All the new music fans out there miss going to concerts and listening with our friends. Check out this list to listen to all the critically acclaimed albums so far this year! 2020 has already had some excellent new releases, so don't sleep on anything below!
Don't get out of the loop, folks! Keep up-to-date on all the new records and artists out there, and keep an eye out for updates and additions. There's still great new music coming out every week, so don't miss out!
Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
Dua Lipa’s new album is revelatory pop music, defining the genre’s future and past on every track. Already the best pop album of the year by a wide margin, Future Nostalgia will surely go down as one of the new decade’s best as well.
Thundercat – It Is What It Is
Thundercat’s adventurous and lively new record uplifts listeners in the wake of Mac Miller’s 2018 death, with his distant presence and memory felt on nearly every track. Using grooving, midtempo music to cope with pain is not an unfamiliar ideology, but every one of Thundercat’s details demonstrates the complex emotions associated with the album’s subject.
Yves Tumor – Heaven to a Tortured Mind
Yves Tumor’s unique brand of dream-like soundscapes made waves with a few tracks from 2018’s Safe in the Hands of Love, but the elusive artist finally breaks into deserving critical success with Heaven to a Tortured Mind. By blending funky soul-R&B, sensual psychedelia, and noisy electronica, Yves Tumor demonstrates both setting boundaries for yourself as a creator, and how to knock them down.
Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters
A new Fiona Apple album means another foray into unexpected and uncompromising music. Cathartic and at times harsh and heartbreaking, Fetch the Bolt Cutters feels less like eight years of silence and more like an hour of good-natured bloodletting. Leave it to Fiona Apple to catch her fans off-guard on her fifth album in 25 years – she’s just about the only pop artist who can still do it.
Rina Sawayama – Sawayama
This genre-inclusive debut is one of the most thrilling R&B albums of the year, following just behind Dua Lipa's heels with a revolutionary pop record. The metal influences give her a Poppy vibe as well, but Sawayama never leaves center-stage as a confident and ambitious new force in music.
Stephen Malkmus – Traditional Techniques
This new album from Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus eliminates the stylishness of 2019’s Groove Denied to create the folk-focused record he has wanted for years. Without losing his engaging and classic-sounding songwriting approach, Malkmus reaches into the depths of psych-folk to turn heads more subtly than in the past. With some of the best solo indie albums of the past two decades, like the stellar hooked-filled Sparkle Hard and the thrilling sonic blend of Mirror Traffic, Traditional Techniques makes for another exceptional addition.
The Strokes – The New Abnormal
Even after seven years, The New Abnormal picks up right where the matured songwriting of Comedown Machine left off. Now far off from rollicking rockers, the band and their musical output remain poignant throughout. While Julian Casablancas sings of heartache and melancholy, the other members interweave motivic songwriting into new textures never before explored by the New York group.
Algiers – There Is No Year
This new release from indie/gospel/blues band Algiers expands their reach to even greater heights and keeps their sound fresh while once again tapping into the listener’s very core.
Poppy – I Disagree
The “post-genre” extraordinaire Poppy doubles down on her metal influences, resulting in a passionate and aggressive album that is worth the deep dive (if you can handle the vast range of sounds she employs).
Bombay Bicycle Club – Everything Else Has Gone Wrong
Childish Gambino – 3.15.20
Experimental and harsh at times, 3.15.20 shows Donald Glover trying out new directions after his modern neo-soul masterpiece “Awaken, My Love!” altered the course of his musical career.
Georgia – Seeking Thrills
With a range of sounds spanning early 80s electronica to modern trip-hop (plus a dash of disco), Georgia’s Seeking Thrills is a timeless testament to the universal appeal of dance music.
Halsey – Manic
Manic contains pretty much every pop genre wrapped into one giant statement about humanity. Halsey captures the intensely personal aspects of her life to create a holistic document of herself, with thrilling music from start to finish.
Dan Deacon – Mystic Familiar
An incredible journey of a record, Dan Deacon shows off all the best sides of modern psychedelia, infusing a stretched-out experimental approach with precise synth-pop songwriting.
Pet Shop Boys – Hotspot
Another consistent 2010s release from Pet Shop Boys! As their third self-released album, this duo has officially hit their best stride since their heyday.
Little Dragon – New Me, Same Us
After killing their post-Nabuma Rubberband momentum with the Loma Vista release Season High, Little Dragon get back on track with the gently affecting New Me, Same Us. The title demonstrates their new approach best: it’s a lot of that classic indie-electro-pop that made them famous, but with flowing energy that was not even remotely present on Season High.
The Weeknd – After Hours
With Abel Tesfaye’s best vocal and songwriting performances all present, critics can rave about the new The Weeknd album. Boasting dream-pop and new-wave influences, he codifies his musical and thematic persona, covering difficult topics in his life with enjoyable ease and diversity.
King Krule – Man Alive!
