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The Aspie Fantastie aka One Tonne Fun Baton
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Last Active 02-24-21 3:49 pm
Joined 05-30-20

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 Lists
02.06.21 albums under 100 ratings [I.] 01.27.21 some twenty-twenty album list (20/20rou
01.19.21 2020 songbook01.18.21 back in the day in Japan
01.16.21 BEST album covers of 2020 hell yeah01.10.21 2020 ketchup
12.25.20 SuperSecretSanta, the BONUS12.25.20 the year in disappointment;
12.07.20 2020 under 2011.28.20 December 2020 Song of the Day
11.26.20 albums under 50 ratings, go cram 11.18.20 jelectrazz & instruhop
10.18.20 the absolute state of Eugene09.18.20 for if you're ever in Prague: undergrou
08.18.20 local scene shoutout08.12.20 new obsession
07.05.20 electronic tonic06.29.20 my synthesiser had dino nuggets (dinosa
More »

some twenty-twenty album list (20/20roughcutAOTYlist)

OH YEAH BAYBEYYY Gene came through and compiled a metric shit tonne of albums. See, now that the year is well over and I am far from finished listening to what I wanted to catch, it is time to publish my own late and yet premature, rough, unconfident roundup list. Let the anxiety over albums forgotten, as yet unheard and ranked below begin.
101Mary Halvorson's Code Girl
Artlessly Falling


LATE ENTRIES:
Mary Halvorson's Code Girl - Artlessly Falling (#40-45)
Madhouse Express - Surreal Meadow (#76-78)

WORTH A MENTION:
Clap! Clap! - Liquid Portraits
Svalbard - When I Die, Will I Get Better?
Moses Sumney - grae
Aaron Space and His Terrestrial Underlings - Fishland
Old Man Gloom - Seminar IX: Darkness of Being
Various Artists (Jazz) - Blue Note Re:Imagined
Fennec - free us of this feeling
Armand Hammer - Shrines
Dream Wife - So When You Gonna
100Spiritczualic Enhancement Center
Transporting Salt


Jam Band, Krautrock, Jazz Fusion, Psychedelic Rock, Electronic, Minimal, Improvisation, New Age

https://crashsymbols.bandcamp.com/album/transporting-salt
99Neptunian Maximalism
Eons


Avant-Garde Jazz, Drone Metal, Avant-Garde Metal, Tribal Ambient, Brutal Prog, Free Jazz, Psychedelic Rock, Drone, Spiritual Jazz, Post-Metal

https://i-voidhangerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/ons
98Esoctrilihum
Eternity Of Shaog


Black Metal, Death Metal, Progressive Metal

https://i-voidhangerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/eternity-of-shaog
97Psychonaut
Unfold the God Man


Progressive Metal, Post-Metal, Atmospheric Sludge Metal

https://psychonautband.bandcamp.com/album/unfold-the-god-man-2
96King Dude
Full Virgo Moon


Gothic Country, Neofolk, Singer/Songwriter

https://kingdude.bandcamp.com/album/full-virgo-moon
95Deeper
Auto-Pain


Post-Punk, Indie Rock

https://deeperchi.bandcamp.com/album/auto-pain
94Norah Jones
Pick Me Up Off The Floor


Vocal Jazz, Jazz Pop, Smooth Jazz

https://open.spotify.com/album/3pi6NXntLETosIkAuaZEhW?si=AgmbQaSYTZm8fGf9wHrFxg
93They Came From Visions
Cloak Of Darkness, Dagger Of Night


Atmospheric Black Metal

https://theycamefromvisions.bandcamp.com/album/cloak-of-darkness-dagger-of-night
92Various Artists (Jazz)
New Horizons: A Bristol Jazz Sound


Jazz, Jazz-Fusion, Ambient, Electronic, Post-Rock
*be proud, Sputnikmusic, this is an album that is not in RYM database
https://wormdiscs.bandcamp.com/album/new-horizons-a-bristol-jazz-sound
91Monolake
Archaeopteryx


IDM, Ambient, Minimal Techno

https://roberthenke.bandcamp.com/album/archaeopteryx
90Phoebe Bridgers
Punisher


Singer/Songwriter, Indie Folk, Indie Rock, Chamber Folk

https://phoebebridgers.bandcamp.com/album/punisher
89Wake
Devouring Ruin


Black Metal, Technical Death Metal, Atmospheric Sludge Metal, Grindcore

https://wakegrind.bandcamp.com/album/devouring-ruin
88Lauren Bousfield
Palimpsest


Glitch Pop, Electro-Industrial, Flashcore, Breakcore, IDM, Hyperpop

https://deathbombarc.bandcamp.com/album/palimpsest
87Boldy James and The Alchemist
The Price Of Tea In China


Gangsta Rap, Boom Bap, Conscious Hip Hop

https://open.spotify.com/album/52yTF9qryiuTlSNqhHObgd?si=UIz_UUvhRJaE69xO7gFsIQ
86Aidan Baker/Simon Goff/Thor Harris
The Bit


Ambient, Modern Classical, Tribal Ambient

https://gizehrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-bit
85The Flaming Lips
American Head


Neo-Psychedelia, Dream Pop, Psychedelic Pop, Chamber Pop, Progressive Pop, Psychedelic Folk

https://open.spotify.com/album/2s79HMasjZVNXwoqXTe1X2?si=RFQX8AnCQgm8h5c-j2x4JA
84Metz
Atlas Vending


