2020-12-22T11:00:34-05:00 2020-12-22T15:47:34-05:00

EARMILK's Best Songs of 2020 [Indie + Alternative]

If there was ever a time for songs that recognized our angst, poured some tea for our anxiety, and maybe even just let us cry it out, it was this year. No one could have predicted what 2020 had in store for us, but every release somehow just hit harder when enjoyed in isolation. With entire projects actually birthed in their own isolation, this year's Indie and Alt-rock tracks became the weighted blankets that kept us warm and calm through it all. - Valeria Dulava, Indie Editor

*For a full Spotify playlist of this year's "Best of 2020" [Indie + Alternative] - Click Here

Arthur — No Tengo 

Arthur's songs land somewhere between creepy and heartfelt and bring new life to experimental indie pop. — Ruby Izatt

Another Sky — Fell In Love With The City

This track soars and it was one of the most atmospheric rock tracks of the year. A passionate blend of Catrin Vincent's captivating vocal performance, these intimate piano moments, and eruptive guitar & percussional segments left me spinning in a whirwind of emotions. — David Sikorski

Ayoni — Unmoved (A Black Woman Truth)

At the height of BLM protests, Ayoni released this stunning melody that serves to uplift and unite Black women with a message of freedom in vulnerability. — Celeste Ceres

Babe Rainbow — Zeitgeist 

Australian psych-rock band Babe Rainbow has frequently drawn Beach Boys comparisons but Zeitgeist has perhaps turned a new corner for their sound and given a new spin on modern psych-rock. — John Peterson

Bad Suns — Baby Blue Shades

Instead of staring into the rearview, Bad Suns are diving headfirst into the unknown future and moving forward. The lyrics are realistic and allow for the occasional glance into the past for mourning and reflection, but they don’t linger. Just because you “can’t see through this decision” doesn’t mean it’s the wrong one for you. Good things lie ahead. — Maria Bocci

beabadoobee — Worth it

Easily one. of the biggest alt-rock acts to come out of this year, beabadoobee delivers these hauntingly catchy vocals with heavy punk rock guitar riffs and hard-hitting percussions that makes it impossible for tracks like "Worth It" to not have you dancing and singing along to it in your room. — David Sikorski

BENEE, Gus Dapperton — Supalonely 

I remember someone telling me towards the end of 2019 about this New Zealand Billie Eilish, and then when I got the chance to actually listen to BENEE, I was like I get what you're trying to do with the compliment but that couldn't be more of a disservice to BENEE's totally uniqueness. The way she glides effortlessly through each verse while injecting little pops of candor and playfulness puts her in an entire class of her own. "Supalonely" is a great example of how her vibrant vocal talents and songwriting are etching this exciting new type of Alt-pop. - David Sikorski

Blu DeTiger — Figure It Out

This track just oozes cool, and in a quarantine-filled year where I've been mostly in just my sweatpants sitting at home, the funky bassline in this track added a bit of swagger in my step moving from the living room to the kitchen — David Sikorski

Brakence — sauceintherough

Arthur's songs land somewhere between creepy and heartfelt, and bring new life to experimental indie pop. — Othneil Gayle 

Bilk I Got Knocked Out The Same Night England Did

This is pure iconic. That's it. — Paige Sims

Bleachers ft. Bruce Springsteen— chinatown

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Bleachers, but this song made it worth the wait. It would’ve given me chills even without Bruce Springsteens feature, but that added even more of a timeless nostalgia feel. I never would’ve imagined that collaboration, but it’s such a seamless fit and the song feels like it’s a Springsteen song as much as a Bleachers song. — Maria Bocci

Bloxx —What You Needed

UK alt rock outfit Bloxx slow it down a bit on “What You Needed” to come to terms with regret. We don’t always get second chances in a relationship, but we can learn from our mistakes. — Maria Bocci

Burning Pools— White

Fuzzed out rock trio Burning Pools create garage rock with infectious pop hooks reminiscent of 90s grunge releases. Their single "White" discusses the racial inequalities in our modern world, a topic much needed to be discussed. — Victoria Polsely

