'Tis the Season to Make (Best Of) Lists

What are your favorite albums of 2020?

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 films—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: Top 30 albums of 2020, my favorite holiday movies, addicting podcasts, top movies of 2020, and of course my latest playlist and audio archives…

But first, one of my favorite moments of 2020 has to be the spontaneous jazz concert outside my house by PMAC. I heard percussion and a subtle saxophone, so I grabbed my iPhone, put on a mask and went outside to record what was happening—it was something positive to see and hear during this seemingly everlasting pandemic.

A post shared by Jason Boucher 🎙 (@jsonboucher)

🎧 Listen Up!

This week, it’s all about the best albums released in 2020. We’ve all had a lot of time at home this year to listen to new music, more than usual, but I’ve made up my mind and from all the music and aural effervescence released this year, here’s my list. Next week, the top jazz albums…

  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. Makaya McCraven - Universal Beings E&F Sides

  7. Destroyer - Have We Met

  8. Jyoti - Mama, You Can Bet!

  9. Nubya Garcia - Source

  10. Run The Jewels - RTJ4

  11. Sir Richard Bishop - Oneiric Formulary

  12. Shabaka and the Ancestors - We Are Sent Here by History

  13. Arbouretum - Let It All In

  14. Bill Fay - Countless Branches

  15. Dougie Stu - Familiar Future

  16. Gwenifer Raymond - Strange Lights Over Garth Mountain

  17. Fleet Foxes - Shore

  18. Jeff Parker - Suite For Max Brown

  19. Josh Johnson - Freedom Exercise

  20. RJD2 - The Fun Ones

  21. Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher

  22. Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl - Artlessy Falling

  23. Fiona Apple - Fetch the Bolt Cutters

  24. Taylor Swift - Folklore

  25. Phish - Sigma Oasis

  26. Siti Muharam - Siti of Unguja (Romance Revolution on Zanzibar)

  27. Aquiles Navarro & Tcheser Holmes - Heritage of the Invisible II 

  28. Adrianne Lenker - songs

  29. Moses Sumney - græ 

  30. Nas - King’s Disease

This Week’s Reading List

Podcasts To Peruse

The Watch List 


Nocturnal: A Sound + Music Experience is delivered fresh each Tuesday evening through an ominous freeform cloud featuring hubbub from then and now. Listen live Tuesday evenings on WSCA, or the next day via Mixcloud.

December 1st playlist:

Okay Kaya “Believe” Believe (Jagjaguwar)
Kiln “Ero” Idol Tryouts: Ghostly International Vol. 1 (Ghostly International)
Trees Speak “Large Array” Shadow Forms (Soul Jazz Records)*
Amon Düül II “Wolf City” Wolf City (Revisited Records)
Kikagaku Moyo “Silver Owl” House in the Tall Grass (Guruguru Brain)
Buzzcocks “Why Can’t I Touch It?” Singles Going Steady (Domino)
Rob MazurekExploding Star Orchestra “Parable 3000 (We All Come from Somewhere Else)” Dimensional Stardust (International Anthem)*
John Coltrane “My Ideal” Bahia (Prestige)
Keith Jarrett “Part VII” Budapest (ECM Records)*
Bob James “Westchester Lady” Three (Red River)
Ike Reiko “Wandering Guitar” You, Baby (ODL)
Gnoomes “Roadhouse” Ngan! (Rocket Recordings)
Füxa “Photon” Southeast of Saturn (Third Man Records)*
The Messthetics “Serpent Tongue” Serpent Tongue (Dischord)
James Brandon Lewis “Sir Real Denard” An Unruly Manifesto (Relative Pitch)
Gang Green “Kill A Commie”  Preschool (Taang! Records)
Death “Politicians In My Eyes” …For The Whole World To See (Drag City)
Jeff Tweedy “A Robin or A Wren” Love Is the King (dBpm Records)

*=new

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See you next week… - JB