The Hundred Records 20 for 2020



Our staff picks for the year are, in alphabetical order:

  • Fiona Apple - Fetch The Bolt Cutters
    • Fiona Apple  Fetch The Bolt Cutters  CD £11.99
  • Fetch The Bolt Cutters, the fifth studio album from Fiona Apple, is astonishing, intimate and demonstrates a refusal to be silenced. It’s as if she has returned to reinvent sound – the rhythms pleasing but counter, and unusual. On the title track she half-sings over a makeshift orchestra of kitchen implements, dog barks and cat yowls. The beat on ‘Under The Table’ has a seething back-and-forth pace; the extraordinary ‘For Her’ beds double-Dutch skipping-rope rhythms beneath a chorus of female voices. It’s striking how intimate Apple’s voice sounds here – half-conversational, half-self-mutters, allowing every scuff, breath and feral yelp. She is at her most familiar on ‘Ladies’, hollering over a soulful backdrop, chewing her own voice like tobacco, then letting it take sweet, sudden flight. Fetch The Bolt Cutters is full of visceral, jittery, wonderfully imperfect performances that make the album feel like a dream-like concert at Largo. It features contributions from Davíd Garza, Sebastian Steinberg and Amy Aileen Wood.
  • Courtney Marie Andrews - Old Flowers
    • Courtney Marie Andrews  Old Flowers  CD £11.99 / LP £20.99
  • On her third album for both Fat Possum and Loose Records, Courtney Marie Andrews has seemingly pulled all the songwriting skill, vocal prowess, and musicianship displayed on previous albums into a single career-defining statement. Old Flowers is a break-up record for sure, though due to CMA’s extraordinary storytelling gifts it’s more of a modern-day coming-of-age tale of love won, love sustained and, unfortunately, love’s inevitable dissolution.
  • The Beths - Jump Rope Gazers
    • The Beths  Jump Rope Gazers  LP £19.99
  • Everything changed for New Zealand indie-rock band The Beths when they released their debut album, Future Me Hates Me, in 2018. Full of uptempo pop-rock songs with bright, indelible hooks, it garnered them critical acclaim from the likes of Pitchfork and Rolling Stone, and they set out for their first string of shows overseas. They quit their jobs, said goodbye to their hometown, and devoted themselves entirely to performing across North America and Europe, opening for acts like Pixies and Death Cab for Cutie. Almost instantly, The Beths turned from a passion project into a full-time career in music.
  • Songwriter and lead vocalist Elizabeth Stokes worked on what would become The Beths’ second LP, Jump Rope Gazers, in between these intense periods of touring. Like the group’s earlier music, the album tackles themes of anxiety and self-doubt with effervescent power pop choruses and rousing backup vocals, zeroing in on the communality and catharsis that can come from sharing stressful situations with some of your best friends. Stokes’s writing on Jump Rope Gazers grapples with the uneasy proposition of leaving everything and everyone you know behind on another continent, chasing your dreams while struggling to stay close with loved ones back home.
  • Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher
    • Phoebe Bridgers  Punisher  CD £8.99 / LP £24.99
  • Already heralded as one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year, 25-year old singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers presents her second solo album, Punisher. Bridgers is a singular talent, and also that rare artist with enough humour to deconstruct the tired heuristics of a meteoric rise. Punisher, written and recorded between summer 2018 and autumn 2019, cements her as one of the most irresistibly clever and tenderly prolific songwriters of our era. Returning to work with her Stranger In The Alps collaborators Tony Berg and Ethan Gruska, Bridgers – who co-produced the boygenius EP and the Better Oblivion Community Center album – stepped into the role of co-producer for Punisher and has drawn from the same tight-knit group of musicians who appeared on her debut as well as those she has worked with since.
  • Tim Burgess - I Love The New Sky
    • Tim Burgess  I Love The New Sky  CD £11.99 / LP £25.99
  • The twelve tunes on I Love The New Sky (out 22 May) were written, says Tim Burgess, “in Norfolk, in the middle of the countryside, with the nearest shop eight miles away. There are no distractions, and I guess that way things happen. I wrote everything on acoustic guitar, and the chords were really considered. The guitar lines would lead the melody, and the melody would inform the lyrics – just dreaming away with music.
