The Top Albums of 2020 (so far!)
Ah, 2020. I can’t think of much that’s happened this year to be honest… All I do know is that there has already been some bloody good music that’s been released. I should probably have done this in June at the half-way point of the year, but I didn’t, so I’m doing it now. Welcome to my round-up of (**in my opinion**) the best albums released in 2020 so far.
5. Frankie Stew and Harvey Gunn – Breathing Exercises
If you’ve not heard of these lads, then it’s time to wake up. Frankie Stew and Harvey Gunn are Brighton’s hottest property at the moment. The pair’s music takes influence from hip-hop, dance music, and UKG. The result? Emotional beats and introspective lyrics which conjure up a distinctly “emotive, original, and unmistakably British” sound. Lovely stuff.
For fans of: Loyle Carner, Kofi Stone
4. Fontaines D.C. – A Hero’s Death
I have to admit I hadn’t really listened to Dublin band Fontaines D.C. before the release of their second album, ‘A Hero’s Death’. Well, I’m now most definitely a fan. Coming only one year after their critically acclaimed debut album, second effort ‘A Hero’s Death’ is truly outstanding. The album is a philosophical take on the modern world’s great uncertainty and dabbles in indie, rock, and downright awesome post-punk goodness. I’m also a sucker for an Irish accent so this album gets the thumbs up from me.
For fans of: IDLES, Squid
3. Tame Impala – The Slow Rush
Tame Impala’s smash third album ‘Currents’ catapulted Kevin Parker into the musical stratosphere. But with ‘Currents’ incorporating a more synth-laden sound compared to early albums ‘Innerspeaker’ and ‘Lonerism’, fans were left wondering in what direction Kevin would head next. Well, fourth album ‘The Slow Rush’ sees the Aussie boldly head à la discotheque. Bongos, pads, and groovy synths take centre stage in a shimmery offering that blurs the lines between psychedelia, indie rock, and dance music. Disclaimer: For maximum enjoyment, this album must be listened to on a sunny day, ice cold beer in hand.
For fans of: Washed Out, MGMT
2. Lianne La Havas – Lianne La Havas
Lianne La Havas is another artist I confess to not really listening to before this year. However, over lockdown I was lucky enough to ‘attend’ her new album’s launch party via Zoom, where Lianne performed an acoustic set and streamed the album in full. After listening to it once through, it was clear this was going to be a special album. I absolutely love her voice! (sorry, fangurl moment over). Highlights include ‘Please Don’t Make Me Cry’, ‘Can’t Fight’ and a simply sublime, soulful cover of Radiohead’s ‘Weird Fishes’. Lianne said she hoped Thom Yorke would like her slowed down version of the track. Well, I’d be amazed if he didn’t.
For fans of: Celeste, Arlo Parks
1. Khruangbin – Mordechai
A band I’ve loved for a few years now, having first seen them live at Houghton Festival 2018, Khruangbin’s third album was hotly anticipated by myself (and for good reason!) The band’s brilliant first two albums, ‘The Universe Smiles Upon You’ and ‘Con Todo El Mundo’, were almost completely instrumental and drew inspiration from the world’s finest sonic aromas (think Thai Funk and Iranian Soul). However, for third album ‘Mordechai’, funky lead single ‘Time (You and I)’ confirmed the band were heading in an exciting new direction: one characterised by the same global groove that we know and love, but this time with Laura Lee’s vocals featuring prominently. And you know what? It works so well, not only on ‘Time’, but throughout the whole 10 tracks. ‘Mordechai’ is a really exceptional album and I can’t wait to see where the Texan trio jet off to next for album número cuatro.
For fans of: Orions Belte, Skinshape
There were also loads of other contenders for this list. Shouts to: Caribou – ‘Suddenly’, King Krule – ‘Man Alive’, Thundercat – ‘It Is What It Is’, Sault – ‘Untitled (Black Is)’, Skinshape – ‘Umoja’, Bibio – ‘Sleep On The Wing’.
Do you agree with us? Get in touch here to let us know your favourite albums of the year so far!