The 2020 albums of the year DIScussion thread.

All discussion in here please (to keep it out of the poll thread). Thanks all!

Always difficult but this year feels even more so. Lockdown has made it difficult to listen in bursts of more than about 20 minutes very often, also a lot more oddities in my collection this year mainly as a result of Bandcamp days combined with lockdown releases - E.P.s, live albums, demos, odd tracks etc.

At the moment I think a few albums released earlier in the year are rising to the top possibly as they are the ones I’ve managed to eventually give more time to.

I have only heard three new records this year, Folklore, Letter To You and RTJ4. The latter 2 are very very good, the former is an absolute masterpiece.

Shortlist is:

The Strokes - The New Abnormal

Nathan Fake - Blizzards

Run the Jewels - RTJ4

Grimes - Miss Anthropocene

Tame Impala - The Slow Rush

No Age - Goons Be Gone

Haim - Women in Music Part III

Against All Logic - 2017 - 2019

Protomartyr - Ultimate Success Today

No 1 is The Strokes and the rest is up for grabs. Will do some catching up the next couple of weeks, but feel like I’ve heard most of what I’d be interested in cos I’ve had so much time to listen to music when WFH

Oops sorry I’ve cluttered up the poll thread already!

I agree. On one hand there’s been a lot of really good records this year, but on the other my engagement with them has been completely different to usual, so compiling a list has been really tough. Still not sure now what I’ll go for.

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Shortlist of 26! Will divide into genres in case anyone is interested in specific types

Rock / Pop / Punk / general
Bruce Springsteen
Taylor Swift
Levellers
Waxahatchee
Jeff Rosenstock
Clint Mansell & Clint Walsh
AA Williams
Chris Forsyth x Garcia Peoples
Sløtface
Dogleg

Electronic
Daniel Avery
Daniel Avery & Alessandro Cortini
Bow Church
Jon Brooks
Craven Faults
Upsammy
Daniel Davies

Metal
Fluisteraars
Svalbard
Sadness

Other
Sault x 2
Nubya Garcia
Run The Jewels
Lightning Orchestra
Indica Dubs Showcase Chapter 5

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Longlist:

Angel Bat Dawid & Tha Brotherhood - Live!

Anz - Spring / Summer Dubz 2020

Against All Logic - 2017-2019

Adrianne Lenker - Songs / Instrumentals

Beatrice Dillon - Workaround

Boldy James - The Price Of Tea In China

Boldy James & Sterling Toles - Manger on McNichols

Chris Crack - White People Love Algorithms

Crack Cloud - Pain Olympics

DJ Python - Mas Amable

Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia

Duval Timothy - Help

Fiona Apple - Fetch The Bolt Cutters

Fleet Foxes - Shore

Gil Scott-Heron & Makaya McCraven - We’re New Again

Haim - Women In Music Pt III

Jay Electronica - Act II - The Patents of Nobility

Jeff Parker - Suite For Max Brown

Jessie Ware - What’s Your Pleasure?

Jyoti - Mama, You Can Bet!

KeiyaA - Forever, Ya Girl

Lil Uzi Vert - Eternal Atake

Lyra Pramuk - Fountain

Microphones - Microphones in 2020

Nicolas Jaar - Cenizas

Pa Salieu - Send Them To Coventry

Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher

Roisin Murphy - Roisin Machine

Sault - Untitled (Black Is)

Sault - Untitled (Rise)

The Soft Pink Truth - Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase

Sorry - 925

Space Afrika - hybtwibt?

Taylor Swift - Folklore

Waxahatchee - Saint Cloud

Young Jesus - Welcome to Conceptual Beach

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For me it’s a been a slightly below average year. A fair number of ‘good to great’ albums but a lack of a really stunning classic and probably less in the ‘good’ category than normal. My tastes are broad and I usually find two or three new albums a week to enjoy (apart from in the dead times in January and December most years). This year I’ve found myself listening to more old stuff than usual to fill the gaps (which has been quite fun actually). In a normal year I would say that about 70% of the stuff I listen to on a day to day basis is new, this year it is probably closer to 50%.

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Right then. For the past couple of years I’ve been choosing my AOTY by having a knock-out tournament between a long-list of my 64 favourite records. I use a random tournament generator to pair them off, listen to them back to back and the one I judge to be best goes through to the next round.

Yes, I know, I need a life.

