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Kelsey Stimple writesCHIRP Radio Best of 2020: Kelsey Stimple

CHIRP Radio Best of 2020

Throughout December, CHIRP Radio presents its volunteers’ top albums of 2020. Our first list for this year is from Substitute DJ Kelsey Stimple.

I last saw live music on Wednesday, March 4, 2020. I went to Sleeping Village with two friends from CHIRP (we bumped into more there) to see Sudan Archives. I remember that her dad was at the show, beaming up at his daughter performing for the sold out crowd. I convinced my friends to stay until midnight despite the fact we all had to work the next morning.

Given what transpired in the following weeks, I'm so glad that I did. COVID changed my music listening habits in several ways: I used to listen to music during my commute; I used to find out about new stuff at shows and Pitchfork Fest and wherever else; I used to see artists perform albums I already liked and leave the venue in love.

My favorite albums from 2020—played mostly in my apartment or as I wandered around my neighborhood alone—appear below. Twenty albums felt more appropriate than ten. Reflecting on the year in this very narrow way reminds me that my life still moved forward. I still managed to learn and discover new things. As a final note—I love list season. I finalized mine on December 3 and cannot wait to spend the rest of the month digging into others' to see what I missed.


#1 Saint Cloud by Waxahatchee (Merge)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Waxahatchee Saint Cloud


#2 NO DREAM by Jeff Rosenstock (Polyvinyl)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Jeff Rosenstock NO DREAM


#3 Empty Country by Empty Country (Get Better Records)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Empty Country Empty Country


#4 Punisher by Phoebe Bridgers (Dead Oceans)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Phoebe Bridgers Punisher


#5 Flower of Devotion by Dehd (Fire Talk)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Dehd Flowers of Devotion


#6 Melee by Dogleg (Triple Crown)

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Dogleg Melee


#7  Live Forever by Bartees Strange (Memory Music)

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Bartees Strange Live Forever


#8 Songs and Instrumentals by Adrianne Lenker (4AD)

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Porridge Radio Every Bad


#9 Sugaregg by Bully (Sub Pop)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Bully Sugaregg


#10 Brat by NNAMDÏ (Sooper Records)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon



I had a really hard time dividing 1-10 from 11-20, which I also love:

11. Every Bad by Porridge Radio (Secretly Canadian)
12. Women in Music Pt. III by HAIM (Columbia)
13. Printer's Devil by Ratboys (Topshelf Records)
14. FREE I.H.: This is Not the One You've Been Waiting For by Illuminati Hotties (self-released)
15. Likewise by Frances Quinlan (Saddle Creek)
16. Pith by Melkbelly (Wax Nine)
17. Lomelda by Hannah (Double Double Whammy)
18. Color Theory by Soccer Mommy (Loma Vista Recordings)
19. Honeymoon by Beach Bunny (Mom + Pop Music)
20. Heaven to a Tortured Mind by Yves Tumor (Warp)

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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2020

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