gschwen
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Last Active 09-16-20 3:00 pm
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12.22.21 i like alt-rock 2021

i like alt-rock 2021

I listened to 450+ albums this year. These are the ones I liked. Will add more later.
60Trophy Scars
Astral Pariah


Genres: [post-hxc][blues][art rock]

Track I Like: "Mother"

New band to me, they're unique for sure.
59Black Midi
Cavalcade


Genres: [post-punk][jazz][noise]

Track I Like: "John L"

Tried too hard to capture the magic from Schlagenheim.
58Tropical Fuck Storm
Deep States


Genres: [post punk][noise][psychedelic]

Track I Like: "Legal Ghost"

I'm on the fence about TFS; sometimes I think they're a bunch of geniuses and other times I find their music obnoxious. I had more fun with Meat Space than this record.
57Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou
The Helm of Sorrow


Genres: [sludge][doom][post metal]

Track I Like: "Hollywood"

Admittedly, I liked May Our Chambers Be Full more, and totally didn't care much for ERR's new record.
56Kowloon Walled City
Piecework


Genres: [post metal][sludge][noise]

Track I like: "Piecework"

This thing is slow, heavy, and glacial. Make sure you check out their split with KEN Mode and Shallow North Dakota from this year too.
55Tricot
Jodeki


Genres: [math rock][punk][emo]

Track I Like: "SUPER SUMMER (スーパーサマー)"

Prolific and consistent, and seemingly never out of new ideas. Always impressed by the musicianship on every record.
54Blanket
Modern Escapism


Genres: [rock][post-hardcore][prog]

Track I Like: "White Noise"

This would appeal to people who like Deftones, and hey, they do a cover of "Knife Prty" too.
53Taking Meds
Terrible News From Wonderful Men


Genres: [alternative][hard rock][punk]

Track I Like: "Lifesaver"

Straightforward alternative rock, presented without comment.
52Harvey Gold / Filip Neuf
Charis


Genres: [jazz][hip hop][electronic]

Track I Like: "Bella"

This is a mellow instrumental hip-hop album, not quite turntablism, maybe something in the vein of what DJ Shadow might do. It clicked with me immediately; I hope someone else likes it.
51LLNN
Unmaker


Genres: [post metal][sludge][metalcore]

Track I Like: "Obsidian"

What drew me to liking this record was how heavy it was. If your stereo can do lows real well, crank em up. This one is slow, ominous, and pissed off.
50Genesis Owusu
Smiling with No Teeth


Genres: [R&B][hip hop][rap]

Track I Like: "The Other Black Dog"

This is a real fun R&B record, recommended for anyone who's into Thundercat. Owusu gets himself into a few different styles on this one. Worth hearing!
49Frost*
Day and Age


Genres: [prog rock]

Track I like: "The Boy Who Stood Still"

It's not their best album ever, but this track stuck out to me, and I think the album is still worth a listen, if it would only convince others to listen to their other work.
48Mastodon
Hushed and Grim


Genres: [metal][hard rock][prog metal]

Track I Like: "Pushing the Tides"

It's too long, and I think Mastodon's best days are behind them. That said: I think it's their best work since Crack the Skye.
47Amyl and the Sniffers
Comfort To Me


Genres: [punk][pub rock]

Track I Like: "Guided By Angels"

This record grew on me-- it's aided by it's simplicity, and the lyrics are infectious.
46Parannoul / Asian Glow / sonhos tomam conta
Downfall of the Neon Youth


Genres: [post-rock][shoegaze][electronic]

Track I Like: "Nails"

Might as well put the other Parannoul record here too. It's a bit less shoegaze and mixes in more styles: there's at least one blackened post-metal track, and at other times reminds me of Envy.
45Parannoul
To See the Next Part of the Dream


Genres: [shoegaze][indie]

Track I like: "Beautiful World"

The buzzing hum of this record is comforting. That's all I have to say about it.
44MEER
Playing House


Genres: [orchestral pop][alternative][prog]

Track I like: "Picking Up the Pieces"

