Got Any Singles?

Dan Pavelich’s 1st Annual Means-nothing Awards

Please note: These awards mean nothing beyond the fact that I like what the recipients did. There were tons of albums, songs and videos that I never heard or saw. 2020 was a shitty year in general, but an extraordinary one for great independent music. It would have been impossible to acknowledge or consume all of it.


Coolest Release of the Year

Michael Slawter & The Pleased To Meet Me’s – Dear Bastards (Flexidisc)

Record of the Year

Marshall Holland – Paper Airplane

Song of the Year

The Vapour Trails – Lonely Man

Best Vinyl Releases (Tie)

Maurice & The Stiff Sisters – Welcome To Love

Gretchen’s Wheel – Such Open Sky

Best Cassette Release

Dw Dunphy – Test Test Test

Top Ten Singles of the Year  (In no particular order)

Ken Sharp – Girl

Ed Ryan – Even Time

Nick Frater – Let’s Hear It For Love

Tenderhooks – 20-20 Vision

More Animal – I Won’t Forgive You

The Empty Hearts – Coat-tailer

Katrina – Drive

Mike Daly & The Planets – This Is My Life

Coke Bela – Thank You, Paul

The Pretenders – The Buzz

Top Ten Long Players of the Year (In no particular order)

The Well Wishers – Shelf Life

Katrina – Hearts, Loves and Babys

honeychain – Pocketful of Good Luck

Tom Curless and The 46% – Almost Ready For The Future

Bill Lloyd – Don’t Kill The Messenger

It’s Karma It’s Kool – Woke Up In Hollywood

Nick Piunti and The Complicated Men – Downtime

Pop Co-Op – Factory Settings

Gary Ritchie – Head On Swivel

The Toms – The 1979 Sessions

Music Video of the Year

Tiny Bit Of Giant’s Blood – Girl Over Here

Best Children’s/Family Releases (In no particular order)

Lindsay Munroe – I Am Kind

Rena Strober & Friends – Imagine That

Red Yarn – Backyard Bop

Flor Bromley – Fiesta Global

Diana Panton – A Cheerful Little Earful

Congrats to all of the winners!

Someone You Should Know

Michael Slawter, Heyday Guitars, and The Pleased To Meet Me’s

If you find yourself in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, one stop you’re not going to want to miss is Heyday Guitars. Heyday always features a stunning array of vintage instruments, proven weekly by their FB posts, and is a Batcave of sorts, for discriminating musicians. 

From Heyday’s FB page, “Join us for a trip back to a time when instruments were built to be heirlooms, craftsmanship was prized above convenience, and music was measured in RPMs, not megabytes.” Now that’s a mission statement that I can get behind.

The man behind the counter is Michael Slawter, who not only sells the tools of the trade, but makes some damn fine music of his own. When I saw his FB post about a limited-edition Flexi disc that he was releasing, I knew I had to order a copy. Growing up in the 1970’s, Flexi discs could sometimes be found in the pages of a guitar magazine, or even a cereal box. The fact that someone was putting one out in 2020 really made me grin.

Slawter explains the inspiration for the Flexi disc, “It all started with a dream. In the early days of 2020 I woke from a dream that involved hanging out with Paul Westerberg (The Replacements) as he was recording a new song called Dear Bastards. As I came to and realized it was only a dream I rushed to my guitar and banged out the chords and the basic melody. From there it took a life of its own. Fast forward to May and I had an idea of releasing a Flexi disc with one song on it. This became the obvious choice. with a little help from a few friends we recorded Dear Bastards in my new studio at Heyday. Only 100 Flexi’s were pressed and this song will not be available on any streaming.”

Pressed into beautiful, translucent red vinyl, Slawter’s original tune is a burst of indie rock that’s as instantly likable as its packaging. As rough and tumble as the band that inspired it, it truly is one of the musical highlights of the year. You should own this.

The Dear Bastards Flexi disc by Michael Slawter & The Pleased To Meet Me’s are $7 or $10 shipped. If you’d like a copy you can come by Heyday Guitars, or you can use VENMO (@heydayguitars) or paypal ( Please include your address.

By Dan Pavelich