I’m going to really struggle to come up with a five. No clear winner but loads that are pretty level, to include:
Denzel Curry/Kenny Beats
Going to hold off for a bit, partly to wait for The Avalanches record (the singles have been superb) and partly to give myself more time with Sault’s Black is…which I was ludicrously late to but suspect might be the best album of the year (can’t 100% make my mind up about it at the moment)
By this stage I usually have one, or possibly up to three albums that I think are clear classics and way ahead of everything else. Hasn’t really worked like that for me this year but maybe it would if I’d been listening to the Sault album since it came out.
I need to listen to the Kali Uchis album some more before deciding…
I’ve got a clear top 3 all equal first, then a bunch so competing for slots 4 and 5.
The top three:
Shackleton & Waclaw Zimpel - Primal Forms
Soft Pink Truth - Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase
DJ Python - Mas Amble
And the rest competing for 4/5:
Sunbane (probably excluded because I wrote it)
Field Lines Cartographer
Very interesting to see people saying it has been a dire year. I think it has been a very strong year without maybe many exceptional albums. I keep a running list throughout the year of albums I have liked and it is currently at 190 (that is separate from my jazz list). Of those 190 there are albums I’ve really liked sitting as low down as number 60. Lockdown has meant I’ve had much more time to listen than before.
The next few weeks will be spent relistening to the top batch, plus any that crop up on lists that I missed, and getting them into some order. Given the quality in there I am looking forward to it a lot.
I think it’s been a good year. Will be picking from: (bolded are my favourites currently)
Adrienne Lenker - Songs
Caribou - Suddenly
Daniel Avery - Love + Light
The Beths - jump rope gazers
Deftones - ohms
Dogleg - melee
Electric soft parade - stages
Four tet - sixteen oceans
Hamilton Leithauser - the loves of your life
Jeff Parker - suite for Max Brown
Kelly lee Owens - inner song
Laura Marling - song for our daughter
Makaya McCraven - we’re new again
Matt berninger - serpentine prison
Owen pallet - island
Phoebe bridgers - punisher
The strokes - the new abnormal
Sufjan Stevens - the ascension
Sufjan Stevens and Lowell brams - aporia
touché amore - Lament
Lots of good music this year but I don’t think there’s been any 10/10’s
In terms of genres though I think it’s been a good year for Hip-Hop: Open Mike Eagle, Armand Hammer, RTJ, Ka, Freddie Gibbs and Aesop Rock
Heavy music isn’t particularly one of my favourite sounds usually but there’s been loads of good stuff there too: Envy, Deftones, Kvelertak, Pigsx7, Pallbearer, Metz and Dogleg
I think my number one choice is a three way battle between Armand Hammer, Protomartyr and Crack Cloud
That Ariana Grande album was only a couple tracks shy of reaching mine. Underrated.
Forgot about Soft Pink Truth might have to rethink the bottom 5 of my list.
Might have bought the gold vinyl on bandcamp due to this.
I’ll do some catching up over the next few weeks, but it’s going to be tough to beat Waxahatchee. Really helped me get through a terrible year, especially that first lockdown. Still listen to it all the time and it hasn’t lost it’s shine at all.
It really has been a great year though. I’ve been completely obsessed with Adrienne Lenker the past few weeks, but before that I have obsessed over both Sault records, Nubya Garcia, DJ Python, Charli XCX, Protomartyr… loads more.
Would also agree it’s been an amazing year for hip-hop - Armand Hammer’s last two albums have been in my top 5 of the year and I think this one might be their best yet. have also loved Boldy James, Benny the Butcher, Freddie Gibbs, Navy Blue.
Pretty great year imo, considering there was a global pandemic. Still a couple of things I’m looking forward to in December (most notably @Dawnwalker ), but yeah it’s been quite solid.
Biggest disappointment - Sufjan’s album being a ‘bit’ overlong and repetitive.
Top 10 are looking like/ maybe
Kelly Lee Owens
It’s been a very good year for heavy music
Did you dig Ohms?
I did, it’s the first Deftones album that I’ve really gotten into since White Pony.
Kelly Lee Owens - Inner Song
Jessy Lanza - All The Time
Totally agree with this sadly.
Wo, thought the Jessy Lanza this year was miles better than the last one
Intrigued by that because for me Oh No is a clear refinement of the ideas on Pull My Hair Back, and is as good if not better. This one just felt a little underbaked.
almost certainly in my top 10
another one for the “good year, lots of enjoyable albums, not masterpieces” train. Doing my monthly top 5s has been really good to give me a base to work from for AOTY, but got to make sure I don’t forget the things lower down those months which have got wayyy better with time
Fontaines have a real shot at winning it for me, which I wouldn’t have believed after their first album