Christian Lee HutsonGet The Old Band Back Together

This is the song that I played right after hearing the news that Joe Biden had won the presidential election. There was hope in the air and this song made it that much more prevalent. I drove down the freeway, crying tears of happiness, as I sang, "Let's get the old band back together again / Let's get back in the room / Where the magic happened." It was in that moment that I felt more optimistic than I had in months, as I thought that if maybe we could all come together, things would be okay after all. — Sloan Pecchia

Coco — Empty Beach

Anonymous band Coco made their introduction in January with the single "Empty Beach," a wistful recollection of love lost. The response to the slow-burning track was visceral; as "Empty Beach" began generating excitement among music lovers, fans speculated that Coco might be the brainchild of their favorite artists, drawing comparisons to everyone from Weyes Blood to Lana Del Rey. — Madeline Quach

Dance Lessons Smabto

A complete sonic cocktail mixed delicately from its fudge-thick bassline to its garnished saxophone swirls. Dance Lessons has been on many of my lists this year, and with reason: the London trio is returning music to a lost finesse that will dominate the new roaring '20s. — Rene Cobar

Del Water Gap — Ode To A Conversation Stuck In Your Throat

This is the song that I put on repeat as I drive too fast down the freeway, daydreaming about what it would be like if my crush was exclusively mine. Yet, when that moment passes and I arrive at a stoplight, and it dawns on me that I am in fact alone, I still sing the words just as passionately, as if it's an ode to a conversation stuck in my throat. Del Water Gap encapsulates the longing, anxiety, and eventual acceptance that accompanies having a crush on someone in one of his best releases of the year. — Sloan Pecchia


Dizzy —The Magician

Have you ever had a love that you never quite let go of, even after years apart? Have you ever wished you could make them materialize before you just as they were before? Dizzy’s metaphor fantasizes exactly this over a playful yet melancholic track, as frontwoman Katie Munshaw sings “You be the bird behind the drapes, I’ll be the magician.” — Maria Bocci

Dominic Fike Whats For Dinner

Dominic Fike's What Could Possibly Go Wrong? is full of surprises from pop-favourite "Why?" to the pseudo-rap track "Politics & Violence" but "Whats For Dinner?" hits a different chord. One of the more revealing tracks on the album, Fike shows his softer side. "Breathe, baby / Don't defy our needs / Simple things make a difference in your day / Take the time to tell me why, what is it anyway?" — Aaron Schmidtke

Dominic Fike — Why

Really wavy track from Fike, who blew up after his "3 Nights" track. Guitar driven production and his airy vocals make it a great summer feel-y song. — Aditya Surana

Dominic Fike — Wurli 

From the opening wurlitzer, to the unrelenting swaggered vocal melodies, to the enveloping outro - the penultimate track for Fike's debut LP outshone the prerelease singles for me personally. — Robin Fulton

Donovan Woods & Rhys Lewis — Lonely People

His 2020 album was titled "Without People" which is aptly named. Turns out, it's an album about being with people, and the thoughts about them when you're no longer in their presence. "Lonely People" is a standout because it gives credit to all the lonely people (hinting at the fact that we are all lonely in one way or another, crowded room or not), and it works to weave a connecting line between us and make listeners feel a little less isolated. — Rachel Hammermueller

Egypt — Total Brutal

Escapism and nostalgia are the very relatable themes of indie pop multi-instrumentalist Total Brutal's 2020 singles. On "Egypt", Total Brutal brings sleek synths, 70s disco bass and pop rock soundscapes for a memorable musical journey. — Victoria Polsely

Ethan Gruska, Phoebe Bridgers — Enough For Now

The sheer production value of this track is on a level all of its own. Upon first listen, it's easy to pick up on the catchiness of the chorus but it's not till you've unknowingly played it on repeat for the fifth or sixth time that you really get to hear the true intricacies of Ethan's songwriting. Hands down one of my favorite tracks of the year. — David Sikorski

Faxi Moto — Underwater

Imagine yourself in complete peace, beneath the sonic waves of a song that submerges you further as its profound emotional depths reveal themselves via glossy vocals and crisp electric guitar riffs laced with a satisfying type of melancholy. — Rene Cobar

