The Best of 2021: Staff Picks

by WFUV Staff | 12/10/2021 | 5:45am

The Best of 2021 Staff Picks

There's always more great new music we want to talk about than we can fit here, but here are the songs, albums and discoveries that the FUV DJs and staff loved best in 2021.

Scroll through or jump down to:
Russ Borris | Corny O'Connell | Alisa Ali | Dennis Elsas | Eric Holland | Darren DeVivo | Delphine Blue | John Platt | Kara Manning | Janet Bardini | Sarah Wardrop | Benham Jones

Russ Borris

Top 10 Songs (alphabetical and not from my Top 10 albums list)

  Artist Song
1. Amythyst Kiah "Black Myself"
2. Billie Eilish "Lost Cause"
3. Durand Jones & The Indications "Witchoo"
4. Dry Cleaning "Scratchcard Lanyard"
5. Man on Man "Daddy"
6. Ohtis "Schatze"
7. Serpentwithfeet "Same Size Shoe"
8. Silk Sonic "Leave the Door Open"
9. TORRES "Don't Go Puttin Wishes in My Head"
10. Wet Leg "Chaise Longue"

Top 10 Albums

  Artist Album
1. Jon Batiste We Are
2. The Killers Pressure Machine
3. Flock of Dimes Head of Roses
4. The War on Drugs I Don't Live Here Anymore
5. Arlo Parks Collapsed in Sunbeams
6. Strand of Oaks In Heaven
7. St. Vincent Daddy's Home
8. Sleater-Kinney Path of Wellness
9. Courtney Barnett Things Take Time, Take Time
10. John Grant Boy From Michigan

Discovery of the Year

  Wet Leg  

Corny O'Connell

Top 10 Songs

  Artist Song
1. Billie Eilish "Your Power"
2. Durand Jones & The Indications "Witchoo"
3. Gang of Youths "The Angel of 8th Ave."
4. The Black Keys "Crawling King Snake"
5. Tom Jones "Talking Reality Television Blues"
6. Wet Leg "Chaise Longue"
7. Wolf Alice "Smile"
8. Arlo Parks "Eugene"
9. The Chemical Brothers "The Darkness That You Fear"
10. CHVRCHES feat. Robert Smith "How Not to Drown"

Top 10 Albums

  Artist Album
1. Adia Victoria A Southern Gothic
2. Arlo Parks Collapsed in Sunbeams
3. Durand Jones & The Indications Private Space
4. Leon Bridges Gold-Diggers Sound
5. Lord Huron Long Lost
6. The Black Keys Delta Kream
7. Yola Stand for Myself
8. Jon Batiste We Are
9. Julien Baker Little Oblivions
10. Billie Eilish Happier Than Ever

Discovery of the Year

  Wet Leg Yes, I would like you to assign someone to butter my muffin.

Alisa Ali

Top 10 Songs

  Artist Song
1. Wet Leg "Chaise Longue"
2. Durand Jones & The Indications "Witchoo"
3. Japanese Breakfast "Be Sweet"
4. Jungle "Keep Moving"
5. Little Simz "Point and Kill"
6. The War on Drugs "I Don't Live Here Anymore"
7. Menahan Street Band "The Duke"
8. Sleater Kinney "Worry With You"
9. Shungudzo "It's a Good Day to Fight the System"

Top 10 Albums

  Artist Album
1. Big Red Machine How Long Do You Think It's Gonna Last?
2. The War on Drugs I Don't Live Here Anymore
3. Lord Huron Long Lost
4. Sleater-Kinney Path of Wellness
5. Kacey Musgraves Star-Crossed
6. Japanese Breakfast Jubilee
7. Arlo Parks Collapsed in Sunbeams
8. Yola Stand for Myself
9. Durand Jones &the Indications Private Space
10. Julien Baker Little Oblivions

Discovery of the Year

  Ren with the Mane Queen of the "NY Slice"

Dennis Elsas

In no particular order:

Top 10 Songs

  Artist Song
1. Amythyst Kiah "Black Myself"
2. Band of Horses "Crutch"
3. Big Thief "Certainty"
4. Wet Leg "Chaise Longue"
5. David Bowie "You've Got a Habit of Leaving"
6. Elvis Costello "Magnificent Hurt"
7. Lucy Dacus "Brando"
8. Gabriels "Love and Hate in a Different Time"
9. Jenny Lewis "Puppy and a Truck"
10. Eddie Vedder "Long Way"

