Friday, December 31, 2021

The Absolute Best Records of 2021


Wasn't 2021 supposed to be better than 2020?  I mean, it might have been a little bit, but in general it was another year of chaos and uncertainty.  There were good moments to be sure and I'm very lucky to share my home with my wonderful wife and pets, but outside of the four walls of our house it just felt like another year of madness.

For records, it was also a really weak year.  That is not to take away from any of the bands on this list.  If their record wasn't good or great, they wouldn't be on here.  But, the amount of new records that I bought this year was a paltry number compared to years past.  It just felt like so little was actually being released.  Be it supply chain stuff, record pressing delays, bands not being able to practice or tour - it just felt like another year where very little was happening.

Luckily there were some bright spots.  Though it was released under sad circumstances, the posthumous Arise, Dan Sartain, Arise is a truly wonderful album from Dan Sartain.  I would have adored it any year.  Same can be said of the excellent Mark Murphy & The Meds, Cloud Nothings, Herzog and Friends of Cesar Romero albums.

I was also listening to a ton of hip hop this year and to have two albums come out this year that made my top ten (Czarface & MF Doom was a legit new record for 2021, though Soul Party was technically recorded in 1995, even though it was never released until now) was pretty incredible.

I'm grateful for the small sparks of joy that I was able to hang on to in 2021.  Family, records, toys, t shirts or whatever made things a bit easier to get through the day.  When I wrote up my 2020 list, I was hopeful that the new year would be better.  I hope the same thing this year. Will 2022 be the year we shake loose the pandemic and it's assorted insanity?  Based on how stupid people seem to be, I have my doubts.  But once again, I do hope for the best.

01 - Dan Sartain - Arise, Dan Sartain, Arise - One Little Independent (Listen)
02 - Mark Murphy and the Meds - On The Brink - Brassneck / Bloated Kat / All In / Horn & Hoof / Kezy P (Listen)
03 - Czarface & MF Doom - Super What? - Silver Age (Listen)
04 - Cloud Nothings - The Shadow I Remember  - Car Park (Listen)
05 - Herzog - Fiction Writer - Exit Stencil (Listen)
06 - Gentleman Jesse - Lose Everything - Beach Impediment (Listen)
07 - Soul Party - Da Bacyard - De Rap Winkel / Fat Flava (Listen)
08 - Friends Of Cesar Romero - War Party Favors - Snappy Little Numbers (Listen)
09 - Needles // Pins - Needles // Pins - Dirt Cult (Listen)
10 - The Hamiltones - Dracula Invitational 1791 - Big Neck / Swimming Faith (Listen)

11 - Night Marchers - Live at Bar Pink - Swami 
12 - Billy No Mates - S.F. Sourdough - 10 Past 12 / Unless You Try
13 - State Drugs - Live. Laugh. Love. - Snappy Little Numbers
14 - The Obits - Die At The Zoo - Outer Battery 
15 - Rocket Bureau - Middle Angst - Overdue Miracle
16 - Come Closer - Pretty Garbage - Pirates Press 
17 - Eleventwelfth - Everything After - Waterslide
18 - RexxxPure Pleasure II LP - Big Neck
19 - Red Devil Ryders - Pour Me Another One - Just Because
20 - Mononegatives - Apparatus Division - Big Neck / No Front Teeth


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