Noise Rock, Post-Hardcore, Garage Punk

https://metz.bandcamp.com/album/atlas-vending
83Moses Boyd
Dark Matter


Nu Jazz, Spiritual Jazz, Post-Bop, Free Jazz, Avant-Garde Jazz, Jazz Fusion

https://mosesboyd.bandcamp.com/album/dark-matter-2
82Pyrrhon
Abscess Time


Technical Death Metal
Mathcore, Avant-Garde Metal, Noise Rock, Sludge Metal

https://pyrrhonband.bandcamp.com/album/abscess-time
81Ian William Craig
Red Sun Through Smoke


Ambient, Tape Music, Choral, Modern Classical, Drone

https://ianwilliamcraig.bandcamp.com/album/red-sun-through-smoke
80Cykada
Cykada


Jazz Fusion, Jazz-Rock, Nu Jazz, Space Rock

https://cykadaband.bandcamp.com/album/cykada
79Biesy
Transsatanizm


Black Metal, Avant-Garde Metal, Electronic

https://biesy.bandcamp.com/album/transsatanizm
78Bill Callahan
Gold Record


Americana, Singer/Songwriter, Contemporary Folk, Spoken Word

https://billcallahan.bandcamp.com/album/gold-record
77Kelly Lee Owens
Inner Song


Tech House, Art Pop, Ambient Pop, Minimal Techno

https://kellyleeowens.bandcamp.com/album/inner-song
76Dua Lipa
Future Nostalgia


Dance-Pop, Nu-Disco, Synthpop, Funktronica, Electropop
(bruh you diss carly rae but have this on the list bruh. yeah i do come @ me)
https://open.spotify.com/album/7fJJK56U9fHixgO0HQkhtI?si=Ht--_xoUTMi6N5uEfZ6lFA
75Agnes Obel
Myopia


Chamber Pop, Art Pop, Ambient Pop

https://open.spotify.com/album/1XFhwj2xUtypgyEqAmTrQV?si=GwJuev7eQkCm5bCNVUGClA
74Einsturzende Neubauten
Alles in Allem


Post-Industrial, Art Pop, Ambient Pop

https://open.spotify.com/album/5GzPXmhp1ztLM8S0DqN8Gz?si=MnTYQxTCSPCj4vhwf34aSA
73Bambara
Stray


Post-Punk, Punk Blues, Gothic Rock, Gothic Country, Noise Rock

https://bambara.bandcamp.com/album/stray
72Mourir
Animal Bouffe Animal


Black Metal, Sludge Metal, Post-Metal

https://throatruinerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/animal-bouffe-animal
71Party Dozen
Pray for Party Dozen


Avant-Garde Jazz, Jazz-Rock, Electronic, Free Jazz

https://party-dozen.bandcamp.com/album/pray-for-party-dozen
70Olafur Arnalds
Some Kind of Peace


Ambient, Modern Classical, Ambient Pop

https://open.spotify.com/album/6NW97EFYSQ9X1CulKyL7wf?si=09X29-6kRBa8-q74QUmFBw
69Shabaka and the Ancestors
We Are Sent Here By History


Afro-Jazz, Spiritual Jazz, Jazz Poetry

https://open.spotify.com/album/4S5MLu2PKU7uElm2V3JphK?si=1_1RZYBCRPGVm9iCjTNQ_A
68Netherlands
Zombie Techno


Noise Rock, Post-Punk, Stoner Metal, Sludge Metal, Electronic, Psychedelic Rock

https://thenetherlands1.bandcamp.com/album/zombie-techno
67Conway
From King To A God


East Coast Hip Hop, Hardcore Hip Hop, Boom Bap, Gangsta Rap

https://open.spotify.com/album/6DGCEJKSnaK626YgoElkjk?si=POHtSaOQQmOKgHkqyAvAxA
66Ultraista
Sister


Indietronica, Art Pop, Synthpop, Ambient Pop, Dance-Pop

https://ultraista.bandcamp.com/album/sister
65Gates of Tyrant
Vortex Towards Death


Atmospheric Black Metal

https://gatesoftyrant.bandcamp.com/album/vortex-towards-death
64Jill Rogers
Cloudy Day Sunny


Vocal Jazz, Swing

https://jillrogers.bandcamp.com/album/cloudy-day-sunny
63Jon Kennedy
MMXX


Trip Hop, Downtempo, Electronic

https://jonkennedy.bandcamp.com/album/mmxx-lp
62Creative Waste
Condemned


Grindcore, Deathgrind

https://creativewaste.bandcamp.com/album/condemned
61Tombs
Monarchy of Shadows


Black Metal, Death Metal

https://tombscult.bandcamp.com/album/monarchy-of-shadows
60Various Artists (Punk)
Really Bad Music For Really Bad People


Garage Punk, Noise Rock, Psychobilly

https://va31g.bandcamp.com/album/really-bad-music-for-really-bad-people-the-cramps-as-heard-through-the-meat-grinder-of-three-one-g-compilation-lp
59Anna von Hausswolff
All Thoughts Fly


Drone, Minimalism, Ambient, Organ Music

https://annavonhausswolffsl.bandcamp.com/album/all-thoughts-fly
58Acherontas
Psychic Death - The Shattering of Perceptions


