To break through as an artist is a major achievement—but even more so in the midst of a global pandemic, when audiences can’t see or hear you in person. Wallows managed to do exactly that in 2020, making the most of quarantine by continuing to write and record while they were apart, welding together ideas and vocals they’d capture and share as voice memos. The result was the LA trio’s appropriately titled Remote EP, an unexpected burst of pop ingenuity that stands as one of the year’s true triumphs in any genre. It’s a snapshot of a strange moment in time, and one that speaks to the way alternative music continued to evolve as a home for anyone with a new take in 2020, whether it’s the kaleidoscopic R&B of Peach Tree Rascals or the incandescent folk of Phoebe Bridgers or the mutant pop-punk of Machine Gun Kelly.

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