  • Bill Callahan - Gold Record
    • Bill Callahan  Gold Record  CD £10.99 / LP £22.99
  • For his first record in … uh, well, just a little over a year(!), Bill Callahan has given us his first Gold Record. They can’t all be gold, and they’re not all six years apart either – all good! You could probably call the album ‘Gold Records’, too: all the songs have a standalone feel, like singles, meant for you to have a deep encounter with all of a sudden, from the start of the song to the finish. And what do you got when you have a record full of singles – and let’s face it, hit singles, at that? That’s a Gold Record for you.
  • Nick Cave - Idiot Prayer: Live Alone At Alexandra Palace
    • Nick Cave  Idiot Prayer: Live Alone At Alexandra Palace  2-CD £12.99 / 2-LP £25.99
  • Idiot Prayer is a solo piano recital by Nick Cave, recorded at the iconic London venue Alexandra Palace in June. In it, Nick plays songs from his extensive back catalogue, including rare tracks that most fans will be hearing for the first time. The songs are taken from across the breadth of Cave’s career, including early Bad Seeds and Grinderman, right through to the most recent Bad Seeds album, Ghosteen.
  • Drive-By Truckers - The Unraveling
    • Drive-By Truckers  The Unraveling  CD £10.99 / LP £20.99
  • Drive-By Truckers’ 12th studio album, The Unraveling – their first in more than three years – was recorded at the legendary Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis. Co-founding singer/songwriter/guitarists Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood both spent much of the past three years doing battle with deep pools of writer’s block. “How do you put these day to day things we’re all living through into the form of a song that we (much less anybody else) would ever want to listen to?” asks Hood. “How do you write about the daily absurdities when you can’t even wrap your head around them in the first place? I think our response was to focus at the core emotional level. More heart and less cerebral perhaps.
  • Bob Dylan - Rough And Rowdy Ways
    • Bob Dylan  Rough And Rowdy Ways  2-CD £13.99 / 2-LP £25.99
  • Rough And Rowdy Ways is the 39th studio album from Bob Dylan, released 58 years after his debut LP, and his first album of original material since 2012’s Tempest. The ten-song double album includes several songs released this spring, including the 17-minute ‘Murder Most Foul’, about the assassination of JFK, ‘I Contain Multitudes’ and ‘False Prophet’. Dylan’s most recent album was the 2017 triple set Triplicate, a 30-song compilation of classic American tunes, which followed 2016’s Fallen Angels and 2015’s Shadows In The Night.
  • Nubya Garcia - Source
    • Nubya Garcia  Source    SOLD OUT
  • Source is the first solo album from multi-award-winning saxophonist and composer Nubya Garcia. A collection of sonic mantras to live by, Source is a deeply personal offering in which Garcia maps cartographies around the co-ordinate points of her identity, her family histories, grief, afro-diasporic connections and collectivism. Source is fundamentally about getting grounded within yourself, so that you can be present with others. It’s about a realisation of personal and collective power: the evolution of the saxophonist’s values as she re-connects with herself, her roots and her community. Garcia digs deep to present an album with a global outlook: from London to Bogota, Caura to Georgetown, it’s a record drawing inspiration from the many places Garcia calls home.
  • Haim - Women In Music Pt. III
    • Haim  Women In Music Pt. III  CD £11.99
  • Women In Music Pt. III is the third studio album by American band Haim, and was produced by Danielle Haim, Rostam Batmanglij and Ariel Rechtshaid. Standout tracks include ‘The Steps’, which pushes guitar to the fore in a way the band has not done before: clean, chorused electric guitar, overdriven lead lines and strummed acoustic 12-strings lock in together to generate what feels like an endless chug. The result is one of Haim’s fastest and heaviest songs to date. The breezy and beautiful ‘Summer Girl’, poignant reflective ballad ‘Hallelujah’ and emotionally charged ‘Now I’m In It’ are all gems.
  • Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit - Reunions
    • Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit  Reunions  CD £11.99 / LP £21.99
  • Former Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit come together again for a new album, Reunions, their follow-up to 2017’s Grammy-winning The Nashville Sound. Isbell explains the album’s title thus: “There are a lot of ghosts on this album. Sometimes the songs are about the ghosts of people who aren’t around anymore, but they’re also about who I used to be, the ghost of myself. I found myself writing songs that I wanted to write 15 years ago, but in those days, I hadn’t written enough songs to know how to do it yet. Just now have I been able to pull it off to my own satisfaction. In that sense, it’s a reunion with the me I was back then.
