Best Albums of 2020 Artist Edition: davey
This year, in addition to our own Best Songs of 2020 and Best Albums of 2020, we asked some of our favourite artists to tell us about their favourite releases of this year as well. Throughout a confusing and isolated year, music in particular has been a place of refuge for many, with the communities that surround this music becoming more important than ever. Here, we ask artists from various communities whom we love and admire to engage in the very reason we exist: sharing music.
From emerging artists to living legends, acts with cult followings to artists on the verge of truly breaking through, this series includes so many different people. Hip hop, dance, psych, rock, pop, electronic and much more, the genres and sounds in this series are as varied as the metaphorical pages of Purple Sneakers itself, and offer something for everyone no matter what your taste might be. We’re so thankful to all the artists who provided their own lists, and to the extensive communities we’re grateful to tell the stories of every day.
For the Purple Sneakers team’s own count downs, read our Best Songs and Best Albums of 2020. To read the full Artist Edition series, check it out HERE.
You’d be forgiven for being quite shocked if you went into listening to the davey project expecting anything like his previous work as one half of Vallis Alps. Instead of gorgeous soundscapes and heavenly melodies, we were presented with electrifying, cutting-edge, boundary-destroying electronica which defies categorisation. His self titled EP is not for the faint-hearted, but is an intriguing snapshot into davey‘s mind as someone who is inspired by so much, from house and techno to hip hop and more, and how he distills these influences into mind-bending, full-throttled music. ‘NOT ME’ was a fitting introduction, an “enter if you dare” warning of sorts, but there’s something comforting in the chaos which speaks to davey‘s production prowess. We’re hoping this isn’t the last we’ve heard from davey.
2017-2019 – Against All Logic
With every new project he puts out, Nicolas Jaar solidifies his place as an innovator in electronic music; a test-pilot who shoulders all the risk to finds the limits of a given genre before everyone else. Every time I listen to 2017-2019, it reinvigorates my commitment to musical risk-taking in my own artistic career.
Fuck The World – Brent Faiyaz
Brent Faiyaz is carrying 2020 R&B on his back right now. This record got my attention immediately – it feels like he’s picked up the reigns from mid-2000’s The-Dream and mixtape-era The Weeknd to deliver a record that simultaneously feels vintage and forward-looking.
Full Noise EP – Willaris. K
Willaris. K is so consistent. With every song he’s ever put out, it’s so clear that he has a deep intuitive understanding of how to create and sustain momentum, which is the make-or-break factor in house music. His EP is minimal, efficient, tight.
A Written Testimony – Jay Electronica
Jay Electronica solidified his place as a god-tier rap sage with this album. The depth and symbolism of his wordplay is hidden in plain sight, such that I find myself uncovering new truths with every listen. Hall of fame level album. Standout track: The Neverending Story
WHAT WE DREW – yaeji
yaeji was an easy pick for this list. She has such a strong understanding of tasteful minimalism, a concept which most electronic musicians (myself included) sometimes struggle with. Nothing feels overthought or second guessed.
KiCK i – Arca
What Arca does uniquely well across “KiCK i” is create industrial, Matrix-core soundscapes that are cohesive and believable. This record makes me feel like I’m inside of a mirror. And how many electronic artists are brave enough to make songs without drums? She is an island of one.
græ – Moses Sumney
Moses Sumney bends time and space with every album. Even when songs like “Virile” get loud, Moses manages to keep the spell unbroken, allowing græ to feel less like music and more like meditation. These songs steady my breathing. Standout track: “In Bloom”
Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon – Pop Smoke
Pop Smoke not only made a great album, but he also broke UK drill in the USA without anything feeling contrived or bitten, and in his life managed to carve out a lane completely of his own. Expect 2021 and 2022 to come with a tidal wave of copycats as the genre gains popularity in the states.
Punisher – Phoebe Bridgers
It’s the journal-scribble lyricism for me. It’s the minimal production for me. It’s the molasses-y bass for me. It’s the wax paper snare and ride cymbal in “Moon Song” for me. It’s the fact that this album is a masterpiece for me. Standout track: “Halloween”
Galore – Oklou
Galore is an album that will teach you about interior design if you ask it to. Every song is a room that is open, calming, and minimally furnished with only the essentials. It’s music making by way of wabi-sabi. (FYI I don’t care if you think I sound like a first year Tisch student)