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  • izzyyellen

There’s been a helluva lot of time to listen to music this year. Can’t put my finger on why.

You’ve probably seen a bunch of year-end lists and Spotify Wrapped-s, and lord knows you’ll see a lot more. But I still feel like adding to that noise and letting you know what I’ve been digging. With the release of my debut album, I’ve gotten a decent amount of messages telling me how my album is getting folks through the year, season, pandemic, election… and those messages have made my days. So I’m listing a bunch of releases not with the prerequisite of “best of 2020,” but rather, music that’s helped ME get through lots of stuff this year. And I’m not just including releases from this year, I’m including other music I’ve dived into that was released before 2020 but still helped me tons. Below are two lists — important releases to me in 2020, and releases I plain ol’ liked a lot that happened to be on heavy rotation during 2020. I hope some of these can help you like they helped me, or heck, help you differently than they helped me. I just hope they help!

2020 Releases

Deerhoof - Future Teenage Cave Artists

HAIM - Women In Music Pt. III

Liam Kazar - "Shoes Too Tight"

Adrianne Lenker - songs and instrumentals

Lucky Cloud - Laughter Yoga / You Know

Gia Margaret - Mia Gargaret


Jeff Rosenstock - NO DREAM

Rough Francis - Urgent Care

Sun Araw - Rock Sutra

Jeff Tweedy - Love Is The King

Releases I Plain Ol’ Liked A Lot That Happened To Be On Heavy Rotation During 2020

SUPER Heavy Rotation

Maggie Rogers - Heard It In A Past Life

HAIM’s discography

Holy Sheboygan’s discography

Big Thief’s discography, particularly U.F.O.F.

Deerhoof’s discography, particularly Mountain Moves

Don’t Stop Or We’ll Die’s discography

NNAMDÏ’s discography and side projects, particularly The Sooper Swag Project

Other Older Favorites!

The American Analog Set - The Fun of Watching Fireworks

Ada Babar and Kasra Kurt - Nino Tomorrow

Andrew Bird - Hands of Glory

The Coctails - Early Hi-Ball Years

Death - ...For The Whole World To See

Edith Frost - Wonder Wonder

LAKE - Circular Doorway

Kendrick Lamar - Black Panther The Album Music From And Inspired By and untitled unmastered.

Daniel Lopatin - Uncut Gems and Good Time soundtracks

A Mighty Wind soundtrack

Oneohtrix Point Never - Love In The Time Of Lexapro

Jim O’Rourke - Eureka

Purple Mountains - Purple Mountains

Ratatouille soundtrack

Rough Francis’ discography

Rupa - Disco Jazz

Silver Jews - Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - Euclid

Steven Universe soundtrack/score

Tropical Fuck Storm’s discography

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  • izzyyellen

I wrote about this album and duo in a much different way for the Chicago Reader. You can read that here.


tender timid wisps of human noises

rustling underneath creating bushes and shrubberies

singing grows out of it

walking through the woods as individuals

calling out to each other and intersecting paths at points

the switch

a space

throwing paint of sound on the walls reveals the shape of a physical room

just as round as a wind

melting in an instant into music in the other room

resonant thwacks and thwumps become each other

sonorous eating

now we have low whales forever

now we have deep sounds like full cereal

watch as it transforms

do you hear that?

do you?

like a magic trick, with hints of color residue after it becomes something else

a synthesized ping

warm friends

squeaked grooves

the tails of notes reaching out

in the jingle jangle sleepwaking

as one

how to build a structure

that repeats

you can lean on it

you can feel it

a place for ears to walk across

when will it change

familiarity lingers in my ears

a constellation’s lines across the earth and in the sky

easy to look at the stars which is why the between must not be overlooked

flutter’s wings

learn from sounds you may not understand

learn from sounds you think you do understand, but, in fact, do not

metallic clasps

form shapes

of places

i’ve been

to. giants 

in the

distance. a

march and

i’m back

on my

field from

half a

decade ago.

i am

at peace

with that.

following eyes darting around squirming around

quiet erupts into burned energy curling

curl you

into crocheted liquid reds and oranges, plastic

quiet erupts into burned energy curling

curl you

into crocheted liquid reds and oranges, plastic

calms and softens when it is over.

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Sarah Clausen / Emerson Hunton / Jakob Heinemann

(fka Glass Jaw, ffka Mobile Vanguard)


non alternating steps, both feet moving forward at the same time, trudging clothes hemmed too long dancing and dragging on the floor, quicker now, perpetually tripping in slow motion, catching the egoless self, and picking the egoless self back up, clothes having a mind of their own, animated moving in ways not determined by the feet and legs, split, screams, a solid line jutting out, zig zags crossing each other, never parallel, slight differences in angles, mud painting the ground, definite thick lines and splotches characterized by sand springled along it at points and against it at others, blurs of medium here on earth for a long time and always there in some capacity




forward far

food moves

catch me

i want to hear everything all the time sometimes



hollowed voice








wash slow fast separate from time

in the ether

in nowhere


thrown back

happy here





danceful lucky

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