2SER’S FAVOURITE RELEASES OF 2021!
It’s been another wild year in 2021, but despite it being trying times for performing artists, the quality music hasn’t stopped coming, both locally and from overseas.
So as we all get close to saying bye to another year, here is a cross-section of 2SER’s favourite releases of the year, sounds that have kept us sane.
Read on for our favourites of 2021, hand-picked by 2SER’s music shows and volunteers.
ANOTHER ANGLE with Lyndon Pike (Wednesday 2-4pm)
Alternate Endings by Snowy Band (Spunk Records)
This one found its way to me thanks to an algorithm somewhere, and I’m glad it did. Melbourne indie pop as only the Victorians can muster – one foot in the classic Australian jangle pop sound but with a ton of space and quietude, as well as jazz elements and beautiful male female harmonies. An understated album that found a small but dedicated audience who like some emotion with their pop. Snowy Band leader, Liam Halliwell, is no stranger to crafting a great song after spending many years in the much loved group The Ocean Party. The inclusion of the talented Emma Rusasack on guitar was bound to lead to finely crafted melodies and playing, all boosted by a deeply personal lyrical insight into Halliwell’s world. When 4 band members harmonize on the release, it takes me to a place I love to dwell in – a lovely little record.
I Know I’m Funny Ha Ha – Faye Webster (Secretly Canadian)
2021 saw me turning to well crafted songs by female singers. My radio show this year was filled with wonderful women who’s sensitivity and soothing voices were a welcome distraction from the world moving sideways. One voice that struck a chord with me was that of Altlanta’s Faye Webster. Soft and sad, it holds a hurting that also hides a wry grin. I was already a big fan of her album from last year, Atlanta Millionaires Club, and I was wondering how she’d possibly better it, but she did. Make no mistake – these are all sad songs, but sad in a way that is both funny and relatable. The production on the album is superb, with languid pedal steel guitar, lounge orchestrations, and soft rock providing a bed for Faye’s tender and sweetly seductive vocal to float over. There are melodies on this album that now live in me permanently.
Mother – Cleo Sol (Forever Living Originals)
Her 2020 release Rose In The Dark was my favourite album of last year, and now in 2021, the release of Cleo Sol’s Mother has seen the singer of Serbian, Spanish and Jamaican origin with a voice of pure silk rise to the top of my list once again. This is a perfect record. It reveals different colours on each listen and brings me equal parts joy and amazement in it’s depth. The ensemble gathered to play on this album must surely come from a jazz background, as the playing is never overstated or rushed. Credit must go to Inflo, who’s production gives these songs air and the space to build without you even noticing the mood has changed until you’re right in it. Gift this album to a female friend – its themes of new motherhood juxtaposed with the often difficult mother and daughter dynamic is something that many women will relate to strongly.
THE BAND NEXT DOOR with Cameron Menegoni (Thursday 10pm-Midnight)
Zeahorse – Let’s Not (And Say We Did)
From the second this album starts, the third full-length LP from this apocalyptic freewheelin’ four piece steadily muscles itself into high gear and stays there for the duration of its 33 minutes.
This Sydney band’s decade long kinship hasn’t dampened the fire that burns manically during the onslaught of burning hotrod rock that these horsemen bring. Churning out eight tracks of gurgling gutter sludge, Exorcising its thickened slicks of psych-leaded carnage that is best enjoyed at the loudest possible volume known to human existence.
New Talk – Time & Memory
The water of the West Coast has seen a tidal wave of visionary art rock outfits illuminate themselves in 2021 and none more so than the four-piece known as New Talk who released their poignant second album Time & Memory. The Perth quartet draw from the vast socio-political climate of Australian culture to paint a dynamically flawless and haunting tapestry that weaves through contextual ghosts of the past, present and the future. Blending mythological pageantry through the harsh Australian realities with carefully constructed and vibrant musical suites.