Fontaines D.C. — A Hero's Death

This song feels like 2020, simple as that. Singer Grian Chatten drones positive statements over an even more repetitive instrumental background, eventually stripping the lyrics of their meaning and leaving you with a strange melancholy. — Madeleine Sirois

Gabriel Garzón-Montano Aguïta

I've been a fan of Garzón-Montano's unconventional style as a singer and multi-instrumentalist for years, but "Aguïta" sees him stray even further from previously chartered grounds on the heavy-hitting, grungy Latin track. It's the tip of the iceberg in showcasing Garzón-Montano's ability to make himself comfortable in any genre, including none at all. — Celeste Ceres

Geographer — The Other Side

Setting the standard for synth-indie rock, Geographer delivered a slew of emotion-filled singles this year. With soaring vocals that sway alongside a blend of both ambient and explosive instrumentals, "The Other Side" is a thrilling mult-layered release from the talented artist. — David Sikorski

Glass Animals —  Heat Waves

I changed the lyrics subconsciously in this to "sometimes all i think about is you/late nights in the middle of Q" safe to say I listened to this non stop from March - June when we were deep in quarantine. — Nicole Proctor

Golding — Alone.Together 

Indie-electro Gold Coast duo Golding exude a sensual charisma throughout their hypnotizing music. Jay Bainbridge and Matt Bartlem, through their catchy hooks and glossy production, are the ultimate polished pair. —Chloe Robinson

HAIM — Hallelujah

I can't listen to this without crying. And yet, I keep going back to it. From their album Women In Music, Pt. III, HAIM managed to produce an epic collection of classic rock-influenced songs all their own, and this is just one great example. — Steph Evans

HAIM — Now I'm In It

I really hate myself for sleeping so long on HAIM. I've always known they've been around, but I never gave them the attention to truly uncover their music, and I really missed out. "Now I'm In It", a bonus track on their 2020 album Women In Music Pt.III is just that fast-paced free feeling, with all three HAIM sisters carrying you along with their perfect three part melodies. Also, a slowed down piano-led bridge to let your heart slow down only to be brought back up to a feel-good high at the end. HAIM knows how to structure a dance track to get you moving and singing along - and isn't that just what we desperately need more of right now? — Rachel Hammermueller

Jack Name — Losing My Way

Relatively late to the party in 2020, Jack Name put out his third LP and first in five years, Magic Touch in late November. This ten-track album fuses feels of Kurt Vile and Lou Reed, culminating on the album's best and last song "Losing My Way." — Aaron Schmidtke

Jean Dawson — Power Freaks 

“POWER FREAKS” is four minutes of exhilarating, stirring music that sticks with you well beyond its final notes. — Sean Kayden

An intoxicating mix of punk, rap, rock, and indie. Interesting and refreshing. Very dynamic song. — Jacob Saltzberg

Jess Williamson Infinite Scroll

"There is very little tenderness for she who breaks a heart," sings Los Angeles musician Jess Williamson on "Infinite Scroll," one of the singles from her latest album Sorceress. Listening to "Infinite Scroll" feels like peering into Williamson's psyche, as you listen to her come to terms with her loneliness, and at times, feel empowered by it. — Madeline Quach

Jimkata — Bonfires

Jimkata are a captivating three-piece concocting vibrant electro-rock music. Evan Friedell, Aaron Gorsch and Packy Lunn have been friends since middle school and you can see just how connected they are through their masterful synth-driven music. —Chloe Robinson

Jonah Yano — delicate

Lush, jazzy, understated cool. — Ruby Izatt

Jordana — I Guess This Is Life

Jordana has a fresh sound in the singer-songwriter realm fuelled with universal anecdotes that are relatable to the human spirit. —Sean Kayden

Kevin Krauter — Opportunity

Kevin Krauter’s “Opportunity” is a dream-like bedroom bopper that is equal parts inspiring and revitalizing. — Coady Raab

Kevin Morby — A Night At The Little Los Angeles

There are few better singer/songwriters right now than Kevin Morby. On his 2020 masterpiece Sundowner, "A Night At The Little Los Angeles" showcases Morby's storytelling and tops out at just over seven-minutes long — still making you wish it could last just a little bit longer. — Aaron Schmidtke

