In fairness I’m probably not in the usual demographic of Jessy Lanza fans. This one sounded like it had more songs rather than doodling.
Kelly Lee Owens seems to be this years Jon Hopkins aka techno for people who don’t listen to techno
When I first saw her she had this quite interesting Bjork-sequel thing going on, but this last record is fairly middling techno pop
I listen to lots of “techno” and really rate the KLO album.
Weird year. I’ve missed several things and had to do a bit of catch up really and hardly written any reviews as sitting down at the computer to do them got old very quickly, as I sit here for 8 hours every day as it is. As @zanimos said up thread, bought a lot of lockdown stuff, EPs, single tracks, comps, live albums and been listening to them really. Still got loads of albums I’ve actually not listened through properly, so need to get on that before deciding properly.
Got 4 for my top 10 of the year sorted, but not actually in any order. If anyone is interested, it’s these bad boys:
HEADS. - Push (the best thing they’ve done, love the bass tone and general feel of unease it has).
Wailin Storms - Rattle (loving the doom-rock vibe this has, but it’s still hectic, noisy and just flows wonderfully).
Hey Colossus - Dances/Curses (A Trembling Rose is a fucking masterpiece. What a record.)
The Chats - High Risk Behaviour (Seriously, absolutely love this, 14 tracks in 28 minutes, all bangers. 4573! 4573! 4573!)
Pantha du Prince
Album I don’t understand why people like:
Ah, Bow Church - knew I’d forgotten one.
I’m also in the “lots I enjoyed, few masterpieces” category – fairly willing to blame the year for that though, and not the actual music. Especially around the time of Lockdown I, I felt really unable to engage with anything new and spent a few months rediscovering early 00s albums from the very end of my lastfm chart.
Consequently, The Album Leaf, M83 & Transatlanticism are probably all going to end up in my most played albums of the year tally lol.
Also found myself leaning more heavily into the drone/modern classical side of my interests than usual – abstract noise felt a lot more relatable this year. But it feels a bit meaningless to try & include those albums in a “general top 5” since they’re really different sorts of things.
Yep yep yep what the hell has Kevin been doing for the past 5 years
I adored KLO debut, listened to it over and over, but found Inner Song underwhelming
I think he had some kind of musical lobotomy. The production is impressive, but the songs are completely unmemorable.
went for these
- Protomartyr - Ultimate Success Today
- Holy Fuck - Deleter
- Brigid Mae Power - Head Above the Water
- Silverbacks - Fad
- Yorkston/Thorne/Khan - Navarasa : Nine Emotions
had long intended to put Holy Fuck first and Protomartyr second but swapped them at the last minute. pretty sure i’ve listened to the Holy Fuck album more (helps that it came out in January tbf) but Protomartyr just felt a bit more ‘definitive 2020 album’ in a way - the Holy Fuck album is just yet another great record from a long time favourite (and very underrated) band, whereas the Protomartyr album is probably the best thing they’ve done to date. i highly anticipated the former and it delivered, but the latter took me by surprise, having always liked-but-not-loved them before.
it actually barely feels like Holy Fuck came out this year at all now, seeing as it came out in the Before Time. it’s attached to memories of listening to it in the office, and of ordering it to my old house by mistake and having to go and collect it without having to wear a mask or stand 10 feet away or apologise for existing near them, which all makes it feel like it must have been about 5 years ago.
This kind of statement does come across as really condescending to both the artists and the people who like them!
Fwiw I was very lukewarm on klo when I first heard it but I’ve got more into it gradually over time, it’s kind of crept up on me. It’s not as coherent as her first and it does sag in places but it’s also got some of her best stuff on.
Interesting seeing a lot of comments along the lines of ‘lots of good records this year but nothing that has really set my world on fire - no classics released this year’ upthread. I kind of feel like I want to post something like this every year. I think we’ll only find out if there were any absolute classics released in 2020 by 2025: the records that we think are ‘good but not classic’ that might grow and develop into world beaters over the next five years.
