January 11, 2021

Jesse’s End of 2020 List

Vinyl - At the beginning of the pandemic we bought a sectional couch and moved the TV into the basement and the record player upstairs. It transformed the room, our evening, and our pandemic lives as my boys were relegated to the basement for video games and movies. Although it quickly became clear that there were some holes in my vinyl collection - notably all my wife’s favorite albums. That obviously had to change.

Comfort Music - With all the shit that went down last year -- and STILL MOTHERFUCKING GOING ON!!!!!! -- I keep falling back on old favorites to get me through the day, raging along to Algiers, family singalongs to the Head and the Heart, drinking to Frightened Rabbit, drinking to Yola, drinking Blitzen Trapper, and running to just about everything, especially classic/retro soul. Apparently, I can run for miles fueled by Otis Redding, Black Pumas, Los Coast, and Benjamin Booker. 

Algiers - There Is No Year - Speaking of Algiers, their new album was pure fire, even before 2020 really got going. Along with fellow Atlanteans Run The Jewels, Algiers catalog was at the center of my social justice playlists.

Jeff Rosenstock - NO DREAM - 2020 needed a punk album and was the one for me. Just the right mix of singalong, politics, humor, quiet/loud, and indie structural shifts to make it fun, engaging, and of the moment. Plus, Ellis I love to scream along to the title track.

Sunbathe - Somewhere In Between - I’m a longtime fan of Maggie Morris’ Genders and solo work, and this might be her finest. I just love the rolling reverb soaked wistful and longing lyrics. While she may be tired of drinking her feelings, I certainly needed it to moderate mine. Any other year, I would have gone to all her Portland shows.

DEHD - Flower Of Devotion - A wonderful recommendation from Larson! If I described some of the bonkers vocal hooks, you might not check it out, but just know it’s damn catchy, and it all works. One of a couple socially distant musical connections this year that filled me back up.

Girlhood - Girlhood - A late add that I picked up a brief mention on Hanif Aduraquib’s Instagram, and if I focused on the influences - 90s R&B, Sade, 90s British dance music, I probably won’t have listened, but it is so good. Try not to dance along to the closer!

Waxahatchee - Saint Cloud - First introduced to her one of these end of the year lists and love her last two albums. It’s been on heavy rotation all year.

Sturgill Simpson - Cutting the Grass - At the top of the list in a year full of cover songs and live albums. Although technically not either, the new bluegrass versions bring new life to some of my favorite songs. Maybe in 2020, artists and fans just needed to hear music they already loved a little bit differently.

KaiL Baxley - Beneath The Bones - A delicious mix of soul, gospel, blues and Americana. His smokey vocals pull it all together whether strutting across the floor or hunkering by the campfire. It’s practically soul food for me.