The holiday season is always a time to reflect – but it goes without saying there’s something different about this year. Amidst a health pandemic unprecedented in our lifetimes – and a lot of economic anxiety stemming from it – getting through the year in one piece has seemed such a tall order. And so many did not – including not only those we loved up close and personally, but those whose art we adored from various distances as well.
In such times that reframe the heights of human kindness (and sadly, it also sometimes felt, the depths of cruelty and suffering), it can be hard to hope. So many smaller labels, our own included, had ambitions curtailed by the events of 2020. Personally, our own staff lost jobs and sought new ways to keep ourselves and our loved ones taken care of. And without the simple joys of things we used to take for granted – traveling to record stores, going to concerts, even listening to music in groups – the weights on many of our shoulders are heavy.
And yet, there were people, things, and music to love. Some of the most enjoyable box sets and compilations in years hit shelves in 2020, from Prince, Elton John, Tears for Fears, and so many more. (We were humbly blessed to contribute to that offering in some way with our three Second Disc Records titles this year.) The modern CD box set has been a thing for at least 35 years now, and music is increasingly consumed in non-physical formats – yet some of these reissues made the format feel vital again, which is worth appreciating. We also spent a good chunk of the year discovering new or new-to-us music through Bandcamp. Our gratitude to all who gave time to talk to us about their work for our Bandcamp Friday articles, and our immense love for everyone releasing great works through the site. (A special, admittedly biased shout-out to our friends in New York power-pop quartet The Hell Yeah Babies, who have collectively raised more than $10,000 for charities this year through monthly streams of live music, MTV-style blocks of videos, and general silliness. Their recent Christmas episode was a particular holler, with a ridiculous cameo from our founder, Mike Duquette, as one half of a Home Alone-style duo of thieves; a new single is coming from the group tomorrow!)
Nobody can predict the future; 2020 made that clear. But here at The Second Disc, we will continue to honor the past and celebrate the present – just as we’ve done for the last decade. And we’re glad to have all of you with us. Another dear friend of TSD, folk musician Jay Ackley, has just a song on his new album that sums up the strange mix of feelings we’ve felt about 2020 pretty clearly:
I don’t desire to be so doleful but I’ll be damned if I don’t sing
I sing thanks for your indulgence, in this and everything
So I thought I’d give a holler to say I care for you deeply
And that recently yeah I’ve been thinking you and me we’ll be fine.
We can’t wait to find out if he’s right – and we’re happy to find out
with you. Have a peaceful rest of the year, and we’ll see you back here on January 4, 2021.
With love and thanks,
– Mike, Joe, Sam, Randy and the TSD Family