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Our favourite 62 albums of 2020

It's been a wild year, but looking back, there's been a lot of music this year that's made me happy.

The list is in a vague order that would be different if I put this list together tomorrow. But that doesn't really matter, I just want to share some music with you that I've enjoyed this year. Let me know if I've missed out your favourites - I probably didn't come across it in my listening and would love to know what it is.

Here's hoping I'll be seeing you at the gigs when these albums finally get toured in 2021.

Honorable mentions that should probably in the mix below:

Annie - Dark Hearts

Haru Nemuri - LOVETHEISM


62. Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas – III

Mellow grooves by two of my favourite electronic musician, hanging out in a happy middle ground between ambient and electronica.


61. Amy Duncan - The Hidden World

Blissful pop-folk from Edinburgh.


60. Silvia Tarozzi - Mi specchio e rifletto

Fascinating compositions based on the rhythms of poetry.


59. Tomberlin - Projects

Slow-burning folk. A lovely EP.


58. Deyah - Care City

Winner of the Wales Music Prize 2020. Laid back beats, silky vocals and lyrics about keeping faith though tough times.


57. Duval Timothy - Help

A very creative soul. Expansive, reverb-drenched piano-focussed tunes.


56. Sylvan Esso - Free Love

Pop songs made with creative swagger and super fun arrangements.


55. Katie Dey - Mydata

Glitchy and twisted pop tunes make a sunny album about digital intimacy.


54. Isabella, Jasper and Simon Fisher Turner - Savage songs of Brutality and Food. By the Extreme Angels of Parody.

Compositions featuring children singing and chanting. 'Idiot Song' is a wonderful highlight.


53. Peter Broderick - Blackberry

A surprise that was dropped out of the blue. Recorded in his London bedrooms about connecting with our local surroundings.


52. Declan McKenna - Zeros

Bizarrely missed out on the no.1 album spot to a Rolling Stone re-issue but he'll get another shot I'm sure.


51. Loma - Don't Shy Away

Indie that's as dark and glossy as a lake in winter.


50. Moses Sumney - Græ

Like floating on beautiful warm currents.


49. Jeff Rosenstock - NO DREAM

Dream no more if you're looking for some naughties style politically charged pop-punk.


48. Haim - Women in music PT III

So damn catchy and styled to perfection.


47. Gruff Rhys - Pang!

Another assembly of wonderful musicians to make an individual and exciting record.


46. Ada Lee - woman, here

A profound little EP, with guitars like George Harrison and a little bit of the same worshipful spirit.


45. Fenne Lilly - BREACH

Elegant and powerful - a real stunner.


44. Matmos - The Consuming Flame: Open Exercises in Group Form

99 collaborators! 99! The result is gleeful archaic electronica.


43. Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia

My sugarboo.


42. Gunn-Truscinski Duo -Soundkeeper

Chunky scapes of guitar and percussion.


41. Angel Olsen - Whole New Mess

Hushed and spare and all the more exciting for it.


40. Bill Callahan - Gold Record

Wonderful and liberal instrumentation and the quality song writing we expect from Bill.


39. Dorian Electra - My Agenda

Archaic, high-concept pop that delves into incel culture.


38. Caribou - Suddenly

Endless hooks pop from always clever clever music.


37. William Basinski - Lamentations

Clever things with loops that feels galactic in scale.


36. Khruangbin - Mordechai

Khruangbin with Leon Bridges - warm and chill rock pop. A good time. Some of my favourite bops of the year.


35. Flaming Lips - American Head

Back with a narrative album that feels like a homecoming to a sound and a spirit of earlier Lips.


34. Slauson Malone - Vergangenheitsbewältigung

Jazzy, mumbly, glitchy, intimate, free.


33. Georgia - Seeking Thrills

Thrilling pop for the dancefloor.


32. Adrianne Lenker - songs / instrumentals

Almost like overhearing her writing and recording.


