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10 or so albums that hit it right through 2020

So, 2021 is off to a quite January start but let’s see what the fresh new year brings hey. Still, first, a quick gaze at some records that made it through the socially distanced extravaganza that was 2020. Popular mentions over at Pitchfork, Paste, NME, include Fiona Apple’s and Taylor Swift’s perfectly rated albums alongside trademark releases by Run The Jewels, SAULT, Tame Impala, Tan Cologne, Khruangbin, Phoebe Bridgers and Caribou.

Naturally, Team Poule’s focus lies off the beaten tracks, and despite the whole pandemic business, 2020 was marked by a good number of wonderful moments too. Here then goes Team Poule’s definitive list of ten or so albums that firmly stood out of the missed chances that 2020 felt like, in no particular order.

Throughout the year, make sure you follow our regularly updated playlist Journal over at Spotify: www.pouledor.com/spotify

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Miro Shot – Content
London, UK | May 2020, AllPoints Records

Part real life dystopia, part virtual limitlessness, Miro Shot and their heavily AR/VR based art probably felt more at home than others in the circumstances 2020 presented itself in. Their debut album features above all an excitingly raw and modern take on electronic pop music, bending the boundaries between what is real and what is not, at the same time pulling off a revolutionary take on concerts and live music.

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Palace Winter – …Keep Dreaming, Buddy
Copenhagen, Denmark | October 2020, Tambourhinoceros

If you have a thing for real synths and Apple iPhone style precise production, then say no more and hit play on this bad boy. Palace Winter here released eagerly awaited new material on their third album that came out late October. Flawless and vast soundscapes that cater right to your travel desires 2020 didn’t want to hear about. Attached is The Deeper End, bit of a standout track perhaps, but really you should give this album a good old fashioned spin from first to last.

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Summer Heart – Ambitions EP
Malmö, Sweden | November 2020, ICEA / Icons Creating Evil Art

There is a great new book about the eel and his journeys and metamorphoses throughout his life and the certain magic that surrounds it – because to this day scientists aren’t really sure where and how eels are born and why they cross the Atlantic twice in their life. Anyway, Sweden’s Summer Heart is surrounded by an equal sense of magic and constant change and progress, moving his solo project forward, evolving year after year. 2020 saw him releasing this brilliant EP called Ambitions, taking his dreamy production further upstream if you will. The five tracks on this records are all lovely pieces telling stories that get stuck in your head for good. The EP came with a great video series too, illustrated by Manchester’s Jason Edmunds.

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Khruangbin and Leon Bridges – Texas Sun EP
Houston and Fort Worth, Texas | February 2020, Dead Oceans / Sony

Right, just four songs but oh my did Team Poule get mileage out of this one. Perfect little record this one. Khruangbin went on to release their third full-length album too in 2020 which also came in nicely.

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The Undercover Dream Lovers – It’s All In Your Head
Los Angeles, California | February 2020, self-released

This LP will give you whatever you are looking for, whenever you are looking for it. Great and groovy indie pop with a marvelous timeless, psychedelic touch to it. A complete album that does not lose its verve and mojo through out, get comfortable in the passenger seat of this one.

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Yore – Yore S/T
London, UK | December 2020, Flat Five Records

Multi-instrumentalist Yore produced this very fine record in his Hackney art space and assembled a dream team of guest singers to create a wonderful experience of an album, from Rakel Mjöll of Dream Wife to Katie Drew of White Flowers and the list goes on. Perfect dreamer of a record and proper album of the year material. This one is right up there.

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FEWS – Dog
Malmö, Sweden | July 2020, Hello Dog

This was the first release of this particular group of “international, Sweden based idiots” (sic!) on their own label, Hello Dog. After collecting a premium line of LPs via PIAS in the last couple of years, this EP neatly continues their uncompromising approach to life and times. The four tracks have a pure and focused post punk, krautrock attitude and the torque of a young gazehound unleashed, exhibit A in Charm, attached below.

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Vinyl Williams – Azure
Los Angeles, California | June 2020, Mutation Records (US), Requiem for a Twister (France)

Vinyl Williams has been at it for a while, and did it again on this album, firmly placing himself in the go-to categories of 2020. Azure is a lovely piece of recording, carried by swift guitars, perfectly tempered vocals and an assuring attitude that was much needed last year. And which could well make it rather useful in 2021.

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Cindy – I’m Cindy
Antwerp, Belgium | June 2020, World of Paint

So, Cindy Savalas is a character created by Palmbonen’s mastermind Kai Hugo back in 2015, loosely based on an X-Files story. In 2018 he followed it up with a four-part Memories of Cindy collection telling her back story in her hometown of Carmel Vista, California, with Cindy performed by singer and activist Blue LoLan. This 2020 album then was thought up to be Cindy’s ‘lost’ album. And if lush synths, dreamy ballads and dance tracks are what you are into, Cindy is your final destination. Our friends over HighClouds wrote one my favorite reviews of the year on this LP, read it here.

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Dougie Poole – The Freelancer’s Blues
Brooklyn, New York | June 2020, Wharf Cat Records

The Freelancer’s Blues is a pure Americana piece of joy, bit of pop, bit of psychedelic, and a whole lot of grand country, yep. Great to listen to on a Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon. Takes you places.

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Krakow Loves Adana – Darkest Dreams
Hamburg, Germany | September 2020, self-released

Krakow Loves Adana had a bit of rough year, breaking ways with their new label that should have released and promoted this LP. So, then they went back to managing it all by themselves as they have done for more than a decade. Luckily Darkest Dreams didn’t suffer in quality, instead they sound better and more determined than ever.

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Flattery – Other Essences
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | January 2020, self-released

Out on January 3rd this album was the first on the best of list for 2020. Flattery is one Anna Fuller out of Philadelphia and this is her debut album after line of EPs. Smooth dream pop, pure and warm guitar pieces, an all round lovely LP to listen from first to last.

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If you enjoyed these, follow our regularly updated playlist Journal over at Spotify for the new music kicks throughout the year: www.pouledor.com/spotify

And if you also enjoy a good list, check Team Poule’s picks for calendar years 2016, 20172018 and 2019. And try finding those vintages on Spotify: 20102011 and 2012.