Seasonal Music Round-Up — Autumn / Winter 2021
So here we are folks; 2021 is finally coming to a close. This means two things; the first, is that I have a lot of work to do, to round-up everything we’ve been fortunate enough to listen to this year, into my usual series of lists. Secondly, this will be the final seasonal round-up of 2021.
Given the aforementioned wave of work that I am about to endure, as well as the common fact that the final quarter of the year is more of a scarce time for new music to arrive, this particular round-up will be somewhat shorter than what I would typically write. Essentially, I will be revisiting my favourite albums and singles in smaller portions. But as for the other musical tidbits of autumn and winter, they will remain the same in regards to quantity.
This round-up will be covering my musical highlights of October, November, and December. If you would like to check out what I thought for the other three quarters of the year, I have listed links to those articles below.
Now that my token intro is out of the way, we can finally dive in to the marvellous musical highlights that 2021’s final quarter had to offer.
Top 5 Favourite Records of the Season
[in no particular order]
Sam Fender — Seventeen Going Under
After indie rock singer-songwriter Sam Fender blasted onto the scene with his debut album Hypersonic Missiles, it is great to see that the lockdown-induced delays and creative blocks that he must’ve faced didn’t affect just how atmospheric and engaging his sophomore album is. It’s easy for any listener to grasp Fender’s lyrics, and enjoy every part of doing so.
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes — Sticky
The Rattlesnake’s fourth studio-length project, titled Sticky, is what I would like to call a “butterfly project” (which is essentially my way of saying magnum opus). It really feels like The Rattlesnakes have snuggled nicely into the sound and aesthetic they have been building up towards. And with how awesome it sounds, it is definitely a welcome stylistic change.
Scarlxrd — DeadRising
Scarlxrd strikes again, with what is his second studio album of the year. While his previous project, February’s Dxxm II had more time to build some kind of iconic value, DeadRising still equals that project in intensity and memorability. Scarlxrd is without a doubt one of the most exciting artists that I have discovered this year, and it was great to be so spoiled with so many amazing tunes.
Silk Sonic — An Evening With Silk Sonic
Just in time for the festive season, Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak come together to create one of the most feel-good albums of the year. Both of these artists are champions of their own sound. But with this collaboration, they have all listeners feeling and sharing the love induced by all of the vibrant and emotive masterpieces that come with this record.
Richard Dawson & Circle — Henki
Richard Dawson and Circle offer music lovers one more amazing project to top the year off with. Both of the artists respective styles work to compliment and elevate one another perfectly, combining Circles experimental rock sound with Dawson’s top-notch lyrical storytelling. As a result, Henki is an utterly intriguing and artful project, complete with impact, memorability, and charm.
Top 25 Tracks of the Season
[in no particular order]
Pond — Toast
An atmospheric and almost nostalgic sounding conclusion to Pond’s ninth studio album. The depth of this single made it one of the records highlights.
Sam Fender — Mantra
Out of all of the tracks to be found on Sam Fender’s sophomore album, “Mantra” is definitely one of the most beautiful, which is saying a lot.
Don Toliver & Kali Uchis — Drugs N Hella Melodies
Hella melodies indeed; especially with Kali Uchis serving as a featured artist on this one, there’s such a huge level of indulgence and luster that this track provides.
Blu — Blu(e) World
The second time in recent years that listeners have heard The Four Freshmen’s “It’s A Blue World” as a sample, Blu’s heartful lyrics go hand in hand with said sample.
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes — Rat Race
Arguably my favourite track off of The Rattlesnakes’ album Sticky without a featured artist, “Rat Race” embodies the band’s awesome stylistic change.
Obongjayar — Message in a Hammer
Just when I thought that Obongjayar couldn’t be any more energetic with his authentic sold sound, “Message in a Hammer” proves me wrong.
JPEGMAFIA — ARE U HAPPY?
To see a more softer side of JPEGMAFIA is a rarer case. But even with how chilled the sound of “ARE U HAPPY?” is, it still carries that signature quirkiness.
Scarlxrd — Cxffins
With just how hard Scarlxrd has gone with so many of his other tracks, it would’ve taken something especially intense to blow me away even more; this is what “Cxffins” managed to do.
Mastodon — The Crux
I must admit, Mastodon’s new album wasn’t the most memorable. However, this track definitely stood out as one that embodied that old-school Mastodon explosiveness.
Limp Bizkit — Dad Vibes
Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought we’d get to hear new material from Limp Bizkit in 2021, but “Dad Vibes” proved that they haven’t changed a bit.
