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00000179-cdc6-d978-adfd-cfc6d8c70000KMUW music hosts Jedd Beaudoin and Chris Heim share their selections for the best music releases of 2020. Join our music programs throughout January 2021 for a month-long feature highlighting the Best of 2020.

Strange Currency's Best Releases Of 2020

Fiona Apple's 'Fetch the Bolt Cutters' (Courtesy The Syndicate), Matt Wilson and His Orchestra's 'When I Was A Writer' (Courtesy Howlin' Wuelf Media), 'CHICKABOOM!' from Tami Nelson (Courtesy Conqueroo)

Creating Best Of the Year lists always presents its challenges and 2020 was no exception: Releases were pushed back, others arrived the early hours of the COVID-19 pandemic, when it was easy to consider that they might be forgotten. In all, 2020 provided plenty of excellent releases, including some surprises from Drive-By Truckers and Andre LaFosse. Others, such as Laraaji and The Mountain Goats issued multiple recordings in 2020 while Paul McCartney’s long-awaited McCartney III has been pushed to a late 2020 release, which accounts for its absence from this list.

There were plenty of other strong contenders for the Top 25, including discs from The Soft Pink Truth, Sarah Peacock, and Bobby Rush.

1. Fetch The Bolt Cutters—Fiona Apple
2. When I Was A Writer—Matt Wilson and His Orchestra
3. Chickaboom!—Tami Neilson
4. Walking Proof—Lilly Hiatt
5. Houses of the Holy—Psychic Temple
6. The Universe Inside—The Dream Syndicate
7. Moon Piano—Laraaji
8. Sun Piano—Laraaji
9. Chamber Music From Hell—Chris Opperman
10. Private Lives—Low Cut Connie
11. Earth—EOB
12. Last Will & Testament—Bonnie Whitmore
13. New York At Night—Willie Nile
14. Getting Into Knives—The Mountain Goats
15. The Ascension—Sufjan Stevens
16. Spencer Cullum’s Coin Collection—Spencer Cullum
17. Tales To Be Told—Lykantropi
18. Videorama—Flowers of America
19. Karma Suppression—Andre LaFosse
20. American Head—Flaming Lips
21. Forever Better Worse—Great Peacock
22. Johnny Iguana’s Chicago Spectacular—Johnny Iguana
23. The Loneliness In Me—Rachel Brooke
24. More From The Levee—Chris Smither
25. The New OK—Drive-By Truckers

Jedd Beaudoin is host/producer of the nationally syndicated program Strange Currency. He has also served as an arts reporter, a producer of A Musical Life and a founding member of the KMUW Movie Club. As a music journalist, his work has appeared in Pop Matters, Vox, No Depression and Keyboard Magazine.