Have grouped up my long list of things I’ve liked and listened to a lot into a few blocks with exact order tbc upon a further listen through. Definitely seems to be a longer long list than previous years due to time at home.
Lanterns on the Lake
Fighting for the remaining top 5 slots
Other good things I enjoyed but that haven’t stuck as much as the above and/or I didn’t find as consistent
I think this is true about some records but in other recent years I definitely feel there were several instant classics for me. Frank Ocean, David Bowie, Low, Slowdive, Daughters, Skee Mask and Lana Del Rey have all released albums in the last 5 years that I feel were at least a 9/10.
It might be that this year there haven’t been many albums released by some of my all time faves though.
I’ve found it’s been an exceptionally good year for music, but I’ve had a lot more time to connect than previous years with so much time working from home and staying inside.
Every month I’ve been adding albums that I’d rate 7/10 or above to a Spotify playlist which then got entered to Excel so I can re-order for my year-end list. It’s 189 long up to releases from 20th November! There is an approximate order to the list where the top 20 or so are likely to stay high but I’ll be spending December revisiting many of those a bit further down to see if there are any I should bump up after more listens as with the wealth of new releases this year I haven’t revisited many of these albums as much as they might deserve.
|Max de Wardener, Kit Downes||Music for Detuned Pianos||modern classical|
|Shackleton, Waclaw Zimpel||Primal Forms||Drone|
|Against All Logic||2017 - 2019||House|
|Run The Jewels||RTJ4||Rap|
|Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids||Shaman!||Jazz|
|Kahil El’Zabar||Kahil El’Zabar’s America The Beautiful||Jazz|
|Bob Dylan||Rough and Rowdy Ways||singer-songwriter|
|Mino Cinelu, Nils Petter Molvaer||SulaMadiana||jazz|
|Chloe x Halle||Ungodly Hour||R&B|
|Okkyung Lee||Yeo-Neun||modern classical|
|Gil Scott-Heron, Makaya McCraven||We’re New Again||Jazz|
|Matmos||The Consuming Flame: Open Exercises in Group Form||IDM|
|Jeff Parker||Suite for Max Brown||Jazz|
|Les Amazones d’Afrique||Amazones Power||World|
|Bohren & Der Club of Gore||Patchouli Blue||Jazz|
|Asher Gamedze||Dialectic Soul||Jazz|
|SPARKLE DIVISION||To Feel Embraced||jazz|
|Paradise Cinema||Paradise Cinema||World|
|Fiona Apple||Fetch the Bolt Cutters||singer-songwriter|
|Erik Hall, Steve Reich||Music for 18 Musicians||modern classical|
|Makaya McCraven||Universal Beings E&F Sides||Jazz|
|Mary Lattimore||Silver Ladders||harptronica|
|Machinedrum||A View of U||beats|
|Ustad Saami||Pakistan is for the Peaceful||World|
|Call Super||Every Mouth Teeth Missing||house|
|Thurston Moore||By The Fire||rock|
|Delmer Darion||Morning Pageants||Drone|
|Ka||Descendants of Cain||Rap|
|Yelle||L’Ere du Verseau||pop|
|Kate NV||Room For The Moon||pop|
|Squarepusher||Be Up A Hello||idm|
|Craven Faults||Erratcs & Unconformities||drone|
|Laura Veirs||My Echo||singer-songwriter|
|Ana Roxanne||Because of a Flower||ambient|
|Ammar 808||Global Control / Invisible Invasion||world|
|Sarah Davachi||Cantus, Descant||ambient|
|Oliver Coates||skins n slime||Drone|
|Porridge Radio||Every Bad||Indie Rock|
|Sharhabil Ahmed||The King of Sudanese Funk (Habibi Funk 13)||World|
|Boldy James, Sterling Toles||Manger on McNichols||rap|
|CS + Kreme||Snoopy||jazztronica|
