What a delight – in a year of so much drab sameness, of anticipation and then canceled plans – to hear a song or album for the first time and think: This is exactly where I want to be. And then to retain that feeling as you listen to it over and over for the next little while. This year, I noted each time I heard a new voice that felt like an old friend or a story I thought I knew told from a fresh angle; here's a selection of those moments, arranged alphabetically.
• Lucy Dacus, Home Video
• Indigo de Souza, Any Shape You Take
• Flock of Dimes, Head of Roses
• Illuminati Hotties, Let Me Do One More
• Japanese Breakfast, Jubilee
• Katy Kirby, Cool Dry Place
• Ovlov, Buds
• Palberta, Palberta5000
• Rosie Tucker, Sucker Supreme
• Turnstile, Glow On
• Big Thief, "Little Things"
• Cassandra Jenkins, "Hard Drive"