• The 75 best albums of 2020: 50-41

    The 75 best albums of 2020: 50-41

    The best albums of 2020 include (clockwise from top left): The Jayhawks, Lady Gaga, Royce da 5’9”, Poppy, MisterWives, The Weeknd, Donna Missal, Caleb Landry Jones, Songhoy Blues and Homeboy Sandman. Welcome back to RIFF’s top album countdown! If you’re here just to complain about the order or…
  • The 75 best albums of 2020: 75-61

    The 75 best albums of 2020: 75-61

    The best albums of 2020 include Washed Out, the Mountain Goats, Ethan Gruska, Tom Petty, Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown, Logic, The Strokes, Moses Sumney, Fleet Foxes, Willie Nelson, Yves Tumor, Nicolas Jaar, Ed O’Brien, Charli XCX and Blackpink. After nearly a decade of living through 2020, we’re…
  • Tuesday Tracks: Your Weekly New Music Discovery – Dec. 1

    Tuesday Tracks: Your Weekly New Music Discovery – Dec. 1

    Clockwise from top left: Hurtwave, Cristy Alover, Grandma, T9ine, Shallow Side and Barbara Black. Every week, there’s a plethora of new music at our fingertips. Artists on platforms like Spotify and Bandcamp are plentiful, and the radio offers a steady deluge of new singles, but who has time…
  • Year-end blitz: RIFF's 2020 in review lists are coming!

    Year-end blitz: RIFF’s 2020 in review lists are coming!

    Illustration: Skott Bennett/STAFF. It’s been a year like no other. When the Bay Area shut down on March 11 and 12, RIFF had to quickly pivot away from concert reviews—a staple for us—to something else. We ramped up our news coverage, especially in terms of how the music…
  • REVIEW: Jayhawks' faithful 'Sound of Lies' livestream rings true

    REVIEW: Jayhawks’ faithful ‘Sound of Lies’ livestream rings true

    The Jayhawks perform in Minnesota during their livestream on Nov. 29, 2020. Courtesy: Mandolin. Sound of Lies was the perfect album for the Jayhawks to showcase their talents on a livestream broadcast. The performance of that 1997 album on the Mandolin streaming platform Sunday night came from a…
  • INTERVIEW: Heart's Ann Wilson celebrates compromise as core American altruism

    INTERVIEW: Heart’s Ann Wilson celebrates compromise as core American altruism

    Ann Wilson of Heart, Courtesy: Criss Cain. Ann Wilson of Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Heart is still a West Coast woman at heart, but she’s lived with her husband in northern, rural Florida for four years. On her street, almost every house has a Trump sign.…
  • Insert Foot: Musicians don't catch viruses when cats wear pants

    Insert Foot: Musicians don’t catch viruses when cats wear pants

    Insert Foot vs. the COVID test and conspiracy theories. Smell that? We have to get the cat fixed. I don’t get where an animal not smart enough to wear clothes in November gets such a sense of entitlement. The cat just peed in a no-urine zone again, my daughter…
  • 'America's Got Talent' winner Brandon Leake has big goals for himself, south Stockton

    ‘America’s Got Talent’ winner Brandon Leake has big goals for himself, south Stockton

    Brandon Leake at Edison High School in Stockton, Calif., on Nov. 2, 2020. Onome Uyovbievbo/STAFF. Stockton’s “America’s Got Talent” winner Brandon Leake is still waiting for the opportunity to receive his full prize of winning the show in September and performing in Las Vegas. But that hasn’t stopped…
  • INTERVIEW: Irish singer-songwriter Imelda May ready to rebel

    INTERVIEW: Irish singer-songwriter Imelda May ready to rebel

    Imelda May, Courtesy. When Irish chanteuse Imelda May first wrote “11 Past The Hour,” the initial taste from her forthcoming album—she was writing about herself. This was before the pandemic forced everyone into their homes. Somewhere along the line, the song about awakenings and finding safety and love…
  • SF Symphony ventures virtually with Esa-Pekka Salonen, collaborators

    SF Symphony ventures virtually with Esa-Pekka Salonen, collaborators

    Esperanza Spalding performs in “Throughline: San Francisco Symphony—From Hall to Home.” Other artists highlighted include Bryce Dessner of The National and violinist Pekka Kuusisto. Courtesy: SF Symphony. After Esa-Pekka Salonen was named to fill the shoes of Michael Tilson Thomas as music director of the San Francisco Symphony…
  • INTERVIEW: Almost Monday eager to make up for lost time after the pandemic

    INTERVIEW: Almost Monday eager to make up for lost time after the pandemic

    almost monday, Courtesy: Cole Ferguson. This was going to be a breakout year for San Diego pop trio almost monday. In a way it still is, thanks to the streaming and radio success of runaway hit “broken people.” Still, after beginning 2020 by opening for AJR, almost monday…
  • RIFF editors: Joe Biden has won, but there's work left to do

    RIFF editors: Joe Biden has won, but there’s work left to do

    President Donald Trump, pictured here attacking the very concept of democracy at the White House on Nov. 6, 2020. Courtesy: Evan Vucci/Associated Press/Twitter. It’s been some week. We have to talk about the presidential election. As of this writing, former Vice President Joe Biden has won but nobody…
The 75 best albums of 2020: 50-41