Kurated readers share the music you loved and listened to most in 2020

Readers’ Choice 2020
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The annual Readers’ Choice series is a chance for Kurated readers to share music with each other. Whether the contributions are short lists or longer essays – or something in between – what this year’s contributors have in common is a passion for a wide range of great music.

The 11-part series presents a whole bunch of song titles plus a number of albums. There’s a summary playlist on both YouTube and Spotify.

Thanks to all of this year’s contributors and to all of you readers!

Kurated is a music sharing project.
Stay tuned and enjoy,
Kris Sig Plastic V3

27 December 2020

  • Mia Edbrooke spent time in 2020 with The National’s 2013 album Trouble Will Find Me, spotted a new single from the Weather Report’s upcoming album and points to North Carolina folk group the River Whyless playing a 2016 NPR Tiny Desk concert.

  • Megan Graham‘s 12-month musical diary takes you on a trip of what is, what was and what might have been: releases new and old, live concerts and the ones COVID cancelled. You’re pretty much guaranteed to find something on this list that you like and haven’t heard before.

  • THE READER’S CHOICE 2020 PLAYLIST: On YouTube and Spotify

Mia Edbrooke
Vancouver / Sechelt BC

The cover of The Weather Station’s upcoming album – Ignorance – due in February, 2021 features Toronto-based band leader Tamara Lindeman wearing a hand made suit covered in mirrors. “I used to be an actor, now I’m a performer,” she says. On the album, she sings of trying to wear the world as a kind of ill fitting, torn garment, dangerously cold; “it does not keep me warm / I cannot ever seem to fasten it” and of walking the streets in it disguised and exposed. Photographed by visual artist Jeff Bierk.

Trouble Will Find Me (full album): The National
Tried To Tell You: Tamara Lindeman aka The Weather Station
Tiny Desk Concert (which is what I like to listen to on repeat for comfort, or Life Crisis): The River Whyless (15 mins)

About Mia: Mia was almost born in Crippen Cove.  A few months before her arrival, her parents ended their stint on the North Coast, and she was raised a city kid in Vancouver near Riley Park. She develops environmental policy during the day and, in her spare time, enjoys volunteering. Mia has been on the Vancouver Folk Music Festival board for six years and loves that live music can fuel community.

Megan Graham
White Rock BC

Mark Eiztel’s Hey Mr Ferryman: “A truly exceptional discovery”.

The Year of Living “Less” Dangerously

I live in a music store, metaphorically speaking. The lucky gal that I am, I hear new music (or new-to-me music) constantly. New, old, it don’t matter….balm for the soul. Started this in January. It’s too hard to just pick the top 3. This is a year’s worth of musical things that caught my interest, shows I saw and didn’t see. In retrospect, much of this is music I can move to in a time of not much “movement”. Think of a walking beat between two headphones in the sunshine. Most are not new. A few of these intersect with things lovingly “kurated” by Mr. Kris. Some not.


  • Algiers. “Smart angry soul. What’s not to like?” Bandcamp supporter Lachlan Simpson. First heard this band on the CBC. Love them. Here’s Dispossession.

Bands I saw in February. Seems like so long ago.

  • Alborosie, Italian-born Jamaican roots reggae at the Rickshaw on Feb 2nd. What can I say? Still love reggae, ska…even dancehall…which my husband says is crap. Whatever…
    The Unforgiven

There’s a genre of music in our house that we affectionately call “Sad basterd” music. Usually eloquently written and sung by men whose hearts are broken. Think Mathew Sweet, Nick Drake. I offer up Mark Eiztel. 

“Eiztel has penned some of the greatest, most heartfelt tales of degradation, struggle and sadness in modern music…” Joe Tangari, Pitchfork.  Saw him at the Electric Owl, a now defunct bar on Main St. in Vancouver. Absolutely riveting. Knew of American Music Club in passing but not him. For me a truly exceptional discovery.

Bands I didn’t see…Delvon Lamar Organ Trio…Rickshaw March 26th. I have a deep and abiding love of 60’s and 70’s soul. Current band of awesomeness with some funky jazz organ.

Bands I didn’t see…Monophonics…Biltmore April 2nd

Kelly Finnegan…lead singer of said band has an exceptional white soul album out.

Crazy new to me discovery…Brownout. Instrumental American Latin Funk. They’ve done covers of Black Sabbath, reimagined Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet. Their latest has a vocalist join them. The new album is The Berlin Sessions.

Music by labels I love. Daptone Records has a slew of artists I can’t get enough of. The indomitable Sharon Jones and the Daptones who most folks know. Here’s a few others:

Durand Jones and the Indicators, new soul…(what can I say…still love this stuff)

The Frightners, beautiful vocals showing up in this reggae band.

I have a character flaw….I hear a lot of buzz about some band or singer and I kinda go…meh! Like I said, a character flaw. So when the buzz about Sharon Van Etten happened….I ‘knowingly’ looked away. What a fool. Love her voice, her presence….Pick any album...all good.

July/August…a mash up…
Leon Bridges, soul singer 

The 1975. First heard this in my kitchen…jangly, somewhat political and the prerequisite danceable.

Khruangbin. This also comes from Kurated but fell over this because they did an album with Leon Bridges. 

Nortec Collective. Northern Mexican assemblists. Love it. Accordion folk music meets techno dance.

Destroyer’s Have We Met…Dan Bejar’s other outlet aside from the New Pornographers. His voice is so weirdly compelling to me. This album is almost orchestral…

Bombino. Saw this guitarist years ago and he has been popping up in my headphones this month. Amazing guitarist. I find it almost hypnotic likely because he is singing in his own language. Heard of him before Tinariwen, whom I also think are great.

Anything weirdly christmassy done by artists I love. There’s a mix compilation in this house for Xmas of unusual covers. I offer up Nick Lowe’s original.

The end.

About Megan: A bit of a weirdo “professionally” disguised. I love politics and music and learning and learning.