The year 2020 was a difficult year for most people in the world due to the pandemic. It was a hard year for me too, especially mentally. I listened to a lot less new music in 2020 than I did in the years before.
Nevertheless, on this last day of the year, I came up with a list of 20 albums that I enjoyed a lot this year. There are tons of albums that I missed when I look at the end-of-year lists that people post on social media. I will be interested to check them out and pick out a few albums that I haven’t heard yet.
For every album I included links where you can buy the albums, and a links to odesli that function as hubs to all big streaming services.
Enough with the introduction, and enough with 2020.
On to a new year and hopefully a better year!
It’s the second day of Christmas, which I think is an excellent time to look back on the albums that I enjoyed in the year 2019. My music taste has shifted more towards the ambient music genre in the past year, so you will find a lot of ambient releases on the list. My most favorite albums are near the top, but the order of the albums is not a hard ranking. I liked every single album in this list.
Where available I included a link to the artist’s Bandcamp page. If the artist did not use Bandcamp, I linked to their official store, shop or to their album on Amazon as a last resort. All streaming links were made with Odesli (previously song.link) that generates a hub with links to all popular streaming services.
Of course I won’t mention my own ambient album in this list, that was also released in 2019 (which you can check out on Bandcamp over here and stream over here. 😉 ) That would be too narcissistic, right? 🙂
So without further ado, here is my list of 25 albums that I enjoyed a lot in 2019.
The year is nearly over and Christmas Eve knocks on the door. I think I’ve waited long enough now to publish my list of the 25 albums that I enjoyed the most in 2018. The list is somewhat ranked to show the albums that I enjoyed the most near the top of the list, but it’s definitely not a definitive ranking of these 25 releases.
I have included links to the music using the marvelous song.link website, so you’ll have a hub for every album that shows you links to your available music buying/streaming websites.
For the first time in my life I have taken the time to compile a best-of-the-year album list. When you browse through the list you may notice that there are quite a number of indie artists among them. Most of these I discovered through Bandcamp: a website where artists can showcase and sell their music. I use Bandcamp myself too for my ambient project Crows Labyrinth. Bandcamp is a real treasure trove for discovering new music and new artists.
David Bowie – The Next Day
Spock’s Beard – Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep
Yellowjackets – A Rise in the Road
Udo Pannekeet – On
Grey Frequency – When Do We Dream? .
Ulver with the Tromsø Chamber Orchestra – Messe I.X-VI.X
Steven Wilson – The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories)
My favorite progressive rock band The Flower Kings uploaded a trailer for their forthcoming album, which now has a name: “Banks of Eden”. During the 1 minute and 20 seconds preview we hear snippets of the new album. And I can tell you that I like what I am hearing so far!
The text below the YouTube movie gives away that the album will last for 55 minutes. That’s almost short for the Kings’ standards, considering that they released four double albums in the past and the single disc releases were always filled to the brim with music.
The album is scheduled for release on June 18th.
The Flower Kings – New Album Trailer for “Banks of Eden”
The Flower King’s mailing list was buzzing for a few days already with rumors, with guitarist, writer and producer Roine Stolt steering away from acknowledging them. But last Friday the official news was out: The Flower Kings are reuniting in 2012 after a five year hiatus. A new album can be expected in June and a European tour will start around September. Their first re-union gig will be at the Sweden Rock Festival on June the 7th.
The yet unnamed album has a 23 min epic centerpiece and the material is all classic Flowerkings style with all the dreamy melodic & cinematic elements that the bands fans has come to love over the years, but also contain some heavier psychedelic music and some darker hi energy material.
Good news for music addicts and musicians like me!
According to research that has been published in Neurobiology of Aging, music may have a beneficial influence on our aging process. Scientists came to this conclusion by doing experiments with young and old musicians and with people who hardly or never played an instrument.
