Music We Like: KHOL’s Best of 2020

Our team of music lovers has put our heads and ears together to bring you a biased and completely un-objective collection of our favorite music of 2020.
Fiona Apple, Run The Jewels, Khruangbin, Jeff Tweedy, Four Tet, Taylor Swift, Tame Impala, Fontaines D.C. and Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes are just some of the artists featured in KHOL's Best of 2020.

by | Dec 30, 2020 | New Music

With the much-anticipated close to a year full of dread, uneasiness and angst it was reassuring to know that creativity not only persevered but rose to the occasion, providing us with an amazing amount of poignant, celebratory and enriching new music.

Though our tastes are diverse, a few albums stand out as threads among our crew:  Khrungbin’s “Mordechai,” Jeff Tweedy’s “Love is King,” Four Tet’s “Sixteen Oceans,” Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes’ “What Kinda Music,” Run The Jewels’ “RTJ4,” Tame Impala’s “The Slow Rush” and Fontaines D.C. “A Hero’s Death,” to name a few. 


Emily Cohen (KHOL Executive Director)


  • Fiona Apple  – Fetch the Bolt Cutters
  • Haim – Women in Music Part III  
  • Lido Pimienta – Miss Colombia
  • Khruangbin – Mordechai
  • Nathan Salsburg – Landwerk No. 1 & 2  
  • Sylvan Esso – Free Love
  • Juana Molina – ANRMAL
  • Lee Fields – Big Crown Vaults
  • Chicano Batman – Invisible People  
  • Jeff Tweedy – Love Is The King


Fiona Apple – Fetch The Bolt Cutters

Unbound and a little wild, Fiona Apple’s latest album features self-reflective, relatable lyrics and percussive piano. Sometimes funny, sometimes challenging, she is ever the threat to the status quo. She say things we often think but don’t always feel free to say. But we can. And that is a potent reminder in this hyper-mediated world. 

Haim – Women In Music Part III

The sister band Haim’s third album has become the go-to soundtrack of my daily commute. This album explores a darker side from their prior SoCal style, but it is just as likeable, if not more. From the first drum beat, to the album’s bookended sax tracks, Haim’s catchy lyrics and vocal harmonies were the earworm of 2020.

Nathan Salsburg – Landwerk No. 1 & 2

Guitarist Nathan Salsburg often accompanies singer Joan Shelley, but on these albums he is accompanied by vintage 78-rpm records featuring Yiddish folk songs, Slovak miner’s music and a Scottish pipe and drum band, among others. It’s an appropriate pairing given that he’s also the curator for the Alan Lomax archives, the legendary folklorist who amassed an unparalleled collection of ethnographic documentation and field recordings. The “Landwerk” albums are the perfect pandemic music — reflective and elemental. They connect the past to the present, or perhaps as Salsburg says, they “redeem the present through the past.”


KnewJack (The Heavy Warmup) (KHOL Music Director), Weekdays 9 – 11 a.m.



  • Four Tet – Sixteen Oceans
  • Caribou – Suddenly
  • SAULT – Untitled (Black Is) & Untitled (Rise)
  • NIkitch & Kuna Maze – Debuts
  • Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes – What Kinda Music
  • Roy Ayers, Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammed – JID 002
  • Khruangbin – Mordechai
  • Chicano Batman – Invisible People
  • Romare – Home
  • Tame Impala – The Slow Rush
  • The Avalanches – We Will Always Love You





  • Run The Jewels – Ooh La La feat. Greg Nice & DJ Premier
  • Lido Pimienta – Nada
  • OXP – Swish
  • Madlib – Road Of The Lonely Ones
  • Mac Miller – Everybody
  • Medhane – I’m Deadass
  • Hanni El Khatib – ALIVE
  • Yung Heazy – Kool Muzik
  • Becca Mancari – The Hunter
  • Plants & Animals – House On Fire
  • Flume & Toro y Moi – The Difference
  • Tame Impala – Is It True (Four Tet Remix)
  • The Vision – Missing feat. Andreya Triana & Ben Westbeech
  • Bicep – Apricots
  • Soulwax – Empty Dancefloor

