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Last Active 04-25-22 1:48 pm
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Faves of 2020
15Baxter Dury
The Night Chancers

I don't really know why I like this, but it's cool. It should suck, like bad Leonard Cohen, but I'm into it.
14Lianne La Havas
Lianne La Havas

I'm also not much for neo soul, but La Havas seems to inject a certain arc into this album that overcomes the sometimes aimless feel of the genre. Her tone and the production sell this dusky rose.
13Nadine Shah
Kitchen Sink

I'm not usually into this type of vocal, but Shah seems to simplify the characteristics of the genre for a more casual listener, without losing her idiosyncratic touch. There's a lot of playful archness, and I'm for it.
12The Strokes
The New Abnormal

I've never really liked the Strokes that much, but this is an eye opener. They finally feel like they're finishing their sentences.
11Plants and Animals
The Jungle

I kind of thought this would be the album the Arcade Fire would produce when they wanted to go more groove and rubber over fire and wildness. Thankfully, Plants and Animals understand what they're doing.
10Mary Lattimore
Silver Ladders

Beautiful, simple instrumental music that borrows from post rock and folk.
9Katie Gately

I tend to go for safer music, and I wouldn't say Gately pushes the boundaries too far, but there's a unique creative power on display here that melds with the songcraft.

Lomelda could probably be accused of biting Adrianne Lenker's style, but when directly compared to Lenker's 2020 record, I found this one a little more song focused. I liked how the tracks have a distinct personality and assuredness.
7Crack Cloud
Pain Olympics

Bursting with an energy that's distinctly Canadian. It's a crazy, short ride, stuffed with ideas and heart.
6Throwing Muses
Sun Racket

The Muses draw on the more ragged, muscular sound of Hersh's last album. I've always found their sound a little thin and scattered, but this addresses that issue while still maintaining a certain directness in a cloud of obfuscation.
5Frazey Ford
U kin B the Sun

It took me a long time to look past how safe this is. Aside from a duff second track, it's as sweet as berry filling. It also sounds like an alternate universe in which Emmylou Harris decided to be a soul singer.
4Fontaines D.C.
A Hero's Death

Sounds like someone cutting through ice with a warm blade. They're my heroes in 2020.
3The War on Drugs
Live Drugs

Something familiar, probably too easy a choice. Classic songs, and they're reinvigorated by a live treatment.
2Sufjan Stevens
The Ascension

This drew an inexplicable amount of ire - Sufjan has always had long albums and this one flies by - my favourite zeitgeist artwork. It's a move away from his familiar strengths, but it's still an incredibly successful album.
New Dreams

Easily the best thing I heard this year, it's the sound of wheat blowing in the wind, sun touching black sand, and endless light streaks on roads by night. Timeless, contemporary, and ancient all at once.
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