For many of us, music has been a much needed respite from the madness of 2020. It has inspired, soothed and provided a soundtrack for a year of great change all around the world. Our Brighton store may have been closed for most of 2020, but we have been overwhelmed by the support shown to us through our online store and social media. We have been working flat out to keep the music coming and there has been a wealth of incredible releases to celebrate. The team at Mr Bongo have selected some of our favourites from 2020 - we hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
Mr Bongo's Pick Of 2020
1) Sault - Untitled (Black Is) / Rise - LP
Forever Living Originals
It's always hard trying to compile your favourite releases of the year. What happened in January / February seems a long time ago now, and whilst we are bound to have missed some real sitters, one thing is for sure - it was Sault's year! Universally liked both by staff and customers, they struck a chord and connected with a wide spectrum of listeners.
2) Surprise Chef - Daylight Savings - LP
We are a bit biased with this one as we love these dudes from Melbourne, and so do a lot of you it seems, judging from the orders and feedback we had for this amazing sophomore record. With their 'New Ferrari' single getting playlisted by BBC 6 Music, and their vinyl flying off the shelves, it was lovely to see the guys popularity sky-rocket over the year. They were the soundtrack to a lot of soul soothing and we cannot wait to see what they bring to the table in 2021. Cheers fellas for recording this ripper!!!
3) Sven Wunder - Wabi Sabi – Vinyl LP
Not much good came of 2020, but one positive which did happen was making virtual friends with John from Piano Piano Records in Stockholm. He opened the doors to a wonderful world of music and introduced us to the timeless, beautiful records of the mighty Sven Wunder. Cheers John and Sven for brightening this shocker of a year. 'Wabi Sabi' could easily be our top pick too.
4) Wilma Archer - A Western Circular – LP
Wilma Archer's album came out in mid-hard lockdown here in the UK and it became a soundtrack to those times for us. One of those records which can't be pigeon-holed and all the better for it. A momentous album. Featuring collaborations with MF Doom, Samuel T. Herring (Future Islands,), Laura Groves, Sundan Archives and others.
5) Phi-Psonics - The Cradle - Vinyl LP
It's always great to work directly with musicians, which is the case when Seth from the Phi-Psonics emailed us about the independently produced-pressed-distributed album, 'The Cradle.' This lush, timeless and deep spiritual / modal journey is a real treat and we can't wait to hear more from Seth and the crew.
6) Soft Power - Brink Of Extinction – Vinyl LP
If it's released on RR GEMS records out of Estonia you can buy it on sight. We were taken aback by the Finnish band Soft Power's jazz /funk / library style this year. Oiro Pena is a member of Soft Power and his amazing music also features in our top 100 list. The Muriel Grossmann albums on RR GEMS also need to be investigated!
7) Wax Machine - Earthsong Of Silence – Vinyl LP
Beyond Beyond Is Beyond
Another record that acted as a blanket over the hard lockdown was the folky-psychedelic goodness of Brighton based band, Wax Machine. Produced by Kikagaku Moyo don Go Kurosawa, it's a superb album from an awesome band that more people will hopefully discover in 2021.
8) Matthew Tavares & Leland Whitty - Visions / January 12th - LP
Matty, Leland, Julian and Matt excelled themselves with both their 'Visions' and 'January 12th' albums. Two stunning bodies of work from musicians at the top of their game, these records seem to evolve every time you listen to them. We are super proud of these two releases and to be working with musicians of this caliber.
9) Wyndham Earl - Epoch - Vinyl LP
A late contender that sneaked its way into the top 10 is from another Brighton connection (well now Hastings) - Wyndham Earl. Released on his own Time Spun Records imprint, 'Epoch' is a psychedelic trip through dusty downbeats & cosmic compositions drawing on jazz, folk, hip hop beats, prog, library music vibes, and more. A fantastic album throughout and essential stuff!!! Also, check out Wyndham Earl's remix of Wax Machine on the Mr Bongo Record Club Vol.4 compilation for further listening.