SAULT – Untitled (Black Is) & Untitled (Rise)

With George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police in May, many were left speechless and numb with no idea what to do about the stubborn grip of racial injustice.  Luckily, the mysterious collection of musicians known as SAULT were all over it. The band gave us not one but two incredible albums (“Untitled (Black Is)” & “Untitled (Rise)”) that cut right into the root of the problem, exposed it, lamented it, and persevered. The companion pieces act as one cohesive beautiful collage of artistic expression that celebrate the Black experience. Both “Untitled (Black Is)” & “Untitled (Rise)” collect all of the oppressed voices, deep sentiments and proud demands for justice into one unbreakable statement that’s filled with creativity and passion.

Khruangbin – Mordechai

Like many others this summer I was in dire need of something to take my mind off of the stresses of a global pandemic. Khruangbin delivered a temporary antidote with their latest album. On “Mordechai” the Texas trio chills things down to an inviting, meditative thump. They bring their uncategorizable style featuring hints of disco, Afro-pop, Latin funk, French new wave and of course their famous, ever-present dubbed-out bass lines. A desert vacation sensation permeates throughout with toe-tapping guitar licks, punchy hits, and percussion bits, just the right amount of jangle coupled with playful yet poignant vocals. Sit back, relax, and let it soothe your soul.

Chicano Batman – Invisible People

Los Angeles-based band Chicano Batman combines elements of funk, soul, Tropicalia and psychedelic SoCal pop into their latest offering “Invisible People.” Collaborative, experimental and heavily influenced by West Coast hip-hop, the album has a head nod-inducing, summer-friendly vibe with a lot of depth beneath the surface. The title track laments the underrepresentation of Latinx people in both the media and in music. It poses the question: What do we avoid thinking about to make our reality easier to digest?  The band attempts to answer that question and in the process, they have made the best album you’ve never heard.


Garth Gillespie (KHOL Board Chair)


Top 10

  • Destroyer – Have We Met
  • Tame Impala – The Slow Rush
  • Yves Tumor – Heaven to a Tortured Mind
  • Porridge Radio – Every Bad
  • Trace Mountains – Lost in the Country
  • Washed Out – Purple Noon
  • Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
  • Fontaines DC – A Hero’s Death
  • Nation of Language – Introduction, Presence
  • Darkside – Psychic Live July 17 2014
Next 10

  • Pure X – Pure X
  • Touche Amore – Lament
  • Adrianne Lenker – Songs
  • The War on Drugs – Live Drugs
  • Helena Deland – Someone New
  • Taylor Swift – Folklore
  • Wayfarer – A Romance with Violence
  • Deftones – Ohms
  • Protomartyr – Ultimate Success Today
  • Kelly Lee Owens – Inner Song


Kevin P. (Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out), Sundays 4 – 7 p.m.


  • Jerry Joseph – The Beautiful Madness
  • New Riders of The Purple Sage – Bear’s Sonic Journals: Dawn of The New Riders of The Purple Sage
  • Phish – Sigma Oasis
  • The War On Drugs – LIVE DRUGS
  • Pearl Jam – Gigaton
  • Allman Betts Band – Bless Your Heart
  • My Morning Jacket – The Waterfall II
  • Neil Young – Homegrown
  • Drive-by Truckers – The Unraveling
  • Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit – Reunions


Jerry Joseph – The Beautiful Madness

“The Beautiful Madness” is not for the faint-hearted, or for those looking for escaping melodic music. Produced by Patterson Hood of Drive-by Truckers, and backed by his band, Jerry teams up with old friends, and puts out some dark songs from his tumultuous life travels. I am a huge fan of Jerry Joseph, so I found this album to be a very strong-minded bunch of songs. Classic Jerry Joseph expressing his emotional side…as usual.

