HAPPY HOLIDAYS

See you in 2021! πŸŽ‰

I’m Jason Boucher and welcome to Nocturnal, a weekly newsletter about sound + music where I highlight some of the best new music, podcasts, stories, and streaming video. I’ll be dispensing related links about music, art, film, and other news that I hope you dig. I don’t know about you, but I get excited for new records, reissues, soundtracks, live music, and filmsβ€”so I’m sharing with you! My hope is this newsletter increases awareness of the extraordinary art communities all over the world, even if it’s just a smidgen. Questions? jason.boucher@icloud.com


Today in the newsletter: It’s my last newsletter of 2020! Best music lists, record stores, and my latest radio show and playlist.

But first…

A very happy winter solstice and yule to everyone. It’s been quite the year, let’s hope 2021 treats us all kind. Thanks for reading. Joyeux Yule & Solstice d’Hiver!

A post shared by Capturing Portsmouth (@capturingportsmouth)

Despite the awful year that 2020 was, some incredible music was still released. And with live music coming to an end in early March across the entire planet, it was vital that we support the artists (and venues) to keep the industry alive. With nine Bandcamp Fridays complete and more on the horizon, this was the biggest music highlight for me this year β€” In 2020, I discovered new artists and supported many old favorites, too. Spending not only money, but hours and hours listening, more than I have in previous years, given that I had more time to explore. So here it is, my annual best music list β€” I hope you find something you like. See you next year!

❗️Top Albums of 2020

  1. SAULT – Untitled (Black Is)

  2. SAULT – Untitled (Rise)

  3. Matt Berninger – Serpentine Prison

  4. Mourning [A] Blkstar – The Cycle

  5. Waxahatchee – Saint Cloud

  6. Moses Sumney – GrΓ¦ 

  7. Makaya McCraven – Universal Beings E&F Sides

  8. Destroyer – Have We Met

  9. Jyoti – Mama, You Can Bet!

  10. Nubya Garcia – Source

  11. Run The Jewels – RTJ4

  12. Sir Richard Bishop – Oneiric Formulary

  13. Shabaka and the Ancestors – We Are Sent Here by History

  14. Arbouretum – Let It All In

  15. Bill Fay – Countless Branches

  16. The Soft Pink Truth – Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase?

  17. Gwenifer Raymond – Strange Lights Over Garth Mountain

  18. Gil Scott-Heron & Makaya McCraven – We’re New Again

  19. Fleet Foxes – Shore

  20. Jeff Parker – Suite For Max Brown

  21. Josh Johnson – Freedom Exercise

  22. RJD2 – The Fun Ones

  23. Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher

  24. Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl – Artlessy Falling

  25. Thundercat – It Is What It Is

  26. Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters

  27. Monophonics – It’s Only Us

  28. Taylor Swift – Folklore

  29. Phish – Sigma Oasis

  30. Jeff Tweedy – Love is the King

  31. Demae – Life Works Out… Usually

  32. Siti Muharam – Siti of Unguja (Romance Revolution on Zanzibar)

  33. Aquiles Navarro & Tcheser Holmes – Heritage of the Invisible II

  34. Adrianne Lenker – songs

  35. Nas – King’s Disease

  36. James Tillman – Modern Desires

  37. ohbliv – Spirit Medicine

  38. Bonny Light Horseman – Bonny Light Horseman 

  39. Yves Tumor – Heaven to a Tortured Mind

  40. Ambrose Akinmusire – On the tender spot of every calloused moment

  41. Cut Worms – Nobody Lives Here Anymore

  42. Moses Boyd – Dark Matter 

  43. Fourtet – Sixteen Oceans

  44. Medhane – Cold Water

  45. Black Devil Disco Club – Lucifer is a Flower

🎷 Top Jazz Albums of 2020

  1. Makaya McCraven – Universal Beings E&F Sides

  2. Nubya Garcia – Source

  3. Aquiles Navarro & Tcheser Holmes – Heritage of the Invisible II

  4. Jeff Parker – Suite For Max Brown

  5. Josh Johnson – Freedom Exercise

  6. Shabaka and the Ancestors – We Are Sent Here by History

  7. Rob Mazurek Exploding Star Orchestra – Dimensional Stardust

  8. Sun Ra Arkestra – Swirling

  9. Immanuel Wilkins – Omega

  10. Tom Misch & Yusef Dayes – What Kinda Music

  11. Tino Contreras – La Noche De Los Dioses

  12. Matthew Halsall – Salute to the Sun

  13. Lettuce – Resonate 

  14. The Necks – Three

  15. Jahari Massamba Unit – Pardon My French

  16. Yazmin Lacey – Morning Matters

  17. Katalyst – Nine Lives

  18. Susan Alcorn Quartet – Pedernal 

  19. Dougie Stu – Familiar Future

  20. Ron Miles – Rainbow Sign

  21. Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, 9th Wonder, Kamasi Washington – Dinner Party

  22. Kamaal Williams – Wu Hen

  23. Keith Jarrett – Budapest Concert 

  24. Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids – Shaman!

