XRAY DJs Pick The Best Music of 2020

Let’s get this out of the way first: this year suuuuuuuuuuuuuucked. For oh so many reasons—more than we really have time or energy to get into right now.

But if you look at the date in the corner of your computer screen or on your phone or on the calendar on your wall, you will see that it is almost over. We’re not delusional enough to think that a simple turning of the page will make everything better. What we do know is that we made it. And we made it to the finish line of this gauntlet together—you, our loyal listeners, tuning into the station day after day; and us, your beloved DJs, providing the soundtrack for this long, dark stretch of our collective history. If there’s any one thing that helped soothe our collective aches, it has been music.

That’s what makes this list feel a little more poignant than usual. Our favorite albums and songs of 2020 have served to lift us when the landscape looked particularly bleak, provided a boost to our spirits as we prepared to join our fellow Portlanders in protest against inequality and police brutality, or simply echoed the bone deep sorrow that sometimes overtook us. We hope you find some solace or enjoyment or righteous fury in the music listed below. Thank you, as ever, for your continued support of XRAY. We love you all.

DJ JBJ – Hello Cruel World (Thursdays @ 3 pm)

Fontaines D.C. – A Hero’s Death

Torres – Silver Tongue

Of Montreal – UR FUN

Drive-By Truckers – The Unraveling

Pottery – Welcome To Bobby’s Motel

Favorite song of 2020: Afel Bocoum – “Penda Djiga”

Tom Humphrey – Backroad To Nowhere (Sundays @ 6 pm)

Natalie Jane Hill – Azalea

Lonnie Holley – National Freedom

Brigid Mae Power – Head Above The Water

Barry Walker Jr. – Shoulda Zenith

Waterless Hills – The Great Mountain

Favorite song of 2020: Fiver & the Atlantic School of Spontaneous Composition – “It Is What It Is (Regular Life Edit)”

Marissa B – PDX Pop Now (Saturdays @ 4 pm)

DJ Python Mas Amable

Beatrice Dillon – Workaround

Yves Tumor – Heaven to a Tortured Mind

Theo Parrish – Wuddaji

Favorite song of 2020: DJ Python – “mmmm”

DJ Klyph – Welcome To The Neighborhood (Saturdays @ 8 pm)

Young RJ & Mega Ran – 2 Hands Up

Sa-Roc – The Sharecropper’s Daughter

Grand Nationxl – Twice on Sunday (Season 1)

Jay Electronica – Act II: The Patent of Nobility (The Turn)

4-IZE – Look Into My Ize

Favorite song of 2020: Young RJ & Mega Ran – “Storm”

Elizabeth Elder – Borrowed Time (Wednesdays @ 4pm)

Fontaines D.C. – A Hero’s Death

U.S. Girls – Heavy Light

Run The Jewels – RTJ4

Sault – Untitled (Black Is)

STRFKR – Future Past Life

Fiona Apple – Fetch The Bolt Cutters

Favorite song of 2020: Run The Jewels w/ Greg Nice & DJ Premier – “Ooh LA LA”

DJ Tex Clark – Circa Rad (Wednesdays @ 7 pm)

Pottery – Welcome To Bobby’s Motel

Sweeping Promises – Hunger For A Way Out

Rose City Band – Summerlong

Junk Drawer – Ready For The House

Jeff Parker and the New Breed – Suite For Max Brown

Favorite song of 2020: Sports Team – “Here’s The Thing”

DJ Ed – Discovery (Thursdays @ 10 pm)

Mike Cooper – Playing With Water

Beatrice Dillon – Workaround

Patrick Shiroishi – Descension

Ubaldo – Casa

V/A – New Neighborhoods

Favorite song of 2020: Ono – “Sycamore Trees”

Shawn Swagerty – Big City Radio Show (Mondays @ 8 pm)

All Hits – Men and their Work

Yuvees – Human Dance

Mr. Wrong – Create a Place

Deathlist – You Won’t Be Here For Long

Federale – No Justice

Favorite song of 2020: Lithics – “Hands”

Aaron & Cheyenne – Reverse Couple-Skate (Saturdays @ 8 am)

Our Top 5 45s Reissued in 2020

Power of Attorney – “Changing Man”/”I’m Just Your Clown”

The Fabulous Performers – “Oh How You Hurt Me”/”There She Goes”

Unity & the Downbeats – “Love Dream”/”High Voltage”

The Truths Inc. – “If I Had a Love”/”Why Then”

Skeme Richards – “King Cornbread”/”Streets of Itaewon”

Favorite song of 2020: Thee Sacred Souls – “Weak For Your Love”

DJ Bob Ham – Double Bummer (Tuesdays @ 11 pm)

Still House Plants – Fast Edit

Prolaps – Pure Mud Volume 7

Evritiki Zygia – Ormenion

Yaeji – What We Drew

Autechre – SIGN

Favorite song of 2020: MICHELLE – “Sunrise”

DJ Skull – Strike of Death (Saturdays @ 2 am)

Perdition Temple – Sacraments of Descension

Kurnugia – Forlorn and Foresaken

Precambrian – Tectonics

Black Curse – Endless Wound

Cardiac Arrest – The Day That Death Prevailed

Favorite song of 2020: Icon of Evil – “Ojcze Wasz”

DJ Kittybot – Leopardus Pardalis (Mondays @ 3 am)

Oranssi Pazuzu – Mestarin Kynsi

Marcel Bontempi – “Downbound Train” 7″

Haus Arafna – Asche

Yard Act – “Fixer Upper” 7″

Jaap Blonk/Mama Baer – Geraeusche

Favorite song of 2020: Viagra Boys – “Ain’t Nice”

Jason Urick – Galaxy My Dear (Tuesdays @ 8 pm)

Lifted – 3.3

Protect-U – In Harmony of an Inferior World

Carly Barton – O.S.T.

Nour Mobarak – Father Fugue

Auscultation – III

Favorite song of 2020: Madeline Kenney – “Picture of You”

James Dineen – Sessions From The Box (Saturdays @ 2 pm)

Sorry – 925

Lithics – Tower of Age

Loma – Don’t Shy Away

Short Haired Domestic – Short Haired Domestic

Public Practice – Gentle Grip

Favorite song of 2020: Ohmme – “Mine”

Scili – The Sound of Pictures (Wednesdays @ 4 am)

Laura Karpman & Raphael Saadiq – Lovecraft Country

Tamar-Kali – Shirley

Heather McIntosh – The Quarry

Branford Marsalis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum – Don’t Look Deeper

Favorite song of 2020: Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum & Taura Stinson – “Places I Never Knew”

Eldorado – Ballin’ The Jack (Sundays @ 9pm)

Cindy Lee – What’s Tonight To Eternity

Mort Garson – Didn’t You Hear?

Patrick Cowley – Some Funkettes

V/A – The World is a Cafeteria: Soul Music 1955-98

Budos Band – Long in the Tooth

Favorite song of 2020: Anderson .Paak – “Lockdown”

Ruth R. Ford – 80lb. Cardstock (Sundays @ 6am)

Beauty Pill – Sorry You’re Here

Com Truise – In Decay, Too

FACS – Void Moments

Bailterspace – Concret

Paul Uusitalo – any of his releases


Annie O. – Too Much Class + PDX Pop Now! (Wednesdays @ 2pm & Saturdays @ 4pm)

Mr. Wrong – Create A Place

Cold Beat – Mother 

Shopping – All Or Nothing 

Lithics –  Tower of Age

Sweeping Promises – Hunger for a Way Out 

Favorite song of 2020: Woolen Men – “Outta Reach”