Moaning Lisa – Something Like This But Not This
The long awaited debut from the newly located Melbourne group delivers every alt-rock lover’s dream bundle of instantly anthemic and incredibly catchy refrains, that are soaked in a fuzzy haze of emotionally purging personal growth. You shouldn’t really feel self cautious at throwing yourself head first into this drama filled record, just keep in mind that it’s the demons under your bed that Moaning Lisa take aim at times on the gritty and noisey journey through your angsty journal entries, drilling into you the truths that you don’t have the guts to say to yourself.
2SER BREAKFAST with Willy Russo (6am-9am Monday to Friday)
Matthew E White – let’s ball
The Bamboos – Ride on Time
Leon Bridges – Steam
CURVED RADIO with Gayle Austin and Mr.K (Sundays 10pm to Midnight)
Sarah McQuaid – The St Buryan Sessions
Recorded live with no audience present in the medieval church of St.Buryan in Cornwall, UK, part of Sarah McQuaid’s ‘The St.Buryan Sessions’ was released song by song through this year. Each composition, accompanied by a beautifully shot video of its recording session, teased the viewer on each debut on YouTube like the end of and the beginning of a chapter in a book does. Drawn from a 24 year career-spanning repertoire, these re-imaginings of some of Sarah’s finest compositions are captured by various microphones placed strategically through the church. The attention to sonics, beautifully captures the ambience of the location and soulful folk resonance of this very fine vocalist. The album also thrills in its subtlety and musicianship as we follow Sarah’s delivery from an acapella to acoustic and electric guitar, to grand piano and even floor toms which match the shifts in musical style of each vocal and song. Thoroughly engaging and bewitching. ~mr.K
Everything Was Funny – Dave Graney and Clare Moore.
Rolling Stone said: “Above it all though, Everything Was Funny shines as a stellar example of what happens when two of the country’s finest and most respected artists are able to make the best of a bad year.”
And funny thing is they didn’t write about Covid or lockdown. This is one of the most adventurous albums I’ve heard this year. The humour, the humanity, the taking the piss. Dave Graney and Clare Moore are not pop stars pumping out the hits. They are artists creating new lanes for all who follow to be enticed into more exciting and at the same time more authentic explorations of our human condition. Gayle
‘Mood Valiant – Hiatus Kaiyote.
Hiatus Kaiyote is another band who, despite two grammy nominations, did not stay stuck in a format. They risked all by continuing to explore boundaries, and passion won through in this era of ‘fake’ and formats geared to popularism and radio charts. I love this band, they dare to stay true to their seeking ‘something else’ that is heading in the direction of reflecting who we are becoming. Gayle
THE DEPARTURE LOUNG with TREVOR PARKEE (Saturdays 3pm-5pm)
MARECHIA – Nu Genea feat. Celia Kaneni (NG Records)
Lucio Aquilina and Massimo Di Lena make up the Italian funk duo Nu Genea, purveyors of a lethal disco hybrid of world music, vintage electronic and hefty doses of funk grooves. Also the founders of NG Records, Nu Genea are following up their insanely underrated 2018 full-length Nuova Napoli with a brand new bop titled Marechià, a pulsing hipshaker employing the silky pipes of French chanteuse Célia Kameni. Fans of Khruangbin should start paying attention to this group now before all their vinyl is out of your price range. This handy dandy 7″ is a great starting point. Side B is the instrumental version. Dig it.
Sampology – Regrowth (Middle Name Records)
Brisbane based Multi Instrumentalist/DJ/Producer
Regrowth’ is an album the last two EPs ‘Natural Selections’ & ‘Mt Glorious’ have built towards. Despite his love for sampling – with the exception of the Mariana Ingold sample on the opening song on ‘Regrowth (Peace Lily)’ – all of the samples you hear on the album are recorded from scratch either in his home studio or on his travels over the past four years. Regrowth has string quartets, woodwind, full 20-piece choirs, vibraphones, double bass, various pianos and synths.
Emma Jean Thackery – Yellow (Movement)
The Ying and The Yang, The Future Sound Of Jazz and that’s Say Something about Yellow
The power music holds to bring people together has long been known, but the debut album by British jazz star Emma-Jean Thackray, with its spiritual, hippie-esque qualities, channels a feeling of unity that few other records can muster; she does it sincerely and without an air of preachiness.
