Mixes By Year: Best of 2020 Volume 2

Best of 2020 Volume 2 (12/25/20)

  1. Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion- Wap
  2. Beyonce- Black Parade
  3. Lianne La Havas- Bittersweet
  4. Dua Lipa- Break My Heart
  5. Khruangbin- Time (You And I)
  6. Bumper- Black Light
  7. Jessie Ware- What’s Your Pleasure?
  8. Lady Gaga- Stupid Love
  9. Roisin Murphy- Something More
  10. Jayda G- Both Of Us
  11. Christine And The Queens- People, I’ve Been Sad
  12. The Weather Station- Robber
  13. Fiona Apple- Cosmonauts
  14. Waxahatchee- Lilacs
  15. Fleet Foxes- Sunblind
  16. Haim- Summer Girl
  17. Troye Sivan- Take Yourself Home
  18. Chris Stapleton- Cold

Mixes By Year: Best of 2020 Volume 3

Best of 2020 Volume 3 (12/25/20)

  1. Dua Lipa- Don’t Start Now
  2. Haim- Now I’m In It
  3. Charli XCX- Anthems
  4. Saweetie- Tap In
  5. Megan Thee Stallion- Girls In The Hood
  6. Fiona Apple- Shameika
  7. Grimes- 4AEM
  8. Lady Gaga- Enigma
  9. Drake- Laugh Now Cry Later
  10. Run The Jewels (Feat. Greg Nice & DJ Premier)- Ooh La La
  11. Terrace Martin & Denzel Curry (Feat. Kamasi Washington, G Perico & Daylyt)- Pig Feet
  12. Dogleg- Wrist
  13. Kvelertak (Feat. Troy Sanders)- Crack Of Doom
  14. Fontaines D.C.- A Hero’s Death
  15. Chris Stapleton- Arkansas
  16. Yves Tumor- Dream Palette
  17. Perfume Genius- Nothing At All
  18. Jessie Ware- Spotlight
  19. Taylor Swift- August
  20. Waxahatchee- Arkadelphia
  21. Phoebe Bridgers- I Know The End

Mixes By Year: Best of 2020 Volume 4

Best of 2020 Volume 4 (12/25/20)

  1. Destroyer- Crimson Tide
  2. Caribou- Never Come Back
  3. 24KGldn (Feat. Ian Dior)- Mood
  4. Grimes- Delete Forever
  5. Haim- Los Angeles
  6. The Chicks- Gaslighter
  7. U.S. Girls- Born To Lose
  8. Jessie Ware- Ooh La La
  9. Fiona Apple- I Want You To Love Me
  10. Beabadoobee- Care
  11. Yves Tumor- Kerosene!
  12. Bartees Strange- Mustang
  13. Dogleg- Fox
  14. No Age- War Dance
  15. Run The Jewels (Feat. 2Chainz)- Out Of Sight
  16. Future (Feat. Drake)- Life Is Good
  17. The Weeknd- Blinding Lights
  18. Phoebe Bridgers- Garden Song
  19. Waxahatchee- Fire
  20. Taylor Swift- Cardigan
  21. The 1975- Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America

Mixes By Year: Best of 2019 Volume 1 (1/11/20)

  1. Vampire Weekend- Harmony Hall
  2. Diiv- Blankenship
  3. Fontaines D.C.- Boys In The Better Land
  4. Mannequin Pussy- Drunk II
  5. Chasrly Bliss- Hard To Believe
  6. Sharon Van Etten- Seventeen
  7. Mark Ronson (Feat. Angel Olsen)- True Blue
  8. Taylor Swift- Lover
  9. Helado Negro- Running
  10. Purple Mountains- Margaritas At The Mall
  11. Brittany Howard- Stay High
  12. Little Simz (Feat. Cleo Sol)- Selfish
  13. FKA Twigs- Mirrored Heart
  14. Angel Olsen- All Mirrors
  15. Big Thief- Not
  16. Bon Iver- Hey, Ma
  17. Jessica Pratt- This Time Around
  18. Lana Del Rey- The Greatest

Mixes By Year: Best of 2019 Volume 2 (1/11/20)

  1. Polo G (Feat. Lil Tjay)- Pop Out
  2. Dababy- Suge
  3. J Cole- Middle Child
  4. Rosalia- Millionairia
  5. Sahweetie- My Type
  6. Billie Eilish- Bad Guy
  7. Ariana Grande- Fake Smile
  8. Normani- Motivation
  9. Vampire Weekend- This Life
  10. Chai- Curly Adventure
  11. Caribou- Home
  12. Sharon Van Etten- Comeback Kid
  13. Jamila Woods- Zora
  14. Solange- Binz
  15. FKA Twigs- Sad Day
  16. James Blake- Don’t Miss It
  17. Lana Del Rey- Mariner’s Apartment Complex
  18. Big Thief- Cattails
  19. Weyes Blood- A Lot’s Gotta Change
  20. Fontaines D.C.- Too Real
  21. Diiv- Skin Game
  22. Black Midi- Near Dt, MI
  23. Purple Mountains- All My Happiness Is Gone