  25. Chip Wickham – Blue to Red

πŸŽ™ Top Hip Hop Albums of 2020

  1. Run The Jewels – RTJ4

  2. RJD2 – The Fun Ones

  3. Nas – King’s Disease

  4. ohbliv – Spirit Medicine

  5. Medhane – Cold Water

  6. Shabazz Palaces – The Don of Diamond Dreams

  7. Benny the Butcher – Burden of Proof

  8. Public Enemy – What Ya Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down?

  9. Knxwledge – 1988

  10. clipping. – Visions of Bodies Being Burned

  11. Black Thought – Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane and Abel

  12. Navy Blue – Γ€dΓ‘ Irin

  13. Beans – Venga

  14. AstairΓ© – Volume 1

  15. The Koreatown Oddity – Little Dominiques Nosebleed

  16. Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist – Alfredo

  17. Mo Fingaz – Gusto

  18. Armand Hammer – Shrines

πŸ’Ώ Top Reissues of 2020

  1. Various Artists – The Harry Smith B Sides

  2. Tom Petty – Wildflowers

  3. Black Unity Trio – Al Fatihah

  4. Grateful Dead – Dave’s Pick Vol. 36 – Hartford, CT β€’ March 26, 1987

  5. Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen – Found in the Ozone

  6. Windy & Carl – Unreleased Home Recordings 

  7. Thelonious Monk – Palo Alto

  8. Heshoo Beshoo Group – Armitage Road

  9. Bill Evans – Some Other Time: The Lost Session from Black Forest

  10. Various Artists – Southeast of Saturn: Space Rock


I Miss Record Stores

During these days of COVID-19, I began to think what I miss most about being out in public. I miss record stores. I miss digging through crates of albums, sifting through collections, talking to people about music, and learning about new artists. Please enjoy these photos I've taken at many vinyl and CD shops across the United States., Canada, and the U.K. To see the record stores up close, click the photo below. 🎧


Nocturnal: A Sound + Music Experience is delivered fresh each Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. EST through an ominous freeform cloud featuring hubbub from then and now. Listen live on WSCA.

December 22nd Playlist: Merry and Bright

The Flaming Lips "Winter Wonderland" Imagene Peise - Atlas Eets Christmas (Warner Bros.)

Harold Budd w/ Eraldo Bernocchi & Robin Guthrie"Winter Garden" Winter Garden (Soleil AprΓ¨s Minuit)

The Rolling Stones "Winter" Goats Head Soup (Polydor Records)

Purple Mountains "Snow is Falling in Manhattan" Purple Mountains (Drag City)

Wall Matthews "Jingle Bells" Christmas Guitar (Tompkins Square)

Vashti Bunyan "Winter Is Blue" Just Another Diamond Day (Dicristina Stair Builders)

Khruangbin "Christmas Time Is Here" 7” (Dead Oceans)

Low "Just Like Christmas" from Christmas on kranky

John Fahey "Christmas Medley (Oh Tannenbaum Angels We Have Heard On High Jingle Bells" Christmas With John Fahey, Vol. 2 (Takoma)

Martin Denny "Exotic Night" Ultra-Lounge / Christmas Cocktails Volume II (Capitol Records)

Byron Lee & The Dragonaires "Happy Christmas (feat. Toots and The Maytals)" Christmas Party Time In the Tropics (VP Records)

The Avalanches "Winter Wonderland" Ski Surfin' (WMG)

The Ventures "Frosty The Snowman" The Ventures' Christmas Album (Capitol Records)

Loretta Lynn "To Heck with Ole Santa Claus" White Christmas Blue (Sony/Legacy)

Three Aces & A Joker "Sleigh Bell Rock" Christmas Carousel (Imperial Music Group)

The Outlaws "Run Rudolph Run" Rockabilly Christmas (Imperial Music Group)

Los Straitjackets "Feliz Navidad" Tis The Season For Los Straitjackets (Yep Roc Records)

Jimmy Butler "Trim Your Tree" Mr. Santa's Boogie (Rhythm & Blues Christmas 1948 - 1957) (Season's Greetings)

Akim, Teddy Vann "Santa Clause Is a Black Man" John Waters Christmas 

Elvis Presley "Blue Christmas" The Christmas Hits (River Records)

She & Him "The Christmas Song" A Very She & Him Christmas (Universal Music)

Vince Guaraldi Trio "Christmas Time Is Here" A Charlie Brown Christmas (Fantasy Records)

The Band "Christmas Must Be Tonight (Alternate Version)" Northern Lights-Southern Cross (Capitol )

The Magnetic Fields "Everything Is One Big Christmas Tree" Realism (Nonesuch)

Ray LaMontagne "Winter Birds"  Christmas Cafe (Columbia)

Galaxie 500 "Listen, the Snow is Falling" This Is Our Music (Rykodisc)

Cocteau Twins "Frosty The Snowman" Lullabies To Violaine, Volume 2 (4AD)

The Halo Benders "Snowfall"  God Don't Make No Junk (K Records)

Playlist and Audio Archive

Thank you! See you next year…. - JB