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20 Jazz Albums You Might Have Missed in 2020

During the new-year season of best-of-the-year lists, I find myself looking backward—even at a year as difficult as 2020. Time was dilated—I thought I had too much of it but, as usual, there was too little for all the great music.


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Music

Nicki and Patrick Adams Offer an Engaging Classical/Jazz Hybrid on 'Lynx'

Eclectic siblings Nicki and Patrick Adams draw from a wealth of musical genres and training to produce an album of depth and beauty.

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LOG ET3RNAL Is a Dubbed-out Beauty of Soft, Skeletal Ambience

Ulla and Perila, two experimental producers on the vanguard of modern ambient, take their talent to new heights on LOG ET3RNAL, their first collaborative LP under the LOG moniker.

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How Leeds Led the Goth Scene

Leeds' the F Club, Ace of Clubs, and the Warehouse are just a few of the clubs that ushered in goth. Ethan Stewart talks with musicians and fans who were there.

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The Best Music of 2020

PopMatters surveys the year in music in this month-long Best Music of 2020 series.

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Elvis Costello Gets Dark and Brooding on 'Hey Clockface'

Elvis Costello is a complex man of dark humor and flashes of anger as he keeps fighting the good fight armed with a razor wit.

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Shanghai Restoration Project Offer Innovative Alternate Reality on 'Brave New World Symphony'

Imagination has always been the Shanghai Restoration Project's beating heart, and it has perhaps never been more timely than on Brave New World Symphony.

Music Reviews

Maxwell Stern Gives Us a Warm Car in Frigid Winter with 'Impossible Sum'

Maxwell Stern's debut record, The Impossible Sum, is a relaxed, honest, deeply felt exploration of what it means to be a feeling, caring human in our time of incessant gaslighting and doom scrolling.

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Susan Alcorn's 'Pedernal' Is a Chamber Jazz/Americana Blend

Baltimore's wizard of the pedal steel guitar, Susan Alcorn, offers a creative blend of Americana, jazz, and ethereal improvisation on Pedernal.

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MetalMatters: The Best Metal Albums of December 2020

Post-rock legends Jesu return after seven years, chameleonic rockers Boris collaborate once more with noise fiend Merzbow, and Dan Barrett unleashes Black Wing's sophomore record.

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J Mascis Welcomes You to Three Nights of Exquisite Songcraft and Pure Fun

Fed Up and Feeling Strange: Live and in Person (1993-1998) shows the Dinosaur Jr maestro doesn't need a wall of amplifiers to make an impact.

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Barry Gibb Re-Visits Bee Gees Classics with Superproducer Dave Cobb

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Dave Scanlon's 'Pink in each, bright blue, bright green' Is a Stark, Deeply Elegant Solo Work

Dave Scanlon, the singer and guitarist of Brooklyn's JOBS, offers a stripped-down collection of songs that retains the unique intensity of his more complex work.

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Psychobilly: Qu'est-ce Que C'est?

Many punk hybrids have come and gone since their heydays, but the punk-rockabilly one, psychobilly, has endured and is still thriving around the world today.

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The Insular Jazz of Lockdown Rediscovers a Pioneering Sounds of the Past

New COVID-era recordings from saxophonists Chris Potter and Ben Wendel recall pioneering work by the brilliant composer Wayne Shorter.

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Elvis Presley's Unlikely Comeback

Elvis historian Eric Wolfson's 33 1/3 book, Elvis Presley's From Elvis in Memphis, examines perhaps the greatest artistic accomplishment of Elvis' career: a comeback album that reinstated his relevance.

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Ana Egge Reflects on a Tumultuous 2020 via "This Time" (premiere)

Brooklyn folkie Ana Egge collaborated with Dick Connette and Stewart Lerman on "This Time", which was directly inspired by the murder of George Floyd.

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Playboi Carti Creates a Whole Lotta Music on ​'Whole Lotta Red'

Whole Lotta Red demonstrates Playboi Carti's commitment to dynamic growth and experimentation. However, it's painfully apparent that Carti needs more features.

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Jack Name's 'Magic Touch' Evokes Sober Moments of Memoirs

Jack Name likes to make little worlds with his albums, and Magic Touch is no exception. I found myself thinking of it as a prose work.

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How Musicians Are Surviving the Pandemic — and the Music Industry

Nine US-based musicians discuss surviving and adapting to the changing music industry in our extraordinarily challenging time of pandemic shutdown.


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