Mixes By Year: Best of 2019 Volume 4 (1/12/20)

  1. Lana Del Rey- Norman Fucking Rockwell!
  2. Angel Olsen- What It Is
  3. Big Thief- Forgotten Eyes
  4. Ariana Grande- thank u, next
  5. Lizzo- Juice
  6. Koffee- Throne
  7. Young Thug (Feat. J. Cole & Travis Scott)- The London
  8. Tyler, The Creator- A Boy Is A Gun
  9. Denzel Curry (Feat. Kiddo Marv)- Wish
  10. Toro Y Moi- Who I Am
  11. Charly Bliss- Blown To Bits
  12. Baroness- Broken Halo
  13. Sturgill Simpson- Sing Along
  14. Tyler Childers- All Your’N
  15. Purple Mountains- That’s Just The Way I Feel
  16. Jenny Lewis- Wasted Youth
  17. FKA Twigs- Fallen Alien
  18. Thom Yorke- Runwayaway
  19. Cater le Bon- Daylight Matters
  20. Weyes Blood- Andromeda
  21. Vampire Weekend (Feat, Danielle Haim)- Hold You Now

Recommended New Music: January/February, 2019


Singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten delivers her best album yet with her fifth full-length release “Remind Me Tomorrow”.  On previous albums she was grappling with an abusive relationship which happened in her twenties, while here she more optimistically seems to reach back toward her teen years, especially on standout tracks like “Comeback Kid” and “Seventeen”.  It is also her most accessible album to date with focused songwriting, big choruses and synth flourishes.  One of the best albums of the year so far.

Buy Remind Me Tomorrow






Deerhunter’s eighth album is perhaps their best since 2010’s brilliant “Halcyon Digest”.  While remaining experimental, this is also one of Deerhunter’s most catchy and “pop” offerings yet.  Leader and songwriter Bradford Cox looks at the bleak and encroaching concerns of the day such as ecological damage and right-wing extremism through a realistic but empathetic lens.  Deerhunter have quietly become one of the most consistently great indie rock bands of the past decade and a half.

Buy Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?






Girlpool’s third album sounds like a different band all together.  On 2017’s “Powerplant” the most distinct part of Girlpool were the group’s two singer’s beautiful female harmonies.  Recently Cleo Tuckers, one of the two singers, came out as trans and began taking tester one pills which significantly lowered her voice making the two vocalists noticeably different.  The group also has added more fuzz and distortion to its sound and “What Chaos Is Imaginary” frankly rocks more than its predecessor. Girlpool’s debut was a very stripped down affair, where the group added drums and bass on its second album.  Only three albums in, the group seem to be musical chameleons making them one of the most interesting groups in the current landscape.

Buy What Chaos Is Imaginary







Third full-length release from L.A. singer-songwriter, Jessica Pratt, whose eccentric voice brings to mind Joanna Newsom and whose hushed, pastoral tone recalls early seventies female artists like Vashti Bunyon.  The majority of the album is just Pratt’s vocal and fingerpicked acoustic guitar, with occasional organ and flute added.  Its nine songs are gentle but arresting and absolutely gorgeous.  “This Time Around” is the real standout.

Buy Quiet Signs








Over the past few years, Ariana Grande has become one of the biggest music stars in the world.  Though she has a huge, gorgeous voice, her music is pure pop though she takes much influence from hip-hop & R&B.  Like her favorite rappers, Grande wants to release music quickly and not be adherent to the traditional 2-3 years in between albums of most of music’s biggest artists.  “thank u, next” comes right on the heels of Grande’s huge blockbuster “Sweetener”, released last summer, and grapples with Grande’s break-up with SNL comedian Pete Davidson.  The title track has already been a smash hit for months and follow up singles “7 Rings” and “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored” are catchy earworms as well.  With other potential singles like “Bloodline” and “Needy” waiting in the wings, Grande may just have a second straight blockbuster on her hands, though this one may be slower burning.

Buy thank u, next [Explicit]

Top 50 Albums of 2018: 41-50




Full-length debut by Melbourne, Australia quintet is a rock solid album where all ten tracks are winners.  The group brings to mind late 80’s jangle pop and early 90’s alt-rock- think Feelies, R.E.M. & the Go-Betweens.  RBCF consists of three rotating singer/guitarists which keep the songs from sounding alike.  They also move quickly from slashing rock tracks to more melodic pop driven ballads.  I didn’t hear this album until the very end of 2018 so it has barely set in but on my first few listens it sounds like one of the more replayable rock albums in recent years and a breath of fresh air.


