The Best Non-Jazz Albums of 2020

Initial draft collected on Oct. 27, 2020. The file will be updated as additional worthy records are found (although updating may lag behind the official 2020 list). Last year's list was never frozen (OK, let's say it was frozen on Oct. 27, 2020). There also exists a parallel list of The Best Jazz of 2020.

Note: numbering of lists (aside from A/A-) is only temporary, to make it easier for me to tally up stats. I've made no effort to order (other than alphaetical by artist) anything in grades below A-.

[*] indicates that I reviewed this on the basis of an advance, often a CDR copy (a good thing, I might add, for vinyl-only releases). [**] identifies a record that I've only heard via download or through a streaming service like Napster.

For all lists, I've included a few 2019 (and possibly earlier) records that I discovered after last year's freeze date, but I've only included such records if they were released on or after Dec. 1, 2019, or were so little known that they received no mention in the 2019 metacritic file. These are marked, e.g., -19, after the label.

New Music

1. Run the Jewels: RTJ4 (Jewel Runners/RBC/BMG)
Rap duo, El-P and Killer Mike, fourth album, released a few days early, because "fuck it, why wait." Hard thrash, which seems just right for well-considered complaints about police violence. The signature album of 2020.

2. Dua Lipa: Future Nostalgia (Warner)
English pop star, parents Albanians from Kosovo, second album, multiple co-writers and producers everywhere, eleven tight songs (only one over 3:41), mixes the hardest dance grooves up front, peaking with "Physical" (as in "let's get"). **

3. Shopping: All or Nothing (FatCat)
British post-punk trio, Rachel Aggs sings and plays guitar, fourth album, all good, this short (10 songs, 30:54) one especially reminding me of Gang of Four. **

4. Chicago Farmer: Flyover Country (Chicago Farmer)
Folksinger-songwriter Cody Dieckhoff, grew up in the small farming community of Delavan, Illinois, wound up unassimilated in Chicago, covers Hank Williams (an eery "Ramblin Man"), cites John Prine as his model. Seventh album, including a live one from 2018 that Christgau recommended and I was unable to find. Takes pride in dirty uniforms, disparages $13 beer, invokes the Mississippi Delta. **

5. Sufjan Stevens: The Ascension (Asthmatic Kitty)
"Singer-songwriter" seems too self-limiting. He is a pop composer of grand sweep and delicate bearing, an heir to Brian Wilson working on if anything a broader canvas. His is not a style I'm fond of, but half of these songs click for me, and the others seem to be lurking in the depths, awaiting their moment. **

6. Goodie Mob: Survival Kit (Organized Noize/Goodie Mob Worldwide)
Major Atlanta hip-hop group for three 1995-98 albums, before Cee-Lo Green went solo. Reunited for a 2013 album (Age Against the Machine), and again here. They were overshadowed by OutKast in their heyday, and barely remembered today, but with a little editing this would be the perfect complement to RTJ4. **

7. Drive-By Truckers: The Unraveling (ATO)
Rock group out of Alabama and living in the real world, which they are none too happy about, but make a lot more sense than their blinkered and deranged forebears. **

8. Dream Wife: So When You Gonna . . . (Lucky Number)
London-based girl group, lead singer Rakel Mjöll originally hailing from Iceland, has a couple cute quirks to her voice, which give way to smart lyrics and occasional philosophical depth, like how uniquely woderful now is, and why her body is hers alone. **

9. Lucinda Williams: Good Souls Better Angels (Highway 20)
Singer-songwriter from Louisiana, father a poet and literature professor so she grew up with words, although at this point she probably likes her guitars more. After a long string of brilliant albums, I couldn't find her post-2011 albums, so I was initially shocked at how worn her voice had become, and how much fury she expressed. Several plays later she's still fraying my nerves, but this feels pretty damn substantial. **

10. Lori McKenna: The Balladeer (CN)
Singer-songwriter from Massachusetts, doesn't have the twang for country but does have the songs. Not sure this is an exceptional batch, but even her average fare has few rivals. **

11. Hamell on Trial: The Pandemic Songs (self-released)
R-rated folksinger, decided to fight pandemic boredom by writing 15 songs in 15 days, cut this down "the best 9 I think," about disease and masks and social distancing and murder and mayhem and MAGA hat fans getting what's coming to them ("got no problem with that"). Runs 30:11. **

12. Cornershop: England Is a Garden (Ample Play)
British group, Tjinder Singh and Ben Ayres, formed in 1991, fused Punjabi influences with electropop, released brilliant albums in 1997 and 2002, to which everything else more or less compares. This sounds much like them, reviving a sound we've been missing. **

13. Mukdad Rothenberg Lankow: In the Wake of Memories (Clermont Music)
Three surnames: Syrian oud player Wassim Mukdad, based in Berlin, as is percussionist Volker Lankow. They are joined by New York-based musicologist David Rothenberg -- he writes books on bird and bug music, encountering the others while researching his Nightingales in Berlin Project. Here he plays clarinet. Fine work all around, nice balance, comparable to Aly Keita's Intakt records. **

14. Waxahatchee: Saint Cloud (Merge)
Katie Crutchfield, from Alabama, fifth album since 2012, doesn't rock much, and I'm too slow on the uptake to figure out the rest. Still, after several plays, gets me in the end. **

15. Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters (Epic)
Best regarded/most hyped album of the year so far. I played it two or three times when it came out, was impressed by the drums, less convinced by the songs, so I hedged. Played it more, impressed by how effortlessly it flows together without ever seeming formulaic, so hedging it the other way. **

16. Brandy Clark: Your Life Is a Record (Warner)
Country singer-songwriter, third album, more or less as good as the first two. Picks up a surprise duet partner (Randy Newman) on her most political song ("Bigger Boat"). **

17. Aluna: Renaissance (Mad Decent)
Aluna Francis, born in London, mother from Belize, half of the AlunaGeorge electropop duo with George Reid, first album on her own. Various looks, but "Body Pump" is singles list material. Change-of-pace ballad "Whistle" sounded off at first, but won me over midway through. **

18. Hinds: The Prettiest Curse (Mom + Pop)
Girl band from Madrid, Spain, originally the Deers. Third album, sounds like a crowd cheering section adding to their wall of sound. Messy good fun. **

19. Kate NV: Room for the Moon (RVNG Intl)
Russian singer-songwriter, Ekaterina Shilonosova, from Kazan, singer in the postpunk band Glintshake, third solo album. Electronics and voice, "conjured from unlived memories of 70s and 80s Russian and Japanese pop music and film." Pretty delightful combination. **

20. Billy Nomates: Billy Nomates (Invada)
British singer-songwriter Tor Maries, first album, some sources say "No Mates," produced by Geoff Barrow (Portishead), draws comparisons to Sleaford Mods for her talkie style and class consciousness (well, also Jason Williams' guest verse on "Supermarket Sweep," his voice barbed where hers fades away, too subtle for her material). Grows on you. **

21. Enemy Radio: Loud Is Not Enough (SplitSLAM)
A Chuck D project, with DJ Lord Aswod and Jahi Torman, the sound as punched up as Public Enemy can bring it, the message even more deeply political. I missed this when it came out in April, but it belongs in the Spring/Summer soundtrack, and is not likely to lose relevance for quite some time. **

22. Jessie Ware: What's Your Pleasure? (Interscope)
British dance-pop diva, fourth album, starts retro-disco, ends up more new wave, the cool taking a while to carry the day. **

23. Megan Thee Stallion: Good News (300 Entertainment)
Rapper Megan Pete, from Texas, first studio album after a good mixtape and an even better EP. Big production, with one song ("Circles") listing 24 writers, and most of the rest featuring guests as prominent as Young Thug, SZA, and Beyoncé. Beats super sharp, hooks ascendant. Not sure that freeing your ass will liberate your mind, but so far, so good. **

24. Bob Dylan: Rough and Rowdy Ways (Columbia)
Old man, not much voice left, his songcraft ever more dependent on slow blues shuffles. I never put much faith in his Nobel-certified rhymes, and my ears aren't sharp enough to catch many lines here. But every time I play this, "Crossing the Rubicon" mesmerizes for 7:22, and my interest remains piqued through the relaxed 9:34 of "Key West (Philosopher Pirate)," and well into the even longer "Murder Most Foul" (16:54). Probably just a mid-B+ before, but I'll take it. **

25. Felt: Felt 4 U (Rhymesayers Entertainment)
Hip-hop duo, Slug (of Atmosphere) and Murs, fourth album after a decade-long hiatus, the first three (2002-09) framed as tributes to actresses (Christina Ricci, Lisa Bonet, Rosie Perez). Ant produced, so beatwise figure Atmosphere, but Murs delivers the sharper, more political rhymes. **

26. No Age: Goons Be Gone (Drag City)
Noise pop duo from Los Angeles, formed 2005, released a consistent stream of fine albums. This one seemed to get slammed hard. I gave it a play, concluded it had their sound down pat, but hedged. Several more plays and it's hard to see how anyone could have missed it. **

27. Thank Your Lucky Stars: Girl in Her 29s (Sounds Deevine)
Searching for the artist name returns a 1943 movie starring Eddie Cantor, about a musical revue/charity extravaganza, with many cameos ranging from Humphey Bogart and Olivia de Havilland to Dinah Shore and Spike Jones. Adding "band" got me Beach House's 2015 album, and a "disambiguation" page that added a 1990 album by Whitehouse and a 1961-66 British TV variety show, which showcased the Beatles as early as December 1962. Adding the album title got gar nichts (well, more of the same, but nothing new). Searching for their/his 2016 record Spinning Out of Orbit got me product on Amazon and reviews by Robert Christgau and AMG, and a hint that the album may have been on CdBaby.

28. Thiago Nassif: Mente (Gearbox)
Brazilian singer-songwriter, plays guitar, drums, trumpet, electronics; shares production duties with Arto Lindsay, who helps out as do a couple dozen others, for a mix of tropicalia, no wave, and ever so catchy skronk. **

29. Public Enemy: what You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down? (Def Jam)
Time for a "Fight the Power" remix? That's the centerpiece here, and nothing else quite matches it. Still, this is hard and angry like few others can muster, which makes it timely, even if the time frame spans decades. **

30. Jarv Is: Beyond the Pale (Rough Trade)
Jarvis Cocker, former Pulp front man (1983-2001), fourth solo album, cover reads "JARV IS . . ." but title is somewhere else. Seven songs, co-written with Serafina Steer and (usually) others, all neatly hooked. **

31. Elizabeth Cook: Aftermath (Agent Love)
Country singer-songwriter, seventh album since 2000, had a breakthrough with 2007's Balls and the even better 2010 Welder. Rocking harder here, which is appealing enough but makes it harder to follow her songs. The exception is the closer, a reworking of John Prine's "Jesus: The Missing Years" to focus on Mary. **

32. Al Gold: Al Gold's Paradise (self-released)
Bluesman from New Jersey, plays guitar and mandolin, sings, writes his own songs. Don't know much about him other than that he organizes block parties and jams. Sounds old and gritty enough for the blues, even with his light touch. Roped some jazz musicians into his project, including Dave Stryker and Jared Gold.

