Best Albums of the Year + Bandcamp Friday!

With Bandcamp having another no fee day on Friday, I decided to jump the gun and release my favorite albums of the year list early, in case you want to check out some music and support some artists. Let’s go!


Aesop Rock – Spirit World Field Guide

I thought that anything following the great Malibu Ken collaboration would suffer in comparison, but boy oh boy, did Aesop Rock teach me a lesson. Is this his best album ever? I think an argument could be made. His flow is unstoppable, and his mixing of the surreal and symbolic, personal and flippant, is a wonder to behold. Another thing? This album is fun to listen to. In these times, that’s probably all you need to know.

Touche Amore – Lament

Are they screamo, or simply post-punk? I don’t know, and I don’t care. Labels are weird anyway. All I know is this singer is very much from the scream school, and for whatever reason, I seem to like that. (You will see when we move further down the list.) Angry, hurt, and hoping for something better, this album seems to touch on all the 2020 moods at once.

clipping – Visions of Bodies Being Burned

clipping love having overarching stories for their albums, and this is no different. It carries on with the vampire theme of their last album (ignoring the two song release about police brutality, which you shouldn’t ignore, because those songs are great too), and expands on certain points. Also? Crap. Nobody can beat Diggs’ flow, no matter how hard they try. It’s a visceral, angry record of horrorcore rap, and it’s marvelous.

Uniform – Shame

Remember what I said about screaming? Although honestly it’s more shouting – yes, there’s a difference. Here we have the latest album from the pummeling noise/metal/industrial/whatever the hell (again, genres can be limiting) Uniform, with bleak 2020 realness. The first songs kicks off with the repeated refrain “You are what you’ve done/You are what’s been done to you”, which really tells you all you need to know about what you’re in for. I know he’s a fictional character, but Roan may have found a new favorite band.

MELVL – Lachrymal Heartflesh

This is an EP really, only three songs – and not the only one on the list, as you will see – but they’re three very impressive songs of ambient noise. Yes, I have a musical type, and you have found it.

Oceanator – Things I’ve Never Said

Enjoy something a bit more on the mellow side, as a palate cleanser. A thoughtful album with genuine heart, I don’t want it to seem lesser to my noisy and/or more aggressive albums, because it isn’t. Sometimes being subtle takes more talent.

Metz – Atlas Vending

But here I am, back on my bullshit again. To be fair to Metz, this isn’t their most agrgressive album, and they take some chances that mostly pay off. I am always glad to hear Metz still fighting, and doing their very best to win.

Bartees Strange – Live Forever

Here’s another temporary noise break, in the form of a very good, surprising album of pretty straight forward indie rock, delivered well. Another thoughtful album, although in a different way.

Abandoncy – Hollow/Living

Yes, yes, more aggressive noise. Again, I have a type.

Dame – Dame

Here’s a little contemporary goth/new wave for your listening pleasure. And it is a pleasure to listen to. Again, all you need to know nowadays.

Screaming Toenail – Growth

Did you know queer anti-colonial punk was a thing? Well, you do now, and few are better at it than the whimsically named Screaming Toenail.

Lauren Bousfield – Palimpsest

You knew I was going to have some electronic music on this list, but not just any electronic music – strange electronic music. My absolute favorite.

Forest Bees – Forest Bees

A kind of dream pop/shoegazy album, this has heart and talent to spare. And again, is a nice break from all the shouty noise.

Zeal and Ardor – Wake of a Nation

You knew that was a set up, right? Although, to be fair, this group of songs about police brutality are a little more experimental than noisy for Zeal and Ardor.

Backxwash – God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out of This

This has been a great year for what I’m going to call indie rap, because I’m not really sure how many of these artists get any kind of play. But they should, because artists like Backxwash are doing really innovative stuff. Also, this album is free, so you have no reason not to give it a listen.

Gaythiest – How Long Have I Been On Fire?

Yep, these guys are back in form, doing their short, sharp shock of noise, this time trying to capture the doomfuck of this entire year. They do it pretty well.

Thick – 5 Years Behind

Enjoy some angry, very contemporary garage punk by justifiably angry women.

Holy Fawn – The Black Moon

The other three song EP on this list, by genre benders Holy Fawn. Somehow, they manage to take three songs and make them evocative and haunting.

Bully – Sugaregg

What is this album? Hard to say. Is alternative rock still a thing? If it’s not, that’s still what this album sounds like, and that’s a good thing.

Jeff Rosenstock – No Dream

Jeff is back and doing his DIY punk music, and trying his best to work with this hellscape of a year. He does it well.

Willaris. K – Lustre

Want some experimental electronic ambient – again, genres suck – that goes down smoothly? I was personally impressed by this album.

The Birthday Massacre – Diamonds

Were you missing some post-punk modern goth? Say no more. The Birthday Massacre has you covered.

topograhies – Difference and Repetition

A bit of soothing electronic dreampop for you, in case all the angry stuff I’ve recommended leaves you on the verge of a panic attack. And only four songs in this one.

Twilight Sad – It Won/t Be Like This All The Time Live

For the fans, Twilight Sad released a live album, and you know what? It’s good! If you can’t go to any shows, at least you can pretend you’re there.

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