Suggested Listening ’20: Chris Pyle

Posted on:

< < Back to

What a year 2020 was! Since it is doubtful anyone even believes in linear time anymore, it seems fitting that WOUB Culture is rolling out our Suggested Listening feature in January instead of December. The world is a hard place, and aren’t we all so grateful to have music to make it a little more bearable! 

Chris Pyle is a local music geek that eats, sleeps, and lives music. He is also the owner of Donkey Coffee. 

My Favorite Albums of 2020

1. Rise, Black Is by Sault

A mysterious British music collective that focuses on a stripped down sound with black-centric and social justice lyrics. Defined by a strong beat, they mix House Music, Disco, Gospel, Rock and R&B to come up with a truly original and very uplifting sound. If 2020 has got you down, this is your cure. They put out 2 albums this year and both are my pick for album(s) of the year.

2. Fetch The Bolt Cutters by Fiona Apple

At age 43, Fiona Apple has put out her best album yet. She has never released anything less than a “great” album in her 25 year career and she just keeps getting better with every release. This one focuses very much on percussion and, as always, her insightful and heartfelt lyrics. A true masterpiece.

3. Saint Cloud by Waxahatchee

I’ve always liked Waxahatchee (Katie Crutchfield) but never loved them. With Saint Cloud, she has moved in a more Americana direction with less of a focus on the crunchy guitar sound. These are her best set of songs yet.

4. RTJ4 by Run The Jewels

Another artist that seems to get better with every release. As far as hip hop music schooling white kids in the suburbs, they are the new Public Enemy. If you want a glimpse into American race and social justice issues accompanied by incredible beats, this is the best place to start.

5. Summer Long by Rose City Band

I don’t usually go for laid back rock music with meandering guitar solos – but for some reason, I love this band. If you like the Grateful Dead, you’ll probably like this album a lot. However, I don’t care for the Dead that much and I love it. It’s got a great 70’s vibe.

6. That’s How Rumors Get Started by Margo Price

Late 70’s Fleetwood Mac meets late 70’s country music. My favorite Margo Price album so far. Songs get better with each listen and the title track is my favorite song of the year.

7. Ultra Mono by Idles

I guess these guys haven’t heard that abrasive loud rock music is supposed to be dead. It’s really not (only on top 40 radio) and this album proves it. Sounds like an updated version of 80’s post punk. Focusing on social justice and political lyrics, they sound like a cross between Fugazi, U2, and the Pixies. Prepare to have your face melted off.

8. Reunions by Jason Isbell

Has there been anyone that writes songs better than Jason Isbell over the last 10 years? No. If you like outlaw country and Americana music with insightful, personal lyrics, this album is for you.

9. Cha Palace by Angelica Garcia

Garcia mixes her Latina heritage and influences with modern rock, soul, R&B and disco to come up with a truly original sound all her own. She sings about family and food and her experiences as a Latina American. Pop music rartely getys better than this.

10. Good Souls Better Angles by Lucinda Williams

Williams best album in quite some time. This one focuses on intense heavy blues and is a break from her country/Americana albums of the last 20 years in both writing and production. The production and recording of this album is fantastic – especially the drum sound. She’s angry at the state of the world and this comes through in every song. This is by far her most intense album.

11. Blue On Blue by Sylvie Simmons
12. Women In Music Part III by Haim
13. Legends Never Die by Juice World
14. Aloha by Son Little
15. Live Forever by Bartees Strange
16. Set My Heart On Fire Immediately by Perfume Genius
17. Coriky by Coriky
18. I Think I’m Good by Kasa Overall
19. Circles by Mac Miller
20. No Dream by Jeff Rosenstock