Kid Cudi & JAY-Z — Guns Go Bang
Part of a soundtrack for a western movie titled The Harder They Fall, these two hip-hop artists create something both unique and aesthetically matching.
Alfie Templeman — 3D Feelings
In typical Alfie Templeman fashion, he has managed to bless us with another summer vibe. Only this time, it has listeners looking forward to the upcoming summer of 2022.
Ocean Grove — Cali Sun
Speaking of summer vibes, Ocean Grove seemingly teases an upcoming 2022 project with a track that carries all of the amazing qualities that made their 2020 album so phenomenal.
Rejjie Snow — Arigato
Rejjie Snow continues to display his uniqueness through this multi-phased track. Each of these phases are borderline-bewitching to listen to.
IDLES — Crawl!
I definitely think that “Crawl!” is a case of sometimes familiarity being the better quality. While the album ot features on is more stylistically different, this track is unmistakably IDLES.
Silk Sonic — Smoking Out the Window
While An Evening With Silk Sonic in its entirety showcases exceptional vocal talents, this track undoubtedly shines brightest in that regard.
Code Orange — Out For Blood
Code Orange give listeners a more anthemic sounding track than what we heard on Underneath. Nevertheless, it is still an entirely badass tune.
Slipknot — The Chapeltown Rag
In more recent years, Slipknot have definitely been more hit and miss than they used to be. However, “The Chapeltown Rag” definitely stands as a hit.
KAYTRANADA & Thundercat — Be Careful
The wondrous and almost spacey atmosphere of this track proves that KAYTRANADA is very good at stylistically complimenting featured artists, especially the likes of Thundercat.
R.A.P Ferreira — Gemilut Hashadim
The best quality that R.A.P Ferreiras newest album carries, is how especially artsy it is. As for “Gemilut Hashadim”, this track definitely carries that sentiment through.
Earl Sweatshirt — 2010
It looks like Earl Sweatshirt is back, and seemingly teasing an upcoming project in 2022. And with the dynamic weirdness of “2010”, Earl begins this teasing cycle brilliantly.
Richard Dawson & Circle — Lily
A shining example of Richard Dawson’s lyrical storytelling. The story behind “Lily” is perfectly complemented by the somber and almost spooky atmosphere provided by Circle.
Khalid & JID — All I Feel Is Rain
A somber and soulful single, “All I Feel Is Rain” sees Khalid and JID stand as a match made in heaven, and the powering force behind this accessible and memorable tune.
Bakar — Build Me a Way
With the minimal production behind “Build Me a Way”, Bakar comes through with one of the most raw singles he’s put out in 2021, while still carrying memorable lyrics.
Blue Lab Beats, KillBeatz & Fela Kuti — Motherland Journey
While Blue Lab beats served as a driving force behind an energetic summer vibe, they show that they can keep this energy alive in the winter too.
My Favourite EP of the Season
Delaire The Liar — Eat Your Own
The very last project I had written a full review of this year, Delaire The Liar’s new EP was truly a marvellous way to end things off in 2021. Not only do the band tackle an incredibly tricky subject effortlessly, but they display their almost nostalgic musical style loud and clear. It really does go without saying, that Delaire The Liar are a band to keep your eyes and ears on moving forward.
Music Video of the Season
IDLES — THE BEACHLAND BALLROOM
It should come as no surprise that IDLES know how to make some of the most interesting music videos in recent years. But with the first teaser track for their new album CRAWLER, the band actually made two music videos for, displayed as parts 1 and 2. Part 2 especially, reflects the darker and more personal narrative behind the entire album perfectly.
Album Cover of the Season
Richard Dawson & Circle — Henki
I always love an album cover that has a lot of things to look at, without being overly chaotic or messy. Henki’s album cover is exactly that. Along with this, the minimal colouration and hand-drawn design plays in to the almost archaic charm that this album has stylistically. Lastly, the versatility of the “towers” that this cover art has reflects the versatility of the singles we get in Henki.
And that concludes my seasonal round-ups. Below is a calendar for all of the lists I have lined up for the end of the year. I hope you have enjoyed the musical year of 2021 as much as I have.
Sunday 26th December: Last Minute Album Reviews — 2021 Edition
Monday 27th December: Top 10 Live sets of 2021
Tuesday 28th December: Top 15 EPs of 2021
Wednesday 29th December: Top 50 Albums of 2021
Thursday 30th December: Top 100 Tracks of 2021
Friday 31st December: End Of Year Review — 2021 Edition