Jon Behm – Best National Albums/Songs

Jon Behm

#1. The Comet is Coming – Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery Such a wild, crazy, and unique album. It shares some similarities to the sound of Sun Ra but is a great deal more accessible (at least to me) due to both pop and drone influences. It feels like the soundtrack to the some future post-apocalyptic revolution.
#2. Aldous Harding – Designer It helped that I saw Harding live a couple times this year and she’s probably one of the best live performers out there (certainly amongst the most unique). This album has had real staying power for me ever since it came out early in the year.
#3. FKA Twigs – Magdalene There is definitely a pattern in my favorite albums – I love music that rides the fine line between pop and weirdness without straying too far in either direction. FKA Twigs latest does exactly that. It’s beautiful and strange in the best possible ways.
#4. 75 Dollar Bill – I Was Real While it gives me pause to fully embrace what is essentially a Toureg guitar album made by two very non-Toureg artists, this record is so intensely magical that I just want to shut up and listen to it over and over.
#5. Jenny Hval – The Practice of Love Jenny Hval perpetually ends up on my Best Of lists and her record this year is her greatest yet. Another tremendous example of expertly riding the weird/pop razorblade.
#6. SPELLING – Mazy Fly This album feels like it’s been out so long that I forget it was from this year. Still, it was an early favorite and remains so (and I am confident will continue to do so in the future). Unique ladies making experimental pop is obviously my thing.
#7. Angel Olsen – All Mirrors Over the past few years Olsen has quickly turned into one of the premiere pop artists active currently. She’s maintained a remarkable consistency with her albums that continues with this one.
#8. Sampa the Great – The Return This is a very good album from an exciting new artist emerging from a scene that was previously unknown to me (Australian hip hop). Judging by this debut I expect “great” things from Sampa the Great (groan intended).
#9. Cate Le Bon – Reward I am a very longtime Le Bon fan and her 2013 opus Mug Museum has been my favorite record of hers since it came out but “Reward” may end up giving that one a run for its money in the long term.
#10. Shannon Lay – August This is a very strong overlooked folk about from this year that should strike a chord for fans of 60’s pastoral acid folk. It certainly did with me.


The Comet is Coming – Summon the Fire Favorite record. Favorite song.
Dry Cleaning – The Magic of Meaghan A terrific track from some British upstarts. Can’t wait to see how they progress beyond their first few Eps.
Little Simz – Offense ”Grey Area” narrowly missed my top 10 and this single off of it is intense.
Black MIDI – Ducter A tremendous and epic tune from one of the year’s most exciting young bands.
Big Thief – Not This was a very prolific year for Big Thief so there are lots of options to choose from but this one is my favorite.
Jai Paul – str8 outta mumbai This track bangs and bangs. Super thrilled that someone figured out how to meld Indian music with pop in a way that doesn’t do disservice to either.
Aldous Harding – The Barrel I go back and forth between this and “Zoo Eyes” (both from Harding’s excellent “Designer” album but I think this one edges it out.
Sampa the Great – The Return The titular track on this record is super powerful.
Lizzo – Juice 100% endlessly boppable pop. It’s thrilling to see a hometown hero achieve such success and can’t stop playing this tune when I need a lift.
Billie Eilish – When the Party’s Over A gorgeous and haunting tune from one of the year’s biggest pop sensations.