Top 10 Albums

  Artist Album
1. Adele 30
2. Brandi Carlile In These Silent Days
3. Courtney Barnett Things Take Time, Take Time
4. Lake Street Dive Obviously
5. Paul McCartney McCartney 111
6. Robert Plant and Alison Kraus Raise the Roof
7. Tedeschi Trucks Band Layla Revisted (Live at Locken) featuring Trey Anastasio
8. The War on Drugs I Don't Live Here Anymore
9. Bruce Springsteen No Nukes Concert
10. Jon Batiste We Are

Discovery of the Year

  Wet Leg  

Eric Holland

Top 10 Songs

  Artist Song
1. Wolf Alice "Smile"
2. Wet Leg "Chaise Longue"
3. Spoon "The Hardest Cut"
4. My Morning Jacket "Love Love Love"
5. Amythyst Kiah "Black Myself"
6. The Marias "Hush"
7. Jack White "Taking Me Back"
8. Sunflower Bean "Baby Don't Cry"
9. St. Vincent "Pay Your Way in Pain"
10. Parquet Courts "Walking at a Downtown Pace"

Top 10 Albums

  Artist Album
1. Jesse Malin Sad and Beautiful World
2. The Hold Steady Open Door Policy
3. Courtney Barnett Things Take Time, Take Time
4. Sleater-Kinney Path to Wellness
5. Durand Jones & The Indications Private Space
6. Tedeschi Trucks Band Layla Revisted (Live at Locken) featuring Trey Anastasio
7. Jon Batiste We Are
8. Arlo Parks Collapsed In Sunbeams
9. Christone "Kingfish" Ingram 662
10. The War on Drugs I Don't Live Here Anymore

Discovery of the Year

  Durand Jones & The Indications  

Darren DeVivo

Top 15 Favorite Songs Of 2021 (an incomplete list, in alphabetical order)

  Artist Song
1. Band Of Horses "Crutch"
  From their upcoming album, Things Are Great, due January 21, 2022. When released, it will be their first album in about five and a half years.
2. Clairo "Amoeba"
  From her album Sling.
3. Lucy Dacus "First Time"
  From her third album, Home Video.
4. Dinosaur Jr "I Ran Away"
  From Sweep It Into Space.
5. Dry Cleaning "Strong Feelings"
  From the British quartet's debut album, New Long Leg.
6. Los Lobos "Sail On, Sailor"
  Los Lobos covers the Beach Boys' 1972 classic; from Native Sons, their covers album saluting the Los Angeles music scene.
7. Paul McCartney featuring Phoebe Bridgers "Seize The Day"
  From McCartney III Imagined. Phoebe Bridgers adds her two cents to Paul McCartney's song "Seize The Day" (from McCartney's 2020 album, McCartney III).
8. Liz Phair "Good Side"
  From Soberish, Liz Phair's first studio album in eleven years.
9. Real Estate "Half A Human"
  From their EP "Half A Human", featuring songs born during the sessions for their latest album, 2020's The Main Thing.
10. Spoon "The Hardest Cut"
  From the upcoming album, Lucifer On The Sofa, due February 11, 2022.
11. Ringo Starr "Teach Me To Tango", "Just That Way"
  Ringo Starr eschews the full length album for the EP format, releasing two EPs in 2021. First, the five song collection called "Zoom In" - featuring "Teach Me To Tango", followed by the four song "Change The World" - featuring "Just That Way".
12. Tears For Fears "The Tipping Point"
  From their upcoming album, The Tipping Point, due on February 25, 2022. The Tipping Point will be Tears For Fears' first studio album in more than seventeen years.
13. Weezer "The End Of The Game"
  I never paid much attention to Weezer in the past, so I was very pleasantly surprised at Van Weezer, the second album from Weezer in 2021, following their "orchestral pop" album, OK Human. Van Weezer is a completely different album than OK Human, as Weezer ventures in a classic / hard rock direction. It's an album meant for arenas! "The End Of The Game" is the beginning of the album!
14. Wet Leg "Chaise Longue", "Wet Dream"
   The first two songs from Wet Leg!
15. Neil Young and Crazy Horse "Heading West"
  From the upcoming album, Barn, due December 10, 2021.