10) Cleo Sol - Rose In The Dark - LP
Forever Living Originals
This record seems to have been a bit overshadowed by Cleo's sister project, Sault, but 'Rose in the Dark' is essential in its own right. A superb album throughout. We maybe actually prefer this album to Sault’s offerings, but that is a controversial claim here in the office :)
11) Rammellzee & K-Rob - Beat Bop - Vinyl 12"
12) Kit Sebastian - Ennui / Abandoned – Vinyl 7"
13) Idrissa Soumaoro Et L'Eclipse De L'Ija - Nissodia (Mike D Edit) - Vinyl 12"
14) Gus Levy - Magia Magia – Vinyl LP
15) Bessie Banks - Don't You Worry Baby The Best Is Yet To Come – Vinyl 7" / Freda Payne - We've Gotta Find A Way Back To Love – Vinyl 7"
16) Various Artists - Mr Bongo Record Club Volume Four – Vinyl 2-LP/CD
17) Sweet Mixture - I Love You – Vinyl 7" / Rubeinstein - Joy / Somehow (Make Way) – Vinyl 7"
18) Felbm - Tape 3 / Tape 4 – Vinyl LP
19) Reuben Vaun Smith - Warm Nights – Vinyl LP
20) Guilherme Coutinho E O Grupo Stalo - Guilherme Coutinho E O Grupo Stalo (Exclusive Yellow Vinyl) – Vinyl LP
21) Oiro Pena - 2 – Vinyl 10" / Oiro Pena
Music From Moments – Vinyl LP
22) Alabaster DePlume - To Cy & Lee: Instrumentals Vol. 1 – Vinyl LP
23) Natalie Greffel - Para Todos – Vinyl LP
25) Matthew Halsall - Salute To The Sun – Vinyl 2LP
26) Common Saints - Idol Eyes – Vinyl EP
27) David Durrah - Venus Fly Trap – Vinyl 7"
28) Nubya Garcia - SOURCE - Vinyl 2LP
29) Janko Nilovic & The Soul Surfers - Maze Of Sounds – Vinyl LP
30) Tadao Sawai & Kazue Sawai & Hozan Yamamoto & Sadanori Nakamur & Tatsuro Takimoto & Takeshi Inomata - Jazz Rock - Vinyl LP/CD
31) Jocy de Oliveira - A Música Século XX De Jocy – Vinyl LP
32) Dee Dee Bridgewater - Afro Blue - Vinyl LP/CD
33) The Diabolical Liberties - High Protection & The Sportswear Mystics – Vinyl LP
34) Snooch Dodd & The Pro-Teens - I Flip My Life Every Time I Fly – Vinyl LP
35) Khruangbin - Mordechai – Vinyl LP
36) Derboukas - Camel Bossa / Caravan March – Vinyl 7"
37) Brenda Jones - Big Mistake / Super Stroke – Vinyl 7"
38) High Pulp - Bad Juice (Exclusive coloured vinyl) – Vinyl 2LP
39) Piry Reis - Piry Reis (Deluxe Edition) – Vinyl LP
40) Trio Ternura - Trio Ternura – Vinyl LP
41) Valéria - Pé Na Estrada – Vinyl 7"
42) Trees Speak - Shadow Forms – Vinyl LP + 7"
43) Matty (Matthew Tavares) - Déjàvu - Vinyl LP/CD
44) Kadi Vija Key Project - Roaming In The Contemporary Society To Make Peace With It – Vinyl LP
45) La'verne Washington - The Promise / I Found What I've Been Searching – Vinyl 7"
46) Tino Contreras Y Su Grupo - Quinto Sol - Musica Infinita – Vinyl LP
47) Placebo - Only Nineteen – Vinyl EP
48) Andrew Wasylyk - Fugitive Light And Themes Of Consolation – Vinyl LP
50) Souls of Mischief - 93 ‘Til Infinity - 7" Vinyl