Tame Impala – The Slow Rush
The Slow Rush coheres the musical explorations that began with the hip-hop incorporations on his 2015 album Currents. Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker makes each song an impactful and meticulously planned voyage, albeit a highly polished one that by now has done away with almost all guitars in replace of various keyboard sounds. Anyone can understand the betrayal that some of their classic fans must feel, but luckily Parker revives his approach here with something that Currents lovers and haters alike can enjoy.
Field Music – Making a New World
A conceptual record is never an easy feat, but Field Music take that definition to a higher level by encompassing the entirety of the world’s post-WWII development. Making a New World gives the listener a lot of content in only 42 minutes, but the band’s ambition and commitment to the concept make for a worthwhile listen.
Hayley Williams – Petals for Armor
The trials and tribulations of the last decade have created Hayley William’s best musical output. After two great albums of pop/rock released by Paramore, Williams follows with her first solo record. With each of its 15 songs covering new musical territory for this singer/songwriter, Petals for Armor opens a new door in her already stellar career.
La Roux – Supervision
La Roux returns with a bright and sincere pop album, incorporating her music with funky, dance-y, and groovy inclusions that could put the songs on almost any pop playlist post-1975.
Frances Quinlan – Likewise
Soccer Mommy – Color Theory
The second official Soccer Mommy release courses with a familiar color concept, but Sophie Allison still writes every song with vividness and imagination.
Caribou – Suddenly
Mac Miller – Circles
Car Seat Headrest – Making a Door Less Open
While not as betraying to his past sound as many reviews claim, this new Car Seat Headrest album shows that Will Toledo can craft a compelling, brooding, contemplative record, even when he’s at his most uncompromising.
TORRES – Silver Tongue
This indie singer/songwriter has such an emotive, powerful voice, the music aches of sorrow and pain. The music itself has a dynamic touch as well, ranging from light and acoustic (“Gracious Day”) to full-sounding (“Last Forest”).
Grimes – Miss Anthropocene
Waxahatchee – Saint Cloud
More stripped down and country-ish than her other recent albums, Waxahatchee’s new Saint Cloud still contains the reflective, sensible songwriting of Katie Crutchfield and admirably continues her remarkable and consistent career.
Ozzy Osbourne – Ordinary Man
An unexpected collaboration with Post Malone and producer Andrew Watt inspired a whole Ozzy Osbourne album. He sounds more vigorous than he has in at least two decades, and amazingly Osbourne finds enough balance on Ordinary Man to give something to fans and newcomers alike.
Kesha – High Road
Pearl Jam – Gigaton
With Backspacer (2009) and Lightning Bolt (2013) charting at #1 in the US, Pearl Jam have had a surprisingly notable late-period output. Though it feels settled into middle age and loses some of the band’s youthful nuances, Gigaton is another successful release from a great rock band.
Sorry – 925
Blending jagged indie rock riffs with subtle musical diversity, this duo’s debut album is a fun record front-to-back.
U.S. Girls – Heavy Light
The expansion of U.S. Girls into a full-fledged group has always stayed consistent thanks to Meghan Remy. With her voice and songwriting at the helm, Remy takes the U.S. Girls moniker as both an invested solo project and outward-reaching sonic exploration. Heavy Light continues on the path of In a Poem Unlimited (2018), adding classic pop, funk, and soul into her adventurous indie art-pop sound.
Green Day – Father of All…
Adventurous and playful, or blasphemous to the sanctity of rock music? Green Day have officially “sold out,” but there’s occasional fun here if you forget your listening to the creators of “American Idiot.” Still, one wonders why Billie Joe, Mike, and Tré seem so ambivalent in their energetic dance-y performances.
Destroyer – Have We Met
Dan Bejar becomes more absorbed into his Destroyer persona, so unsuspecting newcomers might be put off by his monotonous delivery and miss the interesting music periodically found on Have We Met.
Justin Bieber – Changes
With a matured voice and some of his most compelling pop songwriting, Changes might be the best and most significant album of Bieber’s adult career. Still, you already know what you’re getting into with all JB albums, and this one will not change any detractor’s mind.
EOB – Earth
Radiohead guitarist Edward O’Brien finally releases a solo album, but only a select few moments stand out. The acoustic numbers shine in songwriting, and “Brasil” shows his creativity can reach top-notch heights. However, the majority of Earth is looped repetitive patterns of guitar-based British rock that ineffectively fuses a 90s Radiohead sound with a middle-aged rockstar/frontman identity crisis.
Lucinda Williams – Good Souls Better Angels
It hurts to say this about a good artist, but Lucinda Williams’ new album is unfortunately overrated. From someone who has made great recent albums with lots of artistic control, Good Souls Better Angels demonstrates a lack of attentive effort on Williams’ part. The record is undoubtedly earnest, but lacking in good singing and engrossing songwriting, something that she has excelled at in the last decade as well as in her classic work.
Eminem – Music to Be Murdered By
An infrequently decent album demonstrating just how out of touch Eminem is with the real world.
Best Coast – Always Tomorrow
A completely treacherous shift from the band’s classic lo-fi indie-pop to mind-numbing 90s pop/rock, Always Tomorrow is essential listening to hear a hopelessly misplaced modern attempt at pop relevance.
Happy listening! Stay safe everyone!