This is a short rundown of albums that came out this year that I liked. One of them is secretly an EP but it still made the list. Featuring NNAMDÏ, Dua Lipa, CHIKA, Tall Tall Trees, Anjimile, and Luke Titus.
BRAT by NNAMDÏ
I first came across NNAMDÏ in May 2017 and enjoyed listening to his then-newest album, DROOL (2017). His music is super wacky and he’s terrifically creative.
BRAT is an incredible new entry to his discography. The album is filled with incredibly lush orchestrations and textures. It’s really well put together. Each track flows into the next and the album has a great arc. I’m not ranking the albums in this post, but if I was, this would be #1…
Favorite track: Everyone I Loved
Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa
Dua Lipa brings a collection of solid tracks (and a handful of disappointing ones1) in this sophomore album. There really isn’t anything deep about this album but it’s fun and well-produced. When it first came out, it became my go-to album for listening to on a walk. Eventually that calmed down, but it’s still in the rotation.
Favorite track: Good in Bed
INDUSTRY GAMES by CHIKA
I came across CHIKA this year thanks to her incredible Tiny Desk performance. Her lyrics are layered and clever and I never quite feel like I’m fully appreciating them. It’s like there’s always something extra hiding that I haven’t noticed yet. Not only is she a great rapper; she also sings beautiful layered vocals! This is technically an EP but it was too good to leave off the list. I can’t wait for CHIKA to release a full-length album. If the singles she has been dropping are any indication, it will be excellent.
Favorite track: SONGS ABOUT YOU
A Wave of Golden Things by Tall Tall Trees
Tall Tall Trees is a frequent collaborator of my favorite artist, Kishi Bashi. He plays banjo and sings in his solo project, and has released a few albums, the only other one of which I’ve actually listened to is Freedays (2017).
This album came out in January 2020. I suppose it’s folk rock. He has a fairly emotional vocal style, and many parts of this album make me want to drink an iced tea on my back porch, or something.
Favorite Track: A Wave of Golden Things
Giver Taker by Anjimile
Of the six albums I’m listing here, this is the one I’ve listened to the least, and it’s just because I only first listened to it ten days ago. I think I was first exposed to Anjimile when NNAMDÏ collaborated/remixed them this year, but I finally listened to Giver Taker when Ripe (another band I like) recommended it on Twitter. This album is filled with beautiful indie-folk. I think it scratches a similar itch as A Wave of Golden Things. I definitely look forward to listening to this one some more!
Favorite track: 1978
Plasma by Luke Titus
Luke Titus is on NNAMDÏ’s record label, Sooper Records, and that’s how I came across him. There’s a lot of really cool frenetic drumming, and some fun usage of time and samples. It’s great to listen to on a walk. It also has a secret/hidden track! I think that’s pretty cool, especially in the age of streaming.
The “splatter” record of this album is rad, and I want one but I don’t have a turntable soo…
Favorite track: Gold
Hallucinate, Love Again, Boys Will Be Boys ↩︎