Half time report: your best new music of 2020 so far?

Time for a round-up of our favourite new music this year I think.

I struggled to really pick stand outs. A fair bit that is good but I’m not sure anything head and shoulders ahead. I am hoping that with some delayed releases due to Covid we might get a better second half of 2020.

Anyway these are my best so far.

Bill Fay Countless Branches. Very folky, and very much Christian inspired neither if which would normally be quite my thing but this is beautiful song writing and lovely wistful performance from a man who is nearly 80. Back catalogue is interesting; Jeff Tweedy produced Who Is The Sender very fine.

Myrkur Folksange. Again really folky! Scandi trad songs with modern (and fantatstic) production and a vaguely gothic feel.

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever Sideways to New Italy. Aussie indie band like Real Estate but with attitude. Any album that contains the single Cars In Space is good enough for me, even if the rest is not quite as good.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit Reunions. Fine country rock, his best album

Your go, let’s have some inspiration!

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Well this guy has been around the block , best known for his song the “wanderer”, way back. He should have been on the fatal flight with Buddy Holly, The big bopper and Richie Vallance, but declined! He is still going strong, now playing the blues…great find for me.

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So far the signs are of it being a terrific year, if you-know-what doesn’t put to much of a spanner in the works.

Chris Forsyth & Garcia Peoples - Peoples Motel Band

A Jam-band collision between two groups that produce an ace guitar fest.

Arbouretum - Let It All In

Americana in an electrified Gordon Lightfoot style (to my ears). The album is packed with good songs, capped by this VU thumper…just let it cook for a while

Any Kind - Peacock

Power pop! ELO and Bleu fans this way for bright and cheery:

Craven Faults - Erratics & Unconformities

A terrific Denis A recommendation - Terry Riley meets Steve Reich and brought up to date:

Jon Brooks - How To Get To Spring

A soothing balm of an electronic album Chill zone: Bandcamp link

Luke Howard Trio - The Shadow

More chill, this time from Luke’s Piano trio

The Spacelords - Spaceflowers

Wake up! German space/stoner rock. Set the volume to 11:

And that’s a quick skim…


Wow, that Chris Forsyth track is an absolute stunner @Nick.Lees, never heard CF before, thats a great tip thanks, Ill investigate some more!

From my side my tendency is still to look backwards in time rather than to current day / forwards but highlight for me this year so far has been this one, even more poignant with Tony Allen’s passing:-

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The Yazz Ahmed Quintet - When We Were Live

Two 20 minute tracks recorded live by:

Yazz Ahmed - trumpet, flugelhorn, electronics
George Crowley - bass clarinet
Ralph Wyld - vibraphone
Dave Manington - bass guitar, electronics
Martin France - drums

It’s great stuff, particularly the sonic interplay of Yazz’s horns the bass clarinet and vibes. It’s a tease though - it was only available on Bandcamp on the 5th June. Worth keeping an eye out for it to re-release at some point.

Bandcamp Link


“Petals for armour” by Hayley Williams. Lead singer of paramore apparently. Don’t know the band, but this album is great.


Fantastic album


The latest Terry Allen and the Bonny Light Horseman records are two of my favourites so far. I’ve only just got the Terry Allen one and listened to it twice and it is so good. The BLH one is also tremendous. If you like Americana / folk-roots / country, you’re in for a treat.

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Oh, I forgot to mention that the Craven Faults album, as mentioned above by Nick Lees, is also worth a listen.

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So far…

Avishai Cohen - Big Vicious

Avishai Cohen (Trumpet, Effects, Synthesizer), Uzi Ramirez (Guitar), Yonatan Albalak (Bass Guitar), Aviv Cohen (Drums) and Ziv Ravitz (Drums, Live Sampling).

Lucinda Williams - Good Souls Better Angels

Kandance Springs - The Woman Who Raised Me

Little Big Town - Nightfall

Puss N Boots - Sister
(Nora Jones, Catherine Popper and Sasha Dobson)


Personal favourite for the year so far is the BLH album.


for a moment of tranquility in these turbulent times

2 standouts so far.

High Upon the Mountain by Pacific Range

If you like Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers etc. Check it out it’s rather good.

The Third Mind by The Third Mind

Dave Alvin goes trippy and Psychedelic. Rather marvellous.

I’ve been enjoying these:
Tame Impala - The Slow Rush
Ben Watt - Storm Damage
Jonathan Wilson - Dixie Blur
The Third Mind - The Third Mind
A Girl Called Eddy - Been Around
Stephen Malkmus - Traditional Techniques
Grimes - Miss Anthropocene
EoB - Earth
Baxter Dury - The Night Chancers
Jim Noir - A.M. Jazz
Thundercat - It Is What It Is
Destroyer - Have We Met
Gerry Cinnamon - The Bonny
Israel Nash - Topaz
Other Lives - For Their Love
Jason Isbell - Reunions
Rolling Coastal Blackout Fever - Sideways to New Italy
Childish Gambino - 3.15.20
Stephen Malkmus - Traditional Techniques
Woods - Strange To explain
Sparks - A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip
Perfume Genius - Set My Heart On Fire Immediately

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Nadia Reid “Out of My Province”

Kiwi lass from Deep South city Dunedin. She has 3 albums out now and all fantastic - gets rave reviews from British Mags - try, I think you will be impressed


Not been a hugely vintage year in rock ‘n’ pop (though the forthcoming Dylan seems a very tasty prospect), but a great one in jazz. Some of the outstanding releases so far, from Lakecia Benjamin, Bill Laurance, Charles Lloyd, Cherise Adams-Burnett and Christian McBride:

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Another five jazz stunnas from Gary Bartz & Maisha, Carla Bley, Eivind Aarset & Jan Bang, Jerry Granelli and Grydland & Kaiser

Forgot the new Agnes Obel
More of the same I guess, treated piano, treated voice, simple strings and a bit of ambient noise thrown in for good measure.

There’s a 24 bit recording on qobuz.

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Thank you. This is new to me, and it’s excellent. Love it!

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