With a strong sense of community at its core – an ethos that runs through the UK jazz scene – the connectivity from the dancefloor- It also aligns perfectly with the Yorkshire-born London-based polymath’s description of it being a record “about the oneness of all things in the universe, showing love and kindness”.
DIRT MUSIC with Stuart Coupe (Saturday 1pm-3pm)
ISRAEL NASH – TOPAZ.
Laurel Canyon vibes meets southern soul grooves meets Neil Young’s all pervasive influence on one of the albums I played most in 2021. In its grooves there’s the influence of Muscle Shoals and Memphis soul intertwined with the sounds of the Texas hill country around where Nash now resides and recorded the album. If you’re looking for a definition of contemporary cosmic country music look no further.
Reigning Sound – A little more time with. . .
Main Reigning Sound person Greg Cartwright delivers a totally infectious, diverse collection of songs that effortlessly combine garage rock with soul and pop. If the Fleshtones recorded in Memphis this is what they’d sound like. It’s hook laden, pulsating and totally rockin’ – with just the right touches of tenderness. The Dirt Music Party Starter of 2021.
Mick Dick – Ten Dubnamic Hits
So clever and sooooooo very good. Mick Dick takes a bunch of classic Australian and New Zealand gems from the late 60s and early 70s and gives them a heav, authentic dub sound and groove. Imagine Richard Clapton, Skyhooks, Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs, Chain, Daddy Cool and others getting a serious workover by King Tubby in a ganga filled studio in Jamaica and you’re right on the mark. The vinyl version came late in the year and was what it really needed.
DRIVE with Jessie Peake
The War on Drugs – I don’t live here anymore (featuring Lucius)
If you made a definition for the mash of the best of the 80’s with the best of rock – you’d find The War on Drugs to be the perfect match. Also, if I didn’t already have the soundtrack to the movie that is my life, this 2021 release gets my vote!
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – That Life
The grooviest track to come out of 2021, I couldn’t help but bob my head and wish my fingers glazed over the guitar like Mortal Orchestra. The vibes are all on with this song, and will be a featured addition to the summer playlist.
Al-Dos Band – Don’t Come Smiling Back
This disco band hit the nail on the head with this tune and is exactly the happy from the inside out we all needed this year. I said I wouldn’t smile and I did – you will too.
Lochie (Wednesday Drive)
Shame – Drunk Tank Pink
Drunk Tank Pink expresses a polished punk sound with inventive flair, showcasing obvious growth from the group’s first album. Still, the London band’s sophomore record produces an atmosphere of teenage punk which will be a point of affection if you’re a fan of shame’s debut record.
“Born In Luton” is perhaps the greatest exhibit of growth on Drunk Tank Pink. It’s polished, yet innovative and by no means ‘safe’. Imagine your Nan waving frantically while you reverse out of her driveway, but she’s wearing a Sex Pistols t-shirt, heavy eyeliner and a pair of Doc Martins – that’s what the guitar riff sounds like in the verses.
Skydeck – Coupon
Coupon is one of the many vinyls I bought this year and it over-delivers every single time I drop the needle on it. The Melbourne duo are a bit like an enigmatic Duran Duran, producing a dark breed of synth pop that you definitely would have seen on Countdown if that record was released 35 years earlier.
Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice – Remember The Future Vol. 2 &1
This ten-track extravaganza is probably what the Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack would have been like if it had featured Devo instead of Meatloaf. But what’s better than Devo? Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice. The Melbourne band making Meatloaf sound like Schmeatloaf.
Remember The Future? Vol 2 & 1 is an album chock full of unrestrained energy with a selection of satisfying, quirky melodies. The first track on the record, “Infinite Growth” is one of my favourite tracks released this year. The relationship between the flickering riff and synth line has more chemistry than Hugh Grant and his Welsh roommate in Notting Hill.