Khruangbin, Leon Bridges — Texas Sun

Since their debut, Houston-based trio Khruangbin have been redefining Psychedelia with neo-soul and funk influences. Pairing with the soft and sensual voice of Leon Bridges, “Texas Sun” is the perfect song to drive off into the sunset with. — Coady Raab

KiNG MALA — sugarblind

Bad bitch KiNG MALA’s “Sugar Blind” is the perfect alternative-soul tune off her EP 'GEMiNi.' A combination of sass, gritty guitar and her luscious tone the song is engrossing and highly relatable. — Victoria Polsely

Kitten — Angelina 

The dreamy scene Kitten created in this song really makes you feel like you're a young Angelina. Kitten's sound is a total vibe and this song has been a huge source of happiness this year. — Emily Treagold

Lackhoney — Smoked 

On "Smoked," Lackhoney finds himself experimenting with genres outside of his typical hip-hop style. The indie-rock-inspired track features a combination of autotune and simple guitar chords to highlight the raw emotions of childhood nostalgia. — Sunil Shenoy

Lala Lala, Grapetooth — Fantasy Movie 

Lala Lala (Lillie West) and Grapetooth (Clay Frankel and Chris Balioni) are two groups that have been leading the Chicago music scene, and here they come together for a friendly, fuelled track that will make your heart turn and bring a smile to your face. — Coady Raab

Leaf Tieler — Sandcastles

“Sandcastles” has all the markings of a typical indie ballad: brooding piano and a pained, lamentful vocal performance. Leaf Tieler delivers more with unpredictable melodic detours and phrases that sound as though they are literally disintegrating. — Othneil Gayle

Lingua Ignota — Kim (Eminem Cover)

Inspired cover that flips this domestic abuse track through the perspective of a survivor. Most transformative interpretation since Johnny Cash's "Hurt." —Nathan Whittle-Olivieri 

Loving — Lately In Another Time

There's dreaminess and then there's Loving. On their sophomore release, Loving maintains meditative melodies and lullaby-like guitar fills while achieving a formidable cohesiveness over the full-length album — "Lately In Another Time" checks all the boxes for an instant indie classic. — Aaron Schmidtke

Lunch Money Life — Truth Serum

Lunch Money Life has a sound tailor made for the tumult of 2020. "Truth Serum" is perhaps the best example of that dynamic, with a vibe that doesn't sound quite like anything else. Unprecedented music for an unprecedented year. — Evan Crandell

Madeline Kenney — Sucker 

Oakland, California-based singer-songwriter Madeline Kenney’s “Sucker” was a quiet endeavor, dancing around an askew guitar, lush synths, and multidimensional harmonies. It was a part of Kenney’s outstanding third album, “Sucker’s Lunch." — Sean Kayden

M. Byrd — Mountain

“Mountain” is a cradle of warmth and peace for your heart that just feels right. The timeless, high vibe sounds, ripples of guitar and the indie dreamboat’s heavenly voice. It makes you feel grateful and connected with life again. You’ll have this on repeat. — Victoria Polsely

milk. Treat Me

milk.’s sound lands somewhere between Walk the Moon’s feel-good alt-pop and the 1975’s anguished synth-rock. The chorus begs the question “Why’d you want to treat me so bad?” And honestly, that’s how I feel about this year. — Maria Bocci

Mk. gee — cz

Nothing more to say than this carries one of the most addictive riffs I've heard all year. — Robin Fulton

Me Nd Adam — Something Better 

Cowboy duo Me Nd Adam’s tune “Something Better” is an honest tale of manhood. Off their debut album American Drip: Pt I, the tune is the love child of Marshmello meets Tom Petty meets Blink 182. It just slaps. — Victoria Polsely

Middle Kids —R U 4 Me?

