The best albums of 2020 that did not make it into the yule calendar
Every year I have the hardest time whittling down the albums released during the year to the tiny amount of albums I’m allowed to nominate. I have come to start by removing all metal, HC and Rap that I suspect will be too harsh as well as any electronic music that might be too sparse or repetitive for my colleague’s delicate earbuds. After that there are no shortcuts. Painful decisions have to be made.
Then the votes are cast and inevitably, some of the great music I have so very very carefully picked out, just don’t make it through. The only thing that keeps me sane during this process is the knowledge that I will be able to present some of the releases that didn’t make it all the way to the actual top 10 list here.
The stand out among these albums this year is the absolutely amazing new album from Spanish Indie rockers Belako. Plastic drama is with out a shadow of a doubt in my mind the best release this year that didn’t make it on to the list. Heck it might be better than most that actually did make it on to it.
For the rest of this article I have lumped the albums together in category but I will start with 3 albums that didn’t really fit in to any of the other categories. Yet they are some of the releases I have spent the most time with this year. We have the gentle nostalgia tingled singer song writer Sam Doores, the eclectic noise experimentation of Bo Ningen and the catchy post punk of Slum of Legs.
This year saw a slew of our favourite plunderphonics artists release really great albums. We had the moody retro tinged trip hop of Mounika. as well as the guitar driven ethno pop of Gitkin and we had RJD2 return with his very own take on Hip Hop and turntablism. Then just as I was working away at writing this very text, The Avalanches finally dropped the new Album We Will Always Love You …and yeah it have to be here for sure!
Some great releases of proper electronica also reached my turntable this year. 3 stand-outs among them would be the always amazing DJ Krush and his sparse and moody meats. Future Sound of London returned this year with a very interesting celebration of past glory in the form of a some new compositions and then finally Lake Turner released his debut album of catchy ambient and tech-house.
The Notwist managed to get Post-Rock onto the actual top 10 list with their take on the genre but they certainly wasn’t alone in releasing personal takes on this particular genre this year. Athens, Georgia veterans Maserati released a weirdly 80-sounding take on what Post Rock could be, Scottish multi instrumentalist Worriedaboutsatan turned out no less than 4 longer format releases, the first of which has to be mentioned here for it’s profound sound. Also criminally productive this year where El Ten Eleven releasing a triptych of albums where the second was just a nudge above the others.
Finally, I always champion some more harsh and brutal music that might not have that perfect fit in our normal format but here at the end of the year I can’t but mention the best releases in HC and Metal. This year saw an incredible array of great old-school HC often voiced by amazing frontwomen. One such act will be revealed on Wednesday but there where more. We have Finnish Crust Punk outfit Kohti Tuhoa slamming away at their instruments on an amazing EP as well as Baltimore’s Sharptooth who no doubt made the best music video of the year. I think singer Lauren put it best herself “Fuck anyone who disagrees, that shit is iconic.” Then we have Swedish 90s inspired HC outfit Speedway whom I just can’t stop listening to, on repeat, all day long, every day almost.