BUY Hope Downs








Most high profile album release by twenty year old, Chicago underground rapper Cupcakke.  It’s probably the filthiest album by a female rapper since Lil Kim’s debut in 1996- her punchlines are over-the-top, outrageous and outright hilarious while being sex positive and all inclusive.  Her beats are upbeat and club-ready with the biggest highlights being “Crayons” and “Duck Duck Goose”.


BUY Ephorize [Explicit]







After Arctic Monkeys fifth album “AM” broke through in America, threatening to make the British indie-rock band one of the biggest rock n’ roll bands on the planet, the band’s sixth album “Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino” shows them taking a sharp left turn toward lounge-lizard spacey synth and piano based esoteric singer-songwriter music heavily influenced by early seventies Bowie.  Though the album takes awhile to grab onto, it reveals itself more with each listen, enriching the band’s already solid catalog.  It also seems to free the group up to do whatever it wants next.  Choice cut is the awesome “Four Out Of Five”.


BUY Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino AMAZON









Debut albums from South London post-punk band, who is indebted to Joy Division Gang Of Four & Interpol.  While Shame’s sound is certainly nothing new, their passionate, raw, intense, pissed off and political songs play well against the backdrop of Trump and Brexit and the band ramp’s down the experimentation of their influences creating an album of muscular, hard-charging, anthemic rock.


BUY Songs of Praise AMAZON








3rd full-length album by Frankie Cosmos, AKA Great Kline, the NYC-bred daughter of actors Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates.  Kline plays a short & simple, but hooky hybrid of indie-rock and twee pop.  “Vessel” is 18 songs in under 35 minutes, blunt but often profound musings on life and love in the big city.  Not every song is perfect, but she never leaves you time to get bored.  The track “Duet” melts my heart and songs like “Same Thing” and “Apathy” are some of her best work yet.






Now Only


“Now Only” is the companion album to Phil Elverum’s beautiful and haunting “A Crow Looked At Me”, made in the shadow of the death of his beloved wife to cancer.  Where “Crow” moved chronologically through a brief but harrowing and intense period of time, “Now Only” takes a more non-linear approach, reaching back to Elverum’s childhood and up to the present, where he has to reconcile how to move forward in his life with a young daughter and without the love of his life.



BUY Now Only








Debut album from political D.C. punk band who sound more like a blend of early 80’s post punk & new wave. “Constant Image” is a short album, all killer & no filler with punchy hooks. Philosophically taking stabs at an array of social injustices, Flasher’s anger is palpable but it goes down smoothly. One of the best debuts of the year and though its sound is nothing new, Flasher also sounds like nothing else now.


BUY Constant Image AMAZON








Third album by experimental post-punk Montreal band Ought takes the group in a slightly more commercial direction to solid results. Ought has a decidedly eighties post-punk sound- think post-“Entertainment”-era Gang Of Four, a slightly less gloomy Joy Division and mid-eighties The Fall. Singer Tim Darcy sounds even more like The Fall’s Mark E. Smith than James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem does. Each of Ought’s previous albums has contained a few absolute gems and “Room Inside the World” is no different. “Desire” and “Disgraced In America” are two absolute standouts here, but while it is very unlikely you’ll start hearing Ought on the radio anytime soon, “Room” could end up opening up the band to a wider audience.


BUY Room Inside the World AMAZON








Underrated Chicago rapper Joey Purp delivers a worthy follow-up to 2016’s excellent mixtape “iiiDrops”.  Purp toes the line between conscious rap and hard, street tough modern gangsta rap.  “Quarterthing” contains bangers that will also make you think and the dextrous Purp is able to dance around among styles and voices, creating an exciting, varied album.  Standout tracks are “Hallelujah”, “Godbody” and “Lebron James”.


BUY Quarterthing [Explicit] AMAZON










Boygenius is an exciting all female indie-rock supergroup consisting of Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus & Julien Baker.  Each individual brings their outsize talents to the 6 song EP creating a whole equal to the sum of its amazing parts.  If this project is a one off, it’s a pretty great one. If it ends up bearing more fruit then it will be exciting to see where they go next.  It’s also well worth checking out each musician’s music on its own.


BUY boygenius AMAZON

Top 50 Albums of 2018: 31-40





“Negro Swan”, Dev Hynes’s fourth album as Blood Orange, examines the flipsides of ‘ugly’ and ‘beauty’ and what is is like to live in the margins as an African-American gay person in modern America.  Hynes is a top-notch producer, who works with some of the biggest & best pop stars of today including Solange Knowles, Haim, Sky Ferreira & Carly Rae Jepsen.  Though his music is never boilerplate pop, Blood Orange is the place where he expands and explores his music to the greatest depth.  “Negro Swan” is a lot to dig through and is not immediately accessible, revealing its greatness slowly. “Nappy Wonder”, “Orlando” and “Runnin’ (with Georgia Anne Muldrow) are early highlights.