"R U 4 Me?" is an alt-rock, sonic representation of what the brain feels like when anxious. Growing up we're taught to be kind to everyone, and we should be. However, that sentiment can also make us think that people are being fake and are just pretending to be our friends, which then leaves us feeling rather lonely. Middle Kids does a stellar job at representing what it feels like to have all of those thoughts occurring at once, making it very loud in your head, but very quiet in your surroundings. — Sloan Pecchia

Middle Part — Busy

Middle Part is a Brooklyn based indie rock artist with an intense synth-infused sound. His music harkens back to ’90s and early Millenium alternative bands. I believe he is one of the best of 2020 because his music is so nostalgic. —Chloe Robinson

Moses Boyd — Only You 

Burial but with jazz drums, what's not to love? — Robin Fulton

Moses Sumney — Cut Me

The pluck of the bass in Moses Sumney's gorgeous "Cut Me" is so incredibly crisp, it often feels like it's just something that's always lived in your ear, and this song just reaches in and brings it out for you to enjoy. The diverse instrumentation laying under Sumney's supple vocals sounds like nothing you've ever heard before, even though you may very well have. It's the kind of song that grabs you by the arm and deftly leads you through a lush forest filled with creatures and plants you've never seen before, stopping to examine each one. And once you've visited it, you can never miss it again. — Valeria Dulava

Mura Masa, Slow Thai — Deal Wiv It

There's something incredibly nostalgic about this track. I loved that it captured that rough around the edges UK culture - growing up in a town in Scotland with a similar attitude it really hit home and just felt right. Mura Masa's insanely catching producing paired with Slow Thai's notable strong presence vocals, made this a 2020 standout. — Nicole Proctor

Mustafa — Stay Alive 

Toronto born Mustafa, championed by fellow Canadian Drake, released "Stay Alive" at the start of year. Little did he know, his track about gang affiliation on the streets of Toronto, would turn into something much bigger. A perfect affirmation for the year we've had. Just an acoustic guitar and his voice, perfect. — Mike Wood

Nap Eyes — Mystery Calling

With every new record, Halifax powerhouse Nap Eyes' formula and execution improves exponentially. "Mystery Calling" highlights what I would consider one of the strongest albums of the year. — Aaron Schmidtke

Noga Erez — VIEWS

2020 was a solid year for Tel Aviv native Noga Erez, I have been a fan of Noga ever since coming across her in 2016, "VIEWS" continued to showcase what Noga could achieve lyrically and visually in the way she was able to showcase the theme of self-indulging satisfaction in a world of social media and influencers stepping over each other. This is my favourite song of 2020. —Steve Likoski

Olivia Dean — Baby Come Home

Dean's voice flows gracefully through "Baby Come Home" with the fluidity and serenity of a new-fallen leaf floating gently through the air. The melodic shifts build and sway alongside Dean's soaring vocals making this one of the dreamiest releases of the year. —David Sikorski

PHNTMS — Carabelle

PHNTMS are a Philadelphia-based indie rock outfit consisting of Alyssa Gambino, Adam Jessamine, Mikal Smith, and Gene Murphy. With half the band identifying as queer, through their mesmerizing music they have become a strong voice for the LGTBQ+ community. —Chloe Robinson


Phoebe Bridgers — Garden Song

I know this song might be on tons of End of the Year Favs, but this song was on my most listened to song on Spotify. I listened 168 times, and there's a reason why. — Sienna Estrada

Phoebe Bridgers  — Graceland Too

Even though she's now becoming a bigger name (especially post-GRAMMY nominations), Phoebe proved that her songwriting is phenomenal. "Graceland Too" tells a story like a folk song and is sung with her Boygenius bandmates to create this feeling of yearning, even if it's for a situation or experience that you have never been a part of. It reminds me of the Chicks' "Wide Open Spaces" and a song that Tom Petty would cover. — Elizabeth Shaffer

Phoebe Bridgers — I Know The End

Bridgers' influence knew no bounds in 2020. From unlikely collaborations, to even unlikelier performances, she's probably made it onto almost everyone's timeline in one way or another this year. But the closing song of her sophomore album is truly what pushed her over the invisible barrier that she's been standing behind up until now. Quiet, personal, and painfully moving, it still makes the hairs on my arms stand up whenever the violin strings first quiet down for the guitar riff to come in, slowly building up before exploding in a kaleidoscope of horns, drums, and cathartic harmonies. — Valeria Dulava