A somber pop record, boosted by the busy sounds of the eight-piece band... I was surprised at how uplifting their songs were. But don't sleep on the pop-stylings; there's some complex prog at work in the background.
43Knocked Loose
A Tear in the Fabric of Life


Genres: [hardcore][punk][metalcore]

Track I like: "God Knows"

This is about as angry as I've ever heard them, but I'm concerned we're walking into Code Orange territory on the next couple records.
42Squid
Bright Green Field


Genres: [post-punk][funk][jazz]

Track I Like: "Narrator"

This band drew heavily on Talking Heads to put this record together, but I think they were successful with making something compelling and uniquely theirs at the same time.
41Adjy
The Idyll Opus (I-VI)


Genres: [folk][indie][emo]

Track I Like: "In Medias Res (Between Longing & Mystery)"

This album is outside of what I typically like, but I was taken with the opening track. As an entire work, the record runs a *bit* long and maybe is a bit indulgent, but it's worth everyone's time at least once; all 97 minutes.
40Onslow
Onslow


Genres: [rock][alternative][grunge]

Track I like: "Let Me Rust"

This is an obscure one. Sort of a brooding version of Everything Everything, if they were an alt-rock radio band. New to me this year, I hope they get some sort of visibility.
39Zao
The Crimson Corridor


Genres: [metalcore][hardcore][metal]

Track I like: "Ship of Theseus"

Zao is one of my favorite bands, so for this not to be in the top ten says something. The whole thing just wasn't off the wall insane like Virus was. Didn't appreciate that they let up on the gas quite a bit.
38Shame (UK)
Drunk Tank Pink


Genres: [post-punk][indie][punk]

Track I like: "Alphabet"

Fairly straight-forward post-punk, but for some reason... I hate all of their other records and really like this one. Can't explain that.
37Poppy
Flux


Genres: [pop][synth][rock]

Track I like: "On the Level"

I actually preferred the messy presentation of I Disagree, but this record was alright for a straightforward pop album. Her schtick these days is in direct competition with Allie X for being a bizarre pop star.
36Hospital Bracelet
South Loop Summer


Genres: [midwest emo][math rock][punk]

Track I Like: "Happy Birthday"

Alright, so this band was cancelled by the scene. I won't go into it, but separating the art from the artist, I dug a bunch of songs on this one.
35Cara Neir
Phase Out


Genres: [8bit][black metal][grind]

Track I like: "The Trimjrtle Sanction"

Everyone hated this. I liked it a lot. People weren't ready to move on from their serious pseudo-blackgaze album to a nintendo-meme album.
34Failure
Wild Type Droid


Genres: [space rock][alternative][post-grunge]

Track I like: "Water with Hands"

Ken Andrews doesn't make too much bad music. The general consensus is that this is a pretty good album; I don't like it as much as The Furthest Thing, and it's certainly not Fantastic Planet. But it's pretty good!
33Death By Unga Bunga
Heavy Male Insecurity


Genres: [rock][garage][alternative]

Track I Like: "Not Like the Others"

This was a candidate for my favorite song of the year; the whole album is a cool fratty garage rock album that'll wanna make you do a keg stand.
32Thrice
Horizons/East


Genres: [alternative][hard rock][post-hxc]

Track I Like: "Scavengers"

We're a long way from The Illusion of Safety, which is nothing like what Thrice is peddling these days. But, this is probably my favorite thing from them since. Even then, I don't return to this record much.
31Kero Kero Bonito
Civilisation


Genres: [jpop][electronic][indie]

Track I Like: "The Princess & The Clock"

Part of me is pleased that KKB matured with their sound, but I also get nostalgic about the child-like innocence of Bonito Generation. Some of their best work is on this EP though.
30Scarypoolparty
The Act of Forgiveness


Genres: [pop][acoustic][electronic]

Track I like: "Heat of Desire"

I actually prefer Doom Hologram a lot more; this is more of the kind of album you'd expect from a former American Idol contestant. I get a lot of Sting, Seal vibes from these poppy piano driven songs. Oh yeah; the album is entirely too long.
29Origami Angel
Gami Gang


