Best of 2021

Recent Ratings

HYLA - Caravel
HYLA
Caravel
75
Jul 30
Low - Disappearing
Low
Disappearing
100
Jul 20

Pinned Review

JohnLouisHoward -
92
this undiscovered gem from 2018 got completely overlooked. let's change that immediately. stop whatever you are doing and go listen to this right now. Indigo De Souza could easily be passed off as just another sad indie girl, but that sells her way too short. her songwriting style is raw, distinctive, and full of invention. when you get to "Sick In the Head", you will be blown away by the almost-but-not-quite-Angel-Olsen quality of the song. (she is also from Asheville, where Olsen ... read more

Recent Reviews

JohnLouisHoward -
90
if I could change anything, I would want it to be even more chaotic and noisy. it's already blissfully disorienting and more about decomposition than composition, but there is still a strong core tendency in the direction of a certain set of mathy presuppositions. if those assumptions could also be put into question, then we would be headed into masterpiece territory.
JohnLouisHoward -
91
how is it possible that this is her fifth album already? my previous scores in order of release: 91, 91, 84, 90. she is always changing and growing but has that Mitski-like consistency of effort all the way through. as she heads into her thirties it will be fascinating to see where she goes next. her lyrical perspectives are always intriguing and surprising to me. she is different, in the best possible way.
JohnLouisHoward -
75
some of these Aussie bands must have massive record collections. HYLA is firmly entrenched in the 90's and their sound evokes different bands and styles from the era, everything from grunge to shoegaze. they carve out their own vibe amid all the influences, plus they are really tight, so it's a good time for 90's enthusiasts. the best songs are the opener "Glimpse" and the lead single "Safety or Ruin" but there is a noticeable gap in quality deeper in the track list. still ... read more
JohnLouisHoward -
90
fly your freak flag high.
JohnLouisHoward -
100
two bonus singles from the New Long Leg recording sessions. both excellent and way good enough for the album. a nice present for toasted teenage peanuts everywhere.

Shoutbox

Jul 28, 2021
Thanks for the Twain recommendation! I've been listening to Rare Feeling quite a bit recently and I'm really enjoying it
Jun 30, 2021
The aldous tour can’t happen fast enough!!! I will finally see her in July 2022 when she comes to Denver.
Jun 29, 2021
Oh dear! I'm addressing a new face! Or rather: another face, to implicate me! ('Here below' with respect to which...). I'll miss the banjo, but wouldn't ever say no to Aldous.
Jun 25, 2021
Lot 49 is obviously a favorite for me too. No worries if Hiss isn't your thing, but perhaps the new LP is worth a shot :)
Jun 25, 2021
By the way, I've seen, via WASTE, of course, that you've discovered, shall we say, a certain organization dedicated to the crumbling of the Thurn and Taxis monopoly (an account I couldn't resist setting up).
Jun 25, 2021
If it wasn't already on your radar, John, I'll burden you with another recommendation, namely, the new Hiss Golden Messenger LP, which only came out yesterday and yet which I'm already indelibly seduced by. Hopefully it can work its magic with you too!

https://www.albumoftheyear.org/album/343239-hiss-golden-messenger-quietly-blowing-it.php#
May 8, 2021
This made my day to hear, John. Thanks for giving it a listen. I've been working my way through Natalie Bergman's Mercy (and loving it), so the gratitude is reciprocal.
May 1, 2021
John, I think you might quite enjoy the new project from Wand-frontman Cory Hanson, "Pale Horse Rider". Some great country-tinged psychedelia, arresting songwriting, tender delivery... And the music videos are fantastic: paradigmatic Drag City playfulness...

https://www.albumoftheyear.org/album/310108-cory-hanson-pale-horse-rider.php
Apr 17, 2021
Bilinda Butcher! Aldous Harding! Marissa Nadler (her voice is like a siren)! RACHEL GOSWELL! Oh! For me, I'd add Joanna Newsom, Kate Bush, and Chan Marshall. And yes, the list goes on... To be fair, I don't think we'll ever really figure it out, never really ever be able to say "this is the ethical way to relate to an artist"... Hopefully, though, we can learn something from our very being unsettled, from being pulled in so many affective directions... I'm beside you, my friend, on that journey.

Rohan
Apr 16, 2021
The other day I printed out a bunch of poster-size old photos of the band, including one performance in Philly with Thom Yorke, who performs "Untogether" with Tanya... It's a touching moment... But am I merely *using* it for its libidinal value? How can I inaugurate an ethical relationship with someone like Tanya? That's what I'm really struggling with.

About

100 = perfect
90-99 = levels of greatness
80-89 = worthy of an extended listen
70-79 = decent
60-69 = good song or two
50-59 = good effort
none under 50 = no hate ratings

I rate generously most of the time, unless I don't like something, then I don't rate it.

Strong preference for small labels and indies.

Top 100+ Songs of 2021 (in progress): https://open.spotify.com/playlist/42ygL0YD77rxTEs8kHkCW0

Around the Web

Rating Distribution

90-99
 
1021

80-89
 
629

70-79
 
254

60-69
 
121

50-59
 
56

40-49
 

30-39
 

20-29
 

10-19
 

0-9
 

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Recent Lists

Good music on the way.
Updated 3w ago 6
I will put them on the list according to the tour or album they were promoting. This is partial. I will add more as the gaps in my memory are filled in.
Updated 2mo ago 3
Member since March 21, 2016
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