33. Aminé: Limbo (Republic)
Portland rapper Adam Daniel, goes by his middle name, parents from Ethiopia and Eritrea, second album, marking his adulthood from the death of Kobe Bryant, although I suspect the daughter had more to do with it. **

34. Black Thought: Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane and Abel (Republic)
Roots MC Tariq Luqmaan Trotter, nothing from his group since 2014, but he released two EPs in 2018, and this follow up edges into album territory, with 13 tracks, 34:19. Conscious and hard, the sample beats not as supple as the live band's, but more to the point. Not sure why it's "Cane" instead of "Cain" -- I'm often eluded by fine lyrical points (assuming there is an explanation, like slavery was built on sugar). **

35. Lyrics Born & Cutso: Lyrics Born & Cutso Present Rapp Nite (self-released, EP -19)
Rapper Tom Shimura with DJ Paolo Bello, 7 tracks, 20:50, slipped by unnoticed in 2019, although it's easy enough to find the video for "Hit Number One." **

36. Speaker Music: Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry (Planet Mu)
DeForrest Brown Jr., "a New York-based theorist, journalist, and curator . . . a representative of the Make Techno Black Again campaign." Maia Sanaa's opening testimony of powerful and touching. A second tract is more pragmatic and less inspired. The beats hold up on their own, at least until the final track rattles my nerves. It's called "It is the Negro Who Represents the Revolutionary Struggles for a Classless Society." Comes with a 45 page PDF, which I haven't seen. **

37. Amaarae: The Angels You Don't Know (Golden Child Entertainment)
Ama Serwah Genfi, born in New York, parents Ghanaian, grew up in Atlanta and Accra, first album. Distinctive voice and rhythm, often surprises you, not least with the occasional bit of noise. Auteur's own description: "non stop affirmations and incantations 4 bad bitches." **

38. R.A.P. Ferreira: Purple Moonlight Pages (Ruby Yacht)
Rapper, initials for Rory Allen Philip, born in Chicago but grew up in Maine and Wisconsin, previously recorded a half-dozen albums as Milo (2011-18). Understated underground, produced by the Jefferson Park Boys (best known: Kenny Segal), the "poetry" basic but smart, with feat. spots for Mike Ladd and Open Mike Eagle, and a lightly sung "Creator Has a Masterplan" for the coda. **

39. Sa-Roc: The Sharecropper's Daughter (Rhymesayers)
Rapper Assata Perkins, originally from DC, studied at Howard, based in Atlanta, father sharecropped tobacco in Virginia. Races through 15 songs, sharp and urgent. Features include Saul Williams and Black Thought. **

40. Car Seat Headrest: Making a Door Less Open (Matador)
Will Toledo started with eight lo-fi download releases (2010-13) before being picked up by Matador and given a budget, at which point he became a semi-popular blip. I was less impressed, so when this didn't get much reaction, I didn't bother. Turns out it's pretty sharp. **

41. 75 Dollar Bill: Live at Cafe Oto Dec. 19, 2019 (self-released)
As the lockdown progressed, the duo rumaged through their old tapes for product, and picked out this trio date in London, where they were reunited with their former bassist Andrew Lafkas. Digital only, very long, collecting three hour-long sets (12 tracks, 183:09), but the basic patterns never wear out -- in fact, the opener runs 30:26 without ever going anywhere, and the only time you really notice it is when it stops, like an old friend hanging up. **

42. Skyzoo: Milestones (Mello Music Group -EP)
Seven track (24:35) "conceptual EP," recapitulating autobiography from son to father of his own son. Knows his jazz, named his son Miles, doubling the meaning of his title. Another obvious choice: rapping over "Song for My Father." With no children of my own, I'm surprised I find this so touching. **

43. Baby Queen: Medicine (Polydor, EP)
Bella Latham, South Africa-born, London-based, don't know if she's done anything else. Six songs, 22:47, half sly talky grooves ("Buzz Kill"), half pop genius ("Internet Religion," "Want Me"). Title song synthesizes both. **

44. City Girls: City on Lock (Quality Control/Motown)
Hip-hop duo from Miami, Caresha Brownlee (Yung Miami) and Jatavia Johnson (JT), both with too much street cred/scars too soon. Second album after a mixtape. Most frequent word: pussy, probably followed by N* and bitch (especially when they host a male guest). Over the top, but so are the trap beats. **

45. Blu & Exile: Miles (2020, Fat Beats)
Rapper Johnson Barnes III, from Los Angeles, with producer Alex Manfredi, third album together (previous in 2007 and 2012). Title refers to Miles Davis. Subtitle: From an Interlude Called Life. Assembled by mail, runs long (20 tracks, 95:29), covers a lot of ground. **

46. Lithics: Tower of Age (Trouble in Mind)
Portland post-punk band, third album. Aubrey Hornor sings and plays guitar, backed by three guys who keep the rhythm on edge and the edges sharp and sparkly. **

47. Mac Miller: Circles (Warner)
Rapper Malcolm McCormick, from Pittsburgh, overdosed a month after his fifth album dropped, was working on this at the time, finished off by Jon Brion. Started out as some kind of redneck rapper, sung more later, dulling his image, but nothing prepared me for these relaxed, easy going grooves. He never made it as a soul man, but somehow turned into a pretty attractive ghost. **

48. Moor Jewelry: True Opera (Don Giovanni)
Collaboration between lapsed poet Moor Mother (Camae Ayewa) and noise producer Mental Jewelry (Steven Montenegro), who did a previous EP called Crime Waves. Ten cuts (25:59), could pass for punk but is much more expansive. **

49. Zephaniah OHora: Listening to the Music (Last Roundup)
Brooklyn-based trad-friendly country tunesmith, second album, calls his band the 18 Wheelers. Finds his calling in recycling old Merle Haggard riffs. Liberal country anthem of the year: "All American Singer." **

50. Juniper: Juniper (self-released)
Last name Shelley, 15-year-old singer-songwriter from New Jersey, draws on 1960s girl groups plus some bubblegum and a bit of cha cha ("Poke Your Eye Out"). Refreshing to hear teen music I can relate to my teens. (Well, not mine personally, but my general era.) **

51. Penelope Scott: Public Void (Tesla's Pigeon, EP)
Twenty-year-old singer-songwriter, DIY electronics, song "Rät" has over a million YouTube views, a story of nerd love and disillusionment ("I bit the apple 'cause I trusted you, it tastes like Thomas Malthus, you proposal is immodest and insane . . . you promised you wou'd be Tesla, but you're just another Edison"). Initially released as a 6-cut download, then reissued a month later with a 7th song (total 26:06). **

52. Megan Thee Stallion: Suga (300 Entertainment, EP)
Rapper Megan Pete, quickly follows last year's debug mixtape with a nine-cut, 24:33 EP. **

53. Sweeping Promises: Hunger for a Way Out (Feel It)
Boston post-punk group, Lira Mondai the singer, "angular guitars and sharp synth notes float atop a raw rhythm section." Sure, anyone can claim that, but not many start their influences/comparisons lists with Kleenex/LiLiPUT. **

54. Sturgill Simpson: Cuttin' Grass Vol. 1 (The Butcher Shoppe Sessions) (High Top Mountain)
Metamodern country singer, seems like his progression through 2019's Sound and Fury was to make his work larger and grander than ever, but he had something extra that mere arena rockers (like Eric Church) didn't -- I was starting to think of him as the Wagner of Nashville. But when the pandemic threw him a curve ball, he choked up and slapped it down the left-field line. He scrounged some of these songs from his early albums, giving them a down-home bluegrass treatment. Presumably he's got more, and I could see the fascination fading, but for now this is the most likable he's every been. **

55. John Craigie: Asterisk the Universe (Zabriskie Point)
Singer-songwriter from Los Angeles, alt-country, albums since 2009. Video suggests this was recorded in a country commune, as he has a lot of musicians and backup singers without making it feel cluttered. More like richly detailed, which fits the songs. **

56. Hayes Carll: Alone Together Sessions (Dualtone)
Quarantine project: acoustic versions of old songs, many memorable, ranging from 2002-19, plus a Lefty Frizzell cover, with extra help phoned in (Darrell Scott "played just about all the instruments"; Allison Moorer and Ray Wylie Hubbard sang one each). Line I jotted down: "why doesn't anybody speak about truth any more/maybe that's what songs are for." That from Trouble in Mind, still his best. I discounted the old songs when I first heard this, but it works fine as a best-of for our diminished times. **

57. Baba Zula: Hayvan Gibi (Night Dreamer/Gulbara)
Turkish "psychedelic Istanbul rock 'n roll" group, led by electric saz player Osman Murat Ertel, also credited (along with baritone electric oud player Periklis Tsoukala) with vocals, although they sound less like singing than getting caught up in the rapture. The string grooves are indeed exhilarating, but I'm just as pleased with a relatively quiet drum (darbuka?) solo. **

58. Will Kimbrough: Spring Break (Daphne)
Singer-songwriter from Mobile, Alabama; based in Nashville, had a group called Will and the Bushmen (1985-91), half-dozen or so solo albums since 1999, side credits with Todd Snider and Amy Rigby (well, also Jimmy Buffett and Rodney Crowell, but first things first; two co-writes here with Snider). Notes on two of the more political songs: "Cape Henry" is not about a Civil War battle; and it's easier to have a "Right Wing Friend" if that friend also loves John Prine (as my own do).

59. Ashley McBryde: Never Will (Warner Nashville)
Country singer-songwriter from Arkansas, based in Nashville, second big-league album, strong voice, big production, but enough attitude and observation and storytelling moxie to break through it. "Album of the year" according to the country music critics. **

60. Rico Nasty: Nightmare Vacation (Sugar Trap/Atlantic)
Rapper Maria-Cecilia Simone Kelly, first studio album after a half-dozen mixtapes (first in 2014, when she was 17). Can't say much about lyrics, but titles run like "STFU," "OHFR?," and "Pussy Poppin," so I figure attitude and beats. Ends with her "breakout" 2018 single "Smack a Bitch," preceded by a remix of same, driving the whole thing home. **

61. Tim Barry: Live 2018 (Chunkasah)
Country singer-songwriter, started in Virginia punk bands -- (Young) Pioneers, Avail -- solo albums since 2006. Never heard of him before, but Napster recommended him "because you like Johnny Cash." Collects two hour-long sets, no hits, no dupes, some songs especially striking. In one he gets 28 years for a moment, when he took credit after his sister shot a man who abused her. In another, he's the one getting shot, in Iraq. Most striking song is "Prosser's Gabriel," about a slave rebellion in 1800 and the city's crumbling monuments to slaverholders (a/k/a "rich white motherfuckers"). Presented as a time capsule, with "nothing glossed over." He adds, "it's a lot to absorb." And advises, "be fucking resilient." **

62. Open Mike Eagle: Anime Trauma and Divorce (Auto Reverse)
Underground rapper, has a decade-plus of sly, clever, often inscrutable albums. First spin sounded like another one, second got a bit catchier, further plays revealed further depth, which I should have been clued to by the title. **

63. Skyzoo & Dumbo Station: The Bluest Note (Tuff Kong -EP)
Brooklyn rapper Skyler Taylor, albums since 2006, often with co-credited producers. Dumbo Station is a nu-jazz group from Italy, one previous album, playing rather than sampling the classic jazz riffs (notably Francesco Fratini on trumpet). Hometown tales, steady going. Six tracks, 19:52. **

64. Sturgill Simpson: Cuttin' Grass Vol. 2 (The Cowboy Arms Sessions) (High Top Mountain)
Vol. 1 was a lockdown-necessitated break from his arena ambitions, taking old songs and framing them in bluegrass. I haven't figured out whether this is just more easy pickings, or he's evolving this way, but I sure like the sound, and for that matter, the songs. **

65. BbyMutha: Muthaland (The Muthaboard)
Rapper Brittnee Moore, from Chattanooga, first album after a dozen EPs (going back to 2014). At 31, has had a life, with physically abusive father, turbulent adolescence (depression, ADHD, expelled from school, drugs, pregnant with twins at 17), now a single mom with four children and her father living next door to help out. She was so stressed after finishing this she vowed it would be her last album. I feel much the same listening to it, but don't doubt there is some genius among the debris. **

66. Dramarama: Color TV (Pasadena)
New wave band from New Jersey in the 1980s, recorded two good 1985-87 albums, a couple more before hanging it up in 1994. Regrouped for another in 2005, and now this one. Singer-songwriter John Easdale is constant, but happier than ever. **

