What a solid year of releases! Perhaps the only miniscule sliver lining of this shitty pandemic was the fact that bands had so much down time to produce new music. A real testament to the art and the scene considering how much of a financial hit they all would be experiencing. I’m extremely grateful to them all especially knowing that music helps a lot of people mentally and I’m sure, got a lot of people through the last 2 years. If you’re able to do so, go buy some merch or get some tickets to the next gig to show your support!
As we were spoilt for releases, it made picking top albums and top songs super difficult this year. My mind changes daily, especially in relation to songs, but here are some of my hardest hitters…
TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2021
- Wage War – Manic
I didn’t immediately connect with Manic, but it quickly made its way into my heavy rotation. Wage War really solidified their confidence with this album. Favourites are ‘High Horse’, ‘Teeth’ and ‘Manic‘.
- The Plot In You – Swan Song
I’m a big fan of previous releases and was looking forward to this drop. Whilst it’s not my go-to TPIY album, it didn’t let me down. Swan Song is an emotional outcry straight from the therapy room. Favourites are ‘Fall Again’, ‘Face Me’ and ‘Enemy’.
- Citizen – Life in Your Glass World
This album deserves more recognition than it gets. It’s punchy, fun, pops, grooves, is moody and dreamy. I find it instantly familiar during its emotional road trip. Favourites are ‘Death Dance Approximately’, ‘I Want To Kill You’ and ‘Black And Red’.
- Holy Holy – Hello My Beautiful World
This Australian album was perfectly dropped at a time when chaos and uncertainty ruled the world and we all needed an escape to reset. Simply put, this album is pure magic. Even the title track (more poetry than song) puts me in a goosebump laden emotional trance. Favourites are ‘Believe Anything’, ‘Hello My Beautiful World’ and ‘Shoreditch’.
- Volumes – Happier?
Am I Happier? that this was released? Heck Yes. For me, it’s no Different Animals but it still holds its own. Happier? seems more polished and confident with the mix of uncleans/cleans (perhaps the stability they needed after so many lineup changes). It’s full of the Djenty Bass goodness and slick drumming that Volumes are known for. Favourites are ‘Malevolent’, ‘Bend’ and ‘Get Enough’.
- Ice Nine Kills – Welcome To Horrorwood: The Silver Scream 2
Who didn’t want a follow up to The Silver Scream? Horror-core makes me happy. INK nailed it again! Favourites are ‘Funeral Derangements’, ‘Hip To Be Scared’ and ‘Take Your Pick’.
- Tilian – Factory Reset
You either love his voice or hate it, and I bloody love it. Tilian Pearson (cleans from Dance Gavin Dance) smothers you with sexy vocals and lush melodies over the top of catchy electronic pop tracks. Oh boy do I swoon and sway. Man-crush for sure! Favourites are ‘Dose’, ‘Caught In The Carousel’ and ‘Is Anarchy A Good Hobby?’
- Can’t Swim – Change of Plans
Can’t Swim are one of my favourite bands. I love how they effortlessly genre mingle and change things up, but still manage to keep the Can’t Swim sound. They haven’t slowed down in releasing bangers, including this album (albeit a return to a more familiar sound) and would recommend to a friend. Favourites are ‘To Heal at All You Have to Feel It All’, ‘Set the Room Ablaze’ and ’10 Years Too Late’.
- Stepson – Help Me, Help You
This album pushed Stepson from a great band to legendary status and the walls of the Triffid prove it (QLD album of the year). Favourites are ‘Deeper Sleep’, ‘The Entire History of You’ and ‘Come with Me’.
- Architects – For Those That Wish to Exist
TOP 10 SONGS OF 2021
My top 10 songs don’t include any songs from my top 10 album list because we already know how good all those tracks are.
10. Bring Me The Horizon – ‘DiE4u’
9. WARGASM – ‘Scratchcard Feeling’
8. Zheani – ‘Fuck the Hollywood Cult’
7. IDLES – ‘The Wheel’
6. Bad Omens – ‘The Death of Peace of Mind’
5. Northlane – ‘Echo Chamber’
4. The Devil Wears Prada – ‘Sacrifice’
3. Alera – ‘Bleak’
2. GILT – ‘Through Mirrors (I Didn’t Want You As A Mirror)’
1. Yarraman – ‘Nail It Through’
BEST MUSIC VIDEOS OF 2021
Don Broco – ‘Endorphins’ (because power rangers)
Don Broco – ‘Bruce Willis’ (because Bruce Willis especially Die Hard scenes)
Eskimo Callboy – ‘We Got The Moves’ (because Oliver Tree meets A Night at the Roxbury with tiny hands)
Ice Nine Kills – ‘Assault & Batteries’ (because INK style chucky dolls)
Ice Nine Kills – ‘Funeral Derangements’ (because its sick, watch it)
FIRST GIG YOU’VE GOT LINED UP?
Stepson in January! Reschedule after reschedule (Fuck You Covid) I’ve been hanging to watch the boys tour the new album and fingers crossed it all happens this time around.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE APPROACHING NEW YEAR?
It would be real nice if all the pollies could pull their heads out their arses now. I think most of us have had enough. I’m hopeful that 22 sees the live music scene back up and pumping full scale, which of course will be amazing for local bands but will also lead to more internationals returning to our shores. I also feel we will again be spoilt with a slathering of new releases due to the past year. My radar is already going off for the first couple months!
NEXT BIG AUSSIE BANDS TO WATCH IN 2022?
- Alera – These newcomers are already smashing it. We all know they are going to get bigger and better.
- Wildheart – Just dropped the killer album Global Crisis. 22 will allow them to blow it up on stage.
- Pridelands – New album via Resist drops mid-January. I see big things.
- Hella Haunts – They remind me of a more rock version of Alkaline Trio. Only two singles dropped so far but fingers crossed its only the start of good things from the Brisbane boys.
- Mirrors – 22 Tours will be sick after the release of new album The Ego’s Weight
- Headwreck – Recent EP Glamorise Demise is getting a lot of talk/mention. Brisbane represent.
- FANGZ – They have a decent following. Hoping we see an album drop next year?
FAV NEW BANDS YOU DISCOVERED IN 2021?
Yarraman – They describe themselves as British Post-Hardcore with a powerful, driving and offbeat sound with angrily earnest vocals. Yarraman have released a couple of split EP’s but more recently have put out some new singles of which I’m hoping will be the lead up to a new album. Fingers Crossed!
GILT – Maybe I’m late to the game on this one? I don’t know how, but I just recently stumbled upon GILT. They are non-binary band who change sounds/leads regularly. I get so many different vibes from this band’s catalogue including hints of La Dispute and Brand New.
WARGASM (UK) – Matlock and Milkie Way are British duo who share vocals and pump out what can be described as highly energized electro-punk/post-hardcore/nu metal. They have only dropped singles so far so 22 might see an EP or LP drop? Their shows seem hectic, so I’m hoping they bring it down to Australian shores sometime in the near future.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2022?
- The rebuild of the live music scene!
- Listening to a shitload of new releases (Australian bands are killing it atm).
- Less fucks given to this pandemic, and
- The continuation of my weekly wrap-up of new music releases over on Wall of Sound Community of Legends. Looking forward to you dropping comments to keep the conversation and exploration going on new bands and music.
Stay Safe – Much Love!
Written by Tony Gorry @oootonyooo