|Mammal Hands||Captured Spirits||Jazz|
|DJ Python||Mas Amable||house|
|Baxter Dury||The Night Chancers||rock|
|The Soft Pink Truth||Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase?||electronic|
|Nels Cline||Share The Wealth||jazz|
|Jyoti||Mama, You Can Bet!||jazz|
|Kelly Lee Owens||Inner Song||idm|
|Tricky, Marta||Fall To Pieces||triphop|
|Quakers||II - The Next Wave||rap|
|Pa Salieu||Send Them To Coventry||rap|
|Fontaines D.C.||A Hero’s Death||Indie Rock|
|Jake Blount||Spider Tales||folk|
|Shabaka And The Ancestors||We Are Sent Here By History||jazz|
|clipping.||Visions of Bodies Being Burned||rap|
|Denzel Curry, Kenny Beats||UNLOCKED||rap|
|Clarice Jensen||The experience of repetition as death||drone|
|Four Tet||Sixteen Oceans||electronic|
|Navy Blue||Ada Irin||rap|
|US Girls||Heavy Light||pop|
|Chris Keys, Quelle Chris||Innocent Country 2||rap|
|Matthew Halsall||Salute To The Sun||jazz|
|Throwing Muses||Sun Racket||rock|
|Jessie Ware||What’s Your Pleasure?||pop|
|Bab L’ Bluz||Nayda!||world|
|GoGo Penguin||GoGo Penguin||jazz|
|Rafael Anton Irisarri||Peripateia||ambient|
|Ian William Craig||Red Sun Through Smoke||ambient|
|Henning Fuchs||Gaia||modern classical|
|Promartyr||Ultimate Success Today||rock|
|Ghostpoet||I Grow Tired But Dare Not Fall Asleep||rock|
|Ulla||Tumbling Towards A Wall||ambient|
|Bonny Light Horseman||Bonny Light Horseman||singer-songwriter|
|Luke Vibert||Luke Vibert Presents Amen Andrews||Jungle|
|The Weeknd||After Hours||pop|
|Clap! Clap!||Liquid Portraits||electronic|
|alva noto||Xerrox, Vol.4||drone|
|Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah||Axiom||jazz|
|Daniel Avery||Love + Light||idm|
|Bill Callahan||Gold Record||singer-songwriter|
|Norah Jones||Pick Me Up Off The Floor||jazz|
|Ambrose Akinmusire||on the tender spot of every calloused moment||jazz|
|Luke Vibert||Luke Vibert Presents Modern Rave||electronic|
|Boldy James, The Alchemist||The Price Of Tea In China||rap|
|Mulatu Astatke||To Know Without Knowing||world|
|Drakeo the Ruler, JoogSzn||Thankyou For Using GTL||rap|
|Lonnie Holley||National Freedom||soul|
|Julianna Barwick||Healing Is A Miracle||ambient|
|Bent Arcana||Bent Arcana||drone|
|Lianne La Havas||Lianne La Havas||soul|
|Art Blakey & The Messengers||Just Coolin’||jazz|
|Oscar Jerome||Breathe Deep||jazz|
|Trevor Powers||Capricorn||modern classical|
|Moses Boyd||Dark Matter||jazz|
|Nyx Nott||Aux Pieds de la nuit||instrumental|
|Son Lux||Tomorrows I||electronic|
|Perfume Genius||Set My Heart On Fire Immediately||singer-songwriter|
|Natlia Lafourcade||Un Canto por Mexico, Vol. 1||world|
|Freddie Gibbs, The Alchemist||Alfredo||rap|
|Angel Olsen||Whole New Mess||singer-songwriter|
|Daniel Avery, Alessandro Cortini||Illusion of Time||ambient|
|Jasmine Infiniti||Bxtch Slap||house|
|BC Camplight||Shortly After Takeoff||singer-songwriter|
|Carlos Nino, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson||Chicago Waves||ambient|
|Numun||Voyage Au Soleil||ambient|
|Michael Benita||Looking at Sounds||jazz|
|Anna Von Hausswolf||All Thoughts Fly||drone|
|Hen Ogledd||Free Humans||rock|
|Khotin||Finds You Well||idm|
|Mathieu Bordenave||La Traversee||jazz|
|Joachim Cooder||Over That Road I’m Bound||folk|
|Sturgill Simpson||Cuttin’ Grass Vol. 1||country|
|Actress||Karma & Desire||idm|
|Bruce Springsteen||Letter To You||singer-songwriter|
|Ausecuma Beats||Ausecuma Beats||World|
|Ela Minus||acts of rebellion||electropop|