Black Metal

https://acherontascoven.bandcamp.com/track/psychic-death-the-shattering-of-perceptions
57Caligula's Horse
Rise Radiant


Progressive Metal, Progressive Rock, Djent

https://open.spotify.com/album/1BvdqjCZOvhxZU8HZmqRrA?si=3Y9CRZhBQf-5JgUd599qLg
56Young Jesus
Welcome to Conceptual Beach


Art Rock, Indie Rock, Post-Rock, Midwest Emo, Progressive Rock

https://youngjesus.bandcamp.com/album/welcome-to-conceptual-beach
55Godcaster
Long Haired Locusts


Art Punk, Dance-Punk, Indie Rock, Garage Rock

https://godcaster.bandcamp.com/album/long-haired-locusts
54Vual
To End All Life


Raw Black Metal, Crust Punk, Doom Metal

https://vualhate.bandcamp.com/album/to-end-all-life
53Me And That Man
New Man, New Songs, Same Shit Vol. 1


Gothic Country, Americana, Blues Rock, Folk Rock

https://meandthatman.bandcamp.com/album/new-man-new-songs-same-shit-vol-1
52Thin (USA-NY)
Dawn


Mathcore, Grindcore

https://lckr.bandcamp.com/album/thin-dawn
51Populous
W


Balearic Beat, Latin Electronic, UK Bass, Pop Rap, Alternative R&B, Deep House, Neoperreo, Dancehall, Funk carioca

https://open.spotify.com/album/2ykygMGjCj9xRwHsZGn3cT?si=r0ykBqEITVG5AJL9jMiuag
50Hail Spirit Noir
Eden In Reverse


Progressive Metal, Progressive Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Space Rock, Avant-Garde Metal

Hail Spirit Noir have yet again moved in a whole new only subtly differing direction. Throughout their career they went from some prog-doom, through stoner psych to blackened prog to now a space-age odyssey. Perhaps their most lightweight effort yet, what with its heavy use of synths and mostly landscapic prog-rock instrumentation, but it's by far HSN at their most ambitious.

https://agoniarecords.bandcamp.com/album/eden-in-reverse
49Fornicus
Sulphuric Omnipotence


Black Metal, Death Metal

On one hand, one of the most straightforward and unsurprising blackened death metal albums this year; on the other, some of the heaviest and most ridiculous sounding albums in that regard.

https://fornicusdhr.bandcamp.com/album/sulphuric-omnipotence
48Eyes (DK)
Underperformer


Metalcore, Hardcore Punk, Mathcore

Eyes are not reinventing the genre. Heck, they're barely reinventing the wheel. They're playing to the strengths the genre has to offer and to their own strengths and experience from their previous album too. So what have they done instead of pushing forward, challenging themselves? They've improved their skill, their song-writing abilities and production. Instead of trying out new things to see if they fail or succeed, they've moved towards a more safe, but admirable effort, to just make the best with what they know and have experience in.

https://eyescph.bandcamp.com/album/underperformer
47Alex Rex
Andromeda


Avant-Folk, Indie Folk, Indie Rock

I still think that this sounds like Alex Rex playing Tindersticks covers in the style of his past bands, but somehow more epic and accessible than either of those things. That being said, epic and accessible is also great, especially when the songs are this sharply written and often have a hypnotic quality to them.

https://alexrex.bandcamp.com/album/andromeda
46Morket
ORO


Crust Punk, Black Metal

I've mentioned this in my songs-of-the-year list, but I greatly appreciate this trend in the underground of fusing black metal and crust punk (this also goes for the more polished black metal and hardcore punk). It's not even a recent trend; it's as old as either genres have coexisted. Just lately there seems to be either a resurgence or I am discovering more and more acts in it by happenstance. Whatever the case, Morket's quick and brazen craziness "ORO" is one of this year's prime examples. It wastes no time hitting you over the head and also wastes no time pretending to be some musically sophisticated art piece, just fucks you up fam like blunt force trauma.

https://open.spotify.com/album/1579Q30Ybzb1Tq6ZCXeBOd?si=QgtUBJIdRIWKXNkaT7oKJQ
45Run the Jewels
RTJ4


Hardcore Hip Hop, Political Hip Hop

Depends on who you ask, either a punching bag of cringy preachings or saviours of hardcore hip-hop. I kind of lean towards both. RTJ's most preachy and in-your-face lyrical statements often come with a tongue-in-cheek undertone, as well as their most joking songs always set a serious tone at some point of its runtime. Let's ignore the socio-historical context this album comes into for a moment and only admire the musician-and-penmanship so effortlessly crafted by Mike and El-P.

https://open.spotify.com/album/6cx4GVNs03Pu4ZczRnWiLd?si=XFpuWS1SSO6U-06X9f5Nvw
44Matthew Tavares and Leland Whitty
Visions


Jazz Fusion, Avant-Garde Jazz, Spiritual Jazz

I am always in need of some straightforward jazz. And we might not get another Badbadnotgood album in a long time (or at least not the same quality level as we used to), so to have this collaborative album from two of its members is a nice parting gift by Matt Tavares. Hope his future endeavours are as fruitful and passionate as this.

