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Old 11-25-2020, 10:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 21 Albums For 2020

****ty year for pretty much everything except music. December hasn't come and gone yet, but I think this list of my favorites for 2020 is pretty much set in stone. Enjoy the ride.
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Anteater's 21 Fav Albums Of 2020

Anteater's Daily Tune Roulette

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Originally Posted by OccultHawk
I was called upon by the muses for greatness.
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I'm bald, ja.
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Old 11-25-2020, 10:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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21. Patois Counselors - The Optimal Seat

Genre: Post-Punk / No Wave
Put On A Playlist With: Pere Ubu, The Pop Group, Swell Maps

Led by the charismatic yet brittle Bo White, Patois Counselors have a way of flaring from dystopian malaise into full fist pumping certainty, and their strung out poetic contemplations coupled with a persistent fixation on irregular but hypnotic grooves sets them apart. They’re particularly nice when the strangeness cuts loose completely on ‘Iteration du Jour’ whilst ‘Give Me Voltage’ screams classic Fall with an extra dose of wooziness, but I’m sure my readers will all find their own favorite tracks after a few spins.




20. Teramaze – I Wonder

Genre: Progressive Metal
Put On A Playlist With: Threshold, Queensryche, Karnivool, The Butterfly Effect

Hook-laden proggy metal from Australia that’s performed, produced and sung by one guy for the most part – Dean Wells, a very talented bloke. His guitar work and vocals are clear winners even in a genre that’s so inundated with good players and singers that doesn’t play outside the lines all that much these days. But who cares if he doesn’t reinvent the wheel – the glorious ‘Sleeping Man’ is so catchy that it justifies the whole album’s existence right there. And that’s a lot coming from me considering how good this entire record is, especially the 8-minute melodeath tinged epic ‘A Deep State Of Awake’ and the Covid-19 themed ‘This Is Not A Drill’.




19. George Clanton & Nick Hexum – self-titled

Genre: Vaporwave, Shoegaze, Alternative Rawk
Put On A Playlist With: 311, Ariel Pink, Clarence Clarity, Shmu

What happens when vaporwave’s David Bowie collaborates with Nick Hexum, frontman of unjustly (?) hated 90’s has-beens 311? Pure goddamn genius, that’s what. Just turn this album on and watch a parallel universe Summer 2020 come alive where everything was chill AF and no pandemic making everyone’s life miserable existed. It’s the Adult Swim soundtrack you’ve always wanted but never knew you needed.
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Anteater's 21 Fav Albums Of 2020

Anteater's Daily Tune Roulette

Quote:
Originally Posted by OccultHawk
I was called upon by the muses for greatness.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frownland
I'm bald, ja.

Last edited by Anteater; 11-25-2020 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 11-27-2020, 07:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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18. Jaga Jazzist - Pyramid

Genre: Jazz-Fusion
Put On A Playlist With: Return To Forever, Lonnie Liston Smith, Alice Coltrane, Jan Hammer

An ode to the spacey sounds of post-Bitches Brew jazz fusion and it is every bit as awesome as the album cover indicates. The pad choices sound closer to what guys like Tangerine Dream were playing around with in the latter half of the 70's and early 80's, but the overall vibe veers closer to Soft Machine and their ilk. Opening track 'Tomita' is particularly appealing, spiraling gloriously into the stratosphere on a wave of dreaming Vangelis-esque synthscapes until a killer Rickenbacker bassline kicks in after a few minutes and really sets things up nicely.




17. Keleketla! – Keleketla!

Genre: Afrobeat, Hip-Hop, Electronic
Put On A Playlist With: Tony Allen, Fela Kuti, Thievery Corporation, The Heliocentrics

A massive international effort spread across sessions throughout South Africa, L.A. and London, this album is a collaboration between one of the founders of jazz label Ninja Tune and hip-hop artist Yugen Blakrok (know for his contributions to Black Panther's soundtrack, among other things), plus a ****ton of other legends. Very energetic and warm sounding overall, if Afrofuturism needed a funky shot in the arm in the wasteland of 2020...this album does it in spades and is a real joy from start to finish.




16. Huntsmen – Mandala Of Fear

Genre: Doom Metal, Americana, Sludge
Put On A Playlist With: Yes, Kyuss, Candlemass, Mastodon

Interesting band that combine elements of classic doom, modern sludge and Americana with Yes-esque vocal harmonies juxtaposed against occasional harsher sounding vox that sound like something out of an early Slipknot album. There was a lot of great metal this year in general, but this album stood out to me immediately, which isn't an easy feat. I suppose a good litmus test of whether or not you'll like this depends on your reaction to opening cut Ride Out, which has a little bit of everything that constitutes their sound.
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Anteater's 21 Fav Albums Of 2020

Anteater's Daily Tune Roulette

Quote:
Originally Posted by OccultHawk
I was called upon by the muses for greatness.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frownland
I'm bald, ja.

