I’m just going to put this out there… this might be the best list I’ve made all year. I was working out the order over the last couple days, and realized how much I am loving music right now. I hope you enjoy this just as much.
This week I was taken by surprise by the new This is the Kit album, Off Off On. It quite suddenly launched itself into my favorites of the year. The record has a quiet power to it. There are points with banjo or saxophone that just touch on bluegrass and jazz, but evading being pinpointed. Kate Stables has made something special here.
There are several songs in this list that tackle difficult topics, and are intensely personal. Open Mike Eagle, Amanda Shires and Courtney Marie Andrews offered some very intimate work recently, and it’s worth bringing attention to the courage that takes to be vulnerable with your audience.
Sometimes a song hits you, and it’s just what you need. Yesterday, after a long, difficult week I was finding some solace in going through the music for this. Brand new Stevie Wonder lifted me up so much. Throw in guest spots from Busta Rhymes and Rapsody, and you’ve got me all in. Speaking of Rapsody, she also appears on this new 2020 remix of Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power”, and her verse is a stunner. If you asked me about the best lyricists in the last 10 years, then Rapsody would be in the conversation.
Other favorites in this edition are Nilufer Yanya, Songhoy Blues, Polyrhythmics, and Deep Sea Diver.
Deep Sea Diver – Eyes are Red (Don’t Be Afraid)
Open Mike Eagle – Everything Ends Last Year
Durand Jones & the Indications – Power to the People
Stevie Wonder, Rapsody, Cordae, CHIKA, Busta Rhymes – Can’t Put It In The Hands Of Fate
Public Enemy, Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought, Jahi, YG, ?uestlove -Fight the Power:Remix 2020
Polyrhythmics – Zion
Budos Band – Sixth Hammer
Delvon Lamar Organ Trio – Fo Sho
Arlo Parks – Green Eyes
This is the Kit – Found Out
Drive-By Truckers – The Distance
M. Ward – For Heaven’s Sake
Throwing Muses – Sue’s
Courtney Marie Andrews – Ships in the Night
Amanda Shires, Jason Isbell – The Problem
This is the Kit – Was Magician
Tricky, Oh Land – I’m in the Doorway
Nilufer Yanya – Crash
Dylan Cartlidge – Cheerleader
Bootsy Collins, George Benson, The Williams Singers – The Power of the One
Songhoy Blues – Dournia
Mourn – Men
Bartees Strange – Mustang
Clipping – Check the Lock
Tobacco – Centaur Skin