MIGHTY REEL with Hober Mallow (Friday 2pm-4pm)
Kalabrese – Let love rumpel (Part 1)
A standout album from the Zurich-based solo electronic chameleon. Deep organic sample based production and genre-bending compositions, ducking between elements of blues, dub, electronica and house music.
Vocal collaborations with Palma Ada and Lapcat give this a hazy and wistful tone, but that funky groove just drives it on and on, as do the playful and dubby production quirks. An effortlessly cool album for any season, and a great example of an album that pushes the boundaries of a sound while not losing sight of the dancer.
Rohne – Forms
Recorded in various remote locations around the world, using only a laptop, headphones and a field recorder, this is the second LP from self-taught producer, Rohne (Keenan Branch).
Based in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, Branch has sought places of stillness and isolation to compose his work, and there is a haunting and mysterious tone throughout.
In Forms, he explores sound and textures in a modern style, and this is a highly evocative journey through downtempo electronica and melodic soundscapes. Space interacts subtly with exquisite drum programming into a perfectly paced album here, drifting effortlessly between ambience and hypnotic dancefloor sequences.
Edseven and Megatronic – Sweet Romance EP
Dropping not before the lockdown via Turntables on the Hudson, this is stellar 3 tracker by Sydney electronic stalwart Edseven and London-based vocalist Megatronic.
This teamup began from a chance meeting on a dancefloor in Sydney before the pandemic, and came to fruition via bouncing ideas across the world via dropbox.
The combination is wonderfully raw and groove-based deep house music with elements of garage, soul and cosmic disco. The sound is evocative of Midwest and East Coast U.S.A styles, while the ever-present vocals of Megatronic bring a strong vibe and attitude that make this an under the radar winner for me.
Monday Daily Gig Guide with Oscar Byrne and Jarred Cross
The Laurels – Ex-Sherpa
The first time I heard this swirling delight of a tune I couldn’t believe that it was released by a Sydney band in 2021! What grabs me about this track is the ease at which it oozes with the attitude and swagger of madchester, with it’s baggy rhythms, anthemic choruses and floating vocals you can hear how much influence the outfit draws from bands like the Charlatans and the Happy Mondays. Could the resurrection of the madchester genre take place in Sydney ?
The Salarymen – All in Vain
The Salarymen always serve up an effortlessly dreamy sound that somehow never fails to make me feel warm and nostalgic. The latest single from the outfit ‘All In Vain throws in a splash of lushy sythns, piercing vocal melodies and jangly guitars, all the ingredients needed for a classic Salarymen song. I can safely say that this track gets better with every listen and is heart melting when heard in a live setting. Good luck not falling in love with The Salarymen and All in Vain!
Silver Synthetic – Self Titled
Blending the raw garage-rock of The Bottomfeeders with the deft singer-songwriter esque psychedelia of JEFF the Brotherhood was always going to be right up my alley. The resulting record is a melting of the two outfits, with the inclusion of jangly guitar lines and thoughtful lyrics that parallel fellow Louisianians, Neutral Milk Hotel.
Given that Silver Synthetic could be described as a supergroup, I hope this was less of a ‘project’ and more of a sign of things to come. I was stoked to hear it on heavy rotation as a Feature Album earlier in the year.
THE OUTPOST with Vinny Ramone (Thursday 12pm-2pm)
The Felice Brothers – From Dreams to Dust
The Felice Brothers hail from Pallenvile in the Catskill Mountains, 100 miles northwest of NYC. It’s Woodstock territory, with the band’s old-timely folk-shambolic rock influences always at the core.
Fronted by singer-songwriter Ian Felice and brother James Felice, they’ve been leaders of the Americana charge since 2005. From Dreams To Dust, their eighth studio album, is their most ambitious and these cradle to the grave songs may be their finest. The band’s eccentricity is on display with Jazz On The Autobahn (where they contemplate how the apocalypse may sound); Be At Rest (Mr. Felice’s self-penned funeral elegy); Inferno (a movie theme cultural referencing Jean- Claude van Damme and Kurt Cobain); We Shall Live Again (an epic hymn offering up a world of possibilities and hope, where “St. Francis of Assisi” rhymes with “the fans of AC/DC”). From Dreams To Dust is the Felices’ Music For Big Pink reimagined v.2021.