Neil Young – Homegrown

“Homegrown” is an album he recorded back in 1974, that was mainly about his painful break up with partner Carrie Snodgrass. It never got released because Neil felt it was “too personal” at the time. It pieces together some history of the early 70’s era of Neil Young, at a time when I was a pimple-faced 14 year old fascinated by the hippie lifestyle that Neil Young represented. The songs are raw, stoney, and emotional.

Bear’s Sonic Journals: Dawn of The New Riders of The Purple Sage

This is a box set of never-before-released songs from the recordings of the Augustus Stanley Owsley Foundation, who was the Sound Manager for The Grateful Dead. Nicknamed “Bear”. Owsley did side projects where he recorded upcoming artists, one of them being NRPS in their first live recordings ever. NRPS was a side band that Jerry Garcia formed with John “Marmaduke” Dawson, David Nelson, Dave Torbett, and Mickey Hart in 1969. These recordings are raw and loose, but it is obvious that the band will be well received by the “new sound” of a country-tinged rock band. I enjoy this box set because it is a part of history in the making of a young Jerry Garcia.

KP’s Top 5 Live Shows of 2020 (aka Covid Streams) 

  1. Tim Bluhm (The Motherhips) and Jerry Joseph (Jack Mormons) Acoustic at The Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, Alaska. June 11, 2020
  2. James McMurtry, weekly acoustic set in his living room
  3. Anders Osborne, weekly stream with various artists in his home 
  4. Allman Betts Band live stream, July 12, 2020 Belly Up, Solana Beach, CA
  5. One Ton Pig, February 25, 2020, The Silver Dollar Bar, Jackson, WY


DJ Firechild (The Root Down), Mondays 4 – 6 p.m.


  • Dr. Rubberfunk – Boom! (feat. John Turrell)
  • Devon Gilfillian – Unchained
  • Obylx – Day By Day
  • The Allergies – Say The Word (feat. Andy Cooper)
  • Franc Moody – Charge Me Up
  • Low Cut Connie – Help Me
  • Fantastic Negrito – Chocolate Samurai
  • Brandy Clark – Same Devil (feat. Brandi Carlile)
  • The Avett Brothers – Victory
  • Larkin Poe – Holy Ghost Fire


Devon Gilfillian – Unchained

Devon has created some great music recently, but this track stands out for me as one of his best. His combo of soulful vocals reminds me of classic Marvin Gaye, and the blues vibe of the guitar harkens back to classic delta blues. I keep listening to this track over and over and enjoy it more each time. 

Low Cut Connie – Help Me

I have loved this band for a while now and this new album delivers more great tracks. This one is my current favorite and hits so many highs from the great lyrics to the catchy chorus and the melody. The vibe feels timeless, Motown meets singer/songwriter. I’m sure I will continue to enjoy listening to this years from now.

Avett Brothers – Victory

This track had an immediate emotional impact on me the first time I listened to it. The melody and lyrics together remind me of great performances from the Hoot at Dornan’s years ago. It inspires me to persevere through challenging times and to have hope for the future.


Steve P. (The Vibe Check), Mondays, 6 – 8 p.m.


  • Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
  • Tim Heidecker – Fear of Death
  • V.V. Lightbody – Make a Shrine Or Burn It
  • Phish – Sigma Oasis
  • Lake – Roundelay
  • Empty Country – Empty Country
  • Cindy Lee – What’s Tonight to Eternity
  • Yves Tumor – Heaven to a Tortured Mind
  • Pure X – Pure X
  • Garcia Peoples – Nightcap at Wit’s End


Tim Heidecker – Fear of Death

Tim’s never been more serious than on this record, but that’s not to say the record is a serious affair. He likes having fun and that’s what’s happening here first and foremost. But second to the fun is some legitimate songwriting ala Harry Nillson and some amazing vocal harmonies from Weyes Blood. No single lyric hit me as hard as the bridge from ‘Someone Who Can Handle You’: Love should be so easy, love should be so kind, love should be as simple as it was the first time. Do you remember the first time you felt those butterflies?

