favorite Albums of 2020

Singer hails Finnish "magical minimalism," Japanese math rock and more
avatar-johan_carlen-2b.jpg, Johan Carlen
photograph by Johan Carlen

Revolver has teamed with Avatar for an exclusive, limited-edition picture disc of their new album Hunter Gatherer. It's limited to just 500 copies worldwide, so get yours before they're gone!

Hyperbole aside, 2020 has suuuucked. From political divisiveness to civil unrest to the continued COVID-19 crisis, this year has served up serious challenges. Thankfully, the artists we love have continued to create and share killer music to help us get through the dark days. We know what albums made our Best of 2020 list, but we wanted to find out what the musicians themselves were spinning this year.

With that in mind, we asked Avatar frontman Johannes Eckerström — whose Swedish band's hard-hitting 2020 LP, Hunter Gatherer, earned a spot on our list of the year's best albums — to weigh in with his favorite records from the last 12 months. See his picks below.

Maustetytöt - Eivät enkelitkään ilman siipiä lennä

They flashed by on TV and a Finnish friend said she was almost insulted by their Finnish-ness. Two fairly young women, a keyboard, a guitar, a pair of sunglasses, PJs and not a hint of smile. Is it dark humor or is it just dark? Is it sincere or ironic? All of the above? Yes, probably. More than that it's strange and magical minimalism, jam packed with atmosphere.

Tricot - 10

I've listened to Tricot for a couple of years now, and I still struggle to find the words to describe what they do to me. I like strange grooves. I like jazz harmony. And I like direct melodies. They are one of those bands that make you nostalgic for something you haven't even done yet.

Torsson - Sol och Måne

Southern Sweden's fifth-best band provided some of the best musical poetry I heard this year. If you just run it through Google Translate, I'm afraid that won't be enough. The marriage with the music and the way it taps into what probably is a collective experience of being a Swede on a rainy Tuesday afternoon in February is tough to explain.

Finntroll – Vredesvävd

Jaktens tid was life-changing for me and the band back in the day. Vredesvävd is just as poetic and grandiose, but also seems rawer and more violent. Finntroll have always managed to pack their good-time humppa and folk metal with more violence and danger than any of their peers. Still the best.

György Ligeti – Désodre

I learned about Ligeti this year and lockdown meant having time to explore. The interpretations by Eric Huebner are, of course, excellent, but more than anything they stand to represent an exciting and strange journey I had the chance to take this year.