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Matt Garman writesCHIRP Radio Best of 2020: Matt Garman

CHIRP Radio Best of 2020

Throughout December, CHIRP Radio presents its volunteers’ top albums of 2020. Our next list is from Sub DJ! Matt Garman.

In a year where I often felt less connected to the people in my life, music created a sense of normalcy: I love music all the time, even now.

The music I loved most in 2020 evoked the best soul, hip-hop, indie rock, jazz, folk, and funk sounds I've been obsessed with for a lifetime. It was also often made by people of color, people who identify as women, and occasionally people who identify as trans: voices frequently unheard because of systemic inequity.

Music in 2020 served to connect us to other people because life in 2020 was nonchalantly brutal, weird, exhilarating, and scary; the music was the backdrop and in the foreground. We'll remember it in a different way.


#1 Untitled (Black Is) | Untitled (Rise) by SAULT (Forever Living Originals)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

SAULT Untitled (Black Is) | Untitled (Rise)SAULT Untitled (Black Is) | Untitled (Rise)

This mysterious, soulful, funky British collective created two fantastic albums this year, capturing the zeitgeist of protest and resistance in the wake George Floyd's murder during an unprecedented pandemic. Truly the soundtrack of my summer.



#2 Color Theory by Soccer Mommy (Loma Vista)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Soccer Mommy Color TheorySophia Allison's songs have a retro 90's/00's vibe that firmly hits my nostalgia buttons, all the way down to the melancholy. I can't get enough.











#3 RTJ4 by Run the Jewels (Jewel Runners/BMG)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Run the Jewels RTJ4Killer Mike and El-P deliver a politically-charged fusion of lyricism and MCing that ably carries the traditions of Big Daddy Kane and Public Enemy forward. The fact that Mike is quoting Eric Garner on "Walking in the Snow," and NOT George Floyd, is irrefutable proof that something terrible has been happening to people of color in America from the nation's inception.









#4 Covers by Marika Hackman (Sub Pop)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Marika Hackman CoversMarika Hackman has made some great albums of originals, but her peerless taste in song choice on this album of covers, executed with a lovely bedroom pop vibe, puts it over the top -- I get to be nostalgic for less-tumultuous times, as well as my most formative music-listening years.











#5 Through With Love by Western State Hurricanes (Latent Print)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Western State Hurricanes Through With LoveThis album was supposed to come out in 1998 or so, but never did because the Seattle band split up (plus the drums sounded lousy); lead singer-songwriter John Roderick finally cleaned it all up and blessed us with this proto-indie slab that wormed its way into my heart.











#6 Purple Noon by Washed Out (Sub Pop)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Washed Out Purple NoonLook, it's just chilled-out jams for when I need to fucking relax, you know? It's been a year.












#7 Invisible People by Chicano Batman (ATO)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Chicano Batman Invisible PeopleL.A.-based Latinx music with a 90's Beck sound. Effortlessly cool.












#8 Honeymoon by Beach Bunny (Mom + Pop)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Beach Bunny HoneymoonChicago's own Lili Trifilio is still heartbroken, packing a gigantic voice, and possesses melodic genius.












#9 Gentle Grip by Public Practice (Wharf Cat)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Public Practice Gentle GripSlept-on Brooklyn band's debut full length is all the Blondie and Talking Heads you'll need in 2020.












#10 Hannah by Lomelda (Double Double Whammy)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Lomelda HannahLovely, quiet, thoughtfully odd indie folk makes me smile!












11. Adrianne Lenker - Songs | Instrumentals (4AD)
12. Nubya Garcia - SOURCE (Concord Jazz)
13. X - Alphabetland (Fat Possum)
14. FACS - Void Moments (Trouble In Mind)
15. Shopping - All or Nothing (Fat Cat)
16. Melkbelly - PITH (Wax Nine)
17. Laura Marling - Song For Our Daughter (Chrysalis)
18. Tomberlin - Projections (Saddle Creek)
19. BOAT - Tread Lightly (Magic Marker)
20. Antibalas - Fu Chronicles (Daptone)
21. Fiona Apple - Fetch the Bolt Cutters (Epic/Clean Slate)
22. Thao & the Get Down Stay Down - Temple (Ribbon Music)
23. Yves Tumor - Heaven To a Tortured Mind (Warp)
24. Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher (Dead Oceans)
25. John Vanderslice - Dollar Hits (Tiny Telephone)

Best Reissues of 2020:

1. Tom Petty - Wildflowers & All the Rest (Warner)
2. Spoon - Soft Effects (Matador)
3. PJ Harvey - To Bring You My Love (Island)
4. Neil Young - Homegrown (Reprise)
5. Fuzzy Duck - Fuzzy Duck (Be With)

30 Best Singles/Songs of 2020 (excluding songs from Best Albums above):

Anderson .Paak - "Lockdown"
Perfume Genius - "On the Floor"
Christine and the Queens - "People, I've been sad"
Beyoncé, Saint Jhn and Wizkid, feat. Blue Ivy Carter - "Brown Skin Girl"
Big Joanie - "Cranes in the Sky"
Coriky - "Clean Kill"
Andy Shauf - "Living Room"
Lianne La Havas - "Weird Fishes"
Disq - "I Know What It's Like"
The Seshen - "Dive"
METZ - "A Boat to Drown In"
Sufjan Stevens - "America"
Khruangbin - "So We Won't Forget"
Laura Veirs - "Burn Too Bright"
Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion - "WAP"
Kehlani - "Toxic"
Jamila Woods - "SULA (Paperback)"
Waxahatchee - "Fire"
HAIM - "Don't Wanna"
Sir Richard Bishop - "Celerity"
María Jøsé Llérgo - "Me Miras Pero No Me Ves"
Les Amazones d'Afrique - "Love"
Caribou - "You and I"
Bully - "Where to Start"
Elvis Costello - "No Flag"
Laura Jane Grace - "SuperNatural Possession"
Big Thief - "Love in Mine"
The Budos Band - "Long in the Tooth"
Jay Electronica feat. Travis Scott - "The Blinding"
Taylor Swift - "the 1"

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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2020

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