Musicians of an older age were able to respond faster and better on audio tests with speech than the persons that were still young but never played an instrument. Research suggests that playing an instrument during most of your life has a big influence on your nervous system, which will be better able to process sound and speech on an older age.
Read more about this research on the following pages:
Trevor told us that his new album of instrumentals titled “Jacaranda” is scheduled to be released in early January, and features Tal Wilkenfeld, Vinnie Colaiuta, Lou Molina, and Ryan Rabin (Trevor’s son).
What really excites me is the rhythm section of the new album. Vinnie Colaiuta and Tal Wilkenfeld are both amazing players. I am especially a big fan of Tal, which may not surprise you since I love playing the bass guitar. Her playing style and great tone remind me of Jaco Pastorius.
After the break you’ll find two YouTube movies of Tal Wilkenfeld showing of her bass chops and her great tone.
Toto – Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam – June 23rd, 2011
A small part of me died when Steve Lukather announced that “there is no more Toto” in June 2008. The end of an era. I had been a fan of this band for more than 20 years and I was devastated that day. You can imagine how incredibly happy I was when Steve announced a reunion tour in February 2010. The circumstances were very, very sad though. Bassist Mike Porcaro was diagnosed with and suffering from ALS; a disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control the muscles in your body, which eventually leads to death. The reunion of Toto was meant to benefit Mike to help him pay his medical expenses. “The Groovemeister” would be replaced by bass veteran Nathan East during the 2010 reunion tour.
Update: “We Can Fly” is also available on Spotify in a high-quality stream. Click here to open.
RollingStone.com has an exclusive stream of Yes’ new single “We Can Fly” available on their website. The track is a section of the long epic track “Fly From Here” that will be the first track on the new album with the same name. The new album has been produced by Trevor Horn, who has been a part of Yes on one album called “Drama” and produced the band’s two albums that followed: “90125”, with their number 1 hit “Owner of a Lonely Heart”, and the album “Big Generator”.
The new album “Fly From Here” will be the second album in the history of Yes that does not feature singer and co-founder of the band Jon Anderson. The new singer is Benoît David who has been picked up from a Yes tribute band. He has been touring with Yes for over a year now. Keyboards on the new album are played by Geoff Downes, who collaborated with Trevor Horn in the past with The Buggles and also played on the “Drama” album with Yes.
A lot is going on in the world of Yes and their current and former band members this year. A few months ago I discussed the excellent Yes Union deluxe box-set. But that was only the beginning. Check out this round-up of releases that I am looking forward to hear and have been released lately or can be expected in the next few months.
Yes – Fly From Here
Of course there is the new Yes album titled “Fly From Here” that was announced end March. The album was co-written and produced by Trevor Horn, who also produced their hit album “90125” and their less successful “Big Generator”. The new album won’t feature Jon Anderson on vocals but their new singer Benoît David. This release also marks the comeback of Geoff Downes (The Buggles, Asia) behind the keyboards who has been a part of the band together with Horn when they recorded, released and toured with the “Drama” album.
The DVD has been titled “Tour Kaputt” and contains the live show that was recorded in 2007 at the Boerderij in Zoetermeer in The Netherlands. The show features drum maestro Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson, Mr. Mister) and has a running time of 142 minutes.
Do you like electronic music? Yes? Good. Ever thought of creating or mixing this music yourself and feel like the next Tiësto or Armin van Buuren? Check. But do you have the equipment to get started? No? Then read on!
Audiotool is a music creation and mixing tool that works right in your browser. It is a Flash-based web application. Just visit Audiotool’s website, start with a blank workspace or choose a template and get started.
Fizy is probably the most simplistic and powerful online, browser-based music search engine with integrated music player I have seen yet. Just visit Fizy’s website, enter your favorite artist and start playing the tracks it finds. If there is a video available for the track it will play that as well.
Signing up is not necessary, but if you do you will have some extra features at your disposal like creating playlists, scrobbling tracks to Last.fm and enabling an RSS feed that keeps track of the music you have played.