Best Of 2020

Best Worth-the-Wait Solo Debut: Chuck Cleaver

Chuck Cleaver is a bonafide Cincinnati music legend. With his brilliantly poetic and offbeat songwriting, Cleaver began attracting national attention in the 1990s with local heroes The Ass Ponys, then continued his hot streak in the new millennium with the equally beloved Wussy. In 2019, after more than 30 years in “the biz,” Cleaver notched another milestone, releasing his very first solo album, Send Aid, via locally based Shake It Records. The album — adventurous and unexpected, while at the same time recalling the best of his previous work — was another critical darling for Cleaver’s flawless discography, drawing praise from outlets like Stereogum, Minneapolis’ City Pages and NPR. Though it’s technically a “solo” effort, Send Aid also showed that Cleaver genuinely enjoys the process of collaboration — joining him throughout the album are local musicians from bands like Vacation, Lung, Dawg Yawp and, yes, Wussy. Wussy,