51) Margaret Wakeley Hard To Leave The Island / So Hard To Be Away – Vinyl 7"
52) Badge Époque – Ensemble Self Help – Vinyl LP
53) Fay Hill / Peaches Mann – Soul Is My Salvation Chapter 5 – Vinyl 7"
54) Alessandro Alessandroni – La Professoressa Di Scienze Naturali – Vinyl LP
55) Admas – Sons Of Ethiopia – Vinyl LP
56) Lamont Butler – It's Time For A Change – Vinyl LP
57) Siti Muharam – Romance Revolution – Vinyl LP
58) Karate Boogaloo – Stay Healthy / Empowered, Bye The Sadness – Vinyl 7"
59) Karate Boogaloo – Carn The Boogers – Vinyl LP
60) Eros – Go For It – Vinyl 12"
61) Serginho Meriti – Bons Momentos – Vinyl LP
62) Gil Scott-Heron / Makaya McCraven – We’re New Again (A Reimagining By Makaya McCraven) – Vinyl LP
63) Little Barrie & Malcom Catto – Quatermass Seven – Vinyl LP
64) Lay BIGGZ – Lemons You The Glory – Vinyl 7"
65) Special Touch – Garden Of Life – Vinyl LP
66) 24 Carat – Black III – Vinyl LP
67) Heaven Sent & Ecstasy – The Greatest Love Story – Vinyl LP
68) Mildlife – Automatic – Vinyl LP
70) Unity & The Downbeats – Love Dream / High Voltage Vinyl 7"
71) Tenderlonious The Piccolo - Tender Plays Tubby – Vinyl EP
72) Chêne Noir – Orphée 2000 – Vinyl LP
73) Dhaima – Love Lives Forever – Vinyl LP
74) Various Artists – For The Love Of You – Vinyl 2LP
75) The Colours That Rise – Grey Doubt – Vinyl LP
76) Meliza – Meliza – Vinyl LP
77) Ultramagnetic MC’s – Give the Drummer Some – Vinyl 7"
78) Wildflower – Season 2 – Vinyl LP
79) Makaya McCraven – Universal Beings E&F Sides – Vinyl LP
80) Solat – Change The World / Try, Try - 7" Vinyl
81) Joanne Robertson – Painting Stupid Girls – Vinyl LP
82) Star Feminine Band – Star Feminine Band – Vinyl LP
83) Various Artists – Paz E Futebol 3 – compiled by Junior Santos – Vinyl LP
84) Various Artists – Disco É Cultura – Vinyl LP
85) Various Artists – Blue Note Re:imagined 2020 – Vinyl 2LP
86) Muriel Grossmann – Golden Rule – Vinyl 2LP
87) Naná Vasconcelos & Agustín Pereyra Lucena – The Incredible NANÁ with Agustín Pereyra Lucena – Vinyl LP
88) Little Simz – Drop 6 - Vinyl 12"
89) Duval Timothy – Brown Loop – Vinyl LP
90) Soul Supreme – Soul Supreme – Vinyl LP
91) Star Beams – Play Disco Specials - Vinyl LP/CD
92) Norman Weeks & The Revelations – Miracles – Vinyl LP
93) Freddie Gibbs & Alchemist – Alfredo – Vinyl LP
94) Anthony 'Reebop' Kwaku Bah – Anthony 'Reebop' Kwaku Bah – Vinyl LP
95) Quantic – Theme From Selva / Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five – Vinyl 12"
96) Thundercat – It Is What It Is – Vinyl LP
97) Jeannette Ndiaye – Makom Ma Bobe – Vinyl 12"
98) The Stance Brothers – Resolution Blue / Where Is Resolution Blue? – Vinyl 7"
99) Reiko Ike 恍惚の世界 – Koukotsu no Sekai – Vinyl LP
100) Immortal Onion – Ocelot Of Salvation – Vinyl LP