Top 25 Favorite Albums Of 2021 (in alphabetical order)

  Artist Album
1. Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga Love For Sale
  A sentimental choice to honor an icon of American popular song. Tony's second album with Lady Gaga (following 2014's Cheek To Cheek) features the final recordings of 95 year old Queens native, Anthony Dominick Benedetto, ending a brilliant career which lasted for more than seventy-five years.
2. Big Red Machine How Long Do You Think It's Gonna Last?
  The second album from Aaron Dessner (from The National) and Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver and others) features numerous guest contributors including Fleet Foxes, Lisa Hannigan, Ben Howard, Ilsey (Juber, the daughter of guitarist Laurence Juber), La Force, Anais Mitchell, Naeem, Shara Nova (of My Brightest Diamond), Taylor Swift, This Is The Kit and Sharon VanEtten.
3. The Black Keys Delta Kream
  Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney get back to their blues roots with an album of Mississippi hill country blues. An all covers album, Delta Kream features songs from R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough and more.
4. Jackson Browne Downhill From Everywhere
  This is Jackson Browne's first album of new songs in almost seven full years.
5. Lindsey Buckingham Lindsey Buckingham
  Three years after being booted from Fleetwood Mac and two years after open heart surgery following a heart attack, Lindsey issues his first solo studio album in a decade.
6. Del Amitri Fatal Mistakes
  Scotland's Del Amitri - Justin Currie, longtime member Iain Harvie, Andy Alston and company - are back with their first studio album in nineteen years.
7. Dion Stomping Ground
  Picking up where last year's Blues With Friends left off, 82 year old Dion DiMucci delivers another killer collection of Bronx blues, with contributions from Marcia Ball, Joe Bonamassa, Eric Clapton, Billy F. Gibbons (of ZZ Top), Peter Frampton, Rickie Lee Jones, Mark Knopfler, Sonny Landreth, Keb' Mo', Boz Scaggs, Patti Scialfa, G.E. Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Vivino and more.
8. The Doobie Brothers Liberté
  Fifty years after their debut album, the Doobie Brothers - Patrick Simmons, Tom Johnston and John McFee - come out of the pandemic with the followup to 2014's Southbound. Liberté is the first studio album of all new, original material in eleven years. (Michael McDonald has returned to the band for their fiftieth anniversary tour.)
9. The Peter Frampton Band Frampton Forgets The Words
  The second album from Peter Frampton and his current band is an all instrumental affair featuring covers of songs originally by other artists. It's a companion to 2019's All Blues, the Frampton Band's collection of blues covers. It's also Frampton's second instrumental album after 2006's Fingerprints. Artists covered on Frampton Forgets The Words include Sly and the Family Stone, Radiohead, Michel Colombier, Marvin Gaye, Roxy Music, George Harrison, Stevie Wonder, Lenny Kravitz, David Bowie and Alison Krauss.
10. Heartless Bastards A Beautiful Life
  The sixth album from Erika Wennerstrom's band is their first in six years and Wennerstrom's first effort since her solo debut album,  Sweet Unknown, from 2018.
11. Christone "Kingfish" Ingram 662
  The second album from 22 year old Mississippi bluesman, Christone Ingram. The future of the blues looks very bright!
12. The Killers Pressure Machine
  The follow up to 2020's Imploding The Mirage is a concept album about life in small town U.S.A. - specifically, Nephi, Utah, where Killers' lead singer Brandon Flowers grew up.
13. Lord Huron Long Lost
  The fourth album from Lord Huron - the quartet fronted by Ben Schneider.
14. Pat Metheny Side Eye NYC V1.IV
  Pat Metheny describes his new ensemble, Side Eye, as "an ongoing platform to host a rotating cast of the newer generations of musicians who have particularly caught my interest along the way." This is the fourth iteration of Side Eye, thus the V1.IV in the album's title. Metheny's second album issued in 2021 features new compositions mixed with classic Metheny material from the past. **HONORABLE MENTION: Pat Metheny's first 2021 album, Road To The Sun, featuring two classical compositions from Metheny, one performed by classical guitarist Jason Vieaux and the other by the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. Metheny then performs Arvo Part's "Fur Alina" on his forty-two string, multi neck Pikasso I guitar.
15. My Morning Jacket My Morning Jacket
  The first album from the band since the sessions that resulted in the 2015 album, The Waterfall, and 2020's The Waterfall II.
16. Jennifer O'Connor Born At The Disco
  The seventh album from singer songwriter Jennifer O'Connor is her first in five years. O'Connor recorded most of the album herself at home, using drum machines and synthesizers.
