BBC Radio 6 Music announces its Albums Of The Year 2020

Today on her BBC Radio 6 Music show, Lauren Laverne announced that SAULT’s album UNTITLED (Black Is), has topped the list of 6 Music Recommends: Albums Of The Year 2020

"Once again, 6 Music’s Top Ten Albums of the Year is testament to the sheer variety of music that’s played here on the network. To see UNTITLED (Black Is) by SAULT, at the top of the list demonstrates our presenters’ commitment to supporting new artists and bringing their music to our millions of listeners" — Jeff Smith


BBC Radio 6 Music

Lauren also revealed the Top 10 albums of 2020, as voted for by the station’s presenters.

The list represents the wealth of music that can be found on BBC Radio 6 Music from an eclectic range of artists and genres, both newer talents and established names.

SAULT’s record label Forever Living Originals say: “SAULT has brought so much joy and excitement to the team here at Forever Living Originals. Their forward-thinking approach to music is inspiring a new generation of young voices we stand 100% supporting SAULT on every decision they make.”

Jeff Smith, 6 Music’s Head of Music, says: “Once again, 6 Music’s Top Ten Albums of the Year is testament to the sheer variety of music that’s played here on the network. To see UNTITLED (Black Is) by SAULT, at the top of the list demonstrates our presenters’ commitment to supporting new artists and bringing their music to our millions of listeners.”

SAULT, a British band that fuse R&B, house, post-punk, funk, soul, hip-hop and disco who are known for their anonymity have been championed on BBC Radio 6 Music since they began releasing records in 2019. Gilles Peterson first stumbled across their first two releases, 5 and 7, in a record shop early in 2019 and upon hearing their third offering UNTITLED (Black Is) before his show one Saturday morning in June 2020, decided to play the album in full on his weekly show later that same day.

Gilles Peterson says: “I’ve been following SAULT for a while now, and loved their two records in 2019. So when I heard that there was a new album coming this summer, amidst such a tumultuous year, and a pivotal time in the Black Lives Matter movement, I just had a feeling that they would do something special, and they absolutely came through. They sent it to me on the morning of my show, and I listened to it from beginning to end.

"And I was like, ‘I’m playing the whole thing!’ It’s that strong. It’s undoubtedly going to be my record of the year, I can’t imagine anyone is going to come close to it. It was basically that sense that you got when you listened to a record like The Specials’ Ghost Town or Gil Scott-Heron, The Clash - those classic records that have just lasted forever, that have political energy, and are of the moment, which is so important in music. That’s what it’s all about - forget the decadence and the escapism - this was a real record; this was about how we can all make a difference through music.”

The remaining Top Ten 6 Music Recommends: Albums of the Year 2020 are:

2. A Hero’s Death - Fontaines D.C.

Steve Lamacq says: “It’s a good indication of how the band are already evolving; showing the new layers and textures they’ve added to the sound, while Grian’s [Chatten] lyrics have started looking at a bigger picture of life beyond the cityscape of Dublin, which was the backdrop to the first LP. This one’s still very poetic and full of love, but it’s slightly more wary and shaped by the experiences they’ve been through over the past two years.”

Highlights from Fontaines D.C.’s set at the 6 Music Festival in Liverpool in 2019 can be viewed here.

3. Shore - Fleet Foxes

Stuart Maconie says: “After the rich and complex but often opaque Crack-Up, hearing the new Fleet Foxes album Shore recalls the goose-pimpling thrill of hearing Mykonos or White Winter Hymnal back in 2008. Everything seems rinsed fresh and new minted, and these new songs have a radiant openness and clarity that feels like someone opened a window into a claustrophobic year.”

Hear Fleet Foxes Robin Pecknold discuss his some of his own favourite music with Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie here.

4. Shortly After Take-Off - BC Camplight

Marc Riley says: “It seems every time BC Camplight creates a new masterpiece it is met with huge critical praise followed rapidly by adversity. What Brian hasn’t been through over the last 5 years isn’t worth mentioning. You couldn’t make it up! Yet he bounces back every time with a record which is even better than its predecessor. He is a genius you know!”

5. Rough And Rowdy Ways - Bob Dylan

Iggy Pop says: “Rough and Rowdy Ways is just the album of the year for me that had the depth. There are so many good, beautiful and clever references in the lyrics, and the group that Bob has cultivated over the years is really paying off. They handle his material beautifully. And the electric guitar tracks - particularly Charlie Sexton, who I know and like, is stunning. I would say, other than Keith Richards, he’s the only roots rock guitarist left who’s believable at all, who sounds relevant, and I believe it when I hear him. He’s come a long way since he was a teenage wunderkind.

"Also, there are songs about Jimmy Reed and Key West and those are good enough for me, not to mention of course, Murder Most Foul, which is all about the Kennedy assassination. In America, we tend to forget our assassinations and our nefarious occurrences and that’s a terrible thing, and he gets some good lines off in that. His voice just gets better for me. So, there you go.”

6. Kitchen Sink - Nadine Shah

Tom Robinson says: “Since 2017's Holiday Destination, Nadine has turned her attention from the poison of populism to the politics of the personal. Sonically startling and rhythmically adventurous, Kitchen Sink manages to be fiercely feminist yet frequently funny at the same time. Never one to rest on her laurels, Nadine has once again mixed musical innovation with savage social commentary and memorable tunes you can dance to. Everything we love at 6 Music in a nutshell.”