https://matthewtavares.bandcamp.com/album/visions
43Moor Jewelry
True Opera


Noise Rock, Post-Punk, No Wave, Industrial Rock

One of the most straightforward no wave albums I've heard, but also one of the most riveting. Much has been left difficult to unravel upon my first listen. Indeed, I've started warming up to 'True Opera' as it went along. Songs' hidden beauty under chaos only revealed itself to me as I heard it all and had time to process. For an album as immediate as this, it certainly requires patience.

https://moorxjewelry.bandcamp.com/album/true-opera
42A.A.L. (Against All Logic)
2017-2019


Post-Industrial Techno, House, IDM, Deconstructed Club, Microhouse

Nicolas Jaar had plenty projects this year, one of them was a collection of off-the-cuff house play-arounds from recent years. I haven't much more to say other than a good house record is something I always welcome, even if it is a little dissonant pacing-wise.

https://against-all-logic.bandcamp.com/album/2017-2019
41Paradise Cinema
Paradise Cinema


Tribal Ambient, Electroacoustic, Ambient, Minimalism, Mbalax, Field Recordings

I was led to believe (or made myself believe) that this'd be some insane afrobeat jazz spasm attack. It's quite the opposite, a sweet softly played electronic music loosely inspired by Senegalese music and culture. I find myself every now and again in need of gourmet but also relaxing music. Not many this year achieve that.

https://paradise-cinema.bandcamp.com/album/paradise-cinema
40Plesata zpevacka
Vlasy dievčat


Noise Rock, Sludge Metal

Who knew that (one of) this year's most abrasive metal project comes from my neck of the woods (even though they sing in a different language). It's a clusterfuck of strange out-of-nowhere influences pulling from every stylistic direction, there's noise punk and blackened death metal, but also blues and thrash metal. It's tongue-in-cheek and the fun the band is having with it is part of what makes it so energising and enjoyable.

https://plesatazpevacka.bandcamp.com/album/vlasy-diev-at
39Teho Teardo
Ellipses dans l’Harmonie - Lumi al buio


Electroacoustic, Modern Classical, Post-Minimalism

Teho, one of the masterminds behind one of 2010s best albums 'Still Smiling' (the other being Blixa Bargeld), which I highly recommend you listen, has come through with a minimalist electro-classical album most people have barely registered even came out. And the ones that did notice seem passive in reception. Sure, Teho ventured into full-on soundtrack territory here, but there's beauty in it, ethereal and serene.

https://open.spotify.com/album/54y6vr39ckWZ3Bxng8Hl6b?si=qVrhl7N6Twqs2t_n3JTmjQ
38Alice Boman
Dream On


Dream Pop, Indie Pop, Singer/Songwriter, Ambient Pop, Art Pop, Chamber Pop

Two things were major surprises to me regarding this album: for one, my enjoyment of it, as I am not usually a fan of this softly sung childishly naive singer-songwriter albums; and second, how coldly it has been received by both this community and the world at large. It seems that a rare occasion an album like this appeals to me, the connoisseurs typically revelling in this sort of gentle, thematically vaguely lovesick balladry are all against it.

https://aliceboman.bandcamp.com/album/dream-on
37Sivyj Yar/Stworz
Wiecznica/Neizbezhnost


Atmospheric Black Metal, Pagan Black Metal, Blackgaze

So for some reason, this split release was only featured in the database as an EP under Sivyj Yar. Not sure why, but whatever. As if this list needed more atmospheric black metal. Guess what, it absolutely did.

https://sivyjyar.bandcamp.com/album/-
https://stworz.bandcamp.com/album/wiecznica
36Muriel Grossman
Quiet Earth


Spiritual Jazz, Soul Jazz

Bandcamp finds are hit or miss sometimes, but in jazz section is is a rare letdown. Muriel Grossman is a sax player at it since forever and I know that this isn't going to do much to get her name out there, but I can at least try. It's breezy, summery, swift and electrifying.

https://murielgrossmann.bandcamp.com/album/quiet-earth
35Gulch
Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress


Metalcore, Power-Violence, Hardcore Punk

Absolutely disgusting. There is perhaps something little derivative about it, but at nearly every song Gulch pull off a beastly move with their instrumental work somehow turning whatever horrifying madness they've played until that point even more mesmerising.

https://gulch.bandcamp.com/album/impenetrable-cerebral-fortress
34Voyage Futur
Inner Sphere


Vaporwave, New Age, Progressive Electronic, Tribal Ambient

Goodness, it's been the longest while since I've heard vaporwave. Sure I find a random lo-fi remix on Youtube once in a blue moon, but not a full album. And granted, 'Inner Sphere' goes more into the ambient side of vaporwave, swivelling around you a lovely atmosphere of calm.

https://vill4in.bandcamp.com/album/inner-sphere
33Forndom
Faþir


Ritual Ambient, Dark Folk, Swedish Folk Music

I'm a noob to Pagan music (if that even can have a noob listener), as I entered the genre through Heilung. Causally then the likes of Forndom were revealed to me. I cant really explain to you much more than what your common sense and expectations probably already tell you. It's a solid atmospheric beauty that makes you feel like joining a forest-dwelling cult.

https://forndom.bandcamp.com/album/fa-ir
32Thomas Azier
Love, Disorderly


Art Pop, Synthpop, Electropop, Synthwave, Minimal Synth

An album hyped through the stratosphere on this site, but actually deserving it. Thomas Azier reportedly decided at some point of his career that he is no longer satisfied with the creative direction he's been taking up to that point and took some time off to craft a whole new aesthetic. It seems the transition has been a success, because 'Love, Disorderly' sounds fresh and invigorating, but it also pays homage to the old-school pop and disco waves.