Last edited by Anteater; 11-27-2020 at 07:22 PM.
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Old 11-29-2020, 06:23 AM   #4 (permalink)
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[B][SIZE="4"]




20. Teramaze – I Wonder

Genre: Progressive Metal
Put On A Playlist With: Threshold, Queensryche, Karnivool, The Butterfly Effect

Hook-laden proggy metal from Australia that’s performed, produced and sung by one guy for the most part – Dean Wells, a very talented bloke. His guitar work and vocals are clear winners even in a genre that’s so inundated with good players and singers that doesn’t play outside the lines all that much these days. But who cares if he doesn’t reinvent the wheel – the glorious ‘Sleeping Man’ is so catchy that it justifies the whole album’s existence right there. And that’s a lot coming from me considering how good this entire record is, especially the 8-minute melodeath tinged epic ‘A Deep State Of Awake’ and the Covid-19 themed ‘This Is Not A Drill’.



Superb Ant! Another great find. Big Threshold fan as you know and yes, this is very much in their wheelhouse. Glad to see they have a few albums. Downloading now. Thanks for the rec! Let me pass a similar Threshold-like one on to you if you're not familiar with them.
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Old 11-29-2020, 11:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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^ I picked up that DGM album and I like it quite a bit, especially the song Surrender. Glad your diggin' it!


15. Tomi Malm - Coming Home

Genre: Westcoast / Yacht Rock / Jazz Fusion
Put On A Playlist With: Earth, Wind & Fire, Snarky Puppy, Pages, the good stuff

One of those super studio projects put together by one exceptional guy, which in this case is Swedish film composer, producer and songwriter Tomi Malm. He has a lot of connections with heavy hitters like David Foster and Quincy Jones...so he's able to pull out all the stops with session players and guest spots when he puts together a new album like this one. For this occasion, the team includes masters like drummer J.R. Robinson, keyboardist Robbie Buchanan and top-tier singers like Bill Cantos and Ole Borud. Some of these guys have played on the biggest albums of all time in the 70's and 80's, so it's quite a treat to hear them go all out on something of this calber.




14. desert sand feels warm at night - 常夏

Genre: Slushwave, Ambient
Put On A Playlist With: telepath, Mindspring Memories, death's dynamic shroud.wmv

Enigmatic fella from the U.K. somewhere that does some of the most beautiful slushy ambient I've ever experienced. And in the case of this particular album, he doesn't even use any samples. Listening to this album feels like a particularly lonely dream that's half forgotten before you open your eyes. It has a resemblance to a lot of good Mallsoft or early vaporwave but more ethereal and splooshy. One of my personal favs out of this set of 21 in particular - I highly recommend it.




13. Straw Man Army - Age Of Exile

Genre: Art-Punk
Put On A Playlist With: Parquet Courts, Julian Cope, The Flesh Eaters

New York weirdness that sounds like it was made by aliens with a thing for Krautrock. It gets points from me for being entertaining, pseudo-Zeuhlish and esoteric. On top of that, it isn't a long album and the basslines kill. In short, punk with something more to offer.
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Anteater's 21 Fav Albums Of 2020

Anteater's Daily Tune Roulette

Quote:
Originally Posted by OccultHawk
I was called upon by the muses for greatness.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frownland
I'm bald, ja.

Last edited by Anteater; 11-29-2020 at 11:58 PM.
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Old 12-01-2020, 10:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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12. Thundercat - It Is What It Is

Genre: Spacefaring R&B
Put On A Playlist With: Maxwell, Jamiroquai, Kendrick Lamar, Toro Y Moi

One of those guys that's impossible to dislike. He's got the pop craft, the musicality, a keen sense of humor and comes across as a chill perfectionist at the art of tha bassl1ne. Was kind of a toss up between this and Tame Impala's The Slow Rush for spot number 12, but Thundercat wins for being able to say more with less.




11. T-Square - AI Factory

Genre: J-Fusion
Put On A Playlist With: Mario Kart OST, Casiopea, Dimension

Japan's eternal fusion gods return for another energetic and entertaining outing. You owe all of your favorite video game soundtracks from the golden age of 90's Nintendo and Sega to these guys, so give 'em the love they deserve!




