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Favorite Albums Released in 2021

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All the cool kids are making lists this time of year.  Here are my favorite albums released in 2021 (in no particular order):


Parquet Courts - Sympathy For Life

Courtney Barnett - Things Take Time, Take Time

Sturgill Simpson -Cutting Grass Vol. 2

King Gizzard & The Wizard Lizard - L.W.

Goat Girl - On All Fours

Eleventh Dream Day - Since Grazed

Dry Cleaning - New Long Leg

Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio - I Told You So


What are your favorites for the year?   

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I haven't drawn up a list yet, but I'm eager to see everyone else's picks. I always look forward to this year-end thread! This is one of my favorite places to find new discoveries. Thanks for getting it going, Chez!

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So few of my favorite bands released new music this year, which was expected since most all of them put out albums in 2020.
The new releases that I did pick up:
Buffalo Nichols - Blues musician I learned of when he opened for Drive-By Truckers. I really like his sound.
John Mayer - Sob Rock. First album by him that I've bought. I like the sound but it is too mellow to stay in heavy rotation in my car.
Los Lobos - Native Sons. A collections of covers of southern California songs. Really good release.
Richard Thompson - Serpents Tears and Bloody Noses. Two EP's collected onto one CD. As with many of his albums, there are songs I really like, there are some that are alright, and there are songs that I could do without.

I also have the Mark Lanegan "Dark Mark vs Skeleton Joe" album but I have yet to listen to it, besides a quick sampling.

EDIT - Oh yeah, Ben Kweller released Circuit Boredom on January 1 of this year - his first album since 2012. A good release but it doesn't feel like a legitimate "2021 album". At least 3 of the 8 songs were released in 2020, and the only physical release was vinyl.

As far as re-releases and live albums, the one I listened to on repeat the most was Taylor' Swift's Red re-recording. Both discs are great; I actually like the 2nd disc better than the proper album. I also enjoyed the Drive-By Truckers Live at Plan 9 records album. And if we're counting all live releases, there are of course the four shows that Pearl Jam released. So great to have live tapes by them again even if they were shows I didn't attend.

It was a good half-year for shows. Many of my favorite artists toured. 2022 is already shaping up to be a busy tour year as well. See you all at Joe's Field in a few months!

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Heartless Bastards - A Beautiful Life

Shannon and the Clams - Year of the Spider

Nick Cave - Carnage

Bob Dylan - Springtime in New York

Duff Thompson - Haywire

Floating Action - Jinx Protecting

Houndmouth - Good For You

St. Vincent - Daddy’s Home

Ceramic Dog - Hope

Courtney Barrett - Things Take Time, Take Time

Dr. John - The Sun, Moon and Herbs (50th Anniversary Edition)

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I forgot to mention that Jay Gonzalez of the Drive-By Truckers released a solo album Back To The Hive, and it is very nice. (I Wanna) Hold You is the catchy lead "single." I also like the instrumental track Loons on the Lake.

I also picked up the Foo Fighters's Medicine at Midnight. It's more my flavor than their last few albums, but I haven't kept it in heavy rotation. Chasing Birds is my favorite song off the album.

Mdou Moctar (of Solid Sound 2019) released a new album Afrique Victime, and it was included on a few critics' lists of top albums of the year. I haven't gotten into it so much, mainly because his last record is so phenomenal amazing that I haven't pushed it aside to make room for his newer material.

I'm probably forgetting other albums, especially if they came out early in the year. Anything and everything from before July feels like 2020 Extended. This year has really only been six months.

My biggest discovery of the year was the band Bloodkin, whom I read about following the death of founding member Daniel Hutchens in May. I checked out their catalog on bandcamp and ended up buying the whole collection. I listened to their albums all through the summer. "Last Night Out"  and "Baby They Told Us We Would Rise Again" are the two standout albums.

