A distillation of tracks taken from some of the memorable albums, singles and shows of 2020…
1. Coral : i just want you cause you’re gone. Probably my single of the year, a glorious summery confection where the bass and drums maintain a pulsing beat as an unadorned guitar runs up the scale to dreampop heaven. Floating on top is Coral’s voice delivering tones of regret, melancholy and a certain amount of hope on this brilliant track.
2. Ward Thomas : Someday. As the duo move their country sounds towards pop territory they can still deliver the heartfelt emotion on this big ballad (listen as well to the acoustic version…)
3. Salt House : Staring at Stars. The last live performance I saw in 2020 featured this acoustic folk evocation of windswept islands, timeless in its beauty, especially when the instrumental section takes over. A reminder of a very special show.
4. Josienne Clarke : Seconds. As the opener to her live show early this year this was quiet, gentle and magical.
5. Smoke Fairies : Out of the Woods. Wintry and sensuous, when heard played loud by the full band this track was a dark and dense treat.
6. Bob Dylan : I’ve Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You. This emotive slow and shuffling waltz is one of many highlights from the long-awaited album of new material.
7. Moscoman feat. Tom Sanders : What Do We Care. Sparse and finely honed electronics as the perfect backdrop for icy vocals from Teleman’s Tom.
8. Mammoth Penguins : Closure. I never tire of seeing this Cambridge trio perform and their recordings too capture the band energy and shared emotions, especially on this track which brings many aspects of their musical styles together.
9. Harriet Rose : Small Town Chains. The UK Americana/country scene is filled with talented writers and performers as emphatically shown on this debut single from Harriet Rose, it is an anthem of positivity and assertion.
10. Love Ssega : Find Another Way. A key song from immersive politico-dance LP ‘Celebration’, this is a swirling tapestry of rhythm, electronics and interweaving vocals from the London singer/songwriter.
11. The Harriets : Cafe Disco. Indie quartet from Leeds captures the spirit of early Pulp in this instantly likeable track, full of atmosphere and instrumental nuance.
12. Emzae : Thrive. Eighties stylings in this electro-funktastic culmination of a string of classy singles from the Derby singer/songwriter.