Become a Member

Now Playing

Current DJ: Joe Held: Rebellious Jukebox

Little Simz Boss from Grey Area (AWAL) Add to Collection

Listen Live

Requests? 773-DJ-SONGS or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

The CHIRP Blog

Shawn Campbell writesCHIRP Radio Best of 2020: Shawn Campbell

CHIRP Radio Best of 2020

Throughout December, CHIRP Radio presents its volunteers’ top albums of 2020. Our next list is from Founder and General Manager, DJ Shawn Campbell.

What a year, huh? When I caught two shows in a single day (The 45 in the afternoon, John Cale at night) at the end of January, I thought, "maybe 2020 will be a big live music year for me!" As I took in a triumphant, sold-out hometown show for Beach Bunny at Metro in late February, I thought my big question for the year was going to be, "is crowd surfing making a comeback?" rather than, "will this be the last show I see in person in 2020?"

Obviously, 2020 didn't turn out the way any of us planned. But I'm so glad we were able to bring you so much great music this year, and that we could raise up the voice of so many amazing independent artists.


#1 Honeymoon by Beach Bunny (Mom + Pop)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Beach Bunny HoneymoonI've loved Beach Bunny since they first sent a few songs over the virtual CHIRP transom in 2017. Their full-length debut is consistent but never samey, full of ringing anthems of heartbreak and making it through, Lili Trifilio's voice warm, powerful and distinctive.









#2 Untitled (Rise) by SAULT (Forever Living Originals)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

SAULT Untitled (Rise)The mysterious and prolific SAULT delivered two great records again in 2020, but the latter was my favorite, stylistically diverse and lyrically powerful.






#3 This Joy by Resistance Revival Chorus (Righteous Babe)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Resistance Revival Chorus This JoyThere were tons of great protest/activist singles this year, but this was my favorite protest album, sung by more than 70 women and nonbinary people, many of the them BIPOC, mixing originals and protest classics, wonderfully sung, ranging from anger to hope.









#4 Force to Reckon by Half Gringa (self-released)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Half Gringa Force to ReckonIzzy Olive's second album continues the promise of her debut (my favorite album of 2017) with a set of lovely, contemplative, often mournful songs that felt just right for 2020.










#5 Get Weird by North by North (Double Hex)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

North by North Get WeirdFor all the strong serious offerings that came out in 2020, Get Weird was just FUN. Catchy, punchy rock from a local duo that came out in February, which feels like a lifetime ago. I missed their record release show and remember thinking, "I'll just catch them next time they play." I still plan to.









#6 Orígenes by Sotomayor (Wonderwheel)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Sotomayor OrígenesCombining a wide range of traditional and modern sounds, the third album from this pair of siblings out of Mexico City had me dancing in the studio from the first time I gave it a spin.










#7 Keleketla! by Keleketla! (Ahead of Our Time)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Keleketla! Keleketla!Speaking of dancing, this collaborative wide-ranging Afrobeat effort, whose making spanned continents in support of the In Place of War nonprofit, also got me moving throughout the year, and was a fitting final project for the great Tony Allen.










#8 Flower of Devotion by Dehd (Fire Talk)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

DEHD Flower of DevotionSometimes you just need a really good indie rock record. This local offering was packed with strong, varied songs ranging from dream pop to twang to garage rock. Satisfying in all ways, it's is a great, engaging listen from beginning to end.










#9 Cry All the Time by Impulsive Hearts (Midwest Action/Cavity Search)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Impulsive Hearts Cry All the TimeThis second full-length from Danielle Sines and her outfit is once again packed with all the poppy, beachy, girl-group influenced sounds I love, and lyrics that have a bite behind those sweet sounds.










#10 Rough and Rowdy Ways / Letter To You by Bob Dylan / Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (Columbia / Columbia)

BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Bob Dylan / Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Rough and Rowdy Ways / Letter To YouBob Dylan / Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Rough and Rowdy Ways / Letter To You












These two pillars of American rock music put out their best records of the 21st century, each playing to their respective strengths. Dylan's contemplative set shows him in the reflective (but still slyly clever) elder statesman mode he's played so well when he has felt moved to since the late 1990s, while Springsteen and the E-Streeters sound as energized and powerful as they have in years, raring to hit the big stages again as soon as they can.

There was an absolute ton of great singles and EPs this year. Some of my favorites included:

Fight Like Ida B and Marsha P, We Love Us, and Fall in Chicago - Ric Wilson
Lockdown - Anderson.Paak
Fight! and You - Wyatt Waddell
I Won't - Fury
6 Feet - Jovan Landry
These Lights Will Shine Again - Fort Frances
All In It Together - Mavis Staples

Share December 30, 2020 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2020

Next entry: CHIRP Radio’s Top Albums of 2020

Previous entry: CHIRP Radio Best of 2020: Mick Reed