100 Records We Loved in 2020

I actually wasn’t planning on creating an end of year list this month, but I had been requested to do so several times, so I figured I could at least give it a shot.

This list isn’t saying that these are the end-all-be-all greatest albums of 2020, these are just some personal favorites of mine that really stand out to me right now (and in no particular order). I also tried my best to keep the list narrowed down to only albums and EPs (so no singles) and even then, just releases with brand new material. So I made an attempt to keep off as many reissues and archival releases (sorry, Neil) as possible. With that being said, it’s a little hard to do that seeing how it was impossible for most artists to get into a studio and record new projects over the last eight or nine months, so there are a couple exceptions to that rule.

  1. TENGGER – Nomad
  2. Rootless – Docile Cobras
  3. Mat Eric Hart – Spirts & Reflections 
  4. Matt LaJoie – Clear Channel
  5. Joseph Allred – Psalms
  6. Kahil El’Zabar – Kahil El’Zabar’s America the Beautiful  
  7. Gwenifer Raymond – Strange Lights Over Garth Mountain
  8. Garcia Peoples – Nightcap at Wits’ End
  9. Wendy Eisenberg – Auto
  10. One Eleven Heavy – Live at Jam Castle
  11. Powers/Rolin Duo – s/t 
  12. Nick Mitchell Maiato – Pino Carrasco
  13. Luke Stewart – Luke Stewart Exposure Quintet
  14. Eli Winter – Unbecoming
  15. Carlos Niño & Miguel Atwood-Ferguson – Chicago Waves
  16. Gunn-Truscinski Duo – Soundkeeper
  17. Mute Duo – Lapse in Passage
  18. Chip Wickham – Blue to Red
  19. Horselords – The Common Task
  20. Jeff Parker – Suite for Max Brown
  21. Dire Wolves (Just Exactly Perfect Sisters Band) – I Just Wasn’t Made for These Set Times
  22. Color Green – s/t
  23. Angel Bat Dawid & Tha Brothahood – LIVE
  24. Tambourinen – Wooden Flower
  25. Prana Crafter – MorphoMystic
  26. Irreversible Entanglements – Who Sent You 
  27. White Manna – ARC
  28. Elkhorn – The Acoustic Storm Sessions  
  29. Spiral Galaxy – s/t
  30. Sunburned Hand of The Man – Headless
  31. tino – Bookfair
  32. Alison Cotton – Only Darkness Now
  33. Waterless Hills – The Great Mountain
  34. Dezron Douglas & Brandee Younger – Force Majeure
  35. David Nance – Staunch Honey
  36. Bob Dylan – Rough and Rowdy Ways
  37. Joseph Allred – Traveler
  38. Obnox – Savage Raygun
  39. Rose City Band – Summerlong
  40. The Du-Rites – A Funky Bad Time
  41. Rhyton – Krater’s Call
  42. Josh Kimbrough – Slither, Soar & Disappear
  43. 75 Dollar Bill – Live at Tubby’s
  44. Itta – Enter
  45. Library of Babel – Sing to Me Of...
  46. Tarotplane – The Feedback Sutras
  47. Jesse Sheppard – Unknowing
  48. Elijah McLaughlin Ensemble – s/t
  49. Dire Wolves – Flow & Heady
  50. Ali Shah – At The End of The Day
  51. Scott William Urquhart – A Recipe For Reverie
  52. Joan Shelley – Live at The Bomhard
  53. Brigid Mae Power – Head Above The Water
  54. Dark Leaves – Forest Flowing
  55. Damu the Fudgemunk, Archie Shepp & Raw Poetic – Ocean Bridges
  56. Jill Tracy – The Dark Day
  57. Sun Ra Arkestra – Swirling
  58. Shirley Collins – Heart’s Ease
  59. Ghost Funk Orchestra – An Ode to Escapism
  60. Dronestore Cowboy – Dentists of Horses Dream of God to Study
  61. John Jeffrey – Passage
  62. The Left Outsides – Are You Sure I Was There?
  63. North Americans – Roped In
  64. Howlin Rain – Under The Wheels, Vol. 2
  65. Gerycz/Powers/Rolin – Beacon
  66. William Eaton – Music by William Eaton
  67. Barry Walker jr. – Shoulda Zenith
  68. Siti Muharam – Siti of Unguja (Romance Revolution On Zanzibar)
  69. Chris Forsyth/Dave Harrington/Ryan Jewell/Spencer Zahn – First Flight
  70. Jim White & Marisa Anderson – The Quickening
  71. Mulatu Astatke & Black Jesus Experience – To Know Without Knowing
  72. Weak Signal – Bianca
  73. Buck Curran – No Love is Sorrow
  74. Jeffrey Silverstein – You Become The Mountain
  75. Sunwatchers – Brave Rats
  76. Black Market Brass – Undying Thirst
  77. Jennifer Castle – Monarch Season
  78. Jerry David DeCicca – The Unlikely Optimist and His Domestic Adventures
  79. Ezra Feinberg & John Kolodij – s/t
  80. Son of Buzzi – in nächster Nähe/ in weiter Ferne
  81. Mosses – TV Sun
  82. Steve Palmer – Useful Histories
  83. Magnetic Ghost – Pixels
  84. Osmium House – Something Wicked…(Sounds from an Unreleased Film) Vol. 1
  85. Mary Lattimore – Silver Ladders
  86. Sairie – Scarlet and Blue EP
  87. Aaron Dooley – Dooley Noted
  88. Gillian Welch – Boots No. 2: The Lost Songs (Volumes 1-3)
  89. Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl – Artlessly Falling
  90. John Lee Shannon – In & Of
  91. Khruangbin & Leon Bridges – Texas Sun
  92. Josephine Foster – No Harm Done
  93. Beverly Glenn-Copeland – Live at Le Guess Who?
  94. Rich Ruth – Where There’s Life – Part 6
  95. Moor Mother and Olof Melander – ANTHOLOGIA 01
  96. William Tyler – New Vanities
  97. Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids – Shaman!
  98. Chris Forsyth & Garcia Peoples – Peoples Motel Band
  99. Starbirthed – Verdant Pastures
  100. Bill Fay – Countless Branches

While 2020 was a total garbage year, we thankfully had such a flood of incredible music to help us through it (and there were so many other highlight releases that I could have posted here, but I had to stop at 100, or I’d never finish writing this list). So please consider lending a hand to these and any other artist that you enjoy in the new year by purchasing their albums, merch, digital downloads and anything else that they might offer.

Farewell 2020 and good riddance. Here’s hoping for a better and brighter year in 2021.


If you like what you’re reading, please help keep RCU thriving. You can show your support by becoming a Patron at our Patreon account or you can make a donation to our PayPal account below.

As always, please also consider donating to any of these sites to help fight racial injustice.


Published by Record Crates United

Keith Hadad, the creator and manager of RCU, has been a contributing writer to Elmore Magazine and Thewaster.com and maintains a regular column, “Keith Hadad’s Choice,” in Blicker magazine. His writing has also appeared in the Smithsonian Folkways' Guest Blog and the Optical Sounds Fanzine. Also, please check out the blog's super-active Instagram account, @recordcratesunited for daily blurb-styled music reviews.

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