Best of Indie Rock 2021


Time for some softer music. Is it still good if it’s not constant chaos? Yeah, yeah things are pretty damn good, actually!


Number Five: Zouz – Vertiges


Let me be chauvinistic a little, and start with a homegrown band. Zouz border on post-punk, noise rock, and math rock, but there’s a middle line in that whole mess that intersects with indie rock sensibilities. Vertiges is a fun, varied, and addictive album that you’re sure to put on repeat multiple times!


Number Four: Ventifacts – Ventifacts


Microtonal indie rock still counts, right? Damn right it does! Ventifacts is the project of Ben Spees and Damon Waitkus, two legends of the contemporary prog rock scene, and on this album, they use various instruments in microtonal tunings in creative ways to subvert expectations we have developed over our lives listening to normitonal music. The result is, as you might imagine, quite enthralling! One of the best albums of the year!


Number Three: Requin – Shark


Shark is the first and last album of Aotearoan band Requin, and that’s really a shame! These songs walk the line between math rock and emo, and they’re all brilliant! The soft and gentle vocals, the lush harmonies, everything just clicks. One of the best albums of the year!


Number Two: The Body & Big, Brave – Leaving None but Small Birds


This is very good. This is incredibly good (and yet better still is to come)! The Body—noise/sludge—collaborating with Big, Brave—post-rock/doom—gives us this folksy indie rock album? Hell yeah! Leaving None but Small Birds is a melancholic, slow, touching, down-to-earth album that’s hypnotic, moving, and dangerously addictive!


Number One: Adjy – The Idyll Opus


Alright, hear me out. The Idyll Opus is an indie folk-rock concept album at times reminiscent of the Dear Hunter and that ends with a seventeen-minute epic, and it’s incredible. There’s just something with this album that reaches straight to my heart: the melodies, the lyrics, the driving folk-rock music, everything just blends together so well it’s uncanny. The indie rock category was insanely competitive this year, I’ve had so many doubts and tough choices to make, but this album was always at the top. It’s just that good!


Notable Releases

Hover over foreign scripts for pronunciation and romanization.

Friday, 22 January

Palberta – Palberta 5000

37:27
experimental rock
New York, New York
Wharf Cat

Tracklist (click to display)


Wednesday, 17 February

Indigo La End – 夜行秘密

56:21
J-rock
Japan
WM Japan


Tracklist (click to display)


Tuesday, 20 April

Ursine – Cartoons

41:02
indie rock
Chicago, Illinois
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Tuesday, 18 May

Requin – Shark

34:31
art pop, indie rock
Brisbane, Australia
4000


Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 21

Trade Wind – The Day We Got What We Deserved

27:28
alternative rock
International
Other People

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 28 May

Brendan Byrnes – 2227

49:57
experimental rock
Los Angeles, California
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 4 June

Japanese Breakfast – Jubilee

36:34
alternative rock
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Dead Oceans

Tracklist (click to display)


Wednesday, 30 June

Adjy – The Idyll Opus

97:44
progressive rock
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Triple Crown

Tracklist (click to display)

Horsey – Debonair

34:12
noise rock
London, UK
Untitled

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 13 August

The Killers – Pressure Machine

51:10
alternative rock
Las Vegas, Nevada
Island


Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 20 August

Sheen Marina – Sheen Marina

35:50
experimental surf rock
Brooklyn, New York
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 10 September

Molly Drag – Resemble Another

48:05
slowcore
Montréal, Québec
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Wednesday, 22

Ventifacts – Ventifacts

51:25
experimental rock
Brattleboro, Vermont
Independent

Read our review.

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 24 September

Sufjan Stevens & Angelo De Augustine – A Beginner’s Mind

45:27
folk
New York, New York
Asthmatic Kitty

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 1 October

Bon Enfant – Diorama

42:01
psychedelic rock
Montréal, Québec
Duprince

Tracklist (click to display)

The Body & Big, Brave – Leaving None but Small Birds

38:25
indie rock
Portland, Oregon
Thrill Jockey

Tracklist (click to display)


Tuesday, 12

Gypsum – Gypsum

43:10
indie rock, math rock
Los Angeles, California
Sonic Ritual

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 15 October

Zouz – Vertiges

37:19
indie rock
Montréal, Québec
Lazy at Work

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 3 December

Corey Mastrangelo – Long Distance Station to Station

53:39
indie rock
New Jersey
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 10

ᐲᑐᕆᔅ ᑎᐊShifting

32:51
indie folk
Quaqtaq, Québec
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)

Bill Callahan & Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Blind Date Party

90:01
indie rock
Chicago, Illinois
Drag City

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 17 December

Big Fat Meanies – Bad Hand

26:33
progressive ska
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Best of 2021

01/01 – Best of Afrobeat
01/02 – Best of Atmospheric Black Metal
01/03 – Best of Avant-Garde Black Metal
01/04 – Best of Brutal Death Metal
01/05 – Best of Classical
01/06 – Best of Death Metal
01/07 – Best of Deathcore
01/08 – Best of Doom Metal
01/09 – Best of Folk
01/10 – Best of Grindcore
01/11 – Best of Hardcore
01/12 – Best Improvisation
01/13 – Best of Indie Rock

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