Watch Nadine Shah’s set from the 6 Music Festival in Camden, London in March 2020 here.

7. England Is A Garden - Cornershop

Cerys Matthews says: “Cornershop: England is a Garden, it’s their ninth studio album and came out on the 6th March on Ample Play Records. Why does it stand out for me? Well it’s full of different vantage points, it’s got musical interludes, sounds of nature, political points made, but it’s all wrapped in great production, huge melodies and a massive dollop of positivity.”

8. RTJ4 - Run The Jewels

Nemone says: “Run the Jewels - RTJ4 is so vital as an album, this year of all years. The youthful playfulness of RTJ3, replaced with something more akin to who they are now. Eloquently spitting lyrics about police brutality, politics and experiences authentic to them, over breaks that compliment but don’t take over, is such an arresting listen. ‘You so numb, you watch the cops choke out a man like me until my voice goes from a shriek to a whisper. I can’t breathe. And you sit there, in the house, on coach and watch it on TV.’ Killer Mike rapping on Walking in the Snow. The lyric written about Eric Garner is now about George Floyd too. Run The Jewels reaching their most comfortable whilst delivering uncomfortable home truths. This album feels vital, current, yet timeless. I love it.”

9. The Universal Want - Doves

Shaun Keaveny says: “First album in 11 years, after they released Kingdom of Rust, a massive – to use a huge journalistic word here – hiatus, for any band to come back from. But they did it with great aplomb. It’s just beautiful, it crystallises all the things that are greatest about this band. Just listen to the chord changes in Cycle of Hurt, the musicianship is just beautiful. The interplay between Jimmy, Andy and Jez is beautiful all the way through this, they’re just such brilliant musicians, the layers and the texture of the arrangements. It’s a pretty beguiling mix actually, and the more you listen to it, the more it reveals itself. It’s all underpinned with the voice of Jimmy Goodwin of course, plaintive and soulful. And I think maybe 2020 is a great place for this album to land, because after all that time away it does sort of remind us of simpler and better times.”

Doves will perform songs from The Universal Want live on Shaun Keaveny’s show (1pm-4pm) later today, from the BBC Radio Theatre in Broadcasting House, London. The performance will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer in the days that follow.

10. Deep Down Happy - Sports Team

Liz Kershaw says: “It smashed right in there in that all important Number 2 position. It’s the biggest selling debut album by a British band in four years, it’s the biggest selling debut album on vinyl, AND it was Mercury nominated… I’m glad we gave them that final leg up in Camden in March at the festival.”

A special programme 6 Music Album Of The Year - SAULT UNTITLED (Black Is), presented by Gilles Peterson is available to listen to now on BBC Sounds. In this programme, Gilles plays tracks from UNTITLED (Black Is) and tells listeners why it’s one of his favourite records of 2020.

In addition, for 21 days from Saturday 28 November, each of the presenters’ album of the year choices will be played on 6 Music, with one album celebrated per day until Friday 18th December. The full list of albums and dates is as follows:

• Saturday 28 November: The Long Goodbye by Riz Ahmed, selected by Tom Robinson

• Sunday 29 November: The Invention Of The Human by Dylan Henner, selected by Tom Ravenscoft

• Monday 30 November: Rough And Rowdy Ways by Bob Dylan, selected by Iggy Pop

• Tuesday 1 December: Róisín Machine by Róisín Murphy, selected by Nemone

• Wednesday 2 December: Love And Dancing by Horse Meat Disco, selected by Craig Charles

• Thursday 3 December: Healing Is A Miracle by Julianna Barwick, selected by Lauren Laverne

• Friday 4 December: UNTITLED (Black Is) by SAULT, selected by Gilles Peterson

• Saturday 5 December: The Universal Want by Doves, selected by Shaun Keaveny

• Sunday 6 December: Fugitive Light And Themes Of Consolation by Andrew Wasylyk, selected by Gideon Coe

• Monday 7 December: Rejoice, by Tony Allen & Hugh Masekela, selected by Cerys Matthews

• Tuesday 8 December: Off Off On by This is the Kit, selected by Guy Garvey

• Wednesday 9 December: Angela by Caixa Cubo, selected by Huey Morgan

• Thursday 10 December: Letter To You by Bruce Springsteen, selected by Liz Kershaw

• Friday 11 December: Dark Matter by Moses Boyd, selected by Mary Anne Hobbs

• Saturday 12 December: Bug On Yonkers by Damaged Bug, selected by Marc Riley

• Sunday 13 December: Unfollow The Rules by Rufus Wainwright, selected by Don Letts

• Monday 14 December: UNTITLED (Rise) by SAULT, selected by Chris Hawkins

• Tuesday 15 December: Serve to Serve Again by Vintage Crop, selected by Steve Lamacq

• Wednesday 16 December: Billy Nomates by Billy Nomates, selected by Amy Lamé

• Thursday 17 December: Tomorrow Again by Saint Saviour, selected by Mark Radcliffe

• Friday 18 December: Shortly After Takeoff by BC Camplight, selected by Stuart Maconie

November 24, 2020 6:29am ET by BBC Radio 6 Music  

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