Sunday, January 3, 2021

The Music Weird's best of 2020

For years I've done most of my music listening in the car while commuting or traveling, but in 2020 I didn't go anywhere, so I had to carve out time to listen to music in a way that I haven't in the past. It was worth the effort.

In the interest of posting this in a timely manner, I'm not going to write about all these tracks individually, many of which are singles and all of which got lots of spins by me this year, but I will mention my three most-listened-to albums of 2020 in order of release:

Woods – "Strange to Explain" (May 22, 2020)

I'm a longtime fan of Woods, but they hit it out of the park with Strange to Explain, their best album since 2009's Songs of Shame in my opinion (although they released a lot of great music in between). I had this playing on repeat all through the summer.

Waifu Shrine - POP (October 9, 2020)

POP has a ramshackle DIY vibe that takes me back to the days of Blackbean and Placenta Tape Club but has plenty of traditional pop songcraft too. Underneath it all, "Spring Arrived Right in Time" is a future pop standard worthy of Tin Pan Alley, and "Toy Keyboard" has one of the best uses of a chipmunk voice since We're Only in It for the Money or even "Martian Hop."

Beach Vacation – I Fell Apart (November 13, 2020)

Just lovely from start to finish. It's not as much of a loss that Wild Nothing no longer sounds like Gemini when we have bands like Beach Vacation creating similarly gauzy, dreamy music that is simultaneously nostalgic and new. 

Music Weird's Best of 2020 Spotify playlist


  1. Beach Vacation – "Break the Ice" – I Fell Apart
  2. Spring Reverb – "Bric-A-Brac" – single
  3. Nessie Next Door – "Love Rind" – Dot the Eye and Cross the Tea
  4. Waifu Shrine – "Toy Keyboard" – POP
  5. Jan flu – "Lacrosse" – single
  6. Corey Flood – "Heaven Or" – Hanging Garden
  7. Love Tan – "What's the Point" – Love Tan
  8. I Saw You Yesterday – "Wander" – single
  9. Breakup Films – "All Kinds of Flowers" – single
  10. Hank Midnight – "New City" – Gardens EP
  11. Black Currants – "Carousel" – single
  12. Secret American – "Heavy Feels" – Heavy Feels
  13. Grazer – "Fever Dream" – single
  14. Choo – "Fool" – single
  15. GRMLN – "Sun" – Goodbye, World
  16. The Francine Odysseys – "Hide Your Eyes" – What If We Were Wrong
  17. Keeps – "Light in a Dream" – Affectianado
  18. Lunchbox – "Dream Parade" – After School Special
  19. Emma Kupa – "Nothing at All" – It Will Come Easier
  20. The Memories – "In My Heart I'm Sailing" – Pickles & Pies
  21. Grrrl Gang – "Love Song" – Here to Stay!
  22. The Very Most – "Her Three-Year Old Laugh or the Time the Microphones Played in My Living Room" – Needs Help
  23. Northern Portrait – "At Attention" – single
  24. Woods – "Where Do You Go When You Dream" – Strange to Explain
  25. Terry vs. Tori – "High Tide" – Leap Day
  26. The Sweet Serenades – "City Lights" – City Lights
  27. Tycho – "Weather" – Simulcast
  28. Echo Delta – "After 15" – Subluminal Projections

Best reissues

Various artists – Strum & Thrum: The American Jangle Underground 1983-1987

Various artists – Iconic Pop Standards in Stereo and Iconic Country Originals in Stereo (full disclosure: I worked on these, but they are pretty amazing)

Finally, a new Cozy Catastrophes track from the last days of the year:

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