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I haven't listened to a lot of new stuff this year. Maybe that has to do with the fact that I'm approaching 50 and am quite set in my ways at this point. In no particular order (aside from the first one because that Connells album is phenomenal considering the lost two members and that 20 years passed since their last album) here are a few of my faves:


The Connells - Steadman's Wake

Japanese Breakfast - Jubilee 

Sturgill Simpson - Cuttin' Grass Vol. 2

Connie Smith - The Cry of the Heart

Charley Crockett Music City USA

Elizabeth King - Living in the Last Days

R.E.M. - New Adventures in Hi-Fi 25th anniversary edition 

Snail Mail - Valentine





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i haven't catalogued all my purchases from this year but it's clear that i bought a lot of older and / or reissued records once again. for records that were first released in 2021, i would say that these are my favorites:

Papir - Jams

Kungens Män - Innanför Boxen (box set of mostly archival stuff but does include 1 new LP)

Sunburned Hand Of The Man - Pick A Day To Die
Trialogos - Stroh Zu Gold

Hans Hjelm - Factory Reset

Mogwai - As The Love Continues

Mienakunaru - Lost Bones Of The Holy Butterfly

The Reds, Pinks & Purples* - Uncommon Weather

i guess i don't really like much american music these days!

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Kiwi Jr. - Cooler Returns

Parquet Courts - Sympathy For Life

Aeon Station - Observatory

Tuns -Duly Noted

Damien Jurado - The Monster Who Hated Pennsylvania

Guided by Voices - It's Not Them. It Couldn't Be Them. It is Them!

Andy Shauf - Wilds

Sloan - This One's an Original

Steve Gunn - Other You

Gruff Rhys - Seeking New Gods

Dinosaur Jr. - Sweep it Into Space

Mac McCaughan - The Sound of Yourself



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  • 2 weeks later...