https://thomasazier.bandcamp.com/album/love-disorderly
31Denzel Curry and Kenny Beats
Unlocked


Hardcore Hip Hop, Southern Hip Hop, Boom Bap, Wonky

The Curry/Beats symposium have graced us with more material. An extension of their The Cave collaboration, this album throws Kenny's most insane and zany production choices and Denzel's most dichotomous lyrics, tongue-in-cheek and fun but also relating to a very real side of his psyche and opinions.

https://denzelcurrymusic.bandcamp.com/album/unlocked
30Keleketla!
Keleketla!


Afro-Jazz, Afrobeat, Jazz-Funk, Nu Jazz

In a wonderful display of musical power, Coldcut duo signed a whole brigade of musical aficionados to help them craft what might be described by many as a jazz(-adjacent) album of the year and certainly an effort that will be recognised in the future (perhaps in some decade-end lists) much more than it is now. I can barely find a weak spot on the album. My only issue was that some of its songs went on for too long and apart from subtle instrumentation changes didn't really show much progression, but that's it. It is a masterful work. Plain and simple.

https://keleketla.bandcamp.com/album/keleketla
29Seigen Tokuzawa and Masaki Hayashi
Drift


Modern Classical, Chamber Music, Piano and Cello

'Drift' has the potential to do two things and probably not much else: it'll wither enthral you, put you in awe of its floating light as a feather atmosphere and capture all the melancholy of this our world in its smouldering isolation of mere cello and piano and literally nothing else throughout its entire runtime; or it will bore you to tears, you'll think it's simplicity is overbearing, you'll struggle to notice the melodic component and you will find it extremely difficult to sit through the entire almost hour of material.

https://flau.bandcamp.com/album/drift
28Black Foxxes
Black Foxxes


Alternative Rock, Emo, Post-Hardcore, Art Rock, Post-Rock

If I had to list my biggest surprises this year, this'd rate at the first spot most likely. See it's one thing to be taken by surprise by an album or an artists you had no prior knowledge of or familiarity with, but a whole other level is to be discredited in my eyes and then turn the course of the discourse around and completely dominate my listening preference for a week or so. I did not care at all for Black Foxxes' work until now, but they've started pulling from post-rock and spacey art-rock, diversified their production sound and taught the singer to only use his voice to his abilities. All to stellar results. This is the future of emo music, I hope and believe, as long as emo music stays oriented towards rock/punk and doesn't devolve into trap.

https://open.spotify.com/album/5fJbo3PFUNJsWv019NOlwo?si=M1lzWZOKQMCgdF1xfmUaBw
27R.A.P. Ferreira
purple moonlight pages


Jazz Rap, Abstract Hip Hop, Conscious Hip Hop, Jazz Poetry

Rory aka Milo aka bazillion other nicknames he's assumed over the years, is back with maybe one of his most consistent and solid outings to date. The lyrical narratives, poetry here, the chill atmosphere that still communicates command and seriousness is impeccable.

https://afrolab9000.bandcamp.com/album/purple-moonlight-pages
26Kashiwa Daisuke
Program Music III


Modern Classical, Electronic, Post-Rock, Glitch, Drum and Bass, IDM, Breakcore, Chamber Music, Hip Hop, Cinematic Classical, Chamber Jazz

Just because an album is an hour long and is classical electronica doesn't automatically mean it is flawless. Just putting it out there. This album has issues in pacing and transitions especially, even though its entire nature and vast mature compositions will most likely make you initially believe your ears have stumbled upon present day equivalent of a timeless Beethoven's sonata.

https://open.spotify.com/album/1qguKtaS5xGKsNm4CelbfK?si=FyPVa2UWQ6iKIIouWVg-Ng
25Kairon IRSE!
Polysomn


Shoegaze, Space Rock, Neo-Psychedelia, Post-Rock, Progressive Rock

By every possible metric, Kairon are playing into their strengths and doing their absolute most typical prog-psych atmosphericism, landscapism and mythicism. All of this album's surprises are laid out entirely in the song-writing. The way every song swirls to a grind, swelling and thickening its atmosphere progressively in the same manner every time, its awe-inducing. It really is one of those albums that makes you wanna watch the stars fall in slow motion.

https://kaironirse.bandcamp.com/album/polysomn-2
24Norken and Nyquist
Synchronized Minds


Breakbeat, Ambient Techno, Tech House, Electro, IDM, Acid House

I blame the cover for making me always associate the sound of 'Synchronized Minds' with some freezing winter atmosphere. Sure the electronic quirks employed by the duo are certainly cold and nautical, but it's that image that cemented in my mind that this should only be played at some remote desolate meteorological station.

https://intellitronicbubble.bandcamp.com/album/synchronized-minds
23Melt Yourself Down
100% Yes


Art Punk, Dance-Punk, Afrobeat, Jazz-Rock, Post-Punk, Synth Punk

Moving on from complete freeze to scorching heat. Melt Yourself Down have a way of using cultural influences, from Latin jazz, to Afrobeat, to Caribbean music to even some Middle-Eastern musical benchmarks, and throwing them all into a frenzied hodgepodge of only the most infectious hooks and musicianship. Underneath that summery heart attack of fun, there is serious horror and anguish happening. Many lyrics here deal with issues of cultural prejudice and ostracising, substance abuse and depression, all veiled in a thick layer of ridiculously fun music.