Genres: [emo][mathrock][pop punk]

Track I Like: "Noah Fence"

I know others prefer Somewhere City, but I couldn't help but be impressed by the musicianship on this one. It's fun, they're a credit to the genre.
28Fiddlehead
Between the Richness


Genre: [post-hxc][hardcore][punk]

Track I like: "Down University"

It is the combination of Basement and Have Heart that describes their sound and objective composition. It's a fun little record but lacks the staying power of both those bands.
27Biffy Clyro
The Myth of the Happily Ever After


Genres: [alternative][indie][rock]

Track I liked: "Denier"

They are mostly consistent, and pretty prolific. Were it not for their signature sound and an ear for a easy melody, this record wouldn't be very good. It's got mostly name recognition driving it forward.
26Injury Reserve
By The Time I Get To Phoenix


Genres: [rap][hip-hop][jazz]

Track I like: "Knees"

Stepa J. Groggs probably did for this record as David Bowie did for Blackstar-- overwhelming critical appeal for a posthumous release. It's at least a decent record, and better than the avante-garde 2019 self-titled one for sure.
25Converge
Bloodmoon: I


Genres: [metalcore][sludge metal][gothic]

Track I like: "Failure Forever"

This is probably better than Converge continuing to make the same record forever, but the continued melding of Cave In, Converge and that entire posse of musicians is coming to a head on this one. I can't contain my dislike for Chelsea Wolfe though.
24Illuminati Hotties
Let Me Do One More


Genres: [indie][lo-fi][tenderpunk]

Track I like "MMMOOOAAAYAYA"

I typically do not enjoy most of what comes out of the waify, crybaby indie rock scene, but IH cuts different enough-- Sarah Tudzin is a delight; fierce and forthcoming.
23The Bug
Fire


Genres: [grime][dubstep][reggae]

Track I like: "Pressure"

This is like experiencing the apocalypse, but in Jamaica. Oh, and everyone is dancing. This record is dark, evil, and fun. Take a risk on this one and get rewarded.
22Gal
Rot Away Together


Genre: [post-hxc][alternative][grunge]

Track I like: "Singe"

This is gonna be the most obscure record on this list. They really need to hone in on a particular style and tighten everything up, but I like the potential they offer.
21Static Dress
Prologue...


Genre: [post-hxc][metalcore][emo]

Track I like: "sober exit(s)"

The complaints about this one are valid: it's all over the place, and the ambient tracks are filler and take up too much run time. Still waiting for them to put all of their singles together into a coherent package.
20Sugar Horse
The Live Long After


Genres: [post-metal][shoegaze][post-hardcore]

Track I like: "Dadcore World Cup"

I have a couple issues with this record, but in general I enjoy it. I'm thinking this band's best record is still in front of us, and it's gonna be big.
19Open Hand
WEIRDO


Genres: [rock][alternative][post-hxc]

Track I like: "Loved"

I don't know how this band has been overlooked for 20 years; I've loved their sound since their big coming out album in 2002. WEIRDO is not my favorite record, but I'm putting it here now to tell you to go back and listen to the stuff they put out on Trustkill back in the day.
18Four Stroke Baron
Classics


Genres: [metal][progressive metal][rock]

Track I like: "Khera"

I almost regard 4SB as a goofy gimmick band; the vocals are an acquired taste certainly, and who makes a cover album this early in their career? Nevertheless I can't help find all of their songs to be catchy and riffy as hell.
17Paerish
Fixed It All


Genres: [rock][grunge][emo]

Track I like: "Violet"

This record is a lot like #4 on this list. Straight-forward alternative rock. At best, this is a lateral move from their last record. But I'm a sucker for this sound.
16The Armed
Ultrapop


Genres: [hardcore][noise][ultrapop]

Track I Like: "AVERAGE DEATH"

I felt like this was a step down from the chaos on Untitled and Only Love-- this is much more melodic and low-key by comparison.
15The World Is a Beautiful Place...
Illusory Walls


