It’s been a year. There was lots of music released and we shared a lot of it. Here’s are few of our favourite compilations, longer releases and a big fat playlist to round it all up.

Pretend is meant to help you discover new music and Spotify is a great tool for that. But, you have to be streamed over 10 million times a year to even make minimum wage on that platform, this is a round up of where to buy some of the things we’ve featured on playlists, played on radio shows and otherwise wanted to share with you in the last twelve months.

Compilations

Compilations releases defined 2020, mostly charitable; they provided a way for us to come together when we were apart, to share music and show solidarity with those who needed it most.

We Are Viable – Supporting MAP Charity
For fans of Breaks, Drum and Bass, Silly shit Gimme A Break came in hot with their first proper release. Label bosses Saucebag and Van Roy bring together an incredibly talented group of young producers for one of the silliest, most fun releases of 2020 in support of the wonderful MAP charity.

The Silhouettes Project
An incredible compilation of artists across the alternative jazz, hip-hop and neo-soul communities put together by Eerf Evil and producer Kosher. Featuring releases from the likes of Enny, Bel Cobain and Keiron Booth if you haven’t bought this yet or at least listened the whole way through you’ve been wasting the second half of 2020.

RLO: Friends and Family Volume 2 – Supporting Leeds Asylum Seekers Support Network.
Just the right mix of experimental fun and guaranteed floor fillers, Brudenell Groove brought out this compilation back in August and it’s been on heavy rotation ever since. Always champions of the Leeds community this release has some bits from Hanibl, Mariin and Stretchy Dance Supply co-founder Dubrunner.

Physically Sick Volume 3 – Supporting Equality for Flatbush
“Defund the Police. Invest in Black Communities.” 
The list of contributors to this compilation reads like what you wish the line-ups of major festival main stages were. Curated by Discwoman and Allergy Season it starts out with Anz’s twist on the classic C’hantal sample it just doesn’t let go. CCL, MoMA Ready, UMFANG, Surgeon, Special Request, DJ Swisha I mean come on… just go pick the thing up already.

It Does Easy – Supporting Leeds Cares
Another Leeds compilation, similar flavour to the RLO (it was also mastered by Fludd and Hanbil) but with a bit of a broader remit from twisting ambient experiments from Zazu to TC Young’s Snow County and its glitchy, melodic piano. While Reel Long Overdub is for the dance music heads this is more of a music purists.

The Bottle – Frontline Series
The Bottle used to be a party. Now they’re releasing finely curated compilations in support of various charities including NHS Charities together and The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust. The first three releases focus on live acts such as Talk Show, Damefrisor, Lynks, L.D. Moses and Bdrmm and the second two releases brought you more electronic feelings.

Releases to buy

PVA – Toner
The debut PVA EP is a must from this year, the Musa Masa mix of talks is a particular highlight.

Monzanto Sound – Time Lapse
A truly unique sound blending together psychedelic krautrock with neo soul and elements of jazz Monzanto Sound’s debut EP is a delight. 

Leonce – Steam Room
Steam Room is like a strobe that reveals a new image of fun with every flash.

30/70 – Fluid Motion Remixed
N.Y.P (SAUL Remix) is worth getting the whole EP for alone and the rest of the release is a wonderful example of what is possible when taking jazz and soul to the dancefloor.

Mamilah – Talk Less The Remixes
More jazz twisted into unusual shapes here, Andrew Devine makes it chuggy, Breaka does that Breaka staccato thing with all the vowels and NikNak brings the slow groove.

Necktr – Grow
Yes another set of jazz remixes, are you sensing a theme? The original here is great of course and it’s wonderful to see both Esme and B-ahwe on a track. The Adam Pits & Dubrunner take on the Cold Water is also a treat.

Team Picture – The Menace of Mechanical Music
After a lot of mechanical music Team Picture’s stunning debut is a wonderful palate cleanser. Released on Clue Records (podcast interview coming before the New Year, promise) in June the album is the biggest step forward yet for one of Leeds’ most exciting bands over the last few years. See also It Does Easy…

Osquello – Osqstock
There’s not many artists that can call in Terry Dexter to appear on their debut album but Osquello is the king of creative collaboration. Fiercely independent, Osquello is one of those artists who refuses to be categorised and will stop at nothing to show he can’t be put in a box. 

Tugboat Captain – Rut
Recorded at Abbey Road Rut is the fullest realisation of the Tugboat Captain sound yet. Accidentally stacked with lockdown anthems (No Plans For This Year, Check Your Health, If Tomorrow’s Like Today, Day To Day) the album couldn’t have come in a better year than 2020 even if everything else has gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Die Orangen – Ride
Catchy and chuggy, featuring remixes by Manfredas and Gum & Ginoli, brilliantly crafted songs. What more do you need?

Our 2020 playlist

And after all that, we’re back on the Spotify thing. We will continue to use the platform in 2021 but will also make a greater effort to support artists in ways that might actually help them get by. Think of this as a door, you can look through it, but if you want to actually join the party go inside and say hello to everyone.

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