67. Trak Trak: Sur Sur (Ciclismo)
Argentinian singer-songwriter Romina Schenone and a band that looks suspiciously German, play intense dance music that draws on cumbia and reggaeton. A vigorous workout, very catchy. **

68. Sunny Sweeney: Recorded Live at the Machine Shop Recording Studio (Aunt Daddy)
Country singer-songwriter, from Houston, four studio albums since 2006. I never stuck with her albums, so I have no idea how many of these songs are how old, but she's been a consistent songwriter, and this works nicely as a best-of. **

69. Guiss Guiss Bou Bess: Set Sela (Helico -19)
From Senegal, although increasingly I'm seeing music from all over the non-English-speaking world classified not as "world" but under genres -- in this case, deep dubstep, bass house, or more broadly electronica. Still, the beats sound like drums, and profusion such as rarely found outside of Senegal. **

70. Naeem: Startisha (37d03d)
Baltimore rapper Naeem Juwan, previously dba Spank Rock. Don't know what to say about this, but gets catchier and more intriguing with each play. **

71. Kehlani: It Was Good Until It Wasn't (Atlantic)
Sometime around the turn of the century, r&b went slack, turning away from the dominant church-based wail to its opposite. While I'm not a big fan of the former (at least for lesser artists than Aretha), I've long had trouble getting into the latter. Three plays in, I'm barely with her, the bits of rap helping. Sex, too. **

72. Bktherula: Nirvana (Warner)
Atlanta rapper Brooklyn Rodriguez, still in her teens, comes up with 11 short tracks (28:04). Christgau's rave got me to listen hard and long enough to warm to the album, but none of his points stick -- "environmental," "irresistible," "inexplicable," the Eno-Hassell "anthropological minimalism" and "ambient esoteric kitsch," even the more specific "haze of shrooms, lean, and percoset." Well, maybe inexplicable. Come to think of it, if you're unable to explicate, maybe all you do have left is atmosphere. Or maybe it doesn't matter. **

73. Justin Farren: Pretty Free (Bad Service Badger)
Singer-songwriter from Sacramento, fourth album since 2004, the kind of unheralded, eloquent folkie Christgau has been finding and pushing lately, doesn't get interesting for me until he works up some tension, as in "Two Wheel Drive and Japanese." **

74. Chad Matheny: United Earth League of Quarantine Aerobics (Dreams of Field, EP)
Singer-songwriter, better known as Emperor X, American but based in Berlin, offers a quickie quarantine special. Seven songs (four versions of "Stay Where You Are"), 26:06, the others every bit as topical, including an inspirational labor anthem. **

75. Al Bilali Soudan: Tombouctou (Clermont Music)
Group, from northern Mali, their isolated town more commonly (these days) spelled Timbuktu. Second album (at least from this NY label, which specializes in music from the Sahara Desert), vocals shouted over a swell of harsh strings and drums, a combo that feels so right it overcomes my instinct to dismiss it as unbearable. **

76. Eminem: Music to Be Murdered By (Aftermath/Shady/Interscope/Goliath)
Detroit rapper Marshall Mathers, eleventh studio album, realizes people are no longer interested in what he has to say, complains about that, but also writes his most striking original yarns in some time. Borrows his unifying concept from Alfred Hitchcock, who is sampled periodically, in a typically brilliant production with Dr. Dre. Runs 64:22 and seems longer, in no small part because it's so densely packed. **

Also added the following 2019 albums after freezing the 2019 year-end file:

1. Scott H. Biram: Sold Out to the Devil: A Collection of Gospel Cuts by the Rev. Scott H. Biram (Bloodshot -19)
Likely to remain an oddity in his discography, but in some ways this rough and profane clash with sin and grace was the album he was born to sing. **

Honorable Mention

Additional non-jazz rated B+(***), listed alphabetically.

  1. 75 Dollar Bill: Little Big Band Live at Tubby's (self-released) **
  2. 79rs Gang: Expect the Unexpected (Sinking City) **
  3. The 1975: Notes on a Conditional Form (Dirty Hit) **
  4. Adulkt Life: Book of Curses (What's Your Rupture) **
  5. Aesop Rock: Spirit World Field Guide (Rhymesayers Entertainment) **
  6. Against All Logic: 2017-2019 (Other People) **
  7. Terry Allen and the Panhandle Mystery Band: Just Like Moby Dick (Paradise of Bachelors) **
  8. Antibalas: Fu Chronicles (Daptone) **
  9. Armand Hammer: Shrines (Backwoodz Studioz) **
  10. Mulatu Astatke & Black Jesus Experience: To Know Without Knowing (Agogo) **
  11. Victoria Bailey: Jesus, Red Wine & Patsy Cline (Rock Ridge Music) **
  12. Danny Barnes: Man on Fire (ATO) **
  13. Beauty Pill: Sorry You're Here (Taffety Punk Theatre Company) **
  14. Black Eyed Peas: Translation (Epic) **
  15. Jake Blount: Spider Tales (Free Dirt) **
  16. Blueface: Dirt Bag (Cash Money, EP -19) **
  17. Boldy James & the Alchemist: The Price of Tea in China (ALC/Boldy James) **
  18. Boldy James/Sterling Toles: Manger on McNichols (Sector 7-G) **
  19. Jorun Bombay & Phill Most Chill: Jorun PMC (2020, AE Productions) **
  20. Phoebe Bridgers: If We Make It Through December (Dean Oceans, EP) **
  21. Will Butler: Generations (Merge) **
  22. Cabaret Voltaire: Shadow of Fear (Mute) **
  23. Cable Ties: Far Enough (Merge) **
  24. Cam: The Otherside (RCA) **
  25. The Chicks: Gaslighter (Columbia) **
  26. Tyler Childers: Long Violent History (Hickman Holler) **
  27. Clipping: Visions of Bodies Being Burned (Sub Pop) **
  28. Bootsy Collins: The Power of the One (Sweetwater Sounds) **
  29. Common: A Beautiful Revolution [Part 1] (Loma Vista) **
  30. Conway the Machine: From King to a GOD (Griselda) **
  31. Dan Ex Machina: Pity Party Animal (self-released) **
  32. Marie Davidson/L'OEil Nu: Renegade Breakdown (Ninja Tune) **
  33. Diabla Diezco: Memento Mori (Mord) **
  34. Daniel Donato: A Young Man's Country (Cosmic Country Music) **
  35. Lara Driscoll: Woven Dreams (Firm Roots Music)
  36. Drive-By Truckers: The New OK (ATO) **
  37. Drunken Kong: Where We Start (Tronic) **
  38. Dueling Experts: Dueling Experts (Mello Music Group) **
  39. Emily Duff: Born on the Ground (Mr Mudshow Music) **
  40. Steve Earle: Ghosts of West Virginia (New West) **
  41. The Exbats: Kicks, Hits and Fits (Burger) **
  42. Fantastic Negrito: Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? (Cooking Vinyl/Blackball Universe) **
  43. Fat Tony & Taydex: Wake Up (Carpark, EP) **
  44. Fat Tony: Exotica (Carpark) **
  45. Georgia: Seeking Thrills (Domino) **
  46. Grimes: Miss Anthropocene (4AD) **
  47. Tee Grizzley: The Smartest (300 Entertainment) **
  48. Groupe RTD: The Dancing Devils of Djibouti (Ostinato) **
  49. Halsey: Manic (Capitol) **
  50. Holy Fuck: Deleter (Last Gang) **
  51. Homeboy Sandman: Don't Feed the Monster (Mello Music Group) **
  52. Siul Hughes: Hueman (Fake Four) **
  53. Idles: Ultra Mono (Partisan) **
  54. Sarah Jarosz: World on the Ground (Rounder) **
  55. KA: Descendants of Cain (Iron Works) **
  56. The Koreatown Oddity: Little Dominiques Nosebleed (Stones Throw) **
  57. Lady Gaga: Chromatica (Interscope) **
  58. Bettye Lavette: Blackbirds (Verve) **
  59. The Linda Lindas: The Linda Lindas (self-released, EP) **
  60. Dua Lipa & the Blessed Madonna: Club Future Nostalgia (Warner) **
  61. Marlowe [L'Orange & Solemn Brigham]: Marlowe 2 (Mello Music Group) **
  62. McCarthy Trenching: Perfect Game (self-released) **
  63. Mekons: Exquisite (self-released) **
  64. Meridian Brothers: Cumbia Siglo XXI (Bongo Joe) **
  65. Buddy & Julie Miller: Lockdown Songs (self-released) **
  66. Ela Minus: Acts of Rebellion (Domino) **
  67. Mdou Moctar: Mixtape Vol. 1 (self-released) **
  68. Helen Money: Atomic (Thrill Jockey) **
  69. The Mountain Goats: Getting Into Knives (Merge) **
  70. Mr. Wrong: Create a Place (Water Wing, EP) **
  71. Navy Blue: Song of Sage: Post Panic! (Freedom Sounds) **
  72. Willie Nelson: First Rose of Spring (Legacy) **
  73. Oddisee: Odd Cure (Outer Note) **
  74. Okan: Espiral (Lulaworld) **
  75. Old 97's: Twelfth (ATO) **
  76. Onipa: We No Be Machine (Strut) **
  77. Optic Sink: Optic Sink (Goner) **
  78. Paris: Safe Space Invader (Guerilla Funk) **
  79. Waylon Payne: Blue Eyes, the Harlot, the Queer, the Pusher & Me (Carnival) **
  80. Pet Shop Boys: Hotspot (X2) **
  81. Pretenders: Hate for Sale (BMG) **
  82. Princess Nokia: Everything Is Beautiful (Platoon) **
  83. Quelle Chris & Chris Keys: Innocent Country 2 (Mello Music Group) **
  84. Lee Ranaldo & Raül Refree: Names of North End Women (Mute) **
  85. Rodney Rice: Same Shirt, Different Day (Moody Spring Music) **
  86. Bree Runway: 2000and4Eva (Virgin EMI, EP) **
  87. Bobby Rush: Rawer Than Raw (Deep Rush) **
  88. Sault: Untitled (Black Is) (Forever Living Originals) **
  89. Sault: Untitled (Rise) (Forever Living Originals) **
  90. Serengeti: With Greg From Deerhoof (Joyful Noise) **
  91. Slřtface: Sorry for the Late Reply (Propeller) **
  92. Sneaks: Happy Birthday (Merge) **
  93. Soccer Mommy: Color Theory (Loma Vista) **
  94. Speaker Music: Processing Intimacy (Planet Mu) **
  95. Special Interest: The Passion Of (Thrilling Living) **
  96. Sports Team: Deep Down Happy (Island) **
  97. Taylor Swift: Folklore (Republic) **
  98. Taylor Swift: Evermore (Republic) **
  99. Teyana Taylor: The Album (Def Jam) **
  100. Thelonious Monster: Oh That Monster (Outliner) **
  101. Richard Thompson: Bloody Noses (Beeswing, EP) **
  102. Cristina Vane: Old Played New (Blue Tip) **
  103. Luke Vibert: Luke Vibert Presents Modern Rave (Hypercolour) **
  104. Kelsey Waldon: They'll Never Keep Us Down (Oh Boy, EP) **
  105. Becky Warren: The Sick Season (Becky Warren) **
  106. Wire: Mind Hive (Pink Flag) **
  107. Charli XCX: How I'm Feeling Now (Asylum) **
  108. Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad: Jazz Is Dead 3: Marcos Valle (Jazz Is Dead, EP) **

Also added the following 2019 albums after freezing the 2019 year-end file:

  1. Davido: A Good Time (RCA -19) **
  2. Justin Townes Earle: The Saint of Lost Causes (New West -19) **
  3. TeeJayx6: The Swipe Lessons (The Family Entertainment -19) **
  4. Young M.A: Herstory in the Making (M.A Music/3D -19) **

Reissues/Historic Music

The standard for historic music is a record where everything was recorded 10+ years ago, regardless of whether it's ever been in print before. Some past lists may have treated previously unreleased music as new (regardless of actual age), but I've never been able to manage that distinction consistently. This category also includes compilations of previously released music, including straight reissues, although my selection is very erratic.