  • Laura Marling - Song For Our Daughter
    • Laura Marling  Song For Our Daughter  CD £11.99 / LP £23.99
  • Laura Marling’s exquisite seventh album, Song For Our Daughter, arrives almost without preamble or warning in the midst of uncharted global chaos, and yet instantly and tenderly offers a sense of purpose, clarity and calm. As a balm for the soul, this full-blooded new collection could be posited as Laura’s richest to date, but in truth it’s another incredibly fine record by a British artist who rarely strays from delivering incredibly fine records.
  • Kelly Lee Owens - Inner Song
    • Kelly Lee Owens  Inner Song  LP £23.99
  • Kelly Lee Owens’ masterful second album, Inner Song, finds the convention-blurring techno producer and singer/songwriter diving deep into her own psyche-excoriating the struggles she’s faced over the last several years and exploring personal pain while embracing the beauty of the natural world. It’s a leap in artistry from a musician who burst forth on the scene with a confident, rich sound, and Inner Song is endlessly enticing when it comes to what Owens is capable of.
  • Margo Price - That’s How Rumors Get Started
    • Margo Price  That’s How Rumors Get Started  CD £11.99 / LP + 7" £25.99
  • Everybody wants to know how I feel and what I think,” sings Margo Price in her emotive, bittersweet twang, halfway through her third full-length record. On That’s How Rumors Get Started, Price has committed her genre-bending rock-and-roll show to record for the first time, stretching out into sky-high soft-rock, burning psychedelic rock ballads, stomping road songs, and sprinkles of pop.
  • Bruce Springsteen - Letter To You
    • Bruce Springsteen  Letter To You  CD £12.99 / 2-LP £34.99
  • Letter To You is the brand-new studio album from Bruce Springsteen with the E Street Band, a rock album fuelled by the band’s heart-stopping, house-rocking signature sound. Springsteen’s 20th studio album was recorded at his home studio in New Jersey, and is his first album including the E Street Band since 2012’s High Hopes and their first performances together since 2016’s The River Tour.
  • I love the emotional nature of Letter To You,” says Springsteen. “And I love the sound of the E Street Band playing completely live in the studio, in a way we’ve never done before, and with no overdubs. We made the album in only five days, and it turned out to be one of the greatest recording experiences I’ve ever had.
  • Taylor Swift - Folklore
    • Taylor Swift  Folklore  CD £12.99
  • Folklore is the eighth studio album by the American phenomenon that is Taylor Swift. The album was created in isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic, with production from Aaron Dessner (The National), Jack Antonoff (Bleachers) and Swift herself. Departing from the mainstream pop sound of Swift’s previous releases, Folklore is an indie-folk, alternative-rock, electro-folk and chamber-pop album driven by pianos and guitars.
  • This Is The Kit - Off Off On
    • This Is The Kit  Off Off On  CD £10.99 / LP £17.99
  • Since their 2008 debut album Krülle Bol, This Is The Kit (led by Kate Stables) have unpicked emotional knots and woven remarkable stories. Even by her high standards, however, Off Off On is a beautifully clear distillation of Stables’ song-writing gifts.
  • Richly illuminating and acutely sensitive to the pulses and currents of life, Off Off On shows This Is The Kit overflowing with ideas. In difficult times, it’s a record that feels like a lifeline, moving against the tide, standing against the storm. Keep going.
  • Waxahatchee - Saint Cloud
    • Waxahatchee  Saint Cloud  CD £11.99 / LP £22.99
  • What do we hold on to from our past? What must we let go of to truly move forward? Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield spent much of 2018 reckoning with these questions and revisiting her roots for answers. The result is Saint Cloud, an intimate journey through the places she’s been, filled with the people she’s loved.
  • Lucinda Williams - Good Souls Better Angels
    • Lucinda Williams  Good Souls Better Angels  CD £13.99 / 2-LP £26.99
  • Lucinda Williams unabashedly takes on some of the human, social and political issues of our day with her boldest and most direct album to date, Good Souls Better Angels. During the course of her celebrated four-decade, pioneering career Williams has never rested on her laurels as she continues to push herself as a songwriter. On Good Souls Better Angels, she has much she needs to get out. In 2014 and 2015, Williams released two critically acclaimed double albums back to back: Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone and The Ghosts Of Highway 20. Both releases found her experimenting with arrangements, vocals, song structure and personal subject matter. On Good Souls Better Angels, Williams changes course and chooses to forgo the personal and narrative-based songcraft that has become synonymous with her name and instead speaks to some of the injustices permeating our society.


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