My 2020 Music Picks – 2020 Was Actually A Great Year for Music

While 2020 was sort of a disaster in so many ways, there was great music to listen to.

  • Fleet Foxes / Shore – Man, I loved this record and it came at exactly the right time for me, this fall. A “return” of sorts, but it sounds exactly like you’d hope it would
  • Pinegrove / Marigold – I’ve turned into a superfan, and its a little weird because it’s been years since I’ve gone this deep into one band. Their songs are the kind that grow more meaningful with each listen; their playing is subtle, and technically really good. (Side note: the last live show I saw was Pinegrove in Seattle with my son in Feb. Remember those days? )
  • Fontaines D.C / A Hero’s Death – Oh man, I love these guys. A Yeats-spouting punk with a killer band? Sign me up. The lead singer’s delivery isn’t for everyone, but I love the energy, the attitude. And, the band are players. If you liked the Walkmen, you’ll probably like these guys. 
  • Sylvan Esso / Free Love – this one got a lot of repeat playing in our house. Crazy good electronica production, with a voice that has a million emotions. Great hooks. Ferris Wheel has been stuck in my head for months. 
  • Khruangbin / Mordechai – This has been on heavy rotation while I work, I’d call it power-pointing music, but that sounds terrible. Just a terrifically chill sound, and probably the coolest band I know of. Super talented musicians and tasteful, too. 
  • Taylor Swift / Folklore – I’m not (too) ashamed to admit how much I loved the folklore record. Surprised? Sure.  But, that group or artists couldn’t miss. 
  • Waxahatchee / Saint Cloud – Just beautifully written and performed songs. In my top 5 of the last couple years. 
  • Wye Oak / Fear of Heights EP – I love how rich the sounds are on this whole record. Fear of Heights was one of my top songs from 2020
  • Disq / Collector – A bunch of super smart teenagers from Madison WI? What could go wrong. These guys might be the find of the year for me. Came out in January. Sort of like Pavement, but a little more stoned. Daily Routine was a top 10 song in 2020. 
  • Phoebe Bridgers / Punisher – My sons are embarrassed at how much I like her music, but i’m not. Kyoto is just a great song.
  • Jason Isbell & 400 Unit – Reunions – Well, just superb songs and great playing. 
  • Kelly Lee Owens / Inner Song – I fell in love with her first record, but I think I might like this one even better. Chilly/Cool electronica meets singer songwriter. Plus, the first song is a smart Radiohead cross over
  • Los Days / Singing Sand – Desert landscapes, spaghetti western soundscapes. Instrumental, but great for getting lost. Or, powerpointing. 

Also fun, but not from 2020: 

  • Nobody Can Live Forever –  This song gets stuck in my head all the time. This is from some hippy dude and it’s from 1976. You can almost feel how stoned everybody was when they were in the studio recording this. This is like the perfect driving song, for that time you’re heading home after the party with your buddies and your jamming out. We’re not here forever, you gotta love the people around you while you can, and be cool to each other. And, play your music:
  • Post Doc Blues – I think John K Samson might be the best songwriter alive right now. Or Isbell. But, this song from a couple years ago got me through the pandemic. Everybody could benefit from having the narrator be their inner voice. Bonus points for working in the word dongle and powerpoint into a  beautiful song about hope when all around us is despair.
  • Superdrag / In the Valley of the Dying Stars – This sounds like straight up power pop from 2001 and it is. This record might be perfect, front to back. If you like thick guitars, heavy drums, and superbly written pop songs, i’m pretty sure you’ll love this. My Favorite record of 2020

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