V.V. Lightbody – Make a Shrine Or Burn It

Chicago has seen a ton of great records this year but none compared to V.V.’s second full length, “Make A Shrine or Burn It.” Self-described as nap-rock, I would argue V.V. is waking up on this record and realizing the full potential of her skills as a songwriter and composer. Lush strings give way to stacked vocals paired with delicate flutes, but things really coalesce when the crunched up, vicious guitars pop up on the record. Don’t sleep on this release.

Yves Tumor – Heaven to a Tortured Mind

Yves Tumor is making music of the future. It’s R&B, hip-hop, electronica, rock, pop, and dance all wrapped up in a shroud of Prince-like silky dystopia. It’s like we all know the world is ending but we are still looking for love among the smoke and rubble.


Erin McGibbon (The Weekly Drop), Tuesdays 10 p.m. – midnight 


  • Moses Sumney – Grae
  • Elliot Moss – A Change in Diet
  • Jesse Reyez – Before Love Came to Kill Us+
  • Son Lux – Tomorrows I
  • Joji – Nectar
  • Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes – What Kinda Music
  • Grimes – Miss Anthropocene
  • Run The Jewels – RTJ4
  • Sylvan Esso – Free Love
  • Chloe x Halle – Ungodly Hour


Dr. Dan (The Placebo Effect), Wednesdays 4 – 6 p.m.


  • Tame Impala – The Slow Rush
  • Run The Jewels – RTJ4
  • Logic – No Pressure
  • Khruangbin – Mordechai
  • Fontaines D.C. – A Hero’s Death 
  • Caribou – Suddenly
  • Tycho – Simulcast
  • The Budos Band – Long in the Tooth
  • Car Seat Headrest – Making a Door Less Open
  • Fuzz – III

  • Logic – Hit My Line
  • Run The Jewels feat. Zack de la Rocha – JU$T 
  • Tame Impala – Lost In Yesterday
  • Khruangbin – So We Won’t Forget
  • Goth Babe – Moments/Tides
  • Day Wave – Potions
  • Washed Out – Too Late
  • James Blake – Are You Even Real?
  • Muzz – Red Western Sky
  • Kate Bollinger – Grey Skies


Carl Jungus (Jungus Amungus), Wednesdays 8 – 10 p.m.


  • Nathan Micay – And Relief Washes Over Me In An Awesome Wave
  • Kiwi – Hello Echo feat. Bestley
  • Super Mama Djombo – Dissan Na M’bera (Suur Di No Pubis) (Daniel Haaksman Edit)
  • Howling – Bind (Rampa Remix)
  • Adam Pits – International Wafter
  • Four Tet – Baby
  • Brigitte Barbu – Dae-Boj Demoya (Roman Flugel “Kraut” Remix)
  • Michele Mininni – Fortuna (Red Axes Edit)
  • Sebastien Leger – Ashes In The Wind
  • Mildlife – Vapour (A JD Twitch Remix)
  • Mr. Tophat – Time Lapse (DJ Tennis Disko Bang Club Mix)
  • Guhus – Daemons & Clouds
  • YAME – To The Sea
  • Missing – Jack It Operator (Fracture’s “Jacket Operator” Remix)
  • Bongbeck – Notre Dame
  • Psychedelic Budz – Faerie Stomp (Ludwig A.F.’s Haunted Mix)
  • Disclosure – Tondo
  • Tim Green – Cedar
  • BAKEY – Take It Further
  • Gundelach – Obuli (Mr. Tophat Edit)


DJ Echo (Dimensional Sound Groove), Thursdays 4 – 6 p.m.