1. Peter Stampfel & the Bottle Caps: Demo '84 (1984, Don Giovanni)
Nine tracks, 29:10, 8 of the 12 that appeared on the group's eponymous 1986 Rounder LP, plus a cover of "When It's Springtime in Alaska (It's Forty Below)," a 1959 Johnny Horton hit. Demos usually signify sketchy, but these pieces are fully fleshed out, the guitar rocking hard, Stampfel's unique voice inevitably standing out, but also integral to the flow. I don't remember being especially impressed by the album, and it's possible this impresses partly in stark contrast to the gradual decline of his recent years. **

2. Johnny Thunders: Live From Zürich 1985 (Johnny Thunders Archive)
Second banana in the New York Dolls, name Gemzale, went on to form the Heartbreakers (L.A.M.F.) and record a couple solo albums -- So Alone (1978) is a favorite -- before succumbing to the inevitable drug overdose at 38 (or was it?). Live date, past his prime but looks as far back as the Dolls, band includes a saxophone as well as some primal guitar. **

3. Hanging Tree Guitars (Music Maker Relief Foundation)
A dozen blues recordings, Timothy Duffy field recordings featuring guitar craftsman Freeman Vines and family. Unsure of the dates. **

4. Turn Me Loose White Man (1900-60, Constant Sorrow, 30CD)
Admittedly, I have done little more than thumb through the accompanying 352 pp. book, which offers detailed notes on this massive trove of early American music. (Actually, just the first 15 CDs, through 1930. The forthcoming Volume 2 should cover the rest, but the CDs are all here.) It's likely to take me months to get through the whole thing, maybe even a life time for it all to sink in, but the production (and Lowe's reputation as a voracious connoisseur and astute critic) tempt me to assign this preliminary (and most likely minimal) grade. Besides, I'm trying to wrap up 2020 this month, and I'd rather not leave this bookkeeping detail hanging over my head.

5. Nkem Njoku & Ozzobia Brothers: Ozobia Special (1980s, BBE)
Igbo highlife, presumably from Nigeria, seems to be only album, leader sings, no one named Ozzobia (or Ozobia) in the credits. Draws on Ghanian highlife, touted as a classic album, not as slick as Lagos juju, but catchy as can be. **

6. Daora: Underground Sounds of Urban Brasil (Mais Um Discos, 2CD)
"Hip-hop, leftfield beats, afrobeat and dub-influenced sounds from Brasil," 32 tracks, compiled by Rodrigo Brandao, vintage unknown but probably recent, only one artist I recognize (Baiana System), title slang "for something that's dope." Edges a little soft, as tends to be the case in Brazil, but that introduces a loopy, oblique humor that you rarely hear elsewhere. **

7. Victor Chukwu: Akalaka/The Power (1977-79, BBE)
Combines two LPs of vintage Igbo highlife, the second title fully credited to Uncle Victor Chuks & the Black Irokos. One of my favorite African styles, not the slickest version but upbeat, a delight. **

8. Kalie Shorr: Open Book: Unabridged (Tmwrk)
Country singer-songwriter from Maine, self-released her debut Open Book in 2019, after several EPs, and turned a lot of ears. This is a reissue, expanded from 13 to 17 tracks. My initial reaction was that she was overly jacked up, but later plays persuaded me that the songs were solid. That's even clearer here. I doubt the extra songs are worth re-buying the rest, but this is a good one to start with. **

9. Waco Brothers: Resist! (1995-2005, Bloodshot)
Mekon Jon Langford's Chicago bar band, motto "hard times call for hard country," twenty-five years since their debut. You'd think the times would help write a new batch of songs, but they decided to pick some old ones, sounding harder than ever. Lots to resist these days, but not them. **

10. The Tabansi Studio Band: Vol. 3: Wakar Alhazai Kano/Mus'en Sofoa (1970s, BBE)
Nigerian (Igbo and Hausa) Afrobeat, label ran from 1975-85, dates no clearer than that, but these are two supposedly very rare albums from the period plus two short edits as bonus tracks, total 67:14. High energy, can't even fault the vocals. **

11. Cadence Revolution: Disques Debs International Vol. 2 (1970s, Disques Debs/Strut)
Zouk from the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, selected from the archives of Henri Debs' label, which was founded in the 1950s and released over 100 records in the 1970s. One of my favorite records is the Earthworks 1988 compilation Hurricane Zouk, and this reminds me enough (as it happens, I just replayed it yesterday) to recommend it. **

12. Ranil Y Su Conjunto Tropical: (Limited Dance Edition) (Analog Africa)
Cumbia group from Iquitos on the Amazonian side of Peru, led by singer Raúl Llerena Vásquez, aka Ranil. No dates on these songs -- indeed, Discogs has no dates for 13 albums, only one date for his singles (1977), and one previous compilation (2010). Wish I knew more about this, but unclear to me even whether Vásquez is still alive. But the music is, seductive too. **

13. Sharhabil Ahmed: The King of Sudanese Jazz (Habibi Funk)
Singer from Sudan, plays guitar, oud, other instruments. Not clear when these seven grooveful pieces were recorded, but they combine Middle Eastern and Congolese elements, and one picture shows congas as well as a drum set. **

14. Pedro Lima: Maguidala (1985, Bongo Joe)
Touted as "the people's voice" after Sao Tomé gained independence from Portugal in 1975, died in 2019 boasting "his funerals were the biggest ever organized on the island." Four songs, sustained grooves averaging 9 minutes, voice is exemplary but the secret sauce is Leopoldino "Gúndu" Silva's guitar. **

15. Kakai Kilonzo & Les Kilimambogo Brothers: Buffalo Mountain (1975-85, No Wahala Sounds)
Kenyan band, a pioneer in the guitar-driven benga style, a bit less flashy than the better-known Daniel Owino Misiani, but infectious nonetheless. Dates are approximate ("mid-1970s to mid-1980s"), with Kilonzo dying in 1987, aged 33. **

16. Cool Cats Invasion (Highlife, Juju & Palm-Wine) (1950s-60s, Moochin' About)
Huge (102 tracks) collection of vintage pop music from Nigeria and Ghana, picks up a few names I recognize (like I.K. Dairo, Victor Olaiya, E.T. Mensah, Rex Lawson, Haruna Ishola, a very young Fela Kuti), many more I don't. Seems to only be available as a digital, and is pretty cheap as those things go. Not sure how the time adds up, or how many CDs it would take (5-6?). Only played it once, and haven't regretted a minute. Can't swear enough of it is brilliant, but I've always loved this music. Deserves some serious documentation. **

17. Beverly Glenn-Copeland: Transmissions: The Music of Beverly Glenn-Copeland (1970-2019, Transgressive)
Scattered picks from "her" eponymous debut through "his" latest live outings (repeating "Deep River" from Live at Le Guess Who? 2018). The gospel electronica of "A Little Talk" is a favorite, followed by stronger rhythm tracks, but the album is interesting in all sorts of ways. **

Also added the following 2019 (or earlier) albums after freezing the 2019 year-end file:

1. Etran De L'Aďr: No. 1 (Sahel Sounds -18)
Tuareg group from Agadez, Niger, formed in 1995 but first album here: guitars, bass guitar, drums, singers named Ibrahim Mohamed and Hamidane Aboubacar Bouzou. As minimal as the desert.

Honorable Mention

Additional non-jazz rated B+(***), listed alphabetically.

  1. Dave Alvin: From an Old Guitar: Rare and Unreleased Recordings (Yep Roc) **
  2. Duck Baker: Plymouth Rock: Unreleased & Rare Recordings, 1973-1979 (Tompkins Square) **
  3. Damily: Early Years: Madagascar Cassette Achives (1995-2002, Bongo Joe) **
  4. Erotique New Beat (1989, Mental Groove) **
  5. Jimi Hendrix Experience: Live in Maui (1970, Experience Hendrix/Legacy, 2CD) **
  6. Fela Anikulapo Kuti & Egypt 80: Perambulator (1983, Knitting Factory) **
  7. John Lennon: Gimme Some Truth: The Ultimate Mixes (1969-84, Universal, 2CD) **
  8. Léve Léve: Sao Tome & Principe Sounds '70s-'80s (Bongo Joe) **
  9. Leyla McCalla: Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes (2013, Smithsonian Folkways) **
  10. Mirah: You Think It's Like This but Really It's Like This (2000, K) **
  11. Aaron Neville: Tell It Like It Is: The Sansu Years (1968-75, HHO) **
  12. On the Road: A Tribute to John Hartford (LoHi) **
  13. Portals: A Kosmische Journey Through Outer Worlds and Inner Space (Behind the Sky) **
  14. Ranil Y Su Conjunto Tropical: Stay Safe and Sound Ranil Selection!! (Analog Africa) **
  15. Silkworm: In the West (1994, Comedy Minus One) **
  16. Sleaford Mods: All That Glue (Rough Trade) **
  17. Sugar Billy: Super Duper Lover (1975, Mainstream) **
  18. Ebo Taylor: Palaver (1980, BBE -19) **
  19. Wussy: Ghosts (2006-19, self-released) **
  20. Yabby You: King Tubby's Prophecies of Dub (1976, Pressure Sounds) **

Also added the following 2019 albums after freezing the 2019 year-end file:

  1. Ronnie Lane: Just for a Moment: The Best of Ronnie Lane (1973-97, UMC -19) **
  2. Ana Mazzotti: Ana Mazzotti (1977, Far Out -19) **
  3. Mogadisco: Dancing Mogadishu, Somalia 1972-1991 (Analog Africa -19) **


Additional new non-jazz records rated B+(**) or below (listed alphabetically by artist).