Allison Russell – Outside Child
Outside Child is the solo debut by French-Canadian singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist Allison Russell. It’s been a long musical journey, with Russell previously releasing music with Po’ Girl and Birds of Chicago, before teaming up with Rhiannon Giddens for the all-girl Our Native Daughters’ 2019 critically acclaimed album. Nowadays Russell resides in Nashville, but had a difficult and shocking upbringing in hometown Montreal, born to a teenage schizophrenic single mother and growing up with an adoptive father who sexually abused her for a decade till she ran away at fifteen.
Through Outside Child Russell ‘s autobiographical heartfelt songs detail her traumatic childhood – “Father used me like a wife, Mother turned the blindest eye, Stole my body, spirit, pride, He did, he did each night”. But the album’s also about recovery and survival and it’s just been nominated for 3 Grammys, including Best Americana Album. Hearing Outside Child, you know Allison is already a winner.
Bob Weatherall and Halfway – Restless Dream
Restless Dream is an extraordinary collaboration between Kamilaroi elder Bob Weatherall and the Brisbane based purveyors of all things alt-country-rock Halfway, together with renowned digeridoo player William Barton. It tells the story of Bob Weatherall’s lifelong work repatriating stolen Aboriginal ancestral remains from around the globe, where they were used for research to “confirm Aboriginal people were a lower form of human being”. Combining modern music, traditional Kamilaroi language and spoken word, Restless Dream frames the rich landscapes of stories – “They gave him back in a potato sack”. First conceived in 2005, when Bob would swing by the Halfway house at band practise nights, it premiered as a performance piece with cinematic soundscapes, traditional dance and stunning visual elements, at the 2021 Brisbane Festival. Restless Dream is one of the most important and powerful records ever made and its story of “dead blackfellas” is essential listening for whitefellas with a conscience.
SUPER HAPPY FUN TIME HOUR with Bang and Eddie Yutts (Sundays 11am-midday)
New World – Scraps.
I first heard Scraps in Brisbane when she was based there, but she now calls Tasmania home. New World was released by Sydney label Moontown Records. Abstract synth pop which meanders into more experimental ideas and shapes, New World is the exact album I was hoping for after her third album TTNIK. It’s home grown/indie vibe keeps it real, honest and grounded while her many years of mastering the machines she makes tunes with elevates it above lo-fi sounds, with lush textures and detailed melody lines weaving together blissfully. Thoughtful vibes equally suited for quiet, solo contemplating or dancing in the kitchen, at least that’s how it works for me.
STATIC WITH BERKO and MICK (Thursdays 8pm-10pm & repeated Saturdays 8am-10am)
Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders – Hijack!
A welcome pivot away from the more frivolous, jokey side of his songwriting into some personal examination and rumination, albeit still done via his razor-sharp gallows humour. From its title inwards, it’s The Artist Never Known As Tim Rogers taking a long hard look at himself (opener “Astronaut” asks “Who am I gonna be when I get free? Who am I gonna be? Me?”), via stints in self-help clinics (“Xmas In Rehab”) and time on the road (“American Smile”). Turns out a lot of his issues stem from being raised on a diet of 90’s alt-rock – “Negative Blender” lays the blame squarely at the feet of Beck, Denis Leary, Nirvana, Silverchair, Radiohead and The Offspring. But all is not lost – there’s love in its heart, too on “Blueberry Eyes”, a very direct, unironic ode to his daughter. There’s hope for the Mayor Of Hurtsville yet.
Listen to the “Static” interview with Jack Ladder here.
audiobooks – Astro Tough
The second album from the oddball London duo doubles down on their debut’s eccentric stories and freakish electro-pop. Made up of revered producer/mixer/engineer David Wrench (Frank Ocean, The xx) and singer/painter/model Evangeline Ling, the pair first met at a party and inject their songs with a spirit of playfulness and unfiltered abandon that’s captivating. Musically sitting somewhere between The Knife and Haysi Fantayzee, audiobooks’ songs are turned into stories of crass class climbers (“The English Manipulator” and “Trouble In Business Class”) and sex-etiquette predicaments (“Blue Tits” and “First Move”) via Evangeline’s stream-of-consciousness ranting (“Give it it to me raw, Give it to me fresh, Give it to me like you are on dinner duty baby!”). A real page-turner.