  • Tame Impala – The Slow Rush
  • Shabazz Palaces – The Don of Diamond Dreams
  • Thurston Moore – By The Fire
  • clipping. – Visions of Bodies Being Burned
  • Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes –  What Kind of Music
  • Bronson – Bronson
  • African Head Charge – Churchical Chant of the Iyanbinghi
  • Jungle Fire – Jungle Fire
  • Atmosphere – The Day Before Halloween
  • Run the Jewels – RTJ4
  • Goodie Mob – Survival Ki
  • Pedra Branca – Unus Mundus


Tame Impala – The Slow Rush

I’m not much of an indie guy, but this album made me dance. Loved the groovy bass lines, and, of course, his voice blows me away. 

Shabazz Palaces – Don of Diamond Dreams

The music production is super unique within hip hop and I was digging his rhyme style on this album.

Thurston Moore – By The Fire

My favorite guitar artist for 20 years. Probably biased, but anything he puts out I love.

African Head Charge – Churchical Chant of the Iyanbinghi

The best dub album I have heard in a long time. Love the international flavor.


Lauren Chase (Dance Odyssey), Thursdays 8 – 10 p.m.


  • Lake Turner – Videosphere
  • Four Tet – Sixteen Oceans
  • Kev Sheridan – It’s Gonna Be Perfect
  • Sasha, POLIÇA, Patrice Bäumel – Out Of Time (Patrice Bäumel Mix)
  • Joseph Ashworth, Molly (FR) – ReRoute / Mr Ro Land (EP)
  • Mr. Tophat – Time Lapse (DJ Tennis Disko Bang Club Mix)
  • Isolée – Pisco
  • Aaaron – 2020 Souls
  • WhoMadeWho – Obstacle
  •  Andhim – Never Let You Go (EP)
  •  Bicep – Apricots
  •  Mild Minds – VIEWS (Laurence Guy Remix)
  •  Confidence Man – Does It Make You Feel Good?
  •  Adam Port – White Noise Romantica (EP)
  •  Autarkic – Trancelate


Lake Turner – Videosphere

Combining ambient, dreamscape tones and uplifting, lush, techno rhythms, “Videoscape” takes you on a unique sonic journey.

Four Tet – Sixteen Oceans

This album was released in mid March, right at the beginning of the Covid-19 shutdown, and has carried me through 10 incredibly difficult months. “Sixteen Oceans” is filled with warm, rich textures and layers of sounds that move through various levels of energy and rhythm.

Kev Sheridan – It’s Gonna Be Perfect 

I discovered this song when I was putting together a playlist for my radio show, Dance Odyssey, for the week I covered the German record label, Maeve. “It’s Gonna Be Perfect” is carried by it’s layers of breakbeats and reverberating melodies. 


Mark B. (By All Means), Fridays 4 – 6 p.m.


  • My Baby – Live!
  • L.A. Witch – Play With Fire
  • The Buttertones – Jazzhound
  • Black Lips – Sing In A World That’s Falling Apart
  • Run The Jewels – RTJ4
  • Don Bryant – You Make Me Feel
  • Various Artists – Bad Education, Vol. 1: Soul Hits of Timmion Records
  • The James Hunter Six – Nick Of Time
  • Bambara – Stray
  • Swamp Dogg – Sorry You Couldn’t Make It
  • Monophonics – It’s Only Us
  • Various Artists – Penrose Records – Vol. 1
  • Fever&tension – To Fan The Flames Of…
  • All Them Witches – Nothing As The Ideal
  • Jamo Gang – Walking With Lions


Jeff Lawrence (Freeform Friday), Fridays, 6- 8 p.m.