https://open.spotify.com/album/2yKmeb3vuqversvPm4Gykg?si=Pp_TQj_8T0qbJkUmFIoSjA
22New Primals
Horse Girl Energy


Noise Rock

Most surprises this year came from things I found completely at random. New Primals, for example I don't even know how I know. They just one magical day appeared in my to-listen list. And listen I did. Folks, I kid you not when I say this is some of the most abrasive and energetic noise rock out there. Sure, derivative to a tee and very short, but fun and blood pumping with every moment.

https://newprimals.bandcamp.com/album/horse-girl-energy-2
21Gia Margaret
Mia Gargaret


Ambient, Field Recordings, Post-Minimalism, Folktronica

Calmly and quietly, Gia Margaret has perfected the art of ambient pop: not too quiet and uneventful, not too flashy and kitsch. There is serene beauty and lush, lovely atmosphere. Every song seems like it can turn either into pristine ambient chillout relaxing session or into a pop anthem.

https://giamargaret.bandcamp.com/album/mia-gargaret
20Motorpsycho
The All Is One


Progressive Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Heavy Psych, Space Rock

Motorpsycho cannot be not recording new music. And every new project for them means a whole new musical journey they dive into head first. They've been consistently high quality since forever and even though "The All Is One" barely presents any newness for the band, there's not quite many artists that can confidently deliver a prog album this consistently good.

https://open.spotify.com/album/0FEzburvJnK5fIBLOTcNTI?si=_IgK6sGnTjekzcXKcV0LTA
19Maarja Nuut and Ruum
World Inverted


Electronic, Ambient Pop, Ambient Techno

Minimalism is not absence of substance. Minimalism is communicating great meaning and leaving immense impact with maximum limitations and fewest means possible. Maarja Nuut and Ruum show just what that means, as 'World Inverted' is very quiet and it is genuinely difficult to find anything to grab unto. Every instrument is subdued to a point of being near impossible to distinguish, every melodic change is understated, only the vocals stand out striking. It's an album whose isolating sound forces you to work hard to find and define its beauty.

https://maarjanuutruum.bandcamp.com/album/world-inverted
18Ka
Descendants Of Cain


East Coast Hip Hop, Abstract Hip Hop, Conscious Hip Hop, Experimental Hip Hop

Ka once again borrows from religious mythology to make a point and tell an allegory. By all means, 'Descendants of Cain' is perhaps his most roughly structured work yet, as the theme this time around of Biblical links to his life and influence it had over him and the world he inhabits is sometimes left underexplored. Nevertheless, Ka's brilliant poetry, unique delivery style and serene production bring about one electrifying track after another.

https://open.spotify.com/album/0yhyMBfxKhjy1f7TsXXssl?si=vihC1QQAS5uoj8tQMZ8g9Q
17Odraza
Rzeczom


Black Metal, Avant-Garde Metal, Progressive Metal

Some strange ugly magic happens on 'Rzeczom'. Band's approach to black metal is difficult to explain. In theory, there is nothing spectacularly atypical about it. In practice, there are sections intentionally "misproduced" or instrumental choices and solo sections so detached from the general expected vibe you are left scratching your head. It all makes sense together, but just trying to define and analyse this mosaic where every piece is black or rotten... difficult task, really.

https://odraza-official.bandcamp.com/album/rzeczom
16Old Man Gloom
Seminar VIII: Light Of Meaning


Sludge Metal, Post-Metal, Noise Rock, Noise, Dark Ambient

I don't know what it is that cause my dissonance in opinion between Seminars VIII and IX, but where the latter mostly feels like a statement of presence, the "I am here, the mighty, admire my skill", the former accomplishes much more. 'Light of Meaning' in the subtle-most way possible stretches Old Man Gloom's typical body of work to great lengths of instrumental and deep song-writing skill.

https://profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com/album/seminar-viii-light-of-meaning
15The Strokes
The New Abnormal


Indie Rock, Post-Punk Revival, New Wave, Synthpop

The Strokes still write songs fit for a high school coming of age romcom, but also for existential mature sci-fi adventure (sorry, the "At the Door" music video is forever stuck in my head). But even though their songs work in the style of naivity and cuteness, these are professional musicians who craft these tunes carefully, working diligently on each moment, each melodic turn, any instrumental addition. It's actually a brilliantly constructed rock album. Nothing more, nothing less.

https://open.spotify.com/album/2xkZV2Hl1Omi8rk2D7t5lN?si=gQbm-AMTRXCibLH7q_0bpQ
14Imperial Triumphant
Alphaville


Avant-Garde Metal, Technical Death Metal, Avant-Garde Jazz, Black Metal

I've seen a video of behind-the-scenes for this album and it kind of ruined my image of the band. Well okay, it didn't ruin it, but I just always picture three New York art-school teachers in turtlenecks discussing some new study on Sartre, whenever I listen to anything by this band. But let that not affect my love for this album. 'Alphaville' is every bit as eccentric and twisted as a proper Imperial Triumphant album should be. Not only that, it also, I believe, serves to unite fans of the band and those who have had reservations against band's style before. But in no way is this accessible or easy to decypher.