Genres: [emo][indie][post-rock]

Track I like: "Queen Sophie for President"

I find this band difficult to pin down; I generally like everything they do but struggle to describe them well. It truly feels like they are constantly shifting styles. Anyway, if this record doesn't define them I'm not sure what else to say... it's good.
14Drug Church
TAWNY


Genres: [punk][post-hxc][rock]

Track I like: "Remember to Forget"

This brief EP is a little amuse-bouche in advance of next years HYGIENE record; a couple good ideas here that would've been welcome on CHEER.
13Jeff Rosenstock
SKA DREAM


Genres: [ska][punk][rock]

Track I like: "p i c k i t u p"

JR re-imagines his NO DREAM record as a ska band. You won't find a better ska record this year-- an indictment of a genre that hasn't been shaken up in twenty years, since.. well.. the Arrogant Sons of Bitches.
12Every Time I Die
Radical


Genres: [metalcore][hardcore][hard rock]

Track I like: "Thing With Feathers"

Radical is the classic ETID experience from the most consistent band in the genre. They are not only still relevant, but hall of famers that are streets ahead of their peers.
11Little Simz
Sometimes I Might Be Introvert


Genres: [rap][hip-hop][grime]

Track I like: "I Love You, I Hate You"

I almost dismissed this record as one that was just too outside of my comfort zone; I'm glad I didn't. There are a ton of big ideas here; it's a continuously engaging experience.
10Slope
Street Heat


Genres: [hardcore][punk][jazz]

Track I like: "High Level"

This is a fun party record. Big gang vocals, heavy walking basslines. Think early RHCP. I think this one got missed by the punk community; give it a shot.
9Spiritbox
Eternal Blue


Genres: [metalcore][indie][progressive metal]

Track I like: "Secret Garden"

I think they leaned too heavily into the djenty metalcore that Periphery makes on this, but the tracks work well together as a unit and the cleans pace the record, keep it grounded, and make it a unique experience.
8Laura Mvula
Pink Noise


Genres: [pop][r&B][synth]

Track I like: "Safe Passage"

I've liked all three of her records a great deal. Mvula adds a sensual R&B flair to her style of pop-- on this one, she has leaned into the 80s aesthetic that has endeared artists like Carly Rae Jepsen to everyone recently.
7half/cut
Salt an Atlas


Genres: [indie pop][post-rock][dream pop]

Track I like: "Black Horse"

It's hard not to compare this band favorably with the Cranberries. There are moments on the record that drag out a bit too long, and get a few lines too repetitive-- but it's a quality record straight through.
6Teenage Wrist
Earth Is A Black Hole


Genres: [rock][shoegaze][indie]

Track I like: "Silverspoon"

Nothing you can do about losing your lead singer, but it's weird how well he was replaced; did you notice? This record is a decent follow up but it's a step down from CNJ nonetheless.
5Sleigh Bells
Texis


Genres: [indie pop][noise][rock]

Track I like: "Rosary"

Treats is an underrated classic, and everything else she released after that never got the right mix of pop and going hard in the paint. Texis is pretty close to the bullseye, finally.
4Better Off
Better Off


Genres: [indie][alternative][pop punk]

Track I like: "No Drama"

Nothing here I can't say the same for Cold Collective below...
3Cold Collective
Weathervane


Genres: [rock][alternative][indie]

Track I like: "Wait for It"

For fans of late-90s college rock radio, this album was fun to find; they bring a sharp edge to the likes of Our Lady Peace, Matthew Good Band, Matchbox 20 with none of the baggage that enjoying those types of bands brings.
2Cloud Nothings
The Shadow I Remember


Genres: [indie][rock][punk]

Track I like: "The Spirit Of"

This album will go underappreciated. It's not his older output, but it's a mark of consistency after Last Burning Building.
1Turnstile
Glow On


Genres: [hardcore][post-hxc][alternative]

Track I like: "Endless"

They've crossed the picket-line to extend hardcore to the masses. Glow On is not a perfect record, but it will change the trajectory of the genre. I don't think the importance of that can be understated.
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