At Weddings



Debut album from Kentucky-based singer songwriter Sarah Beth Tomberlin.  Raised in a suffocatingly strict southern Baptist home, Tomberlin grapples with the loss of her religious faith and “At Weddings” celebrates the beauty of every day mundanity resulting in intimate music which is devastatingly beautiful and heart wrenching.  Key tracks are “Any Other Way” and “I’m Not Scared”.


BUY At Weddings AMAZON










Coming a just a year behind his 2017 self-titled break-up album about Dirty Projector’s leader Dave Longstreth’s longterm bandmate and partner Amber Coffman, “Lamp Lit Prose” has flown a bit under the radar this year.  “Lamp Lit Prose” is a lovestruck, optimistic album about finding that earthquaking romance after a long period of depression.  With track titles like “Break-Thru”, “I Feel Energy”, “I Found It In U”, “You’re The One” and “(I Wanna) Feel It All”, Longstreth’s joy is palpable and the buoyancy of the music here matches the lyrics.  In a year and a time filled with anger and often despair, “Lamp Lit Prose” is a light in the dark.



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Ty Segall is one of the most prolific artists working today. Even a music-obsessive such as I probably knows much less than half his discography. He’s released twenty albums in just under a decade so one must narrow the focus on the standout releases if possible. “Freedom’s Goblin” is a sprawling double album which takes from nearly every non-radio friendly electric guitar sound of the last fifty years. Early Metal, Stoner-rock, Crazy Horse inspired guitar jams, T-Rex-era glam rock, late sixties garage rock- it’s all here. There is even a kick-ass cover of disco-funk band Hot Chocolate’s “Everyone 1’s A Winner”. With an album this long not every track is created equal- Segall is intentionally messy and stylistically all over the place but the dude shreds and anyone lamenting the decline of guitar rock should check this out immediately.


BUY Freedom’s Goblin AMAZON









Sophomore album “Tell Me How You Really Feel” sounds smaller and more minor than Courtney Barnett’s 2015 full-length debut “Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit”, which was a surprise hit for the young Australian singer-songwriter who has a way with quippy, memorable and detailed lyrics and crunchy guitar riffs.  “Feel” is more introverted with less hit potential but it does not feel like a misstep.  I think in time it will show as an under-appreciated album with a handful of hidden gems- a likable album among a series of peaks and dips in the hopefully long and storied career of a major songwriting talent.


BUY Tell Me How You Really Feel AMAZON










11th full-length release by North Carolina indie-heroes Superchunk, continues their brilliant 2010’s late career run with “What A Time To Be Alive”, an energetic, angry and political album perfectly ripe for these crazy times. It is therapeutic to listen to people in their fifties calling out “old people” their age, or not much older for all of the messes they have made. Among the many album highlights are the title track, closer “Black Thread” and “Reagan Youth”. Another feather in the cap of this remarkably consistent punk institution.


BUY What a Time to Be Alive [Explicit] AMAZON









Room 25 cover.jpg



Second self-released album by Chicago rapper and spoken word artist Noname even betters her debut “Telefone”.  Noname throws in jazz & neo-soul beats creating a vibe, which is simultaneously relaxed and confrontational.  Always thought provoking- Noname talks love, career, violence, death & racial and gender politics.  Of the moment and encouraging all of us to be better, including herself.  Fellow Chicagoan guest stars like Ravyn Lenae, Saba & Smino further enhance the music.


BUY Room 25 [Explicit] AMAZON






Hive Mind [Explicit]


Second album by talented R&B/Soul outfit featuring lead vocalist and solo act, Syd, which offers are rock solid array of songs that vary from upbeat pop to slinky funk to sultry slow jams.  There are no obvious standout tracks here but no filler either and “Hive Mind” gets better with each listen.


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Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships (X) (2Lp/White)


Third album by British pop band The 1975 is stylistically all over the map.  Though it’s tough to love every track, the group’s ambition, excess and outrageousness is easy to admire and the group delivers perhaps the song of the year, and if not certainly the song that most captures the year’s zeitgeist, with “Love It If We Made It”.  The band combines current pop, nineties R&B, eighties yacht-rock and adult contemporary, schmaltzy jazz and indie-rock and somehow make it work- usually….


BUY A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships [Explicit] AMAZON










Master rap curator, Travis Scott, brings together many of the biggest names in modern rap, R&B and indie-rock, including The Weekend, Drake, Frank Ocean, Thundercat, Sheck Wes, Gunna, Juice WRLD, John Mayer & Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker to create one of the year’s biggest event rap albums.  “Astroworld” captures the sound of rap of rap today, murky and psychedelic, but placed in an accessible package.  Lead track “Stargazing” is a big highlight and the Drake featuring “Sicko Mode” is one of the hottest tracks of the year.