Phoebe Bridgers — Moon Song

Undoubtably, "Moon Song" is most often in my head in 2020. Strangely, the melody or sad metaphors drift up slowly while walking, driving, or doing anything, really. That's likely why this album sort of destroyed our hearts this year. This album was a soundtrack to a summer where a lot seemed out of control and everyone was on edge, waiting for the next thing. We got to channel all our feelings into "Punisher." Each track means something different to someone else - at least that's what I discover when discussing with other listeners. "Moon Song" strikes me the most. It's the line about hating "Tears in Heaven" and fighting about "John Lennon" while also giving that person the moon. Such an innocent, relatable thought process but so sad in Bridgers' now signature writing style. — Rachel Hammermueller

Rose Cousins— The Agreement

Canadian solo artist Rose Cousins has built a community around her signature voice and lyrics that I can only describe as often hitting you as a soft gut-punch. "The Agreement" has a moment in the chorus where Cousin's voice lingers just a second longer than we expect, which brings home the emotion and passion in this track. I'd say that alone is a reason it was on my list of most played tracks in my 2020 Spotify Wrapped. Casual hook-ups were never narrated so beautifully before. — Rachel Hammermueller

Sebastian Paul — IMPATIENT

With a grimey yet unforgettable sound, Sebatian Paul creates energizing alt-pop tunes that will be stuck in your head for weeks. If you need more convincing, check out the accompanying self-directed music video. —Lindsey Oh

Scarlet RaeParachute

There's something so unique and beautiful about Scarlet's voice. It reminds me of Thom Yorke's with its ache. This is her first song released under her own name, and she proves her individual talent well. — Rene Cobar

serpentwithfeet — A Comma 

Avant-pop vocalist serpentwithfeet (Josiah Wise) quietly released the "Apparition EP" this year, a collection of three songs that served as a follow-up to his critically-acclaimed 2018 debut, soil. "A Comma" stood out as a breathtaking plea for life to give him a break — or, as he puts it, be a comma. With striking repose, Wise sings, "I'm dressing wounds I cannot see / Someone else's beasts are riding me." — Madeline Quach

Sfven — flowerbeds

A friend sent me this a few months ago (thanks, Larissa) and I’ve basically had it on repeat ever since. If you’ve spent too many hours alone with your thoughts this year, this one’s for you. — Maria Bocci

Sorry — More

Sorry are a highly underrated duo out of North London. "More" comes off the release of Sorry's debut album 925, whilst offering 13 tracks in total, "More" was the definitive highlight. — Steve Likoski

Squid — Sludge

An irresistible groove drives this post-punk heater. The squealed vocals and precision rhythm section brings it all home. — Mark Salisbury

Tame Impala — It Might Be Time

Other than just being a downright banger—the synths, the build-up to the percussive chorus—it's a song that I imagine many older Millennials related to on a reluctantly personal level. Somehow, despite being a song that literally says "it might be time to face it/ you're not as cool as you used to be," it still feels hopeful and kicks you in the ass just right so that you can get off it and start doing whatever it is that makes you happy. Even if it just hitting the replay button. — Valeria Dulava

Tarrus Riley — Healing

Speaking on the tragedies this year has presented, esteemed reggae singer Tarrus Riley calls for the world to stand together in love despite being surrounded by uncertainty. — Celeste Ceres

Tash Sultana ft. Jerome Farah — Willow Tree

Groovy "Willow Tree" is filled with colorful horns and the whimsical guitar, keys, and bass loops that made you obsessed with Tash in the first place. You glide through this magical journey, with Jeome Farah and Tash's soulful vocals perfectly complementing each other, and you can't help but get lost in it. — Nicole Proctor

Taylor Swift — epiphany

Between her two surprise albums of 2020, "epiphany" is a standout for Taylor Swift. The production carries obvious Aaron Dessner influence, but it's the chilling lyrics that grant it so much relevancy this year. One verse narrates Swift's grandfather at the WWII Battle of Guadalcanel, while the next references holding hands through plastic during the COVID-19 pandemic. The parallels are crushing and that's the beauty in it - it identifies similar human experience in the past and the present, and does so through quiet folksy instrumentals through the perspective of many different people. — Rachel Hammermueller

Taylor Swift , Bon Iver — exile 

Perhaps the most surprising release of the year, "exile" beautifully marries Swift's smooth soprano with Vernon's (Bon Iver) digitally-assisted falsetto in possibly the saddest love song I've heard. Between these two accomplished songwriters' vivid lyrics and haunting piano notes, it's a wonder I didn't spend the rest of 2020 in a constant puddle of tears. — Valeria Dulava