  1. 2nd Grade: Hit to Hit (Double Double Whammy) ** [B+(**)]
  2. 3unshine: We Are 3unshine (Real Show) ** [B+(**)]
  3. 6lack: 6pc Hot EP (Interscope, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  4. 21 Savage & Metro Boomin: Savage Mode II (Slaughter Gang/Epic) ** [B+(**)]
  5. 070 Shake: Modus Vivendi (GOOD Music/Def Jam) ** [B+(*)]
  6. 75 Dollar Bill: Power Failures (self-released) ** [B+(**)]
  7. 75 Dollar Bill Little Big Band: Roulette, March 27, 2017 (self-released) ** [B+(**)]
  8. The 81's: 2 Things & 118 Others (The 81's) ** [B+(**)]
  9. 100 Gecs: 1000 Gecs and the Tree of Clues (Dog Show) ** [B+(**)]
  10. AC/DC: Power Up (Columbia) ** [B]
  11. Actress: Karma & Desire (Ninja Tune) ** [B+(*)]
  12. Riz Ahmed: The Long Goodbye (Mongrel, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  13. Jhené Aiko: Chilombo (Def Jam) ** [B+(*)]
  14. Andre Akinyele: Uniglo Boy (Orange River) ** [B+(**)]
  15. Aksak Maboul: Figures (Crammed Discs) ** [B+(**)]
  16. Jessi Alexander: Decatur County Red (Lost Creek Music) ** [B+(*)]
  17. Alma: Have U Seen Her? (PME) ** [B+(**)]
  18. Gyedu-Blay Ambolley: 11th Street, Sekondi (Agogo -19) ** [B+(**)]
  19. Annie: Dark Hearts (Annie Melody) ** [B+(**)]
  20. American Aquarium: Lamentations (New West) ** [B+(**)]
  21. Ammar 808: Global Control/Invisible Invasion (Glitterbeat) ** [B+(**)]
  22. John Anderson: Years (Easy Eye Sound) ** [B+(**)]
  23. Thomas Anderson: Analog Summer (Four-Tracks and Then Some) (Out There) ** [B+(**)]
  24. Courtney Marie Andrews: Old Flowers (Fat Possum) ** [B+(*)]
  25. Angel-Ho: Alla Prima (Hyperdub, EP) ** [B]
  26. Arbor Labor Union: New Petal Instants (Arrowhawk) ** [B+(**)]
  27. Arca: @@@@@ (XL) ** [B+(*)]
  28. Arca: Kick I (XL) ** [B+(*)]
  29. Roo Arcus: Tumbleweed (Social Family) ** [B+(*)]
  30. Steve Arrington: Down to the Lowest Terms: The Soul Sessions (Stones Throw) ** [B+(*)]
  31. Autechre: Sign (Warp) ** [B]
  32. Autechre: Plus (Warp) ** [B+(*)]
  33. The Avalanches: We Will Always Love You (Island) ** [B+(**)]
  34. Daniel Avery: Love + Light (Phantasy Sound) ** [B+(**)]/li>
  35. Bab L' Bluz: Nayda! (Real World) ** [B+(*)]
  36. Babe, Terror: Horizogon (Glue Moon) ** [B-]
  37. Backxwash: God Had Nothing to Do With This Leave Him Out of It (Grimalkin, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  38. Bad Bunny: YHLQMDLG (Rimas) ** [B+(**)]
  39. Bad Bunny: El Último Tour Del Mundo ** [B+(*)] (Rimas)
  40. Jeich Ould Badou: Music From Saharan WhatsApp 03 (Sahel Sounds, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  41. Kelsea Ballerini: Kelsea (Black River) ** [B+(*)]
  42. J Balvin: Colores (Universal Latin) ** [B+(**)]
  43. Bananagun: The True Story of Bananagun (Full Time Hobby) ** [B+(*)]
  44. Mandy Barnett: A Nashville Songbook (BMG) ** [B+(**)]
  45. Juliana Barwick: Healing Is a Miracle (Ninja Tune) ** [B]
  46. William Basinski: Lamentations (Temporary Residence) ** [B+(*)]
  47. BC Camplight: Shortly After Takeoff (Bella Union) ** [B]
  48. Bdrmm: Bedroom (Sonic Cathedral) ** [B+(**)]
  49. Beabadoobee: Fake It Flowers (Dirty Hit) ** [B+(**)]
  50. Beach Bunny: Honeymoon (Mom + Pop) ** [B+(*)]
  51. Beauty Pill: Please Advise (Northern Spy, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  52. Belle & Sebastian: What to Look for in Summer (Matador, 2CD) ** [B+(**)]
  53. Benny the Butcher: Burden of Proof (Griselda) ** [B+(**)]
  54. Matt Berninger: Serpentine Prison (Book) ** [B+(**)]
  55. Jehnny Beth: To Love Is to Live (Caroline) ** [B+(*)]
  56. The Beths: Jump Rope Gazers (Carpark) ** [B+(*)]
  57. Biffy Clyro: A Celebration of Endings (14th Floor) ** [B]
  58. The Big Moon: Walking Like We Do (Fiction) ** [B]
  59. Big Sean: Detroit 2 (GOOD Music/Def Jam) ** [B+(**)]
  60. Scott H. Biram: Fever Dreams (Bloodshot) ** [B+(**)]
  61. Elvin Bishop & Charlie Musselwhite: 100 Years of Blues (Alligator) ** [B+(**)]
  62. Clint Black: Out of Same (Black Top) ** [B+(*)]
  63. BlackPink: The Album (YG Entertainment/Interscope) ** [B+(**)]
  64. Namir Blade: Namir Blade Presents Aphelion's Traveling Circus (Mello Music Group) ** [B+(*)]
  65. The Blam Blams: Opening Night (LunaSea Media) ** [B]
  66. Blueface: Find the Beat (Cash Money) ** [B+(**)]
  67. Afel Bocoum: Lindé (World Circuit) ** [B+(**)]
  68. Body Count: Carnivore (Century Media) ** [B+(**)]
  69. Bombay Bicycle Club: Everything Else Has Gone Wrong (Island) ** [B]
  70. The Bombpops: Death in Venice Beach (Fat Wreck Chords) ** [B+(**)]
  71. Bonny Light Horseman: Bonny Light Horseman (37d03d) ** [B]
  72. Boogat: El Gato Y Los Rumberos (Ray-On, EP) ** [B]
  73. James Dean Bradfield: Even in Exile (Montyray) ** [B+(*)]
  74. Brandy: B7 (Brand Nu/Entertainment One) ** [B+(*)]
  75. Phoebe Bridgers: Punisher (Dead Oceans) ** [B+(**)]
  76. Phoebe Bridgers: Copycat Killer (Dead Oceans, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  77. Bright Eyes: Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was (Dead Oceans) ** [B+(**)]
  78. Brad Brooks: God Save the City (Brad Brooks) [B+(*)]
  79. Brothers Osborne: Skeletons (Spinefarm) ** [B+(*)]
  80. Apollo Brown & Che' Noir: As God Intended (Mello Music Group) ** [B+(**)]
  81. BTS: Map of the Soul: 7 (Big Hit) ** [B+(*)]
  82. BTS: BE (Big Hit) ** [B+(*)]
  83. The Bug: In Blue (Hyperdub) ** [B+(*)]
  84. Bully: Sugaregg (Sub Pop) ** [B+(*)]
  85. Burna Boy: Twice as Tall (Atlantic) ** [B+(**)]
  86. Busta Rhymes: Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath of God (Conglomerate/Empire) ** [B]
  87. The Cadillac Three: Tabasco & Sweet Tea (Big Machine) ** [B+(*)]
  88. Matt Caflisch: Runaway (Fat Oak) ** [B+(*)]
  89. Bill Callahan: Gold Record (Drag City) ** [B]
  90. Jenna Camille: The Time is NOW (self-released) ** [B+(*)]
  91. Caitlin Cannon: The TrashCannon Album (Caitlin Cannon) ** [B+(**)]
  92. Caribou: Suddenly (Merge) ** [B+(**)]
  93. Hayes Carll: Alone Together Sessions (Dualtone) ** [B+(**)]
  94. Carne Doce: Interior (Tratore) ** [B+(*)]
  95. Playboi Carti: Whole Lotta Red (AWGE/Interscope) ** [B+(**)]
  96. Marshall Chapman: Songs I Can't Live Without (Tall Girl) ** [B+(**)]
  97. The Chats: High Risk Behaviour (Bargain Bin) ** [B+(*)]
  98. Chika: Industry Games (Warner) ** [B+(**)]
  99. Childish Gambino: 3.15.20 (RCA) ** [B]
  100. Chloe x Halle: Ungodly Hour (Columbia) ** [B+(*)]
  101. Chouk Bwa and the Ĺngströmers: Vodou Alé (Bongo Joe) ** [B+(**)]
  102. Chromeo: Quarantine Casanova (Chromeo, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  103. Clem Snide: Forever Just Beyond (Ramseur) ** [B+(**)]
  104. Brent Cobb: Keep 'Em on They Toes (Ol' Buddy) ** [B+(**)]
  105. Code Orange: Underneath (Roadrunner) ** [B]
  106. Shirley Collins: Heart's Ease (Domino) ** [B+(**)]
  107. Joachim Cooder: Over That Road I'm Bound (Nonesuch) ** [B]
  108. A.G. Cook: Apple (PC Music) ** [B]
  109. Shemekia Copeland: Uncivil War (Alligator) ** [B+(*)]
  110. Coriky: Coriky (Dischord) ** [B+(*)]
  111. Elvis Costello: Hey Clockface (Concord) ** [B-]
  112. Chris Crack: White People Love Algorithms (New Deal Collectives) ** [B+(**)]
  113. Elysia Crampton: Orcorara 2010 (Pan) ** [B-]
  114. Creeper: Sex, Death & the Infinite Void (Roadrunner) ** [B-]
  115. Charley Crockett: Welcome to Hard Times (Son of Davy) ** [B+(*)]
  116. Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats: Unlocked (PH/Loma Vista, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  117. Cut Worms: Nobody Lives Here Anymore (Jagjaguwar) ** [B+(*)]
  118. Miley Cyrus: Plastic Hearts (RCA) ** [B+(**)]
  119. Dagny: Strangers/Lovers (Little Daggers, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  120. Dan Ex Machina: My Wife (self-released) ** [B+(**)]
  121. Dean & Britta: Quarantine Tapes (Double Feature) ** [B+(**)]
  122. Deerhoof: Future Teenage Cave Artists (Joyful Noise) ** [B+(*)]
  123. Deerhoof: Love-Lore (Joyful Noise) ** [B+(*)]
  124. Deerhoof and Wadada Leo Smith: To Be Surrounded by Beautiful, Curious, Breathing, Laughing Flesh Is Enough (Joyful Noise) ** [B+(**)]
  125. Deftones: Ohms (Reprise) ** [C+]
  126. Dehd: Flower of Devotion (Fire Talk) ** [B+(*)]
  127. Dej Loaf: Sell Sole II (BMG) ** [B+(**)]
  128. Helena Deland: Someone New (Luminelle) ** [B+(*)]
  129. Vladislav Delay: Rakka (Warp) ** [B+(*)]
  130. Vladislav Delay/Sly Dunbar/Robbie Shakespeare: 500-Push-Up (Sub Rosa) ** [B+(*)]
  131. Demae: Life Works Out . . . Usually (Touching Bass, EP) ** [B]
  132. Destroyer: Have We Met (Merge) ** [B+(*)]
  133. Beatrice Dillon: Workaround (Pan) ** [B+(**)]
  134. Dion: Blues With Friends (Keeping the Blues Alive) ** [B+(*)]
  135. Disclosure: Energy (Island) ** [B+(**)]
  136. Kevin Dixon: The Summer We All Bought Guns (Covid Charlie's Demo-lution) ** [B]
  137. DJ Python: Mas Amable (Incienso) ** [B+(**)]
  138. Dorian Electra: My Agenda (self-released) ** [B]
  139. Drakeo the Ruler: Thank You for Using GTL (Stinc Team) ** [B+(**)]
  140. The Dream Syndicate: The Universe Inside (Anti-) ** [B+(*)]
  141. Duma: Duma (Nyege Nyege Tapes) ** [B]
  142. Baxter Dury: The Night Chancers (Heavenly) ** [B+(*)]
  143. Dutchavelli: Dutch From the 5th (Parlophone) ** [B+(**)]
  144. Dvsn: A Muse in Her Feelings (OVD Sound/Warner) ** [B+(*)]
  145. Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters: Rise Up (Stony Plain) ** [B+(*)]
  146. Che Ecru: Til Death (F Plus) ** [B+(**)]
  147. Kathleen Edwards: Total Freedom (Dualtone) ** [B]
  148. Jay Electronica: A Written Testimony (Roc Nation) ** [B+(*)]
  149. Joe Ely: Love in the Midst of Mayhem (Rack 'Em) ** [B+(*)]
  150. Elzhi: Seven Times Down Eight Times Up (Fat Beats) ** [B+(**)]
  151. Empress Of: I'm Your Empress Of (Terrible) ** [B+(**)]
  152. En Attendant Ana: Juillet (Trouble in Mind) ** [B+(**)]
  153. Hazel English: Wake Up! (Polyvinyl) ** [B+(*)]
  154. Roger Eno and Brian Eno: Mixing Colours (Deutsche Grammophon) ** [B+(*)]
  155. Erasure: The Neon (Mute) ** [B]
  156. Eyelids: The Accidental Falls (Decor) ** [B+(*)]
  157. Extra Soul Perception: New Tangents in Kampala, London & Nairobi Vol. 1 (Extra Soul Perception, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  158. Bill Fay: Countless Branches (Dead Oceans) ** [B+(**)]
  159. Laura Fell: Safe From Me (Balloon Machine) ** [B+(*)]
  160. Field Music: Making a New World (Memphis Industries) ** [B+(*)]
  161. The Flaming Lips: American Head (Warner/Bella Union) ** [B+(*)]
  162. Fleet Foxes: Shore (Anti-) ** [B]
  163. Fontaines DC: A Hero's Death (Partisan) ** [B+(*)]
  164. Frazey Ford: U Kin B the Sun (Arts & Crafts) ** [B+(**)]
  165. Keeley Forsyth: Debris (The Leaf Label) ** [B]
  166. See'J Foster: HiSonGreWings (self-released) ** [B+(**)]
  167. Four Tet: Sixteen Oceans (Text) ** [B+(*)]
  168. Fra Fra: Funeral Songs (Glitterbeat) ** [B]
  169. The Front Bottoms: In Sickness & in Flames (Fueled by Ramen) ** [B+(**)]
  170. The Full Salon: The Full Salon (self-released) ** [B]