17. Bob Perry A World Like This
  In the 1980s, I flipped over an alternative band from New Jersey called Winter Hours. They were favorites on WFUV with songs like "Hyacinth Girl", "Wait Till The Morning", "Churches", "Walk Away", "Say The Word", "Smoke Rings" and "Roadside Flowers". A few years ago, I was thrilled to meet their guitarist, Bob Perry, on Facebook and as a result, I found out about A World Like This, Perry's latest solo effort. It's well worth searching for this digital only album. (And, try to track down some of the albums, EPs and singles from Winter Hours, as well.)
18. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss Raise The Roof
  Fourteen years after they were Raising Sand, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss are back, this time to Raise The Roof. Like their first collaberation, Raise The Roof finds Plant and Krauss interpreting the songs of others, including Calexico, the Everly Brothers, Anne Briggs, Allen Toussaint, Bobby Moore and the Rhythm Aces, Lucinda Williams (a Randy Weeks composition), Bert Jansch, Ola Belle Reed, Merle Haggard and more. There is also one original penned by Plant and producer T Bone Burnett.
19. Santana Blessings And Miracles
  Not as powerful and moving as their last album, the outstanding Africa Speaks, Blessings And Miracles, the twenty-seventh studio album from Santana (including their collaberation with the Isley Brothers, Power Of Peace​), is a bit of a hit and miss affair. It occasionally harks back to classic early Santana while also remaining contemporary through contributions from special guests like Steve Winwood, Chick Corea and Gayle Moran Corea, Kirk Hammett, Rob Thomas and American Authors, Corey Glover, Chris Stapleton, Ally Brooke, Diane Warren and G-Easy and more. Unfortuantely, Blessings And Miracles occasionally ventures into the pop abyss with cringe inducing moments like "Break", featuring Ally Brooke, "She's Fire", featuring Diane Warren and G-Easy and "Breathing Underwater", featuring Stella Santana, Avi Snow and MVCA. Then there's the goofy heavy metal free for all, "America For Sale", featuring Kirk Hammett and Marc Osegueda. All completely unnecesary. Carlos, please leave these pop songs off future albums!
20. Strand Of Oaks In Heaven
  Timothy Showalter's latest is another deeply personal and heartfelt collection of songs, that gets assistance from Carl Broemel and Bo Koster (both of My Morning jacket) and a guest appearance from James Iha (of Smashing Pumpkins).
21. Matthew Sweet Catspaw
  Matthew Sweet continues a decade long stretch of terrific albums — Modern Art (2011), Tomorrow Forever (2017), Tomorrow's Daughter (2018), Wicked System Of Things (2018) — with Catspaw.
22. The War On Drugs I Don't Live Here Anymore
  The War on Drugs returns with their first album in four years and a strengthening reputation as one of today's top rock bands. I Don't Live Here Anymore was meticulously crafted over a period of approximately three years.
23. Yes The Quest
  So-called Yes purists may complain about another album without Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman and the late Chris Squire, but Yes continues to thrive despite recent changes in personnel. Legendary guitarist Steve Howe, longtime drummer Alan White (a consistent member since 1972), keyboardist Geoffrey Downes, bassist and vocalist Billy Sherwood (Squire's personal choice to carry on playing bass following Squire's death in 2015) and vocalist Jon Davison (a member since 2012) created The Quest, a double album, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
24. Yola Stand For Myself
  Her second album reinforces what we discovered in 2019 from her superb debut album, Walk Through Fire - Yola is one of today's premier soul, R&B, gospel and rock singer songwriters. As was the case with Walk Through Fire, Yola works very closely throughout the album with producer Dan Auerbach (of the Black Keys).
25. various artists I'll Be Your Mirror  A Tribute To The Velvet Underground & Nico
  Most of the time, tribute albums fail in their attempt to interpret and honor the work of an artist or, in this case, an album. This salute to The Velvet Underground & Nico — the 1967 album which was the first for both parties and the only one created by the Velvet Underground and German singer, Nico, together — succeeds in both areas. Produced by the late Hal Willner (a big reason why this album "works"), I'll Be Your Mirror  A Tribute To The Velvet Underground & Nico features contributions from Courtney Barnett, Matt Berninger (of The National), Andrew Bird and Lucius, Fontaines D.C., King Princess, Thurston Moore and Bobby Gillespie, Iggy Pop and Matt Sweeney, St. Vincent and Thomas Bartlett,  Michael Stipe, Sharon VanEtten and Kurt Vile.

