Favourite Albums of 2020

As is usual at this time of year, here’s a selection of my favourite records this year. Thanks to the Bandcamp Friday initiative, I’ve bought more music this year than certainly any time since my late teens, possibly ever. Over 200 albums, in fact. Some of them came via Bandcamp subscriptions (the option to subscribe to an individual artist for a set annual or monthly fee, the same model as the subscription I offer), but many were single album purchases.

These are not the only albums I really enjoyed this year, but a selection of my favourites and the ones I listened to most…

Dishevelled Cuss – Dishevelled Cuss

Pop-punk greatness from one of my favourite guitarists on the planet. Dishevelled Cuss is Sugar to Tera Melos’ Hüsker Dü:

Jasper Hoiby’s Planet B

Jazz with electronics and speech samples from the genius Danish bassist:

Pulled By Magnets – Rose Golden Doorways

Anything Seb Rochford releases is cause for celebration, but Neil Charles’ bass on here is just extraordinary. Doom jazz? Not sure what to call this, but it’s brilliant.

Throwing Muses – Sun Racket

I’ve said quite a few times that I can’t think of another band of their vintage that are making the best music of their careers and doing it without even the vaguest hint to nostalgia. Kristin Hersh is one of the greatest guitarists, songwriters and makers of records of her generation.

Field Music – Making A New World

I bought a LOT of Field Music Music this year, filling in my collection each Bandcamp Friday. This was their new one, and it’s outstanding. The cleverest pop band on the planet, without ever sounding remotely smug.

Beauty Pill – Please Advise

Chad Clark has been making pretty much flawless music for well over two decades. I love following his journey and learning new things from everything he releases. Another absolutely killer mini-album here. He’s a sonic wizard, with some of the best production and arrangement ideas happening anywhere in music right now:

Stillefelt – Stillefelt

three of Birmingham’s (the UK’s?) finest improvisors making absolutely glorious experimental, minimalist, ambient music. Love this so much.

Liz Frencham – Love And Other Crimes

Liz is one of those artists whose self doubt drives them to be better and better. I wish she could hear her music the way we do, but I’m also grateful for the incredible music she makes being just the way she is.

Michael Manring – Small Moments

A new Michael Manring album is cause for an actual party, such is their rarity. But when it’s this good it’s so worth the weight. The absolute master of solo bass, making music that renders the bassness of it utterly irrelevant to the experience of listening to it. Just incredible.

David Binney and Kenny Wolleson – Basu

I think possibly the only club gig I went to this year was David Binney, with Billy Mohler in LA. This album with one of my favourite drummers, Kenny Wollesen, is a glorious slice of jazz, improv and electronica

Azusa – Loop Of Yesterdays

My metal album of the year, Liam Wilson on bass, incredible changes of mood and emotion. Deeply inventive, expressive metal.

Ren Harvieu – Revel In The Drama

I’ve listened to this LOADS this year. I met Ren at UnConvention in Manchester in March, bought her record soon after and absolutely love it. Scott Walker, Tori Amos, Everything But The Girl, and all kinds of other amazing influences combine into something totally beautiful and original

Lobelia – Positive Songs Project 1 and 2

For all it’s horrors, the Pandemic created space for my amazing wife to record some of the best songs of her career. I REALLY need to go back and remix a load of these (don’t mix vocals on headphones, kids, you’ll overdo the reverb something rotten), but this is glorious music.


Hope And Social – S.E.N.T Vol 1

Hope And Social making records by chain letter. Such a great idea and such genius execution.

Billy Nomates – Billy Nomates

Found randomly via a Tweet from somone at 6Music. Post Punk Electronica with some killer bass grooves.

Yvonne Lyon – Growing Wild

I’m unashamedly a MASSIVE Yvonne Lyon fan. Such a great songwriter, and here she digs into the experiences of growing older and wiser.

Colfax – The Jupiter Expeditions

Quite a few of my collaborators in different fields released music this year, and this record by Daniel Berkman is just marvellous – old school electronica with field recordings and vocal samples. Wonderful.

David Torn – Fur/Torn

A solo Torn album on Bandcamp. There ought to be LOADS of these, given how much great music he’s dropped on Soundcloud over the years. But this one is marvellous. One of the most important guitarists in the history of the instrument.

Harry Styles – Fine Line

Obviously not on Bandcamp, but special mention to Harry Styles for making an absolutely killer pop album. The first time I heard Adore You, I was blown away by its brilliance. Love this insane video:

There were other things I really dug this year, other music that I bought that I’ll spend more time with over the coming months and be in love with by this time next year, but for now here’s the Good Stuff that got me through the shittiest of years.

3 Replies to “Favourite Albums of 2020”

  1. Thanks for this Steve. New interesting music for me to follow up on. I use to rely on my school friend Tom who introduced me to a variety of new music for a number of years. Since getting married and having children I do not get to see him that often so this is great.

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