  • Muzz – Muzz
  • Jeff Tweedy- Love Is The King
  • Sven Wunder – Eastern Flowers
  • Rose City Band – Summerlong
  • Charley Crockett – Welcome To Hard Times
  • Nation of Language – Introduction, Presence
  • Little Barrie and Malcom Catto – Quatermass Seven
  • Thurston Moore – By The Fire
  • Tyler Childers – Long Violent History
  • Holy F*ck- Deleter

  • Kurt Vile with John Prine – How Lucky
  • Patrick Sweany – One Thing
  • My Morning Jacket – Magic Bullet
  • Logan Ledger – Starlight
  • Colter Wall – Cowpoke
  • Sturgill Simpson – I Don’t Mind
  • The Kills – Raise Me (Demo)
  • Fiona Apple – Heavy Balloon
  • Chris Cornell – Patience
  • Caitlin Sherman – War for You



Muzz – Muzz

“Muzz” is one of those albums that gets deeper under my skin the more I hear it…similar to how I felt about early R.E.M. in the 80s.

Jeff Tweedy- Love is the King

“Love is the King” is compelling on different levels. he takes you to different spaces in the same song, starting slow and melancholic and then stretching into a much more intense place.

Sven Wunder – Eastern Flowers

“Eastern Flowers” blends an Indian sound with psychedelic rock. I saw Ravi Shankar live about 25 years ago and he gave me a big appreciation for the sitar so this album really makes it for me.

Also, there have been some great new releases from country artists this year (Colter Wall, Sturgill Simpson, Charley Crockett, Logan Ledger, Tyler Childers) that I find to be much more authentic and inspiring than most new country music.


DJ Soul Shine (Moonlighting In The Tetons), Fridays, 8 – 10 p.m.


  • Taylor Swift – Folklore
  • Taylor Swift – Evermore
  • Ryan Adams – Wednesdays
  • Norah Jones – Pick Me Up Off The Floor
  • Margo Price – That’s How Rumors Get Started
  • Fiona Apple – Fetch The Bolt Cutters
  • Bruce Springsteen – Letter To You
  • Jeff Tweedy – Love Is King
  • Bob Dylan – Rough & Rowdy Ways
  • Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, 9th Wonder & Kamasi Washington – Dinner Party
  • Alicia Keys – Alicia
  • Chris Cornell – Patience
  • Stevie Nicks – Show Them The Way
  • Ben Harper – Winter Is For Lovers


Taylor Swift – Folklore

… In the midst of such a sensitive time for all… Taylor reached out her hand and led us into the most beautiful…imaginary… real… dreamy… magical land. Each song seems to have its own heart… soul… breath… voice… journey… struggles… fears… loves.. losses… regrets… obsessions. She is so vulnerable… beautiful… haunting tone… whispers in the most direct manner. She shares a glimpse into the stream of consciousness of each character. Painful… heartbreaking… humbling… and most of all, human. She helped me, as well as so many, feel less alone… while at the same time… she somehow helps replenish confidence. “Folklore” is timeless!!! I love this album so much!!!! This is an album that I can REPEAT!!! All the way through… no skips. As for sound and overall feeling… if i had to choose, my favorites would be… “the 1″… “August”… “Peace”… “Invisible String”…  

Taylor Swift – Evermore

… second album from Taylor in 2020… we are so lucky!!! Released the week of her birthday as a gift to her fans… THANK YOU!! This album is beautiful!!! She takes us places…. which is what i love most about her. Not just places… dreamy… magical imaginary worlds… with hints of reality…  as i listen… the images appear… they are colorful… with seven emotions intertwined all in one breath. The sounds feel full…. is she growing with us… are we growing together… only God knows. All i know is that i am so grateful for music… and for artists that are brave.. honest… loving… smart… sassy… kind and caring… like her and the other artist noted here…. FOREVER GRATEFUL!!!!! Tis the damn season… Coney Island… “Evermore” (bon iver’s voice here…. the way this song builds…. Is just everything) … “Willow”… “Marjorie”… “Ivy”…        

