This list been updated with July releases. Has already seen its best album well ahead of the typically busier spring and summer months? Below, New York music critic Craig Jenkins rounds up the standout albums the year has had to offer so far, to be updated monthly. Beats get by on sparse drum patterns and a sliver of melody, and the flows are tight but never stuffy or showy. But busier tunes crowded her natural abilities as a melodicist and a writer of biting lyrics. A wealth of great music has been made during quarantine, but the wistful, sighing sadness of folklore actually feels like it.
Microphones in 2020
The album won't go down without a fight. As the algorithmic thinking of the streaming music era tightens its grip on the record industry and consumer listening habits, artists are still writing and recording collections of new material, releasing them as cohesive units on specific dates, and suggesting that you listen to them in a pre-established order. As a format for enjoying multiple songs and a way of thinking about creative development, it remains essential. Even with all its tumult, didn't change that. There's always good new music out there, providing the soundtrack to the highs and lows of daily life. Sometimes it comes from a new artist you've never heard of before; sometimes it comes from a reliable veteran you perhaps stopped listening to consistently. Either way, great albums make an impression. These are the best records of
15. Jaime by Brittany Howard
Mon 11 May She yelps, murmurs, lets notes outstay their welcome and generally lets things get awkward, all over a complex rhythm section. Long a hero to indie heads, BC Camplight is justly getting wider attention with this rich and entertaining record, one of the best reviewed of the year. At 82, Bley is playing with a spryness and intention that younger musicians could learn a lot from. This set, with lungfuls of air in the spaces between Bley, bassist Steve Swallow and saxophonist Andy Sheppard, is witty and warm with just a hint of bossa nova at times, plus a quiet political fervour in its presumably ironic snatch of Hail to the Chief. The London producer threads — and there really is no other word for the delicacy of her craft — a string of globe-spanning instruments like tabla, kora and pedal steel through dub-techno arrangements, resulting in elegant and visionary music. Working in perfect symbiosis with producer Jae5, J Hus returned for more cocky yet self-deprecating dances through a British-African pop sound he has come to define. His libido remains rampant, but he searches his soul more deeply than ever. The former frontman of the Walkmen still has one of the best voices around, in a white-blues lineage with Joe Cocker and Rod Stewart. It sits at the heart of these rackety character studies, which surge and balloon into beautiful anthems under the steam of his vocals.
Metascore: tbd. User Score: tbd. Metascore: User Score: 8. The sixth full-length studio release for the rock band features guest appearances from k.