https://open.spotify.com/album/1VAxNxcYUKpJ1XEJW12oPY?si=qDyE6Q_UTQeE1SdzyRZ08A
13Laurel Halo
Possessed


Ambient, Film Score, Modern Classical, Soundtracks, Electroacoustic

I am as surprised as anyone to have a soundtrack album on the list, not to mention placed this high. Laurel Halo's work, as intimate and style-stretching as it is, can perfectly fit as a soundtrack to many things in media. But the great nature of 'Possessed' is that is perfectly captures Laurel's diverse scale of influences and stylistic abilities. There are ambient tracks, some more abstract electronic cuts and many purely instrumental classical pieces. It's the Laurel Halo Through the Years: A Summary, pretty much. But it does lean more towards the classical aspect.

https://laurelhalo.bandcamp.com/album/possessed
12Cable Ties
Far Enough


Post-Punk, Indie Rock, Garage Punk

Hardly something to be a grand musical revelation to most of you, as Cable Ties are not the kind of band that'd try to astonish their listeners with larger-than-life song-writing, important socio-political issues in lyricism, or really do anything other than sing about personal stuff, play it the way they like it and has been done before and generally have fun with it or vent about various things bothering them. And this should have, by all means, been a run-of-the-mill unremarkable rock album, but it's that kind of rare instance when these commonplace aspects come together into an actually brilliant piece of work.

https://cableties.bandcamp.com/album/far-enough
11Wobbler
Dwellers of the Deep


Symphonic Prog, Progressive Rock

I have already submitted my 2020 top albums ballot, when I heard this album. I believe it was just a few days before deadline, so I had to quickly go change that list to fit Wobbler in it. Anyway, Wobbler continue to masterfully write progressive rock anthems. Both standard for prog music in many respects and fresh as opposed to many contemporary artists. 'Dwellers of the Deep' constantly throws a curve ball in each of its massive tracks. Every song is built on the best tradition of the genre, constantly switching up its melody, adding layers and sectioning its many complex structures.

https://wobbler.bandcamp.com/album/dwellers-of-the-deep
10Cindy Lee
What's Tonight to Eternity


Hypnagogic Pop, Noise Pop, Dream Pop, Brill Building, Noise

Questions, so many questions arise listening to this album. I have never come across anything labelled "hypnagogic pop". Heck, I'm not sure what it even means, really. But let's try to describe it based off of this album alone: it's something that plays with lo-fi and industrial production, makes every instrumental bit, each twang of guitar, clattering of drums and any synth line sound abrasive, as if it came from a blackened crust album; then, it requires gorgeous melodies that sound taken from a fairy tale; it makes those melodies sound cute and gentle; it layers the fucked up noise of machinery of a production over the gorgeous sounding Disney songs. Yeah, hypnagogic pop, i'll delve deeper into you.
Btw, apparently there's another Cindy Lee album this year, but I couldn't find it.

https://cindylee.bandcamp.com/album/whats-tonight-to-eternity
9Rina Sawayama
Sawayama


Dance-Pop, Contemporary R&B, Electropop, Alternative Rock, Pop Rock, Alternative Metal

Rina Sawayama attempts what many have deemed a terrible choice (myself included), as in case it doesn't go 100% perfectly, it can sound awkward and pompous: combining explosive flashy diva pop music with heavy metallic production and instrumentation. Versatility Rina shows is astonishing. Album's wild to say the least, but not at all overwhelming or exhausting. At no point does it sound like "trying too hard" or "weird just because". Any strange or crazy musical choice is justified and every tune is catchy. Certainly catchier than many other pop songs in 2020.

https://open.spotify.com/album/3stadz88XVpHcXnVYMHc4J?si=qT3_RW8-SDqokg2cF6sSNg
8Baxter Dury
The Night Chancers


Synthpop, Chamber Pop, French Pop, Spoken Word, Art Pop

Caught between some dirty swagger of about 20 years ago and mature creativity found in ageing introspection, Baxter Dury has long been at a path to perfecting minimalist sophisticated pop music (not to be mistaken with sophisti-pop, or maybe it is exactly that... actually, I don't know). He barely sings, mostly just lets his confident baritone pulsate and deliver whatever line he decides should sound cool now, while the synths mostly cover the white cracks on the canvas.
I actually wrote this down about this album and for some reason it didn't seem stupid at the time: "He sounds like he doesn't fuck, but make love." But he does (in a good way).

https://open.spotify.com/album/03ynARdcdprftZacMzLqLr?si=2NkuuE-vSlyYYe8xnoSvvA
7Jessie Ware
What's Your Pleasure?