Discovery of the Year

  Wet Leg Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, from the Isle of Wight, are Wet Leg.

Delphine Blue

In no particular order. There were so many great songs in 2021. I stopped myself at 20. But I could have kept going.

Top 10 songs

  Artist Song
1. Yola "Stand For Myself"
2. Tony Allen "Cosmosis (feat Ben Okri & Skepta)"
3. Dry Cleaning "Strong Feelings"
4. Pinc Louds "Semaforo"
5. Wet Leg "Chaise Longue"
6. Valerie June "You and I"
7. The Shivas "Undone"
8. Jungle "Truth"
9. Paul McCartney "Women and Wives (St. Vincent Remix)"
10. Ora The Molecule "Creator (In Flagranti Remix)"
11. Lil Nas X "Montero"
12. The Allergies "Working On Me"
13. Barry Adamson "Broken Moments"
14. Nick Cave & Warren Ellis "Hand of God"
15. Cedric Burnside Step In "Step In"
16. Amythyst Kiah "Black Myself"
17. Delvon LaMarr Organ Trio "Call Your Mom"
18. Matt Berry "Like Stone (Moon Duo mix)"
19. Dom La Nena "Oiseau Sauvage"
20. Spring ’68 "A Romantic Paris  Pt. 1"

Top 10 Albums

  Artist Album
1. Tony Allen There Is No End
  The posthumous release from Nigerian drummer and musical director of Fela Kuti's is aptly titled.
2. Billie Eilish Happier Than Ever
  If you love her, Happier Than Ever definitely delivered.
3. Dry Cleaning New Long Leg
  Anything that smacks of no wave or post punk catches my attention. Dry Cleaning absorbed the sound of 1979 and made it new and their own in 2021.
4. Valerie June The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions For Dreamers
  The massively talented and enchanting Valerie June emits beauty with every note.
5. Aerial East Try Harder
  Hearing her hit the high notes on the title track will knoock you off your feet. And then she owns you.
6. Lael Neale Acquainted With Night
  Haunting, beautiful, reminiscent of Aldous Harding's 2016 debut in its old-timey simplicity.
7. Jungle Loving In Stereo
  Let's dance to some funky electronic beats
8. Jesse Malin Sad & Beautiful World
  Jesse Malin's double LP is chock full of lyrics to chew on for days. Beautiful production courtesy of Jesse and guitarist Derek Cruz doing double duty.
9. Alan Vega After Dark
  In 2021 what could be better than a new album from the late Alan Vega? This late night session features Ben Vaughn, Barb Dwyer and Palmyra Delran. A delight for fans of Alan Vega and Suicide.
10. Various Artists Changui: The Sound of Guantanamo
  Three discs of field recordings from Cuba of the style of music known as Changui, created by Gianluca Tramontana and Grammy-winning engineer and producer Steve Rosenthal, who owned the Magic Shop recording studio and the Living Room performance venue.
11. Bush Tetras Rhythm and Paranoia
  This triple disc box set commemorating their 40-year career made it to the New York Times's 2021 gift guide.
12. Vivien Goldman Next Is Now
  Punk-renaissance woman Vivien Goldman dropped this post-pandemic present on which she teams up with her former producer.

Discovery of the Year

  Wet Leg It might be too soon to make predictions, I'm tempering my expectations, but if "Chaise Longue" is any indication of what's to come, Wet Leg is pretty exciting and more from them is something to look forward to in 2022.