Listen to the “Static” interview with audiobooks here.
Ducks Ltd. – Modern Fiction
A tight and tidy debut from a Toronto twosome featuring ex-Melbournite Evan Lewis in the line-up, who brings a heavy dose of Antipodean jangle to the table. Freely namechecking past and present Aussie guitar-popsters as influences, the duo cherry-pick the best of The Triffids,The Go-Betweens, The Goon Sax and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever for their buoyant but reflective songs. Lyrically it’s stacked with thoughts of the mundane (“Smoking 18 cigarettes, Giving 2 away,Thinking smugly ‘How does anyone smoke a pack a day?'” on “18 Cigarettes”) and anxious self-doubt (“What are you waiting for, Wishing your nights away?” on “Sullen Leering Hope”), but all offset by chiming six-strings that make everything feel okay. Evan even gets a direct nod to home on wistful closer “Grand Final Day”, which documents watching St Kilda play from 10,000 miles away. A ducking good time.
Listen to the “Static” interview with Ducks Ltd. here.
THE TUCKSHOP with Mick and Jules (Sunday 6pm-8pm)
Ngaiire – 3
For well over a decade now, Ngaiire has been creating some of the most evocative and wrenching music in the country. On her last album, 2016’s ‘Blastoma’, she mined the trauma around her childhood cancer; now, on 2021’s vivid ‘3’, she’s turned her attention to her identity, her struggle within the white Australian music industry, her deep desire for connection with her ancestors and to be represented as the person she actually is.
Ngaiire is done being put in a box drawn by music industry execs. There’s a lot to unpack, and Ngaiire does so with songs that gentle press against the boundaries of soul and R&B.
It’s an album that demands repeat listens, that unfurls a little more with every play.
Polish Club – Now We’re Cookin’
David Novak and John-Henry Pajak may be the two funniest guys in the Australian music industry, but don’t mistake their cheekiness for carelessness. Their third album ‘Now We’reCookin’ is polished and pristine, the result of furiously writing and rewriting and scrapping it all and doing it all again – and again. The duo wrote a massive batch of songs during the 2020 lockdown, before drilling down to the punchy 10 tracks that appear on the album.
There’s a big step towards stadium indie pop melodies – single Stop For A Minute and New Age could be Two Door Cinema Club cuts. It doesn’t sound of place at all: Polish Club have hit upon a recipe for success.
Dominic Breen – Blue Volume
The musical artistry of Dominic Breen is revealing itself. Like a perennial flower that blooms slowly, but surely, resplendent in it’s beauty even when not fully open, his talents are on display and they are beautiful.
Blue Volume is a debut album that cuts through with it’s tenderness, it’s honesty and at the same time, the ambiguousness keeps you thinking and interpreting with every listen.
A highlight of the record, ‘James Street Tonight’ showcases the range of Breen’s voice and the ability to pull you into his world, feel what he feels, see what he sees and ultimately feel better about the world. Keep watching this flower.
Amyl and the Sniffers – Comfort to Me
Amyl are a band that have built their reputation on live music and performing in small, sweaty venues to hundreds of wild and hypnotised fans.
So what happens when you’re looking to record an album and have no touring or performing dates? You make it sound tight, slick and amazingly good. ‘Comfort To Me is the step that this band needed to be acknowledged as not only a great GREAT live band, but also exceptional recording artists.
Hertz, one of the hits from the record – straight from the get go, is visceral, powerful and yearnful all in the one 2 min 34 sec package. Amy, declaring she just wants to taken to the beach…the country…the backseat – if you love her. It’s just a huge highlight of the year with a short sweet and killer guitar solo added in. A great song to dance around the room air punching against the mean and unfair world!