Dance-Pop, Nu-Disco, Synthpop, Synth Funk, Smooth Soul, Boogie, Freestyle, Contemporary R&B

Considering this is a straightforward disco revival album with lyrics that aren't exactly masterpiece of poetry and all by a popstress that isn't particularly the frontrunner of today's pop scene, mainstream or otherwise, with 'What's Your Pleasure?' I had no expectation of anything really. I didn't even know it was coming out and I didn't care when it did. But then people around me (this site including) kept nagging and shouting into every direction how fantastic this is. I just assumed it's another vaguely catchy what's-her-face for people to drool over for whenever their real life ailments become overwhelming (like Carly Rae Jepsen. there, I said it, come @ me). And in many superficial respects, it kind of is just that. But I really needed some unwinding relaxing turn-your-head-off-move-yer-booty lovesick pop.

https://open.spotify.com/album/1CTm3ARqDETSm7GfvNYNJp?si=dO9xnCplRgOHZM5xN1i_0w
6Pottery
Welcome to Bobby's Motel


Dance-Punk, Art Punk, Post-Punk, Funk Rock, Psychedelic Rock

I don't wanna throw the term "critically underrated" around, but this is injustice of the highest order. 3.6 average at 26 rating (as of right now) probably aren't ample reasons for being distraught over an album's popularity and I can' tell why it upsets me so. By the whole fabric of this album's being it felt like something that'd sweep the site clean. "Hey have you heard that album that sounds like Talking Heads on speed channelling their inner demons of dance and sex?" Ain't that just the best thing fucking ever?

https://pottery.bandcamp.com/album/welcome-to-bobbys-motel
5Fiona Apple
Fetch The Bolt Cutters


Art Pop, Singer/Songwriter, Progressive Pop, Piano Rock, Jazz Pop, Cabaret

The 0 of you who were placing bets on this list are probably rejoicing that the least surprising pick for a list like this has finally appeared. It feels like Fiona has dominated the musical discourse in one way or another ever since the announcement of this album and her presence and praise only accumulated as people had more time to digest and mature to it. Even if you loved the 'Bolt Cutters' from the get-go, I still suggest examining it from a distance, give it time to open all of its secrets to you. Don't be a casual listener (don't be one to any piece of music). Try analysing what you hear, picking it apart. It's really a rewarding puzzle, this.

https://open.spotify.com/album/0fO1KemWL2uCCQmM22iKlj?si=hTJx8wo5QWCy844gD2BdAg
4Blu and Exile
Miles


Conscious Hip Hop, West Coast Hip Hop, Jazz Rap, Boom Bap, Political Hip Hop, Neo-Soul

Keen on using multi-layered metaphors and stretch his lyrical narratives to a full-scale epic story (narrative poem is the proper term, but that doesn't really immediately convey the scale of it). Accompanied by Exile's flavourful production, Blu writes tales of great figures in African-American history, relays cultural and musical benchmarks that made him and his country and relates his life and struggle to that of Miles Davis, compares Miles Davis' work, life and times to the African-Americans as people and the United States as a place, culturally and socially. And all of that with a runtime of 90 minute that breezes by so quickly, you'd be certain you've encountered a wormhole in time.

https://bluandexile.bandcamp.com/album/miles
3Mamaleek
Come and See


Experimental Rock, Avant-Garde Metal, Noise Rock, Jazz-Rock, Black Metal, Noise Rock, Post-Hardcore, Blues Rock

More than usual, my 2020 list is filled with albums I find kind of off-putting. Nobody this year has been quite so off-putting or putrid as Mamaleek's latest travesty. However, the likes of Plesata zpevacka or Morket or Gulch or Odraza were disgusting by the fabric of their nature. Something subtle distinguishes 'Come and See' from the likes of those other projects. Sure one would think what possible subtlety could there be about Mamaleek. Well, you won't believe this maybe, there is pristine beauty here. For real, I found these songs so ungodly that they started to actually reveal some loveliness, emotion, flowery atmosphere. It's a conclusion difficult to justify, if you're only familiar with band's work superficially or if you only left 'Come and See' after one spin thinking you've heard all you needed to, but it's there.

https://mamaleek.bandcamp.com/album/come-and-see
2Protomartyr
Ultimate Success Today


Post-Punk, Art Punk, Noise Rock

I'm toying with the idea that 'Ultimate Success Today' is Protomartyr's best album, honestly. 'Relatives in Descent' has reached a classic status for me, but it was raw, unbridled, showing signs of punk recklessness. 'UST' is different in only the subtle-most way Protomartyr can. It grows even wearier of the worldly ailments, it throws more chaos and stultified indifference in its lyrics, it is even more deliberate in its pace, but by no means calmer. Bear with me here, I'm going to make a vague attempt at identifying with an album: I feel Joe Casey here very much. He is angry, but doesn't have the energy expressing it properly; most things irritate him, but he just deals with it; he is confused, but doesn't care for deciphering anything anymore. Gee, Joe, if you and I find any more similarities like this, I'll have to suggest you get screened for Asperger's.

https://protomartyr.bandcamp.com/album/ultimate-success-today
1Dan Deacon
Mystic Familiar


Neo-Psychedelia, Indietronica

More than reassurance of socio-political anguish from a historical (and personal) view, more than the same dread from of a jaded ageing alcoholic's view, more than the absolute pious ugliness of existence that tries to find beauty and inner peace, more than any of these things vaguely describing the 3 previous entries on the list, what we needed this year is the reminder that things, people and circumstances can be bright and sunny, cheerful and friendly, loving and loveable. And I personally have Dan Deacon and his eternally joyous experiments to thank for that reassurance. I often find it difficult stomaching music too energetic or too happy-go-lucky in times I'm feeling unwell and down (and vice versa), but I always could listen to Mystic Familiar and let myself be swept away by this mystical, magical adventure in dreamland filled with kindness and love (even if through the bittersweet prism).

https://dandeacon.bandcamp.com/album/mystic-familiar
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