Grandaddy, "Now It's On"
I think I've used this space before to kind of lament how Grandaddy hasn't really connected with me. I can see the quality, but it's just never really clicked. This is a fine tune, though.
American Music Club, "Outside This Bar"
American Music Club were still kind of finding their way with their second album, Engine. Musically, they would eventually open up some of the arrangements which would help give some more space to Mark Eitzel's lyrics. But as you can hear on this song, the often harrowing storytelling was definitely there.
Russian Circles, "Mota"
Fuck yeah Russian Circles!
Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou, "Ancestral Recall"
This album from ERR & Thou showed up on a lot of best-of lists in 2020, both metal lists and just all-around album lists. And for great reason, as the combination of her vocals and Thou's inventive sludge is irresistable. There's always been kind of a horseshoe that brings metal back around to folk, and Rundle sort of operates in that area naturally, and it all feels so seamless. I sincerely hope they work together some more. I haven't sat down to figure out my favorite albums from 2020 yet, but this one certainly is on the list.
Andrew Bird, "Wait"
The trumpet solo here is one of the things that you hear on his early records that just doesn't show up on the later albums, not really. That sort of jazzy touch falls a little by the wayside.