For the troubled and turbulent year of 2020 my play-off for the AOTY prize looks like this:

Group #1
competitor #1: Envy
competitor #2: Sevdaliza
Group #2
competitor #1: Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
competitor #2: Open Mike Eagle
Group #3
competitor #1: Adrienne Lenker
competitor #2: Loma
Group #4
competitor #1: Autechre
competitor #2: Kvelertak
Group #5
competitor #1: Lianne La Havas
competitor #2: Boldy James
Group #6
competitor #1: Emmy The Great
competitor #2: Daniel Avery
Group #7
competitor #1: Ghost Halo
competitor #2: Sufjan Stevens
Group #8
competitor #1: Kelly Lee Owens
competitor #2: Ian William Craig
Group #9
competitor #1: Happyness
competitor #2: Denzel Curry
Group #10
competitor #1: Mitochondrial Sun
competitor #2: Olafur Arnalds
Group #11
competitor #1: Six Organs of Admittance
competitor #2: Daughters of Reykjavik
Group #12
competitor #1: Bartlees Strange
competitor #2: Klo Pelgag
Group #13
competitor #1: Isobel Campbell
competitor #2: Frances Quinlan
Group #14
competitor #1: Rebecca Foon
competitor #2: Owen
Group #15
competitor #1: Juliana Barwick
competitor #2: The Ocean
Group #16
competitor #1: An Autumn for Crippled Children
competitor #2: Protomartyr
Group #17
competitor #1: Freddie Gibbs
competitor #2: Fluietaars
Group #18
competitor #1: Armand Hammer
competitor #2: Car Seat Headrest
Group #19
competitor #1: Phoebe bridgers
competitor #2: A A Williams
Group #20
competitor #1: ERR /Thou
competitor #2: Four Tet
Group #21
competitor #1: Bell Witch
competitor #2: War on Women
Group #22
competitor #1: Bill Callahan
competitor #2: Mary Latimore
Group #23
competitor #1: Jason Molina
competitor #2: Ka
Group #24
competitor #1: Soccer Mommy
competitor #2: Sarah Davachi
Group #25
competitor #1: Throwing Muses
competitor #2: Run The Jewels
Group #26
competitor #1: Christian Lee Hutson
competitor #2: Audn
Group #27
competitor #1: Imaginary Softwoods
competitor #2: Waxahatchee
Group #28
competitor #1: Noveller
competitor #2: Microphones
Group #29
competitor #1: Anna Von Hauswolf
competitor #2: Grimes
Group #30
competitor #1: The Beths
competitor #2: Post Louis
Group #31
competitor #1: Torres
competitor #2: Svalbard
Group #32
competitor #1: Gia Margaret
competitor #2: Paul Epworth

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Dire year. Not loved a single record.

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The Avalanches record is what’s stopping any sort of decision at the moment.

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Only album I’ve spent any real time with from this year has been the new Cornershop album, it’s pretty good

Rubbish year

I looked at my Last.fm stats of most listened to albums and posted my top five. U.S. Girls was tied with Nadine Shah’s album.

The Springsteen album is just stunning. I like his stuff, seen him once live but wouldn’t call myself a proper fan. I’ll have to give all his other big hitters another listen.

Letter To You was a perfect album for me to the run up to and also a soundtrack to the US election. After the result it’s a perfect celebratory album. I’ll always associate this album with Trump’s losing and so it’s a win-win. The tunes on it are brilliant as is the production. Ghosts, The Power Of Prayer and I’ll See You In My Dreams are among my favourite tracks of the year. A perfect album during a shit year. My top pick.

I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan and had tickets for her Hyde Park gig. It was due to be her touring her album Lover which I think is one of her best.

My second pick was folklore which didn’t disappoint. Taylor does indie basically and it seems she does it effortlessly. So many amazing tracks on the album. Betty is probably my favourite but it changes with each listen and the new pond sessions album is an even more stripped down affair that seems to bring out more my slightly lesser favourites.

During summer in lockdown I would put several cans of beer and a bottle of wine in my rucksack and go to Primrose Hill and listen to albums alone in the evenings whilst drinking. The two albums I had huge on repetition was folklore (and the best of Neil Diamond, which is amazing). folklore did a lot of good for my mental health. Really enjoyed those evenings. Cheers, Taylor.

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Spend an inordinate amount of time wondering who is sitting on an album that got pushed this year or not completed due to lockdown. There was a point roundabout to late May bank holiday were I thought there would be a load of albums coming out round September and my wallet wouldn’t be able to cope it just never really happened.

Not even Adrienne Lenker?

Entering this week, these are the five most likely to make it in order of release date (I’ll probably have to roll dice for the final order):

Caspian - On Circles

Post Louis - Descender

The Flaming Lips - American Head

METZ - Atlas Vending

Adrianne Lenker - Songs

There are lots of other great ones though, and there are still a couple that could sneak in. If the Midwife album were longer this would be much harder.

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That Smashing Pumpkins record must be really awful then.

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That disclaimer was very purposeful.

(It’s really good and a massive departure from what he’s done in the past.)

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