The whole album will have you shouting, jumping around, wishing you were at a gig – as long as Security will let you in.
WHEN THE LEVEE BREAKS with Pete Pasqual, EO, Tiera, Del Piero and Modman (Saturday 6pm-8pm)
QUANTIC featuring Nidia Gongora – Almas Conectadas
I have been a massive fan of William Holland aka Quantic, ever since his early 2000’s recordings. His solo work, The Quantic Soul Orchestra funk releases or any of his collaborations and reworks, have all taken me on a very enjoyable, exciting and educational journey. In fact I would call Quantic a teacher above every other accolade I could think of to describe his talents. But not just a prolific artist and producer…the roads he takes are very diverse, far and broad, but somehow there’s always that distinctive Quantic flavour to everything he creates.
Quantic is no stranger to working with some amazing women vocalists, and with this 2021 album Almas Conectadas he is once again working with Columbian singer Nidia Góngora, and together have offered a beautiful album rooted in polyrhythms and folklore melodies. If you’ve recently found your heart beating out of sync at times, especially through these tougher times, this could be the much needed gentle punch to the chest, that may make you feel alive again. In a world of pandemic walls and barriers, I’m not sure how Quantic is managing to get all these glorious colours of sound from around the world mixed together, but he does, and my heart and soul are gratefully dancing to it!
La Femme – Paradigmes
This the 3rd album from La Femme was another one of those nicer things that happened for me in 2021. But boy did they make us wait for this one.
Both their earlier lp’s Psycho Tropical Berlin (2013) and Mystère (2016) are great “revisiting” albums. And what I mean by that, is there seems to be a new gift on their records that somehow you may have missed, the first couple of hundred of times you listened to it. There’s something about the way they write and compose. Like chapters and small stories, not necessarily intent on writing popular hits. They could be the most “un pop” pop music band out right now, and are gathering a huge following in their home country of France! So many wonderful threads to like about this band…space disco, dreamy surf, electro punk. And ofcourse I’m going to fall for anything with beautiful ethereal sultry french vocals. But I’m really not sure how great this record is right at the moment. Could take me years to find out. I don’t even know where to put these records in my library, but what I do know is. I love this band! Thankyou 2021 for Paradigmes!
La Femme – Le Sang De Mon Prochain
La Luz – La Luz
La luz makes music that sounds like summer. Like lush hot summer days, sandy feet, mirage-like heat lines emanating from the road, and sickly sweet melted ice cream that melts too fast over your hands.
This year the Seattle-based all-women band released their fourth studio album. A self-titled release existing within the same universe as previous ones but somehow managing to be both more grounded and psychedelic in nature. This is no doubt due, in part, to their collaboration with Adrian Younge, who is primarily known for his work with hip-hop, soul, and jazz acts. But luckily for us, some collaborations transcend genre, and their simpatico approach to making music shines through to create something truly unique. La Luz is a lush well-rounded record, replete with fuzzed-out guitars, melodic harmonies, and soulful Hammond-led melodies that will see high rotation on my record player for years to come.
La Luz is easily one of my favorite bands playing today, not least because they make their audience create a Soul Train line at every gig.
Quantic / Alice Russell – I Won’t Fade Away
Well we waited, locked down (and down and out!) through 2021 for a ‘pick me up’ and this is IT! A massive House sound from our house favourite and label-owner, Quantic. Features a sample of The Quantic Soul Orchestra ‘Pushin On’, featuring Alice Russell.
Brooklyn-based Selva Records have been issuing some banging tracks in the last two years, so at least lockdown was productive for them 🙂
What’s not to love with this uptempo style? Enjoy! Erica (EO)
The Escapes – Defective World
A limited release on Sydney based DIY indi label, Evil Tone Records ETR-005, Aug 2021. They are a small label that put out vinyl only of bands that they are passionate about, garage/punk/rock. I like to support local bands and especially releases on Vinyl of local bands. I love the Escapes track as it is a fuzzed out punk track with humour and they are a fun local band to see live.