John Platt

Top 10 Songs (In alphabetical order)

  Artist Song
1. Jon Batiste "I Need You"
2. Jefferson Berry "We'll Soon Be Together"
3. Brandi Carlile "You and Me on the Rock"
4. Ani DiFranco "Simultaneously"
5. Diana Jones "We Believe You"
6. Christine Lavin "The Best Summer"
7. Crys Matthews "Call Them In"
8. Allison Russell "Nightflyer"
9. Son Volt "Living in the USA"
10. The Accidentals "Wildfire"

Top 10 Albums (In alphabetical order)

  Artist Album
1. Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga Love for Sale
2. Jackson Browne Downhill from Everywhere
3. Brandi Carlile In These Silent Days
4. Paula Cole American Quilt
5. Reggie Harris On Solid Ground
6. Diana Jones Song to a Refugee
7. Allison Russell Outside Child
8. Eleri Ward A Perfect Little Death
9. Amy Speace There Used to Be Horses Here
10. Dar Williams I'll Meet You Here
  More than Honorable mentions:
  Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Georgie Blue; Various Artists: Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine, Vol. 2; Alisa Amador, Narratives; Sloan Wainwright, Red Maple Tree; Jake Shimabukuro, Jake and Friends; Tim Grimm, Gone; A.J. Croce, By Request; Kate Taylor, Why Wait; Guy Davis, Be Ready When I Call You; Bela Fleck, My Bluegrass Heart; Colin Hay, I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself; Liz Simmons, Poets; Chris Pierce, American Silence; Joni Mitchell, Joni Mitchell Archives, Vol. 2: The Reprise Years (1967-1971)

Discovery of the Year

  Side Pony A Nashville duo formed by Alice Wallace and Caitlyn Cannon, with strong songs, harmonies, and attitude.

Kara Manning

Top Songs

  Artist Song
1. Little Simz feat. Cleo Sol “Woman”
2. Unknown Mortal Orchestra “That Life”
3. 박혜진 Park Hye Jin “Let’s Sing, Let’s Dance”
4. Black Country, New Road “Track X”
5. Horsegirl “Sea Life Sandwich Boy”
6. Vanishing Twin “Big Moonlight (Ookki Gekkou)"
7. Pa Salieu feat. Obongjayar “Style & Fashion”
8. Afflecks Palace “Carpe Diem”
9. Yard Act “The Overload”
10. English Teacher “Wallace”
11. serpentwithfeet feat. Sampha and Lil Silva “Fellowship”
12. Japanese Breakfast “Savage Good Boy”
13. Jon Batiste “Freedom”
14. Maya Jane Coles “Night Creature”
15. Bobby Gillespie and Jehnny Beth “Remember We Were Lovers”
16. New Dad “Slowly”
17. Wet Leg “Chaise Longue”
18. The Nagging Doubts "Through a Glass Darkly, Pts 1 and 2"

Top Albums/EPs

  Artist Album
1. Little Simz Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
2. Black Country, New Road for the first time
3. Cleo Sol Mother
4. Wolf Alice Blue Weekend
5. Sault Nine
6. Dry Cleaning New Long Leg
7. Cassandra Jenkins An Overview on Phenomenal Nature
8. The Weather Station Ignorance
9. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss Raise the Roof
10. Sofia Kourtesis Fresia Magdalena EP
11. Rachel Chinouriri Four° in Winter EP
12. St. Vincent Daddy's Home
13. Self Esteem Prioritise Pleasure
14. Jon Batiste We Are
15. Priya Ragu damnshestamil
16. Elbow Flying Dream 1
17. Arlo Parks Collapsed in Sunbeams
18. Damon Albarn The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows


  Horsegirl Trio of Chicago teens released two dazzling, haze-drenched singles on the Sonic Cathedral label before being snapped up by Matador.
  English Teacher Leeds quartet with sharp lyrics steeped in this unstable world, and explosive dynamics.
  Sofia Kourtesis Peruvian-born, Berlin-based producer's EP ode to her parents, Fresia Magdelena, is an exquisite document of grief, love,  and dancing
  Fräulein Northern Irish-Dutch duo released their first single, "Pretty People," in April 2021, and their latest, "By the Water," might allude to P.J. Harvey but has its own stark and crafty bite.
  Bleach Lab Beautiful, wistful songs from this shoegazy London band with deft pop chops.

