Seasonal Music Round-Up — Winter / Spring 2021

For those who have been long-time followers of the blog, you may have been wondering where my monthly round-up articles have ran off to. Due to my aim to invest my time more thoughtfully this year, my answer to that comes in the form of my decision to create “seasonal” round-ups instead.

When I say “seasonal” in this case, it essentially means that I will be compiling a round-up for every quarter of 2021, with the first edition of these highlighting everything we’ve received so far this year, spanning from the very first day of January, to the final day of March.

This time of year is an important one for artists to establish either themselves or the newest of their great projects early on in the year, giving them much more of an advantage when it comes to building up sentimentality gradually over the course of the year. That being said, these picks of mine are special cases of ones to watch.

I will be compiling this round-up similarly to how I would’ve done for the monthly round-ups last year, with some minor adjustments, tweaks and conveniences along the way.

So with all of that out of the way, let’s jump right into the round-up, starting with my first category; my favourite albums of the season.

Top 10 Favourite Records of the Season

R.A.P Ferreira & Scallops Hotel — Bob’s Son

Released at the very start of the year, Rory Allen Phillip Ferreira brought two of his musical projects together into one piece. Successfully combining the more raw qualities of R.A.P Ferreira, with the trippy and artistic production that feels more synonymous with Scallops Hotel, Bob’s Son stood out as a very unique project, even amongst the artist’s numerous catalogues.

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

In The Pines — Slow Blink

Another album which arrived in the earliest part of the year, Slow Blink instantly gave off that warm and feel-good rock vibe; one that’s only become more enjoyable with the warmer days of spring rolling in. This project is absolutely brimming with bright and upbeat energy, and with a jazzy twist to boost, Slow Blink makes for a pretty wicked project.

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

Madlib — Sound Ancestors

I remember going into Madlib’s Sound Ancestors not really knowing what to expect, given that my only real exposure to the producer up to that point was his 2019 collaboration with Freddie Gibbs Bandana. But with the sheer versatility and technical skill that Sound Ancestors has to offer, this album ultimately became one that sticks out as a fantastic project.

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

Kid Kapichi — This Time Next Year

It was definitely fair to say that This Time Next Year was amongst one of my most anticipated releases of 2021, with Kid Kapichi releasing a generous helping of hard-hitting and highly engaging teaser tracks. The full album, upon its release, most certainly didn’t disappoint. Giving listeners even more modern punk bangers to enjoy, it ended up being everything I’d hoped for.

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

slowthai — TYRON

Another highly anticipated 2021 project was of course the sophomore effort from slowthai. Following on from his phenomenal debut, TYRON offers a more introspective side to the artist, splitting this album into halves, with hard-hitters followed by more mellow tunes, it was easy to see that there was a lot of thought, effort, and passion that went into TYRON.

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

Tash Sultana — Terra Firma

Following her awesome 2018 album Flow State, Tash Sultana brings us yet another album whose amazingly colourful sound shines vibrantly through. There is so much life and passion that this album carries, that it felt way to easy for me to sink deeply in to its atmosphere. I imagine with the more hazy summer days on the way, Terra Firma will grow on me even more.

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

Architects — For Those That Wish To Exist

While For Those That Wish To Exist was another 2021 album I had highly anticipated, I still wasn’t expecting it to stands as my favourite album the band had put out since Lost Forever // Lost Together, but it easily managed to stand as such a record. A rally cry for listeners who are desperate to find a better life for themselves in a world like this, this project’s engagement is truly unreal.

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

Genesis Owusu — Smiling with No Teeth

The debut album from Genesis Owusu absolutely blew me away, for just how many different moods and atmospheres the artist managed to champion so effortlessly. The sense of ambition that Smiling with No Teeth holds is totally awe-inspiring. It’s the kind of album that I could only dream of creating myself if I was an artist, as it is a true treat for the eclectic listener.

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

Black Honey — Written & Directed

The sophomore project from Brighton band Black Honey, I was utterly impressed with how far the aesthetic of the band has seemingly grow with this project. Not only do they stray further away from being your “typical indie band”, but they do so in a way that feels greatly unique to them. On top of this, the bright and warm feel this album has me pumped for the summer.

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

serpentwithfeet — DEACON

The latest album to make it to my top 10, DEACON had no trouble at all when it came to giving me the sense that it was a special album. With its bright, heavenly, and very affectionate presence, this album feels like a guaranteed way to feel good through music. By injecting his signature artistry into a more accessible framework, serpentwithfeet creates a lasting appeal with DEACON.

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

Top 30 Tracks of the Season

Bakar — Having a Good Time, Sometimes

R.A.P Ferreira & Scallops Hotel — yamships, flaxseed

Gary Numan — Intruder

Years & Years — It’s A Sin

Arlo Parks — Portra 400

Brent Faiyaz, DJ Dahi & Tyler, The Creator — Gravity

Madlib — Road Of The Lonely Ones

Kid Kapichi — Don’t Kiss Me (I’m Infected)

Foo Fighters — Making A Fire

Zella Day & Weyes Blood — Holocene

Black Country , New Road — Track X

Rebecca Black, 30H!3, Big Freedia & Dorian Electra — Friday (Remix)

slowthai — focus

JPEGMAFIA — PANIC ROOM!

Alfie Templeman — Everybody’s Gonna Love Somebody

Bob Vylan — CSGB

Architects & Winston McCall — Impermanence

Greentea Peng — Nah It Ain’t The Same

JID — Skegee

Freddie Gibbs — Winter In America

Genesis Owusu — Bye Bye

Gengahr — Under the Skin

KSI, YUNGBLUD & Polo G — Patience

Nubiyan Twist — Keeper

IDK — Just Like Martin

Black Honey — Fire

serpentwithfeet — Hyacinth

BROCKHAMPTON & Danny Brown — BUZZCUT

Gojira — Amazonia

Lil Nas X —MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)

Listen to the full playlist of all of my favourite tracks of January, February, and March below.

My Favourite EP of the Season

Bob Vylan — We Live Here

How could it honestly not have been this EP? Not only does We Live Here carry such a hard-hitting and fiery energy throughout, but it does an incredible job of addressing racism in the UK, from the perspective of the artist themselves. Not to mention, it’s great to see one of my favourite tracks of last year become the title track for its very own EP. You need to give this one a listen!

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

Music Video of the Season

Lil Nas X — MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)

It’s still hard for me to believe that we exist in a reality where we get to see Lil Nas X pole-dancing to hell to give the devil himself a lap-dance; we are honestly not worthy! But what really made this music video so great was how it intentionally rocked the homophobic boat, attracting negative criticism from insecure straight people, just as Lil Nas X had planned all along.

Album Cover of the Season

Architects — For Those That Wish To Exist

I’m glad that Architects have been breaking further away from re-hashing the letter A with each recent release, and the cover art for their newest venture is easily the most eye-catching in my opinion. Seeing a person in a space suit standing inside a church is uncanny enough, but the use of light and the subtle symbolism is also ingenious.

And that conclude the first of four seasonal round-ups, as well as the first quarter of 2021. Keep your eyes peeled for the next round-up, arriving at the end of June.

My articles mainly revolve around music reviews and analysis. A bit like Anthony Fantano, but just a decade behind.