The Chicks — Gaslighter

Newly named The Chicks, the groundbreaking country trio showed a brilliant return to form with "Gaslighter," an empowering anthem of independence that brought the moving choruses and rich harmonies back like they never left. The title track from their comeback album is both technically clean and compellingly urgent, leading the recent charge of female country music in 2020. — Max Pasion- Gonzales

The Trusted — Criminals 

“Criminals” by indie boys The Trusted is a taste of euphoria. A fusion of goosebump-inducing strings, raw, flawless vocals and an indie rock glaze, it narrates loss, heartbreak, guilt and self-absorption; it's one to both raise you up and shed a tear too. — Victoria Polsely 

thomTide — clockWise

An artist who has devoted himself to an ambitious passion project chronicling the seasons, clockWise functions as the first single of his 27-part run and also the most notable so far. — John Peterson

Tom & Frank— Arthur's Hanging

A duo from Norway, Tom & Frank began as a cover band and release the majority of their still small song catalog in Norwegian. They've began to release originals and have an edgy vocal quality while picking resonating guitar tabiture in all their songs. I first heard "Arthur's Hanging" in an episode of Peaky Blinders and immediately scoured Spotify to find who did the cover. The simple guitar that swells into an intense bridge is enough to break you. Also, it opened me up to their entire collection of folk/alt-rock tracks - perfect for a road trip soundtrack or cottagecore weekend. — Rachel Hammermueller

Tonk — Texas Hold Me

Vancouver's Tonk combine contemporary country licks with a rock flair on their debut album Songs to Glorify the Peasant and His Tractor. From the very first guitar chord, "Texas Hold Me" provides a sad yet redemptive outlook on growing up against the current. — Aaron Schmidtke

Tonstartssbandht — Olde Feelings

Tonstartssbandht have quietly been making music for sometime now — six albums in just over ten years of activity. But "Olde Feelings" comes in to appeal to DIY garage-rockers and Mac DeMarco fans alike (as Andy from Tonstartssbandht is DeMarco's tourign guitarist). —Aaron Schmidtke

urbanation Liminal Space

urbanation's voice makes everything haunting in the best way possible. Even with very little lyrics, Bianca Ocampo creates a very moving song about toxicity, using her downward melodies to help make her point. — Sienna Estrada

Valley —All the Animals I Drew as a Kid

“‘Cause when it’s all going to shit / And these days, it usually is,” is a line that pretty much nails how we all feel about 2020. It’s important to look back on our lives before, and remember that we can’t have good moments without the bad ones, as Valley gently reminds us. — Maria Bocci

Waxahatchee — Fire

Waxahatchee has received many acclamations for her stellar 2020 record Saint Cloud and rightly so. Her ability to merge elements of Kacey Musgraves country and Phoebe Bridgers' indie with her own original tinge, a magnificent one I may add, makes Katie Crutchfield's voice one of the most desired in 2020. — Aaron Schmidtke

Weston Estate — Close The Door 

Indie band from NC, really soothing and chill track, with a crazy airy instrumental and catchy vocals. — Aditya Surana

Worker & Parasite — Realpolitik

Worker & Parasite's "Realpolitik" was born to promote productivity and morale – while also touching on the problems of ‘democratic’ politics in a broader environment specifically structured to alienate the participant (you). — Steve Likoski

Yves Tumor — Kerosene!  

I stand that "Heaven To A Tortured Mind" is the best album of 2020, and that "Kerosene" is one of the best songs of the last 5 years. A semi-campy, 80's rock ballad that is both catchy and endearing. Spectacular performance from Diana Gordon. — Rasheed Tulay

Experimentalist Yves Tumor continues their journey on the path less traveled with a sparkling feature from Diana Gordon on this pseudo-rock-ballad. With a shredding guitar solo breaking up the duo's truculent verses, "Kerosene!" proves to be one of the best attempts at a new sound I've seen this year. — Aaron Schmidtke

For a full playlist of this year's "Best of 2020," follow EARMILK on Spotify or click on the link below:

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