The home-bound year of 2020 allowed for more time for music than ever, and the lack of gigs, clubs and festivals made the album all the more relevant. Here Piers Barber runs down the best LPs the year had to offer. Full lists from previous years can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
Earth Trax – LP1; Call Super – Every Mouth Teeth Missing; Actress – Karma & Desire; Seltene Erden – Scorched Earth; Jezzy Lanza – All The Time; Zenker Brothers – Cosmic Transmission; Roisin Murphy – Roisin Machine; Theo Parrish – Wuddaji; Cut Copy – Freeze, Melt; Paul Epworth – Voyager; Andrea – Ritorno; John Beltran – The Season Series; Skepta, Chip, Mainz – Insomnia; Daniel Avery – Illusion of Time; Caribou – Suddenly; Omar S – You Want; King Krule – Man Alive!; The Orielles – Disco Volador; Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Sideways to New Italy; Working Men’s Club – Working Men’s Club; Romare – Home; Dan Kye – Small Moments; Earth Trax – LP2; MJ Cole – MJ Cole Presents Madrugada, Moodymann – Taken Away; J Hus – Big Conspiracy; Jam City – Pillowland; SAULT – Untitled (Rise); SAULT – Untitled (Black Is); Knxwledge – 1988; Luke Abbott – Translate; The Soft Pink Truth – Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase?; Moses Boyd – Dark Matter
5. Ultraista – Sister
Ultraista’s Rough Trade launch was the last gig I managed to fit in before the first lockdown, and the resulting album – all pretty glitchy beats and lovely melodies – was a triumph of modern pop pioneered by half of Atoms For Peace with the added vocal talents of Laura Bettinson.
4. Daniel Avery – Love + Light
Daniel Avery’s third solo full-length, which dropped as a much-appreciated lockdown surprise in June, makes the top five mainly because of centrepiece ‘Dream Distortion’, a big room atmospheric masterclass that made me suddenly yearn for clubs. Elsewhere Love + Light is all tasteful, often thumping electronica which is indebted to the influence of Avery’s friend Andrew Weatherall, who died earlier in the year.
3. Darkstar – Civic Jams
The unexpected return of post-dubstep heroes (Civic Jams is the duo’s first album since 2015) was a tasteful snapshot of our strange era, with murky electronics, almost shoegaze atmospherics and vulnerable vocals capturing the confusion and isolation of lost lockdown communities within a deserted city.
2. K-Lone – Cape Cira
Bristol producer K-Lone’s first full-length effort was a restrained and beautiful departure from previous club-focused EPs. Full of natural samples and recordings, Cape Cira is a delightful slice of tropical meandering rollers – ideal escapism from long days in a small London flat and ideal earworms to amplify the year of existential wanderlust that was 2020.
1. DJ Python – Mas Amable
The pulsing rhythms of Brian Piñeyro’s second full-length, which flows from start to finish like a single piece of music, was the ultimate lockdown accompaniment. His take on deep reggaeton is captivating and idiosyncratic, with ‘ADMSDP’, the album’s LA Warman-featuring centrepiece, a memorable meditative self-help healer. 2020 was Piñeyro year, with the New York producer also releasing a run of triumphant remixes as his sleepy, meditative groovers struck a chord with the mood of the year. A classic.
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