  171. Future/Lil Uzi Vert: Pluto x Baby Pluto (Atlantic) ** [B+(*)]
  172. Future Islands: As Long as You Are (4AD) ** [B+(*)]
  173. Angelica Garcia: Cha Cha Palace (Spacebomb) ** [B]
  174. Gabriel Garzón-Montano: Agüita (Jagjaguwar) ** [B+(*)]
  175. Dana Gavanski: Yesterday Is Gone (Ba Da Bing) ** [B+(*)]
  176. Dana Gavanski: Wind Songs (Ba Da Bing, EP) ** [B]
  177. Arna Georgia: Yes Girl (Arna Georgia) ** [B+(*)]
  178. Ghetto Kumbé: Ghetto Kumbé (ZZK) ** [B+(**)]
  179. Freddie Gibbs & the Alchemist: Alfredo (ESGN/ALC/Empire) ** [B+(*)]
  180. A Girl Called Eddy: Been Around (Elefant) ** [B+(*)]
  181. Selena Gomez: Rare (Interscope) ** [B+(**)]
  182. Robert Gordon: Rockabilly for Life (Cleopatra) ** [B+(*)]
  183. Gorillaz: Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez (Parlophone) ** [B+(*)]
  184. Ariana Grande: Positions (Republic) ** [B+(*)]
  185. Conan Gray: Kid Krow (Republic) ** [B+(*)]
  186. CeeLo Green: CeeLo Green Is Thomas Callaway (Easy Eye Sound) ** [B]
  187. Grrrl Gang: Here to Stay (Damnably, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  188. David Guetta/Morten: New Rave (Parlophone, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  189. Gunna: Wunna (YSL/300) ** [B+(*)]
  190. Mickey Guyton: Bridges (Capitol Nashville, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  191. GuiltyBeatz: Different E.P (Banku Music, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  192. The Haden Triplets: The Family Songbook (Trimeter) ** [B+(**)]
  193. Haiku Hands: Haiku Hands (Mad Decent) ** [B+(*)]
  194. Haim: Women in Music Pt. III (Columbia) ** [B+(**)]
  195. Luke Haines & Peter Buck: Beat Poetry for Survivalists (Omnivore) ** [B+(**)]
  196. The Happy Fits: What Could Be Better (The Happy Fits) ** [B+(**)]
  197. Clay Harper: Dirt Yard Street (Casino Music) ** [B+(*)]
  198. Honey Harper: Starmaker (ATO) ** [B]
  199. Headie One: Edna (Relentless) ** [B+(**)]
  200. Headie One X Fred Again: Gang (Relentless, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  201. Kirby Heard: Mama's Biscuits (self-released -19) ** [B+(**)]
  202. Paul Heaton/Jacqui Abbott: Manchester Calling (Virgin EMI) ** [B+(**)]
  203. The Henrys: Paydirt (HR-2019) ** [B+(*)]
  204. Lily Hiatt: Walking Proof (New West) ** [B+(**)]
  205. Rui Ho: Lov3 & L1ght (Planet Mu) ** [B+(**)]
  206. Home Counties: Redevelopment (Alcopop!, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  207. Horse Lords: The Common Task< (Northern Spy) ** [B+(*)]
  208. The Howling Hex: Knuckleball Express (Fat Possum) ** [B+(**)]
  209. Ray Wylie Hubbard: Co-Starring (Big Machine) ** [B+(**)]
  210. Siul Hughes: Stoopkid (Fake Four -19) ** [B+(**)]
  211. Sierra Hull: 25 Trips (Rounder) ** [B+(**)]
  212. Hum: Inlet (Earth Analog) ** [B]
  213. Sam Hunt: Southside (MCA Nashville) ** [B+(*)]
  214. J Hus: Big Conspiracy (Black Butter) ** [B+(**)]
  215. Johnny Iguana: Johnny Iguana's Chicago Spectacular (Delmark) ** [B+(**)]
  216. Illuminati Hotties: Free I.H.: This Is Not the One You've Been Waiting For (self-released) ** [B+(*)]
  217. Jasmine Infiniti: Bxtch Släp (New World Dysorder) ** [B+(**)]
  218. International Teachers of Pop: Pop Gossip (Desolate Spools) ** [B+(**)]
  219. Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit: Reunions (Southeastern) ** [B+(*)]
  220. Ital Tek: Outland (Planet Mu) ** [B+(**)]
  221. Nicholas Jaar: Cenizas (Other People) ** [B+(*)]
  222. Loraine James: Nothing (Hyperdub, EP) ** [B]
  223. Jealous of the Birds: Peninsula (Atlantic) ** [B+(*)]
  224. Carly Rae Jepsen: Dedicated Side B (School Boy) ** [B+(**)]
  225. Jockstrap: Wicked City (Warp, EP) ** [B]
  226. Jimmy Johnson: Every Day of Your Life (Delmark -19) ** [B+(**)]
  227. Karen Jonas: The Southwest Sky & Other Dreams (Yellow Brick) ** [B+(**)]
  228. Camden Joy: Updated Just Now (self-released, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  229. Camden Joy: American Love (self-released) ** [B+(**)]
  230. JPEGMafia: EP! (Universal Republic, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  231. Juice WRLD: Legends Never Die (Grade A/Interscope) ** [B]
  232. Jumpstarted Plowhards: Round One (Recess, EP -19) ** [B+(*)]
  233. Junglepussy: JP4 (Jagjaguwar) ** [B+(*)]
  234. Juniore: Un Deux Trois (Le Phonographe) ** [B+(**)]
  235. K. Michelle: All Monsters Are Human (EOne) ** [B+(**)]
  236. Kacy & Clayton and Marlon Williams: Plastic Bouquet (New West) ** [B+(**)]
  237. KeiyaA: Forever, Ya Girl (Keiya) ** [B+(**)]
  238. Keleketia: Keleketia! (Ahead of Our Time) ** [B+(**)]
  239. Kesha: High Road (Kemosabe) ** [B+(*)]
  240. Alicia Keys: Alicia (RCA) ** [B+(**)]
  241. Khruangbin: Mordechai (Dead Oceans) ** [B+(*)]
  242. Kid Cudi: Man on the Moon III: The Chosen (Republic) ** [B+(**)]
  243. The Killers: Imploding the Mirage (Island) ** [B]
  244. King Krule: Man Alive! (True Pather) ** [B]
  245. Kiwi Jr.: Football Money (Persona Non Grata) ** [B+(**)]
  246. KMRU: Peel (Editions Mego) ** [B+(*)]
  247. Knxwledge: 1988 (Stones Throw) ** [B]
  248. KRS-One: Between Da Protests (R.A.M.P. Ent Agency) ** [B+(**)]
  249. Lianne La Havas: Lianne La Havas (Nonesuch) ** [B+(*)]
  250. Stephanie Lambring: Autonomy (Tone Tree Music) ** [B+(**)]
  251. Sonny Landreth: Blacktop Run (Provogue) ** [B+(*)]
  252. Jessy Lanza: All the Time (Hyperdub) ** [B+(*)]
  253. Mary Lattimore: Silver Ladders (Ghostly International) ** [B+(*)]
  254. Gabe Lee: Honky Tonk Hell (Torrez Music Group) ** [B+(**)]
  255. Adrianne Lenker: Songs (4AD) ** [B+(*)]
  256. Adrianne Lenker: Instrumentals (4AD) ** [B]
  257. Jinx Lennon: Border Schizzo Fffolk Songs for the Fuc**d (Septic Tiger) ** [B+(**)]
  258. Les Amazones D'Afrique: Amazones Power (RealWorld) ** [B+(**)]
  259. Lil Baby: My Turn (Quality Control) ** [B+(**)]
  260. Lil Uzi Vert: Eternal Atake (Atlantic) ** [B+(*)]
  261. Lil Wayne: Funeral (Young Money) ** [B+(**)]
  262. Fenne Lily: Breach (Dead Oceans) ** [B+(**)]
  263. Brian Lisik: Güdbye Stoopid Whirled (Cherokee Queen) [B+(**)]
  264. Little Simz: Drop 6 (Age 101, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  265. Liv.e: Couldn't Wait to Tell You . . . (In Real Life) ** [B+(*)]
  266. Lomelda: Hannah (Double Double Whammy) ** [B+(*)]
  267. Lydia Loveless: Daughter (Honey, You're Gonna Be Late) ** [B+(*)]
  268. Low Cut Connie: Private Lives (Contender) ** [B]
  269. Luka Productions & Kandiafa: Music From Saharan WhatsApp Volume 6 (Sahel Sounds, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  270. Lupe Fiasco/Kaelin Ellis: House (1st and 15th Too, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  271. Lera Lynn: On My Own (Ruby Range) ** [B+(*)]
  272. Corb Lund: Agricultural Tragic (New West) ** [B+(**)]
  273. Machine Girl: U-Void Synthesizer (1818199 DK2) ** [B-]
  274. The Magnetic Fields: Quickies (Nonesuch) ** [B+(*)]
  275. Tkay Maidza: Last Year Was Weird (Vol. 2) (4AD, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  276. Major Lazer: Music Is the Weapon (Mad Decent) ** [B+(**)]
  277. Stephen T. Malkmus: Traditional Techniques (Matador) ** [B+(*)]
  278. Maluma: Papi Juancho (Sony Music Latin) ** [B+(**)]
  279. Roc Marciano: Marcielago (Marci) ** [B+(**)]
  280. Roc Marciano: Mt. Marci (Marci) ** [B+(*)]
  281. Gia Margaret: Mia Gargaret (Orindal) ** [B+(*)]
  282. Laura Marling: Song for Our Daughter (Chrysalis/Partisan) ** [B+(**)]
  283. Terrace Martin/Robert Glasper/9th Wonder/Kamasi Washington: Dinner Party (Sounds of Crenshaw, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  284. Terrace Martin/Robert Glasper/9th Wonder/Kamasi Washington: Dinner Party: Dessert (Sounds of Crenshaw, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  285. Masma Dream World: Play at Night (Northern Spy) ** [B]
  286. Arlo McKinley: Die Midwestern (Oh Boy) ** [B]
  287. Anna McClellan: I Saw First Light (Father/Daughter) ** [B+(*)]
  288. Medhane: Full Circle (TBHG, EP) ** [B]
  289. Medhane: Cold Water (TBHG) ** [B+(*)]
  290. Melenas: Dias Raros (Trouble in Mind) ** [B+(**)]
  291. Melkbelly: PITH (Wax Nine/Carpark) ** [B]
  292. Shawn Mendes: Wonder (Island) ** [B+(*)]
  293. Vic Mensa: V Tape (Roc Nation, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  294. Hailu Mergia: Yene Mircha (Awesome Tapes From Africa) ** [B+(**)]
  295. Metz: Atlas Vending (Sub Pop) ** [B]
  296. Ras Michael: Live by the Spirit (Hen House Studios) ** [B+(**)]
  297. The Microphones: Microphones in 2020 (PW Elverum & Sun) ** [B+(**)]
  298. Mike: Weight of the World (10k) ** [B+(*)]
  299. Flo Milli: Ho, Why Is You Here? (RCA) ** [B+(*)]
  300. Blake Mills: Mutable Set (New Deal/Verve) ** [B]
  301. Kylie Minogue: Disco (BMG) ** [B+(**)]
  302. Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes: What Kinda Music (Beyond the Groove) ** [B+(**)]
  303. Moby: All Visible Objects (Mute) ** [B+(*)]
  304. Victoria Monét: Jaguar (Tribe, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  305. Moor Mother: Circuit City (Don Giovanni) ** [B+(*)]
  306. Moor Mother & Billy Woods: Brass (Backwoodz Studioz) ** [B+(**)]
  307. Thurston Moore: By the Fire (Daydream Library) ** [B+(**)]
  308. Kevin Morby: Sundowner (Dead Oceans) ** [B+(*)]
  309. John Moreland: LP5 (Old Omens) ** [B+(**)]
  310. Cahalen Morrison: Wealth of Sorrow (self-released) ** [B+(**)]
  311. Bob Mould: Blue Hearts (Merge) ** [B+(*)]
  312. The Mountain Goats: Songs for Pierre Chuvin (Merge) ** [B+(**)]
  313. Ali Shaheed Muhammad & Adrian Younge: Jazz Is Dead 4: Azymuth (Jazz Is Dead) ** [B]
  314. Vee Mukarati: Vital Signs (Primrose, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  315. Munson-Hicks Party Supplies: Munson-Hicks Party Supplies (Soft Launch) ** [B+(**)]
  316. Róisin Murphy: Róisin Machine (Skint) ** [B+(**)]
  317. Mythic Sunship: Changing Shapes: Live at Roadburn (El Paraiso) ** [B+(**)]
  318. Nas: King's Disease (Mass Appeal) ** [B+(**)]
  319. Navy Blue: Ádŕ Irin (Freedom Sounds) ** [B+(*)]
  320. Tami Neilson: Chicka Boom! (Outside) ** [B+(**)]
  321. Johnny Nicholas: Mistaken Identity (Valcour) ** [B+(**)]
  322. Nihiloxica: Kaloli (Crammed Discs) ** [B+(**)]
  323. Kyle Nix: Lightning on the Mountain (self-released) ** [B+(*)]
  324. No Joy: Motherhood (Joyful Noise) ** [B+(*)]
  325. Jim Noir: A.M Jazz (Dook -19) ** [B+(**)]
  326. NZCA Lines: Pure Luxury (Memphis Industries) ** [B+(*)]
  327. Dawn Oberg: 2020 Revision (self-released, EP)
  328. Angel Olsen: Whole New Mess (Jagjaguwar) ** [B]
  329. J.S. Ondara: Folk N' Roll Vol 1: Tales of Isolation (Verve Forecast) ** [B]
  330. Oneohtrix Point Never: Magic Oneohtrix Point Never (Warp) ** [B+(*)]
  331. The Orielles: Disco Volador (Heavenly) ** [B+(*)]
  332. Kassa Overall: I Think I'm Good (Brownswood) ** [B+(*)]
  333. Kassa Overall: Shades of Flu: Healthy Remixes for an Ill Moment (Flu Note) ** [B+(*)]
  334. Kelly Lee Owens: Inner Song (Smalltown Supersound) ** [B+(**)]
  335. Pa Salieu: Send Them to Coventry (Warner Music UK) ** [B+(**)]