10. Ghost Funk Orchestra - An Ode To Escapism

Genre: Occultic, Sensuous Acid Rock
Put On A Playlist With: Anything Psy-Fi has posted about in the last year or so

Strap in kiddos, it's time to go back to the early 70's...a time where pornstache Dracula roamed freely in the night and it was cool to light up to some spooky concept rock with a funky psych underpinning at parties. Dunno where these guys have been all my life, but this was a seriously delicious and groovy experience from start to finish.
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Anteater's 21 Fav Albums Of 2020

Anteater's Daily Tune Roulette

Quote:
Originally Posted by OccultHawk
I was called upon by the muses for greatness.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frownland
I'm bald, ja.

Last edited by Anteater; 12-01-2020 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 12-02-2020, 01:03 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Can never have a year with out an anteater list.
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Lucem, you're right, it's silly to talk about what I would or wouldn't do IRL. Glad you brought it up. Maybe you should write an instrumental about it. I recommend a piano paired with a clarinet. With ambient sounds of you hanging from your shower curtain you ****ing failure.

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Old 12-03-2020, 09:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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^ Hell yeah, an early Merry Xmas to ya'll lovable mooks.


9. Wailin Storms - Rattle

Genre: Swamp Rock, Post-Punk, Bluesy Doom / Sludge
Put On A Playlist With: Killing Joke, He Is Legend, Danzig

These gents play an interesting game of contrasting musical chairs with their approach from song to song - sometimes they remind me of a swampier Killing Joke-meets-Danzig. Sometimes they channel something like Johnny Cash through the lens of Joy Division but with contemporary production. And then sometimes both approaches blend together into something harder to categorize, like on the churning rollicker Teeth or the creeping but intensely listenable Crow. However you slice it, Rattle is a strong album and surprisingly approachable in it's relentlessness.




8. Andrew Weathers Ensemble - The Thousand Birds In The Earth, The Thousand Birds In The Sky

Genre: Folk, Jazz, Avant-garde, Drone
Put On A Playlist With: Bohren & Der Club Of Gore, Indian drone classics, early 80's experimental Pat Metheny, Mansur

OH pointed this group out on a post awhile back, and I immediately had to have the entire discography. Just amazing experimental music with weird free jazz flourishes that are filtered through an almost Jon Hassellian compositional tendency, but focused around Appalachian folk or something. Really beautiful, engaging yet stark sounding stuff that lights up the brain as you digest it. Unassailable, as our fine feathered friend likes to say.




7. Hedvig Mollestad - Ekhidna

Genre: Heavy Jazz-Rock, Instrumental Progressive Rock, Hard Rock
Put On A Playlist With: Tomasz Stanko, Al Di Meola, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Night Sun, early Santana

Norwegian guitarist makes her move this year via this badass, rather fiery jazz rock assault on the senses. Very meaty but full of intricacies that characterize it as something potentially special in the overall landscape. There's touches of dissonance here and there among the spazzed out solos and improvisations that add intrigue to the color scheme, but in general this is just a fun listen for anyone who likes the bite of an older era with a different spin.
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Anteater's 21 Fav Albums Of 2020

Anteater's Daily Tune Roulette

Quote:
Originally Posted by OccultHawk
I was called upon by the muses for greatness.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frownland
I'm bald, ja.

Last edited by Anteater; 12-03-2020 at 09:57 PM.
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Old 12-05-2020, 09:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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6. The Midnight - Monsters

Genre: Synthwave, Pop, Electronic, Ambient
Put On A Playlist With: Gunship, Kalax, Mitch Murder

Synthwave's most popular dynamic duo play around with genre conventions to great effect on Monsters, occasionally bringing in trap and ambient influences with interesting results throughout. While a pretty ace pop record on its own merits, there's a deeper story / theme of sorts being pushed throughout Monsters about kids growing up out of the 80's and into the adolescent disillusionment of 1990's America as the early aughts and Internet became a pervasive specter on the horizon, showcasing a rather keen awareness about the limitations and strengths of synthwave as a genre that the less popular bands and artists could learn from.




5. Lunatic Soul - Through Shaded Woods

Genre: Pagan Folk-Dance-Prog
Put On A Playlist With: Comus, Midlake, early Fleet Foxes, Riverside

Polish progmeister Mariusz Duda goes Elder Scrolls Oblivion on everyone's asses and it sounds glorious. Moving away heavily from Riverside's metal sound (mostly) and the electronic-oriented productions of the last few Lunatic Soul outings, this one is folkish, ruminative and surprisingly dancey. And at the very least, it'll get you some cred with hot Wiccan babes and/or dudes you want to impress that spent a lot of time pre-Covid at Scarborough Fair.




4. Kyle Jameson - View From Above

Genre: New Age, Ambient, Vaporwave
Put On A Playlist With: FM Skyline, I d o l, Richard Souther, Harold Budd, late 80's Tangerine Dream

Kyle Jameson is the guy behind KJCMuzique, one of the biggest smooth jazz channels on YouTube for people who love obscure, forgotten elevator tuneage from the 80's and early 90's. He's extremely enthusiastic about the genre (maybe almost as much as I am), and is a huge vaporwave fan. On top of that, he's an accomplished musician who has allowed his obsession with these smooth sounds to culminate into his own musical debut with View From Above, which sounds like it could have been produced and released on GRP or Windham Hill in 1986-89...and he even bought all the analog keyboards and equipment necessary to pull it off. The authenticity and passion behind this is quite something - it doesn't really sound like anything else created "from scratch" in 2020. If you don't like the 80's jazz or ambient styles of the era, this won't be your cup of tea. However, I love it to death and it has a gorgeous airy production that befits the cheesy goodness within.
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Anteater's 21 Fav Albums Of 2020

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Quote:
Originally Posted by OccultHawk
I was called upon by the muses for greatness.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frownland
I'm bald, ja.
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Old 12-07-2020, 11:46 PM   #10 (permalink)
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3. Gigi Masin - Calypso

Genre: Ambient
Put On A Playlist With: Brian Eno, Harold Budd, Jon Hassell, early 80's Vangelis

One of my favorite ambient artists of all time made a grand return to recorded music this year with the tantalizing and nearly perfect Calypso, a dreamscape of ambient, jazz inflected sunlight that at times feel transcendentally inspired in a manner that's hard for me to put into words. It's an elusive feeling that I've only gotten from a few others, with the best work of Brian Eno, Jonn Serrie and Vangelis's work on Blade Runner and his 1990 masterpiece The City being some prominent examples. The takeaway here is that if you want an ambient album that really stands out as something special, this is the one that did it for me in 2020.




2. Dirty Loops - Phoenix [EP]

Genre: Jazz, Pop, Fusion, Funk
Put On A Playlist With: Stevie Wonder, Snarky Puppy, Michael Jackson, Earth Wind & Fire, Pat Metheny, Casiopea

Quite likely the most talented band in 2020, genres aside. Distilling the best ideas from R&B and pop music and combining that with high energy jazz-fusion chops that put them on par with the world's best session and jazz musicians....it just isn't hard to see why a lot of people rave about them. They're a trio of monsters that don't even need a guitarist. And even if you hate the style, listening to Henrik Linder play bass is practically a religious experience.



1. Jakko M Jakszyk - Secrets & Lies

Genre: Art Pop, Progressive Rock
Put On A Playlist With: King Crimson, David Sylvian, Talking Heads, early 80's Peter Gabriel

While King Crimson themselves have not put out an official "record" under the name since the early 2000's, Jakko is by all measures the lead vocalist for Fripp's various ventures in and around the KC brand at this point. In 2011 he put out a "projeckt" with Fripp and some other heavyweights called Scarcity Of Miracles which was gorgeous and awesome, and this new solo outing (after years of recording-related hiatuses) has elements of that album, plus nodding back at times to classics like Red and Islands.

In a year that has felt increasingly dark and helpless to me as it has gone along, an album in this style that's this good is a godsend even if it isn't King Crimson itself. It has the dreaminess of Fripp's outing with David Sylvian, the underrated Gone To Earth, plus a good mix of uptempo pieces and dreamier, Starless-esque proliferations. In particular, 'The Trouble With Angels' has the feeling of a classic KC ballad whilst closer 'Separation' has a vivacious stomp to it that sounds like a remnant of the Lizard sessions from four decades ago.

So a big thank you to to Jakko, Tony Levin, Robert Fripp, Mel Collins, Peter Hammill, Mark King and all of the other masters who participated on Secrets & Lies - you not only created a masterpiece, you have fashioned a record that I'll be listening to for years to come.
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Anteater's 21 Fav Albums Of 2020

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Quote:
Originally Posted by OccultHawk
I was called upon by the muses for greatness.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frownland
I'm bald, ja.

Last edited by Anteater; 12-08-2020 at 09:54 PM.
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