For me, 2021 began with MOD SUN’s Internet Killed the Rockstar, an album I couldn’t get enough for at least a month. To no surprises and as my Spotify Wrapped showed me, ‘Flames’ was my most streamed song and I still enjoy it just as much as the first listen back in January. I also got really into the latest Architects album, and alongside Beartooth, has become the year’s heavy go-to album for me. As the year went on, I was also really impressed by some pretty spectacular singles on the heavy end of the spectrum. ‘Knives’ by Bullet For My Valentine? Fucking banger. ‘Secret Garden’ from Spiritbox? HUGE. I still need to give Spiritbox’s album a proper listen, so I guess I’ll chuck that on the Road to Knight & Day playlist.
This year, Australia’s alternative/heavy music landscape is absolutely glowing. Music from The Amity Affliction, Patient Sixty-Seven, Rumours, To Octavia, Days Like These and Head Wreck were some of the best releases on the scene for me. However, I’ve also been absolutely frothing anything and everything from the other side of the globe (UK/Europe), from Eskimo Callboy, Pale Waves and Trash Boat to As Everything Unfolds, Royals and Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! Also, has anyone else been vibing on the French metalcore scene lately? Bands like LANDMVRKS, ten56. and Show Me Your Universe are the future.
Anyway, while I did make a good effort in trying new music (heavier than my usual pop punkiness) this year, the abundance of pop punk (both new and old) that 2021 threw at us was insanity. From Kennyhoopla to Mod Sun, Hot Milk to nothing, nowhere, JXDN to Avril Lavigne, Between You and Me to Stand Atlantic, these are a few of the albums and songs that I just couldn’t get enough of…
TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2021?
#10 Sly Withers – Gardens
#9 Mod Sun – Internet Killed the Rockstar
#8 As Everything Unfolds – Within Each Lies the Other
#7 Kennyhoopla – SURVIVORS GUILT: The Mixtape
#6 Architects – For Those That Wish to Exist
#5 Hot Milk – I JUST WANNA KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I’M DEAD
#4 Between You and Me – Armageddon
#3 Trash Boat – Don’t You Feel Amazing?
#2 Beartooth – Below
#1 Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! – Gone Are the Good Days
TOP 10 SONGS OF 2021?
#10 Between You and Me ‘Deadbeat’
#9 Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! ‘Gone Are the Good Days’
#8 Hot Milk – ‘Split Personality’
#7 Simple Plan ‘The Antidote’
#6 Beartooth ‘The Past is Dead’
#5 MOD SUN featuring Avril Lavigne ‘Flames’
#4 The Amity Affliction ‘Like Love’
#3 Avril Lavigne ‘Bite Me’
#2 State Champs ‘Outta My Head’
#1 Stand Atlantic featuring nothing, nowhere ‘Deathwish’
TOP 5 MUSIC VIDEOS OF 2021
nothing, nowhere ‘Pieces of You’
Avril Lavigne ‘Bite Me’
State Champs ‘Just Sound’
Stand Atlantic ‘molotov [OK]’
Eskimo Callboy ‘We Got The Moves’
FIRST GIG YOU HAVE LINED UP POST-COVID?
Well, my first official festival back for the season was Elements Festival on the Sunshine Coast. But if we’re talking relative to our music scene, it’ll be Knight and Day Festival. So excited to ring in 2022 with everyone! Watch the WoS space for how my days pan out…
WHAT BAND GOT YOU THROUGH THESE PAST TWO YEARS?
Honestly? Whenever I feel like shit and just can’t anymore, my go-to has always been Simple Plan. While they still are, over the last two years, UK emo-pop outfit Hot Milk seem to have the key that unlocks my mind. Every song they’ve released so far is 100% what goes through my head on a daily basis. Between ‘Split Personality’ (yes, I’m a Gemini and I can have two personalities at times!) and ‘I Think I Hate Myself’, Han Mee and Jim Shaw are two of my favourite musicians in the industry right now and I’m counting down the days til I can experience Hot Milk live in 2022.
WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT YOU GOING INTO NEXT YEAR?
I’m full time employed again in a completely new and different industry from what I’ve been used to. Besides that though? Being more self-aware and intuitive. I’ve actually spent a great deal of time this year improving my self care habits, and let me just say — my mind has never felt stronger and clearer. My head is in a much better place than it was five years ago. As someone who has always struggled with self-confidence, I’m slowly shedding that part of me and becoming more comfortable in my own skin. I hope I can continue down this path of self-assurance into next year.
FAV NEW BAND/MUSICIAN DISCOVERED IN 2021
UK pop punk upcomers Royals. Their sound emanates exactly what I love about the genre, being so incredibly fun and upbeat, while sprinkling just the right amount of sadness throughout their lyrics to make it relatable. Simple Plan would be stoked and proud if they ever came across this song.
*Honorary new favs: As Everything Unfolds
NEXT BIG AUSSIE ACT TO WATCH IN 2022?
I’m unconventional. So in no particular order and because Australia’s music scene is incredible these days, I’m dropping in on FIVE bands everyone should watch over the next year…
Banks Arcade — I just love an alt/heavy band who can expand their sound with electronics and crunchy riffs. NZ/Melbourne-based Banks Arcade brought the wildfire with their UNFD debut ‘Don’t Start’ and I’m on the edge of my seat for what they’ve got to come for us in the next year…
Paperweight — they only dropped two singles and played two shows during the last 12 months, but expect this pop punk outfit to come firing on all cylinders in 2022. I’m definitely not biased or anything, but these kids are the best.
Head Wreck — These Brissie locals came in hot during the bookend of 2021 and after having witnessed them live a bunch of times around Brisbane, these boys have a promising future ahead.
Patient Sixty-Seven — Tom Kiely is absolutely one of the most down-to-earth, hardest working musicians in the industry. His band have picked up a crowd both here and overseas and they haven’t released a full-length yet! Whatcha got in 2022 boys?!
Drastic Park — I can foresee this rowdy three-piece being everyone’s new favourite discovery at music festivals everywhere. If we can’t get a Mark, Tom and Travis show in 2022, at least we’ll get the Drastic Park experience which is a solid alternative.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2022?
Hopefully making my first overseas trip in 4 years for SLAM DUNK FESTIVAL 2022! I’m also very excited to finally see The Offspring/Sum 41 and I Prevail in Australia after a 2-year delay.
There’s also new albums from State Champs, Simple Plan and Avril Lavigne to look forward to. Did we seriously rewind 20 years back to 2002 or what? If 2022 doesn’t give us a 20 year anniversary of Let Go, I want a refund. In saying that, 2022 also marks 20 years of The Young and the Hopeless, so can the pop punk gods please send Good Charlotte back into our lives too?
Written by Tamara May @citylightstam