01. Jazmine Sullivan - Heaux Tales
02. Cassandra Jenkins - An Overview on Phenomenal Nature
03. Little Simz - Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
04. Low - Hey What
05. Courtney Barnett - Things Take Time, Take Time
06. Mdou Moctar - Afrique Victime
07. Tune-Yards - Sketchy
08. Allison Russell - Outside Child
09. The Weather Station - Ignorance
10. Dry Cleaning - New Long Leg
11. Floating Points / Pharaoh Sanders & The LSO - Promises
12. Japanese Breakfast - Jubilee
13. The War on Drugs - Living Proof
14. Lucy Dacus - Home Video
15. Idles - Crawler
16. St. Lenox - Ten Songs of Worship and Praise for our Tumultuous Times
17. Jon Batiste - We Are
18. Bill Callahan & Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Blind Date Party
19. Lindsey Buckingham - Lindsey Buckingham
20. Art d'Ecco - In Standard Definition
21. Amyl and The Sniffers - Comfort To Me
22. Sarah Mary Chadwick - Me & Ennui Are Friends, Baby
23. Matt Sweeney & Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Superwolves
24. Liam Kazar - Due North
25. Julie Doiron - I Thought of You
26. Aaron Lee Tasjan - Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan!
27. Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Barn
28. L'Rain - Fatigue
29. Xenia Rubinos - Una Rosa
30. Yola - Stand for Myself
31. Amythyst Kiah - Wary + Strange
32. Quickly, Quickly - The Long and Short of It
33. Sault - Nine
34. Parquet Courts - Sympathy for Life
35. Goat Girl - On All Fours
36. Illuminati Hotties - Let Me Do One More
37. The Coral - Coral Island
38. Arab Strap - As Days Get Dark
39. Aeon Station - Observatory
40. Kiwi Jr. - Cooler Returns
41. The Killers - Pressure Machine
42. Aimee Mann - Queens of the Summer Hotel
43. The Reds, Pinks and Purples - Uncommon Weather
44. Weezer - OK Human
45. Dr. Lonnie Smith - Breathe
46. Tirzah - Colourgrade
47. Adia Victoria - A Southern Gothic
48. Tamar Aphek - All Bets Are Off
49. Julien Baker - Little Oblivions
50. Valerie June - The Moon and Stars
51. Nick Cave & Warren Ellis - Carnage
52. Kenny Garrett - Sounds from the Ancestors
53. The Connells - Steadman's Wake
54. Viagra Boys - Welfare Jazz
55. Squid - Bright Green Field  
56. Another Michael - New Music and Big Pop
57. Vanishing Twin - Ookii Gekkou
58. Sleater-Kinney - Path of Wellness
59. Margo Cilker - Pohorylle
60. Ike Reilly - Because the Angels
61. My Morning Jacket - My Morning Jacket
62. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - Georgia Blue
63. Ben Lamar Gay - Open Arms to Open Us
64. Lana Del Rey - Chemtrails Over The Country / Blue Banisters Club  
65. Sons of Kemet - Black to the Future
66. Arooj Aftab - Vulture Prince
67. Nala Sinephro - Space 1.8
68. Luwten - Draft
69. Lord Huron - Long Lost
70. James Yorkston & The Second Hand Orchestra - The Wide, Wide River
71. Durand Jones & The Indicators - Private Space
72. Dinosaur Jr. - Sweep It Into Space
73. Ducks Ltd. - Modern Fiction
74. Deerhoof - Actually, You Can
75. Daniel Romano - Cobra Poems
76. Crowded House - Dreamers Are Waiting
77. Yasmin Williams - Urban Driftwood
78. Mo Troper - Dilettante
79. Dawn Richard - Second Line: An Electro Revival
80. Ashley Shadow - Only the End
81. Emily Scott Robinson - American Siren
82. Charley Crockett - Music City USA
83. Robert Finley - Sharecropper's Son  
84. The Chills - Scatterbrain
85. Liz Phair - Soberish
86. Matthew Sweet - Catspaw
87. Esther Rose - How Many Times  
88. Tony Allen - There Is No End
89. Neal Francis - In Plain Sight
90. Jane Birkin - Oh! Pardon tu dormais…
91. Black Midi - Cavalcade
92. Saint Etienne - I've Been Trying to Tell You
93. Charles Lloyd - Tone Poem
94. Tristen - Complex
95. Sierra Ferrell - Long Time Coming
96. Gruff Rhys - Seeking New Gods
97. Bachelor - Doomin' Sun
98. Michael Hurley - The Time of the Foxgloves
99. Ty Segall - Harmonizer
100. Lost Girls - Menneskekollektivet
101. Damien Jurado - The Monster Who Hated Pennsylvania
102. Sam Fender - Seventeen Going Under
103. Jorge Elbrecht - Presentable Corpse
104. Arlo Parks - Collapsed in Sunbeams
105. SerpentWithFeet - Deacon
106. Snail Mail - Valentine
107. Steve Gunn - Other You
108. Sleaford Mods - Spare Ribs
109. Morgan Wade - Reckless
110. The Wallflowers - Exit Wounds
111. Ovlov - Buds  
112. Silk Sonic - An Evening with Silk Sonic
113. The Hold Steady - Open Door Policy
114. Lorde - Solar Power
115. Joan As Police Woman / Tony Allen / Dave Okumu - The Solution Is Restless
116. Tyler, The Creater - Call Me If You Get Lost
117. Indigo De Souza - Any Shape You Take
118. Teenage Fanclub - Endless Arcade
119. Jane Weaver - Flock
120. Hiss Golden Messenger - Quietly Blowing It
121. Helado Negro - Far In
122. Faye Webster - I Know I'm Funny haha
123. Kings of Convenience - Peace or Love
124. La Femme - Paradigmes
125. Cola Boyy - Prosthetic Boombox
126. Todd Snider - First Agnostic Church of Hope and Wonder
127. Grouper - Shade
128. Andy Shauf - Wilds
129. Tex Crick - Live In... New York City
130. Scott Hirsch - Windless Day
131. Big Red Machine - How Long Do You Think It's Gonna Last
132. Brandi Carlile - In These Silent Days
133. Cheap Trick - In Another World
134. St. Vincent - Daddy's Home
135. Kacey Musgraves - Star-Crossed
136. ABBA - Voyage
137. Turnstile - Glow On
138. Howlin Rain - The Dharma Wheel

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22 hours ago, GtrPlyr said:

01. Jazmine Sullivan - Heaux Tales


I actually listened to this for the first time earlier today, and then came here and found it at the top of your list! Nice. Looking forward to checking out many of your other favorites... thanks for the long list!

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37 minutes ago, Beltmann said:

I actually listened to this for the first time earlier today, and then came here and found it at the top of your list! Nice. Looking forward to checking out many of your other favorites... thanks for the long list!


Nice Beltman, hope you find a few that you like on that list.


As for the Jazmine  Sullivan record, that was the first new album I heard in 2021 and it has surprisingly stayed at the top of my list all year long.

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