21 From 2020

21 From 2020

The year wasn’t great, but there were some great tunes along the way.  Here’s some that were mostly new in 2020, but all pertain to it somehow.    


21. American Aquarium – Me + Mine

2020 - one long lamentation.


20. Sturgill Simpson – Ronin, Remember To Breath, Sing Along, A Good Look, Make Art Not Friends

Mr. Simpson's two bluegrass albums this year are delights, but I listened to this side from Sound & Fury more than any of his other songs this year, drafting deposition question sequences.


19.  Americans - Protesting

What's better than Americans exercising their First Amendment rights?  Americans with musical instruments doing it.


18. Phoebe Bridgers - Kyoto

Life’s not all lamentations, fury and protests though, even in 2020.  Here’s Ms. Bridgers’ wispy breakout, off her excellent sophomore effort, Punisher. 


17. Gum Country – Somewhere

Pitchfork says; “The record is as ironic as it is fun, where goofiness is the answer to anxiety in the face of isolation and new beginnings.”  I says, “Pitchfork is right.” 


16. Bartees Strange – Boomer



15. Anti Flag – Don’t Let The Bastards Get You Down

Looking for an anthem?  A coda?  A tattoo, perhaps?


14. (tie) The Strokes – Bad Decisions / The Killers – My Own Soul’s Warning

Heard both of these on @thenewkrml and, both times, thought I had somehow missed these songs from years ago, because they sound / feel so band-correct. 


13. Old 97s – Bottle Rocket Baby

The Old 97s release a new album, a song goes on the list.  Dems da rules.


12. Fiona Apple – Heavy Balloon

Fetch The Bolt Cutters is, and please forgive the technical terminology, amazeballs.  This percussive hallucination is the tip of the iceberg. 


11. Tyler Childers – Long Violent History

Looking to break some rules?  How about centuries of systemic racism?  With this (here) companion handy guide to being a decent human being.


10. Nathaniel Rateliff – And It’s Still Alright

If there’s a lullaby for 2020, this is it.


9. Bon Iver & Taylor Swift - exile

Wisconsin & Pennsylvania, coming through again. 


8. Regrettes – What Am I Gonna Do Today?

Nathaniel has the one you sing going to bed.  Lydia has the one you sing at breakfast.  


7. Elizabeth Cook – Perfect Girls of Pop

If this is not a perfectly produced song, I don’t know what is.


6. Jason Isbell – Dreamsicle

Gonna cheat a little bit, and sneak in a couple other songs and marital banter that I find comforting, whilst 2,000 miles apart from my beloved.


5. Amanda Shires – The Problem

Devestatingly poignant, and more of that Shires/Isbell comfort. 


4. Rhiannon Giddens – All You Facists Bound To Lose

Democracy rules, as does Woody.



go get a box of Kleenex – you’re gonna need it for these next three songs


3. Brian Fallon – When You’re Ready

Off his quite fantastic Local Honey album.


2. Brand Carlile – Hello In There

You watch this and think nothing could be more genuine…


1. John Prine – I Remember Everything

… and then you watch this.  America’s Poet Laureate, taken by this hellish year. 



Be kind, stay safe, buy records, don’t stream them … and sing a little John Prine every now and then