Ryan Adams – Wednesdays

… Ryan Adams and his music mean so very much to me… to have new music from him after more than two years is a true gift. He is one of the most beautiful storytellers of our time… one of my favorites… if not my favorite artist to see and hear live. Every night is different… from tears… to dancing… to laughing at the stories in between and back again. And most importantly… his fans… are loving and are truly the most accepting humans. His writing has a way of helping one understand feelings… emotions… that are buried so deep… that one may not even know that they are there. To me this album allows his roots to shine… it is stripped… vulnerable… brutally honest… courageous… stories of love… loss… trauma… confusion… families losing loved ones. The fingerpicking on the acoustic guitar is gorgeous… the strings… the harmonica… the guitar is dreaming you backwards… the creaks the bench… or maybe the floor or window. Really love the softness of this album so, so much…  also the album cover feels like a song in itself…. melancholy… dark… yet warm… and hopeful… such a beautiful painting!!! When you cross over… dreaming you backwards… so anyways… “I’m Sorry And I Love You”… “Poison and Pain”… “Birmingham”… are my favorites.        


Adzee (The Drip), Fridays 10 p.m. – midnight


  • Roddy Ricch – The Box
  • Sada Baby – Whole Lotta Choppas (Remix) feat. Nicki Minaj
  • Pop Smoke – Mood Swings feat. Lil Tjay
  • 21 Savage – Runnin 
  • Lil Bam – Hot Boy 
  • DaBaby – ROCKSTAR feat. Roddy Rich 
  • Pooh Shiesty – Back in Blood feat. Lil Durk 
  • YoungBoy Never Broke Again – Callin feat. Snoop Dogg     
  • Megan Thee Stallion – Savage Remix feat. Beyonce 
  • OG Bobby Billions – Outside


Beckett Lucas-Griffin (The Beckett List), Saturdays noon – 2 p.m.


  • Soccer Mommy – Color Theory
  • Carpool – Erotic Nightmare Summer
  • Joyce Manor – Songs From Northern Torrance
  • Wyatt Smith – Maple
  • Boy Pablo – Wachito Rico
  • Joyer – Sun Into Flies
  • waveform* – Last Room
  • PHONY – Knock Yourself Out
  • Hollow Comet – Cues, Vol. 1
  • Strawberry Milk Cult – “Eggs”


Soccer Mommy – Color Theory

I’ve been a fan of Soccer Mommy for a few years now, and this album really impressed meexploring deeper themes than her previous work and increasing production quality while still managing to maintain a bedroom pop sound. While I love her old style, I also love watching artists grow and progress, and I really appreciate the direction Soccer Mommy is headed.

Carpool – Erotic Nightmare Summer

I had never heard of this band up until this year, and I really fell in love with their sound. They add a great take on midwest emo, with impeccable melodies and vocals. For someone who enjoys midwest emo, this album is a sort of nostalgia trip.

Joyce Manor – Songs From Northern Torrance

Joyce Manor have been pretty important in defining my music taste. This is a great collection of their previously unreleased music, offering their signature high energy emotional gut punches in a few very short songs. Their loud, punchy, fast paced music perfectly contrasts their depressing lyrics, opening up a whole world of emotions.


b3playr (Cellar Door), Saturdays 4 – 7 p.m.



  • Víkingur Ólafsson – Debussy – Rameau
  • Mayer Hawthorne – Rare Changes
  • Quelle Chris & Chris Keys – Innocent Country 2
  • Kassa Overall – I THINK I’M GOOD
  • Francesco Corti – Bach: Little Books
  • The Avalanches – We Will Always Love You
  • Greyboy Allstars – Como De Allstars
  • Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters
  • Lettuce – Resonate
  • Will Bernard – Freelance Subersives



  • Yuna – Dance Like Nobody’s Watching
  • Menahan Street Band – Midnight Morning
  • Sia – Together
  • Thundercat – Dragonball Durag
  • Janelle Monáe – Turntables
  • Rick & Morty (feat. Kotomi & Ryan Elder) – Don’t Look Back
  • Josh Ritter & The Milk Carton Kids – Losing Battles (Acoustic)
  • Aloe Blacc – Hold On Tight
  • Jeremie Albino – Saw That Light
  • Canyon Kids – End Times

