2020 may be a total garbage heap in terms of life in general (RIP all the gigs that should have been). Still, the music that has come out over the last six months has been beautiful, painful, soothing, fucking weird and hope restoring. I know that every year blows me away and I could talk about 2019 and how amazing that year was for new music and the gems that I’ve uncovered in retrospect, but there isn’t enough time, space or language for that. Below are five albums and one EP from this year that have buried themselves in my grey matter.
Cary Grace – Lady of Turquoise (UK)
I adore prog and psych, making me wish that I had come across Cary Grace, a gifted songwriter and producer, much sooner. She has a vast repertoire in rock and electronic music and this album is a beautifully crafted, ethereal experience.
WOB! – Nostos (Ireland)
The care that’s gone into this album is insane. Originally conceived as an EP by producer WOB!, Nostos was released as a full electronic multi-genre saga inspired by Homer’s epic poem Odyssey. It really stands up as a unique play-on-repeat album.
Foreign Owl – The Nice Place (Ireland)
I love this EP by Foreign Owl for its storytelling, lyricism, and it’s original style and delivery. The trio have really hit the mark with this creative and refreshingly off-beat release. And even the artwork is cool.
Vernon Jane – The Ritual of Love Making (Ireland)
Another example of incredible album artwork, and one of the most powerful experiences that music has given me, The Ritual of Love Making takes the listener into its arms on an emotional, visceral and courageous journey.
OOIOO – nijimusi (Japan)
It’s important that I have an outlet for wild joy and anger and that usually comes in the form of music. OOIOO are an experimental psychedelic noise outfit from Japan that really know how to illustrate the chaos going on in my head.
Park the Van Records – Banded Against Racism (USA)
Californian label Park the Van released a compilation album of its artists to raise funds for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, featuring 20 tracks of electronica, rock, folk and some particularly beautiful ones such as ‘Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child’ by Oh Rose.