So over the course of this stupid, stupid year I put out a new stream nearly every week of almost entirely new music (and I have to admit, a couple of songs I only discovered in 2020 that came out in 2019). Thousands of songs. It's only in looking back now that I see that this was a pretty good year for new music and new artists.
Yeah, it sucked that we couldn't see anyone live. We lost a few greats, including a couple who are actually on this list. Toots Mayall. John Prine. A few people put out songs directly influenced by the Pandemic, like Ben Folds, Sparks, OK Go, Drive-By Truckers, and even me under the name Chris Reed and the Anime Raiders.
Some musicians took this time to remake other people's songs. Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Billie Joe Armstrong, Scary Pockets, Dave Alvin, and Molly Tuttle among them. Some bands we didn't expect to hear from put out new music, like Blue Oyster Cult, AC/DC, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney. Midnight Oil! Cherry Curie!
A couple of artists just did as much as they could - no one more than Cory Wong, who put out 7 solo albums and two more with Vulfpeck and John Baptiste. And one more with his side-band, The Fearless Flyers.
And then there's simply all the new stuff. Brand new stuff. This year was so different from all prior years that a lot of artists you probably would have never noticed otherwise rose up. From a list that took me a year to curate, from Phil Broikos' concept album meant to start the year at the first minute, all the way to discovering at the end that Yacht Rocker Randy Godrum had put out a new album and so many stops along the way. I took those thousands of songs and narrowed it down to 453. Alas no, I'm not including "Prisencolinensinainciusol" even though like many of you I only discovered the song this year.
Stylistically this list is all over the map, although I will admit there is almost no rap or country. I'm really not qualified to tell apart good from bad in either category so I tend to stay away. There are a couple of exceptions but as a general rule those styles just aren't my thing. There is some jazz on here though - I love good jazz and a couple of artists I really enjoy put out new material this year.
I discovered new artists this year. Cody Fry. Charles Jones. Kacey Johansing. beabadoobee. Drew Citron. El Ten Eleven. Lady A. Infinity Song.
Anyway, we all want 2021 to be much better than 2020 was. I want that to be true for music too, and musically this was a pretty good year. Here is my curated list, almost 30 hours of music.
I recommend playing it in random order. Enjoy!