Great 2021 Albums That Haven’t Been Talked to Death Elsewhere

by Mimi Kenny

The Ophelias – Crocus

Did you know there are bands from Cincinnati other than The National??? (no, they’re not from Brooklyn, fuck you) This is the BUAOTY (breakup album of the year) and it has references to places I’ve been, which I like.

Shame – Drunk Tank Pink

I don’t know if Shame exhausted their hype reserves with Songs of Praise but their sophomore effort is such a leap forward. Wish I could relive hearing “Snow Day” for the first time again. (Oh look, I accidentally namedropped another Windmillcore album title).

Lukah – Why Look Up, God’s In The Mirror

Startlingly vivid stories of struggle from this Memphis rapper. It also ends with a 9-minute song that’s not dull for even a second.

Deafheaven – Infinite Granite

I’ve mostly found Deafheaven’s approach to metal to be trite and self-important, and maybe they’re not reinventing the wheel with this heavier shoegaze sound, but when it hits those crescendos, it’s just pure bliss.

Casper Clausen – Better Way 

Didn’t know a thing about Clausen or his band Efterklang before hearing this album, a weird introspective and cosmic joy.

Spread Joy – Spread Joy

10 perfect and punchy post-punk songs in just under 14 minutes. Talk about an accurate band name.

Songs That Got Me Through This Year

Anna B Savage – “Corncrakes” 

This whole album, really. But special mention to the first song proper and its refrain of “I don’t know if this is even real. I don’t feel things as keenly as I used to.” 

Roger Miller – “Whistle Stop”

A.K.A. the song that opens Disney’s Robin Hood and which was bowdlerized for “The Hamster Dance.” Also, Robin Hood rules.

Alex G – “Gretel”

As if “Good people gotta fight to exist” didn’t already ring so painfully true.

Cassandra Jenkins – “Hard Drive”

Every song from now on is required to have a mindful breathing section.

Modest Mouse – “3rd Planet”

Yes, my favorite Modest Mouse song is the one that’s arguably more basic of a choice at this point than “Float On.” What of it?

The Antlers – “Solstice”

Nobody talked about The Antlers’ best album since Hospice because it just made them too at peace.

The Microphones – “I Want Wind to Blow”

The ultimate cold-and-cloudy day song.

Vyva Melinkolya – “UGLY IRL”

Some of the most-baskable dream pop I’ve heard. Yes, that’s a word now.

Flatsound – “Old Lumina”

“All I want to do is fall asleep until the sun explodes and everyone’s forced to start over” same tbh.

Aphex Twin – “#3”

Read the YouTube comments for this song if you want to regain faith in humanity.