31. Hen Ogledd - Free Humans

Another grand statement of shabbiness.


30. Kelly Lee Owens - Inner Song

Loops and lyrics and lyrics and loops that build to be spiritual.


29. Fiona Apple - Fetch the Bolt Cutters

100% Fiona Apple as soon as the piano arpeggios start in 'I Want You To Love Me'.


28. Lomelda - Hannah

Open-hearted and heart-aching indie.


27. Dirty Projectors - 5 EPs

A collection of EPs and that's enough to count for this list. Always complicated and great to hear Dirty Projectors with interlocking harmonies and again.


26. Shirley Collins - Heart's Ease

Brilliant trad folk.


25. Clipping. - Visions of Bodies Being Burned

This might be the most descriptive album title on this list. Does exactly what it says on the tin.


24. Liaanne La Havas - Lianne La Havas

Lush vocals, lush R&B production, perfectly poised. A break-up album to wallow in.


23. Bessie Jones and the Georgia Sea Island Singers - Get in Union

A collection of 60 wonderful old soul and blues tunes.


22. Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher

A swirling collection of stylish songs. A glowing songwriter.


21. Arca - KiCk i

Her most accessible album so far, but still a smashing together of pop and electronica.


20. Master KG - Jerusalema

A shot of joy from South Africa.


19. Bartees Strange - Live Forever

Bartees's genre-hopping hardcore/emo has been one of my favourite discoveries of the early year.


18. Jessie Ware - What's Your Pleasure

A dark disco gem.


17. Fontaines DC - A Hero's Death

Big, bold, funny and philosophical.


16. Waxahatchee - Saint Cloud

A big slice of delicious Americana pie.


15. Trace Mountains - Lost In The Country

More Americana, this time breezy, adventurous and caring like a long road trip.


14. Perfume Genius - Set My Heart On Fire Immediately

The most sublime production. To die for.


13. Run The Jewels - RTJ4

The ruling class and the police get torn a new one and it sounds so good and so right.


12. Julianna Barwick - Healing Is A Miracle

Enchanting tapestries of singing and echoing instruments.


11. Laura Marling - Song For Our Daughter

My favourite album so far from a master songwriter and the recordings are breath-taking.


10. SAULT - Untitled (Rise) / Untitled (Black Is)

Remarkable double album: beautifully crafted and smart. Add a little SAULT to your life.


9. Jay Electronica - A Written Testimony

Tender and subtle then spiritual and earnest. A sharing of experience and strength.


8. Ólafur Arnalds - Some Kind of Peace

A serene and peaceful blend of ambient and classical.


7. Grimes - Miss Anthropocene

Grimes is going to Grimes. Love the melodies and the urgency of this album.


6. Charli XCX - how i'm feeling now

A burst of pent-up energy that sounded just right this year.


5. Black Dresses - Peaceful as Hell

The most fun I had listening this year. Ecstatic noise-pop - sparkling and heavy at the same time.


4. Ichiko Aoba - Windswept Adan

An enchanting, heart-warming world, created by an incredible classical musician.


3. Bob Dylan - Rough & Rowdy Ways

Well this is unexpected. I actually didn't get round to listening to 'Rough & Rowdy Ways' until late in the year and I didn't think it would be high in this list but then I couldn't stop listening. But having written off this album before even listening to it's worked it's way to being one of my favourite albums to listen to right now. It could have been number one too, but it is very boomer (the classics, the Bible, Shakespeare, no women with agency, all that).


2. Helena Deland - Someone New

My favourite indie of the year. Like entering a dream state that is sometimes sullen and always something moody ticking away in the bass frequencies. And then the melodies are so immaculate and tidy, percussion coming in and out for impact. It all works together perfectly.


1. Blu & Exile - Miles

My favourite Hip-Hop of the year and such a wide-ranging and ambitious album. And it's so exciting. It reaches back through generations and even at its most dense the rapping is still graceful. An hour and a half that never stops shifting and exploring and glowing.


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