Top 100 Albums of 2021

An ongoing list of my favourite albums from 2020's disappointing younger brother, 2021. Read, listen and enjoy!

Hugrún - When I Close My Eyes
Country: Iceland

Genre: Synthpop

For fans of: Robyn, Weyes Blood, Katy J Pearson

A really interesting synthpop album full of electronic and classical influences. This project features a very clean aesthetic, which isn't unusual for this kind of music but it plays really well here with Hugrún's soaring, shimmering vocals. These vocals were the standout here, they had very 70's vintage sounding quality to them which is why I think fans of Weyes Blood will enjoy this one.

Overall an album with plenty of clear inspirations but one that doesn't let itself be defined by any one of them.
Steve Earle - J.T.
Country: USA

Genre: Country

For fans of: Terry Allen, Jason Isbell, Bill Callahan

Starting the year off in a more melancholy way, this record from country veteran Steve Earle is comprised of covers from his son J.T. who passed away of an overdose in 2020. Steve's raspy, almost growling delivery is incredibly effective and turn a collection of country ballads and bangers into a mournful celebration of his son's life. Highlights are the mysterious Lone Pine Hill, where Earle's vocals are at their best and the tragic closer, Last Words.
Aaron Frazer - Introducing...
Country: USA

Genre: Soul

For fans of: John Newman, Marcus King, Leon Bridges

An excellent debut showing from drummer turned vocalist Aaron Frazer. This album features production from the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach and takes a journey through many different styles of vintage soul instrumentals. From the 50s to the 70s and from the US to Northern England, the production is massively varied but it is Frazer's voice that is the real highlight. His range is incredible and the best tracks here are where it is allowed to shine through the most.
Hilang Child - Every Mover
Country: UK / Indonesia

Genre: Indie Pop

For fans of: Metronomy, Nilüfer Yanya, Bombay Bicycle Club

When this album from Welsh Indonesian singer / musician Ed Riman gets it right, it gets it really right. Balancing really high-quality percussion with good lyrics and grand synths is not an easy task, but many tracks on this record strike this balance to great effect.

This is a very raw expression of emotions and I think it could do with a little bit of a longer runtime to explore some of the instrumental choices, such as the really unique ones on Steppe. But wishing to hear more from an artist like this is a very nice criticism to be able to give.
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January 2021 Playlist