(bonus new issues of old work)

        • Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers – Just Coolin’
        • Thelonious Monk – Palo Alto
        • Wilco – summerteeth (Deluxe Edition)
        • Frank Zappa – Zappa (OST)
        • Bobbie Gentry – The Delta Sweete (Deluxe Edition)
        • Cat Stevens / Yusuf – Tea for the Tillerman (Super Deluxe)
        • Jimi Hendrix – Live in Maui
        • Nightmares on Wax – Smokers Delight (Digital Deluxe)
        • James Brown – Live at Home with His Bad Self
        • Joni Mitchell – Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963-1967)


Mayer Hawthorne – Rare Changes

“Rare Changes” may not have originally been intended to be an album, as it began as a series of individual singles put out over the past year. But finally, pre-orders are open for an LP, CD, and digital release of nine tracks. Hawthorne’s signature sound with falsetto voice is the unifying force behind what might otherwise be disparate songs, adding an Intro to tie the songs together. Along with his weekly “Wine & Vinyl” hour on Thursday nights, these sprinkling of tracks over the year have made surviving 2020 just a little easier.

The Avalanches – We Will Always Love You

Much like Mayer Hawthorne, The Avalanches dropped songs over the course of the year and finally released them into a new album: “We Will Always Love You.” Including a handful of guests over the tracks, there are some particularly memorable songs and music videos that came out of the gradual release of this material. They’ve come a long way since their roots in the 90’s/00’s and it’s always a treat to see what they’re putting out.

Rick & Morty: Don’t Look Back (feat. Kotomi & Ryan Elder)

Rick & Morty is definitely not for everyone, but the soundtrack is consistently as much a treat as the visuals and stories. The fourth (and currently latest) season of the show features an original that fits the reflective mood of the finale: “Don’t Look Back (feat. Kotomi & Ryan Elder).” Without context, this track does well on its own. It’s a great song for the lonely times and for the times ahead. Above all, 2020 is a time that can do with the message “don’t look back” as cliche as it may be.


Studebacher (former DJ)


Scary Goldings – The Ego Gap – Yes that Larry Goldings with one of the best funk rhythm sections on the internet.

Axon Radio – Shadow Logic – A Midwest duo with special guests tasty Midwest jazz.

Ramsey Lewis and the Urban Knights – Urban Knights VII – (Released 2019) I found during Lockdown.

Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet – Rhythm Of Invention – Wayne, Just the best SF based Latin-Jazz.

Peter Bernstein – What Comes Next – Smoke Sessions live recording. Live guitar at its best.

Kandice Springs – The Women Who Raised Me – Truly remarkable voiceChristian McBride collaboration is magic.

Poncho Sanchez – Psychedelic Blues – Just to enjoy Latin rhythms.

Jon Batiste – Hollywood Africans – One of the best arrangements of “What a Wonderful World,” period.

Dean Martin – Dino, The Essentials – Yes ,“The Rat Pack.”

Groove Legacy – Groove Legacy – Just listen to it. (Larry Carlton’s son’s side group, his main gig is with his fathers’ band).


Jay Alm (former DJ)


  • My Morning Jacket – The Waterfall II
  • All Them Witches – Nothing as the Ideal
  • Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou – May Our Chambers Be Full
  • Fiona Apple – Fetch The Bolt Cutters
  • Smashing Pumpkins – Cyr
  • Deftones – Ohms
  • Rob Zombie – The Triumph of King Freak
  • Kurt Vile – Speed, Sound, Lonely KV
  • The Wood Brothers – Kingdom In My Mind
  • King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Chunky Shrapnel
  • Lonesome Gold – Lonesome Gold
  • Jay Alm – To The Moon In Your Skull


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