  336. Painted Faces: Tales From the Skinny Apartment (ESP-Disk -19) ** [B-]
  337. Tayla Parx: Coping Mechanisms (Taylamade/Atlantic) ** [B+(*)]
  338. Esmé Patterson: There Will Come Soft Rains (BMG) ** [B+(**)]
  339. Carly Pearce: Carly Pearce (Big Machine) ** [B]
  340. Pearl Jam: Gigaton (Monkeywrench/Republic) ** [B]
  341. Grant Peeples: Bad Wife (Rootball) ** [B+(*)]
  342. Penya Na Msafiri Zawose: Penya Safari E.P. (On the Corner) ** [B+(*)]
  343. Pere Ubu: By Order of Mayor Pawlicki: Live in Jarocin (Cherry Red) ** [B+(**)]
  344. Perfume Genius: Set My Heart on Fire Immediately (Matador) ** [B+(*)]
  345. Lido Pimienta: Miss Colombia (Anti-) ** [B+(**)]
  346. Pinegrove: Marigold (Rough Trade) ** [B+(*)]
  347. Pink Siifu: Negro (Field-Left) ** [B]
  348. Pink Siifu/Yungmorpheus: Bag Talk (Field Left -19) ** [B+(**)]
  349. Polo G: The Goat (Columbia) ** [B+(**)]
  350. Pop Smoke: Meet the Woo 2 (Victor Victor/Republic) ** [B+(*)]
  351. Pop Smoke: Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon (Victor Victor/Republic) ** [B+(*)]
  352. Popcaan: Fixtape (OVO Sound/Warner) ** [B+(**)]
  353. Poppy: I Disagree (Sumerian) ** [B+(*)]
  354. Porridge Radio: Every Bad (Secretly Canadian) ** [B+(*)]
  355. Pottery: Welcome to Bobby's Motel
  356. Margo Price: That's How Rumors Get Started (Loma Vista) ** [B+(*)]
  357. Margo Price: Perfectly Imperfect at the Ryman (Loma Vista) ** [B+(**)]
  358. Princess Nokia: Everything Sucks (Platoon, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  359. Protoje: In Search of Lost Time (RCA) ** [B+(**)]
  360. Protomartyr: Ultimate Success Today (Domino) ** [B+(**)]
  361. Katie Pruitt: Expectations (Rounder) ** [B+(*)]
  362. Psychedelic Furs: Made of Rain (Cooking Vinyl) ** [B+(*)]
  363. PUP: This Place Sucks Ass (BMG, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  364. Puss N Boots: Sister (Blue Note) ** [B+(*)]
  365. PVRIS: Use Me (Warner) ** [B]
  366. Francis Quinlan: Likewise (Saddle Creek) ** [B+(*)]
  367. RaeLynn: Baytown (Round Here, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  368. Ratboys: Printer's Devil (Topshelf) ** [B+(*)]
  369. Raw Poetic & Damu the Fudgemunk: Moment of Change (Redefinition) ** [B+(**)]
  370. Dan Reeder: Every Which Way (Oh Boy) ** [B]
  371. Jessie Reyez: Before Love Came to Kill Us (Island) ** [B+(**)]
  372. Jenny Reynolds: Any Kind of Angel (Pretty Okay Music) ** [B+(**)]
  373. Soho Rezanejad: Honesty Without Compassion Is Brutality (Volume 1) (Silicone -19) ** [B+(*)]
  374. Soho Rezanejad: Honesty Without Compassion Is Brutality (Volume 2) (Silicone) ** [B+(*)]
  375. Roddy Ricch: Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial (Atlantic -19) ** [B]
  376. The Ridiculous Trio: The Ridiculous Trio Plays the Stooges (Modern Harmonic) ** [B+(**)]
  377. Hans-Joachim Roedelius: Selbstportrait: Wahre Liebe (Bureau B) ** [B+(**)]
  378. Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen: Hold My Beer, Vol. 2 (Lil' Buddy Toons) ** [B+(*)]
  379. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: Sideways to New Italy (Sub Pop) ** [B+(**)]
  380. Romare: Home (Ninja Tune) ** [B+(**)]
  381. Caroline Rose: Superstar (New West) ** [B]
  382. Whitney Rose: We Still Go to Rodeos (MCG) ** [B+(**)]
  383. Rose City Band: Summerlong (Thrill Jockey) ** [B+(*)]
  384. Jeff Rosenstock: No Dream (Polyvinyl) ** [B]
  385. Roshin: Unrequited (self-released) ** [B+(*)]
  386. Michael Rother: Dreamimg (Groenland) ** [B+(**)]
  387. Claire Rousay: A Heavenly Touch (Already Dead) ** [B]
  388. Ana Roxanne: Because of a Flower (Kranky) ** [B+(*)]
  389. Royce Da 5'9": The Allegory (EOne) ** [B+(**)]
  390. Rumer: Nashville Tears: The Songs of Hugh Prestwood (Cooking Vinyl) ** [B+(**)]
  391. Sad13: Haunted Painting (Wax Nine) ** [B+(*)]
  392. Dua Saleh: Rosetta (Against Giants, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  393. Oumou Sangaré: Acoustic (No Format) ** [B+(**)]
  394. Sa-Roc: The Sharecropper's Daughter (Rhymesayers) ** [B+(**)]
  395. Saint Jhn: While the World Was Burning (Hitco) ** [B+(**)]
  396. Rina Sawayama: Sawayama (Dirty Hit) ** [B-]
  397. Tiwa Savage: Celia (Universal) ** [B+(*)]
  398. Darrell Scott: Sings the Blues of Hank Williams (Full Light) ** [B]
  399. Darrell Scott: Jaroso (Full Light) ** [B+(*)]
  400. Ray Scott: Nowhere Near Done (Jethropolitan, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  401. Gil Scott-Heron: We're New Again: A Reimagining by Makaya McCraven (XL) ** [B+(**)]
  402. The Secret Sisters: Saturn Return (New West) ** [B+(*)]
  403. Jeannie Seely: An American Classic (Curb) ** [B]
  404. Lingo Seini Et Son Groupe: Musique Hauka (Sahel Sounds) ** [B+(**)]
  405. Serengeti: Ajai (Cohn) ** [B+(**)]
  406. Serengeti: KDxMPC (self-released, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  407. Sevdaliza: Shabrang (Twisted Elegance) ** [B+(**)]
  408. Shabazz Palaces: The Don of Diamond Dreams (Sub Pop) ** [B+(**)]
  409. Shamir: Shamir (self-released) ** [B]
  410. a
  411. Andy Shauf: The Neon Skyline (Anti-) ** [B+(**)]
  412. Skepta, Chip & Young Adz: Insomnia (SKC M29) ** [B+(**)]
  413. Bette Smith: The Good, the Bad and the Bette (Ruf) ** [B+(**)]
  414. Snotty Nose Rez Kids: Born Deadly (Fontana North, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  415. The Soft Pink Truth: Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase? (Thrill Jockey) ** [B+(*)]
  416. James Solace: Mind Music (Hot Creations, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  417. James Solace: Setting Sun/The Light (Four Thirty Two, EP) ** [B+(**)
  418. Alan Sondheim & Azure Carter: Plaguesong (ESP-Disk) [B+(**)
  419. Songhoy Blues: Optimisme (Transgressive/Fat Possum) ** [B+(**)]
  420. Sorry: 925 (Domino) ** [B+(**)]
  421. Spanish Love Songs: Brave Faces Everyone (Pure Noise) ** [B-]
  422. Sparks: A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip (BMG) ** [C+]
  423. SPAZA: Uprize! (Mushroom Hour Half Hour) **
  424. Speaker Music: Of Desire, Longing (Planet Mu -19) ** [B+(**)]
  425. Speaker Music: Percussive Therapy (Planet Mu -EP) ** [B+(**)]
  426. Spillage Village: Spilligion (Dreamville/SinceThe80s/Interscope) ** [B+(*)]
  427. Bruce Springsteen: Letter to You (Columbia) ** [B+(**)]
  428. Squarepusher: Be Up a Hello (Warp) ** [B+(*)]
  429. Chris Stapleton: Starting Over (Mercury Nashville) ** [B+(**)]
  430. Sufjan Stevens & Lowell Brams: Aporia (Asthmatic Kitty) ** [B+(*)]
  431. Stormzy: Heavy Is the Head (Merky/Atlantic -19) ** [B+(**)]
  432. The Streets: None of Us Are Getting Out of This Life Alive (Island) ** [B+(**)]
  433. STRFKR: Future Past Life (Polyvinyl) ** [B+(**)]
  434. The Strokes: The New Abnormal (Cult/RCA) ** [B+(*)]
  435. Nora Jane Struthers: Bright Lights, Long Drives, First Words (Blue Pig Music) ** [B+(*)]
  436. Moses Sumney: Grae: Part 1 (Jagjaguwar) ** [B]
  437. Sunwatchers: Oh Yeah? (Trouble in Mind) ** [B]
  438. Swamp Dogg: Sorry You Couldn't Make It (Joyful Noise) ** [B+(**)]
  439. Emma Swift: Blonde on the Tracks (Tiny Ghost) ** [B]
  440. Sylvan Esso: Free Love (Loma Vista) ** [B+(**)]
  441. Tame Impala: The Slow Rush (Interscope) ** [B+(*)]
  442. Tamikrest: Tamotaďt (Glitterbeat) ** [B+(**)]
  443. Tchami: Year Zero (Confession) ** [B+(**)]
  444. a
  445. Teenage Halloween: Teenage Halloween (Don Giovanni) ** [B+(*)]
  446. The Tender Things: How You Make a Fool (Spaceflight) ** [B]
  447. Thaba: Eyes Rest Their Feet (Soundway) ** [B+(*)]
  448. Thick: 5 Years Behind (Epitaph) ** [B+(**)]
  449. Throwing Muses: Sun Racket (Fire) ** [B+(*)]
  450. Pam Tillis: Looking for a Feeling (Stellar Cat) ** [B+(*)]
  451. Azu Tiwaline: Draw Me a Silence Part 1 (IOT, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  452. Azu Tiwaline: Draw Me a Silence Part II (IOT, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  453. Thundercat: It Is What It Is (Brainfeeder) ** [B]
  454. Toots & the Maytals: Got to Be Tough (BMG) ** [B+(*)]
  455. Torres: Silver Tongue (Merge) ** [B+(*)]
  456. Touché Amoré: Lament (Epitaph) ** [B+(**)]
  457. Tenille Townes: The Lemonade Stand (Columbia Nashville) ** [B+(**)]
  458. Trees Speak: Ohms (Soul Jazz) ** [B+(*)]
  459. Tricky: Fall to Pieces (False Idols) ** [B+(*)]
  460. Yves Tumor: Heaven to a Tortured Mind (Warp) ** [B+(**)]
  461. Josh Turner: Country State of Mind (MCA Nashville) ** [B+(**)]
  462. Jeff Tweedy: Love Is the King (dBpm) ** [B+(**)]
  463. Two Weeks Notice: A Calm, Measured Response (Fake Four, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  464. Ty Dolla $ign: Featuring Ty Dolla $ign (Atlantic) ** [B]
  465. Etuk Ubong: Africa Today (Night Dreamer) ** [B+(**)]
  466. Kali Uchis: To Feel Alive (Virgin EMI/Interscope, EP) ** [B]
  467. Kali Uchis: Sin Miedo (Del Amor Y Otros Demonios) (Interscope) ** [B+(*)]
  468. U.S. Girls: Heavy Light (4AD) ** [B-]
  469. Cristina Vane: The Magnolia Sessions (Anti-Corp) ** [B+(**)]
  470. Luke Vibert: Luke Vibert Presents Amen Andrews (Hypercolour) ** [B+(**)]
  471. Luke Vibert: Luke Vibert Presents Rave Hop (Hypercolour) ** [B+(**)]
  472. Loudon Wainwright III With Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks: I'd Rather Lead a Band (Search Party) ** [B+(**)]
  473. Rufus Wainwright: Unfollow the Rules (BMG) ** [B-]
  474. Summer Walker: Life on Earth (LVRN/Interscope, EP) ** [B]
  475. Rod Wave: Pray 4 Love (Alamo) ** [B+(**)]
  476. The Weeknd: After Hours (Republic) ** [B]
  477. Gillian Welch & David Rawlings: All the Good Times Are Past & Gone (Acony) ** [B+(**)]
  478. Paul Weller: On Sunset (Polydor) ** [B]
  479. Hailey Whitters: The Dream (Pigasus) ** [B+(**)]
  480. Westside Gunn: Pray for Paris (Griselda) ** [B+(*)]
  481. Westside Gunn: Flygod Is an Awesome God II (Griselda) ** [B+(*)]
  482. Westside Gunn: Who Made the Sunshine (Griselda/Shady/Interscope) ** [B+(*)]
  483. Why?: Ten Voices (Synesthesia Media, EP) ** [B]
  484. Hayley Williams: Petals for Armor (Atlantic) ** [B+(*)]
  485. Tessy Lou Williams: Tessy Lou Williams (Tessy Lou Williams) ** [B+(**)]
  486. Wire: 10:20 (Pink Flag) ** [B+(*)]
  487. Working Men's Club: Working Men's Club (Heavenly) ** [B+(**)]
  488. Jaime Wyatt: Neon Cross (New West) ** [B+(*)]
  489. X: Alphabetland (Fat Possum) ** [B+(*)]
  490. Yaeji: What We Drew (XL) ** [B+(*)]
  491. Yelle: L'Čre Du Verseau (Recreation Center) ** [B+(*)]
  492. Yo La Tengo: We Have Amnesia Sometimes (Matador) ** [B]
  493. Yonic South: Wild Cobs (La Tempesta, EP -19) ** [B+(**)]
  494. Yonic South: Twix and Dive (La Tempesta, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  495. Youngboy Never Broke Again: Top (Never Broke Again/Atlantic) ** [B-]
  496. Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad: Jazz Is Dead 001 (Jazz Is Dead, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  497. Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad: Jazz Is Dead 002: Roy Ayers (Jazz Is Dead, EP) ** [B+(**)]

