End of the Year Music Review 2020

I absolutely love doing this list. This year in music has been great. Many of these albums were made in isolation during a year none of us will forget. Many musicians really struggled this year because of the lack of touring so in order to sustain their lives, many made music. I can’t wait to go back to normal where people can support art live. I crave it more than ever. As this year started I was really excited to release our first Jugo + Rada Zine and write about the music I love. I had a wonderful night in February where we played records and released the first zine at Fluid Coffeebar. It was a blast. I was hoping to do that a lot this year. Plans changed. I keep reading and listening to experts on the subject of trauma. We have all experienced some form of trauma through all of this. Those experts say to do everything you can to find joy in moments and reflect on the positive. Unplug, do a gratitude meditation, go for a walk, listen to relaxing music.

My favorite albums of the year were eclectic as always. Some new artists but a lot of returning favorites. This year saw the return of Bright Eyes, Gorillaz, Fleet Foxes, and Run The Jewels. All making wonderful albums you will find on the list.

There were also artists who have landed on my “must own” list that put out albums this year. One of my favorite albums of the last 10 years was IDLES – Joy as an Act of Resistance. So, I was very much looking forward to ULTRA MONO. It did not disappoint. NYC Rapper and one of the most consistent artists, Ka put out another great album. Tame Impala started the year with The Slow Rush. I remember playing this at Fluid and everyone was talking and drinking their coffee and it was cool. A moment I will never forget. Sufjan Stevens – Ascension, Blu & Exile – Miles , and Future Islands – As Long As You Are were all absolutely wonderful additions to their catalogs.

Finally, the new artists. The great thing about music and making this list is finding those new emerging artists that I will listen to and support in the future. It is one of the ultimate joys of music. Some of my favorite new artists (new to me) were Stove God Cooks, Declan McKenna, Arlo Parks, Tom Hymn, Porridge Radio, and Dehd. I look forward to their future projects. Whenever someone says that new artists aren’t good or innovative, they are small minded and closed off from what is actually happening. New art is vital. Listen to it and give it a chance. The artists I just listed will impress you. I promise.

Thank you so much for your support through our first year of making the Zine and now the record label. It was so much fun to get started. So many people have come out to support us. If you are interested in the music, zines or merchandise go here. For a copy of this in zine form with extras go Here. I am so proud of the releases so far and all of those willing to trust us with their art. I can’t wait to see where this goes.


Music is subjective.  I hope you find something here to love. 

I have listed my: 100 Best Songs, 35 Favorite Albums, Favorite live performance (videos), Community list (See if your suggestion made it)


Entire list on Spotify

100. Aesop Rock – “Dog At The Door”

99. Bill Callahan – “Pigeons”

98. Stove God Cooks – “Break the Pyrex”

97. Jean Dawson ft. A$AP Rocky – “Triple Double”

96. The Weeknd – “Blinding Lights”

95. Fiona Apple – “Shameika”

94. Yves Tumor -“Gospel For A New Century”

93. Adrianne Lenker – “anything”

92. Dehd – “Loner”

91. Thundercat – “Dragonball Durag”

90. HAIM – “I Know Alone”

89. Taylor Swift ft. Bon Iver – “exile”

88. Bad Bunny – “Yo Perreo Sola”

87. SZA ft. The Neptunes – “Hit Different”

86. Tobe Nwigwe ft. Black Thought & Royce Da 5’9″ – “FATHER FIGURE”

85. Gorillaz ft. Elton John & 6LACK – “The Pink Phantom”

84. Bleachers ft. Bruce Springsteen – “chinatown”

83. Future Islands – “For Sure”

82. Gorillaz ft. ScHoolboy Q – “Pac-Man”

81. Black Thought – “Thought vs Everybody”

80. Local Natives ft. Sharon Van Etten – “Lemon”

79. Open Mike Eagle ft. Kari Faux – “Bucciarati”

78. clipping. ft. Cam & China – “’96 Neve Campbell”

77. Matt Berninger ft. Gail Ann Dorsey – “Silver Springs”

76. Benny Sings ft. Mac DeMarco – “Rolled Up”

75. Future Islands – “Thrill”

74. Boldy James ft. Stove God Cooks – “Thousand Pills”

73. Destroyer – “Crimson Tide”

72. Stove God Cooks – “Crosses”

71. Aesop Rock – “The Gates”

70. Tierra Whack – “Peppers and Onions”

69. Wolf Parade – “Julia Take Your Man Home”

68. Denzel Curry/Kenny Beats – “Take_it_Back_v2”

67. Tame Impala – “Lost In Yesterday”

66. Tom Hymn – “Fear Amongst Friends”

65. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – “Cars In Space”

64. Tennis – “Runner”

63. Conway the Machine ft. Freddie Gibbs – “Seen Everything But Jesus”

62. clipping. ft. Michael Esposito – “Pain Everyday”

61. Khruangbin & Leon Bridges – “Texas Sun”

60. Run The Jewels – “yankee and the brave (ep.4)”

59. Bright Eyes – “To Death’s Heart (In Three Parts”

58. Hamilton Leithauser – “Isabella”

57. Armand Hammer ft. Moor Mother & Earl Sweatshirt – “Ramesses II”

56. Westside Gunn ft. Joey Bada$$ & Tyler, the Creator – “327”

55. Ka – “My Brother’s Keeper”

54. AMS. -“Uphill”

53. Armand Hammer – “Charms”

52. Freddie Gibbs ft. Rick Ross – “Scottie Beam”

51. Ka – “Every Now and Then”

50. Matt Berninger – “Serpentine Prison”

49. Boldy James ft. Evidence – “Grey October”

48. Arlo Parks – “Eugene”

47. Fleet Foxes – “Jara”

46. Tennis – “Need Your Love”

45. Black Thought ft. Pusha T & Killer Mike – “Good Morning”

44. Perfume Genius – “Jason”

43. Washed Out – “Too Late”

42. Triathlon – “GARDEN 2”

41. Run The Jewels ft. Greg Nice & DJ Premier – “ooh la la”

40. Gorillaz ft. Robert Smith – “Strange Timez”

39. Fontaines D.C. – “A Hero’s Death”

38. Khruangbin – “Time (You and I)”

37. Flume ft. Toro y Moi – “The Difference”

36. The Avalanches ft. Blood Orange – “We Will Always Love You”

35. Bon Iver – “PDLIF”

34. The Strokes – “The Adults Are Talking”

33. Run The Jewels ft. Mavis Staples – “pulling the pin”

32. Tame Impala – “Breathe Deeper”

31. Perfume Genius – “On the Floor”

30. Shamir – “On My Own”

29. Ka ft. Roc Marciano – “Sins of the Father”

28. Run The Jewels – “walking in the snow”

27. Tame Impala – “Borderline”

26. Roc Marciano ft. Stove God Cooks – “The Eye of the Whorus”

25. Conway the Machine ft. Method Man – “Lemon”

24. Freddie Gibbs – “1985”

23. Declan McKenna – “You Better Believe!!!”

22. Sufjan Stevens – “Video Game”

21. Porridge Radio – “Sweet”

20. Arlo Parks – “Black Dog”

19. IDLES – “War”

18. Caroline Rose – “Feel The Way I Want”

17. Fleet Foxes – “Can I Believe You”

16. Declan McKenna – “Beautiful Faces”

15. IDLES – “Model Village”

14. Hamilton Leithauser – “Here They Come”

13. Freddie Gibbs ft. Tyler, the Creator – “Something to Rap About”

12. Phoebe Bridgers – “Kyoto”

11. Sylvan Esso – “Ferris Wheel”

10. Sufjan Stevens – “Make Me An Offer I Cannot Refuse”

9. Phoebe Bridgers – “Garden Song”

8. IDLES – “Grounds”

7. Fleet Foxes – “Sunblind”

6. Stove God Cooks – “Bread of Life”

5. Blue & Exile – “Blue”

4. Tierra Whack – “Dora”

3. Waxahatchee – “Fire”

2. IDLES – “A Hymn”

1. clipping. – “Say The Name”

35. Bill Callahan – Gold Record

34. Tom Hymn – Songs From the Annex

33. The Avalanches – We Will Always Love You

32. Matt Berninger – Serpentine Prison

31. Destroyer – Have We Met

30. Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters

29. Denzel Curry/Kenny Beats – UNLOCKED

28. Khruangbin – Mordechai 

27. Westside Gunn – Pray for Paris 

26. Waxahatchee – Saint Cloud

25. Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher

24. Conway the Machine – From King to a GOD

23.Declan Mckenna – Zeros

22. Bright Eyes – Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was

21. Black Thought – Streams of Thought: Vol. 3: Cain & Able

20. Aesop Rock – Spirit World Field Guide

19. Sufjan Stevens – Ascension

18. Open Mike Eagle – Anime, Trauma and Divorce

17. Future Islands – As Long As You Are

16. Boldy James – The Price of Tea in China

15. Sylvan Esso – Free Love

14.Fleet Foxes – Shore

13. Perfume Genius – Set My Heart On Fire

12. Hamilton Leithauser – The Loves of Your Life

11. Armand Hammer – Shrines

10. Blu & Exile – Miles

9. Gorillaz – Song Machine: Season One: Strange Times

8. Ka –Descendants of Cain

7. Freddie Gibbs/Alchemist – Alfredo

6. Stove God Cooks – Reasonable Drought

5. Tennis – Swimmer

4. Tame Impala – The Slow Rush


2. Run The Jewels – RTJ4

1. Clipping. – Visions of Bodies Being Burned

My #1 Album of the Year comes from California experimental hip-hop trio clipping. Their album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned came out in the perfect year. It is escapism. It is rooted in horror and gore and not for the faint of heart. I loved several albums this year. It was pretty hard to choose my ultimate favorite. What separated this album from the others is the amount of times I kept going back to it as a drove to and from work. I would blast “Say the Name” and “‘96 Neve Campbell” on the loudest volume. Probably ruining my car’s resale value. 

Daveed Diggs basically lives a double-life. He is beloved by millions of middle-aged soccer moms for his role in Hamilton. He deserves all of that praise because Hamilton is amazing and he does a great job. However, I wonder how many of those fans know that in this project he talks about very detailed accounts of murder. It is funny and makes me appreciate him more. He is such a talented artist who does whatever he wants, no matter the perception or reaction. 

The production on Visions of Bodies Being Burned follows in the same vein as previous projects. William Huston and Jonathan Snipes provide a backdrop and soundscape that is creepy and eerie. The song-building is part of the reason I keep going back to this group. They have an amazing ability to mood-build. I don’t know if that is a term. When you put this on, you have to be in the mood or willing to change your mood to what they want you to feel. 

This album is one of the most unique listening experiences you will have. Just sit back and enjoy it. Then, as it seeps into your bones, get up and punch a wall. 

Pleasant Surprises

The Postal Service – Everything Will Change (Live) – I love this “band” so much and thought this live album was an awesome representation of the best of them. 

Declan McKenna – Zeros – Thank you to some people on Instagram for putting me on this. Catchy, fun, and poppy.

Stove God Cooks – Reasonable Drought – This is great. Great production, funny lyricism, grimy, and catchy. I love it and can’t wait to see what he does next. 

Underrated/Overlooked Albums: Albums critics/people did not give enough love to.
Tame Impala – The Slow Rush – This album feels like it came out three years ago. 

Tennis – Swimmer – This is my favorite Tennis album by far. It is so consistent, light, and catchy.

Friends/Community Favorites: Shout out to everyone that contributed. 


Rodney W. – Stove God Cooks – Reasonable Drought

Justin W. – Blasphemy – Midnight – Rebirth

Nikki G. – Breaking Benjamin – Aurora

Kevin B. – Dance Gavin Dance – Afterburner

Alex R. – Bugsy – Teratoma

Ivana K. – Tame Impala – The Slow Rush

Tina T. – Chris Stapleton – Starting Over

Steven T. – Mac Miller – Circles

Alex G. RTJ – RTJ4 and Jay Electronica – A Written Testimony

Virtina V. – Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters

Christina S. – JOJI – Nectar

Joel R. – Ratboys – Printer’s Devil


@benminniearart – All Them Witches – Nothing is Ideal

@_lantern_ – John Carrol Kirby – My Garden , Yellow Days – A Day In Yellow Beat

@justinchristopherpoulin – Shabason, Krgovich & Harris – “Friday Afternoon” , Nana Adjoa – Big Dreaming Ants

@nude_gingrich – Henriette Sennenvaldt – Something Wonderful

@fern.fuentes – Bartess Strange – Live Forever

@rustyvenchman – My Morning Jacket – “Magic Bullet”


@mccauleyjason – The Avett Brothers – The Third Gleam

Albums and Artists that didn’t come out in 2020 that I listened to a lot:

Frank Ocean – Blonde (2016)

Tyler, the Creator – IGOR (2019)

MF DOOM/Madlib – Madvillainy (2004)

Everything by Elliott Smith always and forever

Live Shows I saw this Year


Favorite Live Performances That I Watched Online

Albums I look forward to coming out in 2021

Slowthai – TYRON

Madlib – Sound Ancestors 

Tierra Whack – TBA

Parquet Courts – TBA

Danny Brown – XXXX

Kendrick Lamar – TBA

11 years worth of Previous Lists