|Carla Bley||Life Goes On||jazz|
|Tony Allen & Hugh Masekela||Rejoice!||jazz|
|R.A.P. Ferreira||Purple Moonlight Pages||rap|
|Wilma Archer||A Western Circular||rap|
|Nidia||Nao Fales Nela Que A Mentes||dance|
|This is the Kit||Off Off On||singer-songwriter|
|Paty Cantu||La Mexicana||pop|
|Joel Ross||Who Are You?||jazz|
|Shabazz Palaces||The Don of Diamond Dreams||Rap|
|Pantha Du Prince||Conference Of Trees||ambient|
|Irreversible Entanglements||Who Sent You?||jazz|
|Aesop Rock||Spirit World Field Guide||rap|
|Chester Watson||A Japanese Horror Film||rap|
|The Flaming Lips||American Head||rock|
|Kamaal Williams||Wu Hen||jazz|
|King Krule||Man Alive!||singer-songwriter|
|Yaeji||What We Drew||house|
|Yves Tumor||Heaven To A Tortured Mind||rock|
|Thundercat||It Is What It Is||jazz|
|Rosin Murphy||Roisin Machine||electropop|
|Tame Impala||The Slow Rush||rock|
I found it difficult to track down anything that interested me this year, especially bands I am not familiar with. I have been low on time to listen too, previously I did tons of new music listening in work and on the commute but at home I seem to fall back on stuff I already know. I am guessing music generally has been low on releases due to lockdowns also. It is only really the last month I have topped up my 2020 playlist, currently heavily rotating this lot:
Trail of Dead
Pigs x 7
Metz, Milk Teeth and Nothing are at the top I reckon. Trail of Dead on a real return to form, managed to see them in March as a final live music hurrah of the year.
A million times this. Lockdown has been weird this year in the fact that I bet some people have had more time to listen to new things and a lot of people (like me) have had less.
I have quite a long commute to school where I do most of my ‘solo’ listening: most of the metal and hip-hop that would get shouted down at home I listen to by myself in the car. I think my long list is much ‘safer’ and has less ‘artists who annoy my wife’ on it as a result of being locked down for all of the summer term!
Would second what @Bandy is saying that maybe people haven’t found any “instant” classics in the vein of To Pimp a Butterfly, etc. I think most years people would expect to have heard at least one by the end of the year.
Personally I’ve found at least 4 albums that I already know are best-of-decade classics that I’ll be listening to and loving for decades to come (Protomartyr, Klô Pelgag, Boldy James, and HAIM). But maybe the difference this year is there aren 't really many, if any, albums having that instant classic narrative immediately built around them by the music press. With the exception of HAIM the other 3 I only found because I’ve had an inordinate amount of time to listen to music this year - certainly havent seen those huge narratives built around many, if any, albums like lots of instant classics in years gone by.
In terms of quantity, similar to @Octobadger I have a list of albums that I’d rate 8/10 or better and there are currently 77 contending. So I’d agree with you that it’s hardly been a fallow year.
I’ve enjoyed a lot this year but there aren’t as many obvious choices for my top 5 as in most years (normally it is a difficult decision). Both The Soft Pink Truth and Daniel Avery & Alessandro Cortini are top spot albums for me. Spots 3 to 5 could be anything at the moment (Land of Talk will feature, but where Loma, Young Jesus, Windy & Carl and others fit, I do not know).