Janet Bardini

Top 10 Songs

  Artist Song
1. Arlo Parks "Hope"
2. Lucy Dacus "Brando"
  Painting a story of how young love stinks
3. Leon Bridges "Motorbike"
  Makes me want to learn how to ride one
4. My Morning Jacket "Love Love Love"
  Tripping the light fantastic
5. Phoebe Bridgers "Seize The Day"
  Saving McCartney III Reimagined.
6. Adele "Easy On Me"
  Be brave, be strong, be Adele
7. Clairo "Amoeba"
  A brilliant songwriter — I can listen to her all day
8. Japanese Breakfast "Paprika"
  It starts off with a harmonium and you're expecting a hare krishna mantra and then pow! it's a pop hit
9. Sleater-Kinney "Worry With You"
  Let's get lost baby with grrrl power
10. The Killers "Quiet Town"
  Beautiful imagery of an American town in a song

Top 10 Albums

  Artist Album
1. Arlo Parks Collapsed In Sunbeams
  I love how she's not afraid to show her vulnerability
2. Lucy Dacus Home Video
  Childhood living is easy to do for Lucy
3. Leon Bridges Gold-Diggers Sound
  Just a great cool record with a new sound for soul
4. The Killers Pressure Machine
  An album filled with stories that should be included in the American songbook
5. Japanese Breakfast Jubilee
  Pop hit after pop hit of shiny happy people
6. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats The Future
  I have seen the future of the American songwriter and his name is Nathaniel Rateliff
7. Wolf Alice Blue Weekend
  One of the most interesting bands ever from the UK. You can't define them, and that's what I love about them.
8. Adele 30
  The best pop star of the 21st century, crossing over many radio genres.
9. Amythyst Kiah Wary And Strange
  She's not afraid to tell it like it is, even if it ain't pretty. A brave and tender songwriter.
10. Courtney Barnett Things Take Time, Take Time
  Diary of a sane musician in pandemic times

Discovery Of The Year

  Wet Leg I Want Money!

Sarah Wardrop

Top 10 Songs (alphabetical and outside my Top 10 Albums)

  Artist Song
1. Ani DiFranco "Crocus"
2. Good Morning "Country"
3. Indigo De Souza "Hold U"
4. Japanese Breakfast "Be Sweet"
5. Durand Jones & The Indications "Witchoo"
6. Amythyst Kiah "Black Myself"
7. MUNA with Phoebe Bridgers "Silk Chiffon"
8. Liz Phair "Soberish"
9. Shungudzo "It's A Good Day To Fight The System"
10. TORRES "Don't Go Puttin Wishes in My Head"

Top 10 Albums (alphabetical)

  Artist Album
1. Courtney Barnett Things Take Time, Take Time
2. Jon Batiste We Are
3. Cautious Clay Deadpan Love
4. Claud Super Monster
5. Middle Kids Today We're the Greatest
6. Arlo Parks Collapsed in Sunbeams
7. Allison Russell Outside Child
8. Sleater-Kinney Path of Wellness
9. St. Vincent Daddy's Home
10. Strand of Oaks In Heaven

Discovery of the Year

  Indigo De Souza  

Benham Jones

Top 10 Songs (alphabetical order, excluding any tunes on my Top 10 Albums)

  Artist Song
1. Big Thief "Certainty"
2. Billie Eillish "Lost Cause"
3. Chappell Roan "Pink Pony Club"
  actually 2020, but had its day in 2021
4. Durand Jones & the Indications "Witchoo"
5. Ohtis "Schatze"
7. St. Vincent "Pay Your Way in Pain"
8. Sunflower Bean "Baby Don't Cry"
9. The Marias "Hush"
10. Wet Leg "Chaise Longue"

Top 10 Albums

  Artist Album
1. Blake Mills & Pino Palladino Notes With Attachments
2. Cassandra Jenkins An Overview on Phenomenal Nature
3. Dry Cleaning New Long Leg
4. Eris Drew Quivering in Time
5. Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders and the London Symphony Orchestra Promises
6. Japanese Breakfast Jubilee
7. MadLib Sound Ancestors
8. Parquet Courts Sympathy for Life
9. Snail Mail Valentine
10. Yves Tumor The Asymtotical World

Discovery of the Year

  Yves Tumor  


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