Additional reissued/archival non-jazz records rated B+(**) or below (listed alphabetically by artist).

  1. African Head Charge: Churchical Chant of the Iyabinghi (1991-94, On-U Sound) ** [B+(**)]
  2. Allman Brothers Band: The Final Note: Painters Mill Music Fair, Owings Mills, MD 10-17-71 (Allman Brothers) ** [B-]
  3. Apala: Apala Groups in Nigeria 1967-70 (Soul Jazz) ** [B+(*)]
  4. Birds of Prey: The Album (Atlantic) ** [B+(**)]
  5. Grayson Capps: South Front Street: A Retrospective 1997-2019 (The Royal Potato Family) ** [B+(*)]
  6. Alex Chilton: A Man Called Destruction (1995, Omnivore) ** [B+(**)]
  7. The Disciples: For Those Who Understand (1995, Partial) ** [B+(**)]
  8. Emperor X: Nineteen Live Recordings (2005-13, Dreams of Field) ** [B+(*)]
  9. Brian Eno: Film Music 1976-2020 (Astralwerks) ** [B+(*)]
  10. Eyedea: Thirty Nine Lines (Crushkill) ** [B+(**)]
  11. Bryan Ferry: Live at the Royal Albert Hall 1974 (BMG) ** [B+(**)]
  12. Future/Zaytoven: Beast Mode (2015, Epic/Freebandz) ** [B+(**)]
  13. Mort Garson: Music From Patch Cord Productions (1968-74, Sacred Bones) ** [B+(*)]
  14. Bonnie Hayes With the Wild Combo: Good Clean Fun (1982-84, Blixa Sounds) ** [B+(**)]
  15. Honey Radar: Sing the Snow Away: The Chunklet Years (2015-18, Chunklet Industries) ** [B+(**)]
  16. Wanda Jackson: The Capitol Singles 1971-1973 (EMI Music Nashville) ** [B+(*)]
  17. Jamaican All Stars [Studio One] (1970-74, Studio One) ** [B+(*)]
  18. Bessie Jones and the Georgia Sea Island Singers: Get in Union (1959-66, Global Jukebox) ** [B+(**)]
  19. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings: Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Rendition Was In) (Daptone) ** [B+(*)]
  20. Antoinette Konan: Antoinette Konan (1986, Awesome Tapes From Africa -19) ** [B+(*)]
  21. Rich Krueger: The Troth Sessions (2002, Rockin'K Music) ** [B]
  22. La Locura de Machuca 1975-1980 (1975-80, Analog Africa) ** [B+(**)]
  23. Nick Lowe and Los Straitjackets: Walkabout (2013-19, Yep Roc) ** [B]
  24. Maghreb K7 Club: Synth Raď, Chaoui & Staifi (1985-1997) (Bongo Joe) ** [B+(**)]
  25. Man Jumping: Jumpcut (1985, Emotional Rescue) ** [B+(**)]
  26. Mighty Threes: Africa Shall Stretch Forth Her Hand (1978, Jah Fingers Music) ** [B+(**)]
  27. New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers: Volume 1
  28. Oneness of Juju: African Rhythms 1970-1982 (Black Fire, 2CD) ** [B+(**)]
  29. The Outskirts: You Deserve to Dance (2009, Aerophonic) ** [B+(*)]
  30. Prince Buster: Roll on Charles Street (Rock A Shacka): ** [B+(**)]
  31. Prince Buster: Let's Go to the Dance: Rock Steady Selection (Rock A Shacka) ** [B+(**)]
  32. Max Romeo: Revelation Time (1975, 17 North Parade) ** [B+(*)]
  33. Scorcha! Skins, Suedes and Style From the Streets 1967-1973 (Trojan) ** [B+(*)]
  34. Phil Seymour: If You Don't Want My Love (1980-85, Sunset Blvd) ** [B+(**)]
  35. Southeast of Saturn: Michigan Shoegaze/Dream Pop/Space Rock (990s, Third Man) ** [B+(*)]
  36. Space Funk: Afro Futurist Electro Funk in Space 1976-84 (Soul Jazz -19) ** [B+(*)]
  37. Peter Stampfel/The Dysfunctionells: Not in Our Wildest Dreams (1994-96, Don Giovanni) ** [B+(**)]
  38. Stone Crush: Memphis Modern Soul 1977-1987 (Light in the Attic) ** [B+(**)]
  39. The Stooges: Live at Goose Lake, August 8, 1970 (Third Man) ** [B]
  40. Strum & Thrum: The American Jangle Underground 1983-1987 (Captured Tracks) ** [B+(*)]
  41. Luiz Carlos Vinhas: O Som Psicodélico de L.C.V. (1968, Mad About) ** [B+(*)]
  42. Voz Di Sanicolau: Fundo De Marę Palinha (1976, Analog Africa, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  43. Gillian Welch: Boots No. 2: The Lost Songs Vol. 1 (2002, Acony) ** [B+(*)]
  44. Neil Young: Homegrown (1974-75, Reprise) ** [B+(**)]
  45. Zam Groove: Music From Zambia (SWP) ** [B+(*)]

New non-jazz records I haven't heard estimated to have a 2% (or better) chance of making the A-list if/when I finally hear them (++ indicates light sampling grade; nothing less will appear here):

  1. Bob Vylan: We Live Here (Venn, EP) ++

Reissued non-jazz records I haven't heard estimated to have a 2% (or better) chance of making the A-list if/when I finally hear them: