Best of Math Rock 2021


Math rock is usually characterized by odd-time signatures, but through the years it came to encompass a lot more than that. Now, you can find straight-up alt-rock bands under the math rock tag, and even though I used to be a valiant gatekeeper of the genre, these days are passed. I now fully embrace all kinds of math rock music, be they super rhythmically engaging, or only remotely belonging into math rock territory. I hope you’ll feel the same way as I do about these following albums.


Number Five: 水中スピカ – mEq


There always seems to be a new Japanese math-ish rock band coming out, these days, but let me introduce you to one you probably don’t know (unless you’ve already read my review of the album, that is… 水中スピカ (Suichū supika) has released a fantastic debut (?) album earlier this year, and even though it’s nothing we haven’t heard already from the likes of Tricot, Elephant Gym, and Jyocho, it’s well made and deserves the spotlight, so get a copy!


Number Four: Delta Sleep – Spring Island


Yeah… it’s great. There, I said it! I try to keep silent about more widely-known b(r)ands throughout the year, in favour of the lesser-known kind, but I’ve got to give credit where credit is due, and the end of the year is the perfect time for that! Spring Island is great, but you already know that, right?


Number Three: Sam Birchall – Cosmos and Disaster


Sam Birchall’s guitar-focused album totally axed me when it first came out, and now that I go back to it to write this, the feeling’s the same! I love the crystal-clear yet slightly overdriven sound he’s going for, and the guy’s clearly got the chops for it! Definitely one of the more technical math rock albums from this year, and it slays!


Number Two: Paper Mice – 1-800-Mondays


Paper Mice are at the juxtaposition of math rock, noise rock, and hardcore, which makes for a pretty cool, unique sound! On 1-800-Mondays, you get all the weird riffs and melodies you want, with a surprising range of dynamics, from soft staccati to harsh blasts of distortion, back to a swell of strings, and to intentionally dissonant chords. Everything is tied up very neatly, and it’s a very fun listen!


Number One: Naia Izumi – A Residency in the Los Angeles Area



This album is a straight-up descendent of twinkly emo mixed up with R&B and electro-pop. The result is a soulful album that throws banger after banger at you and in which you can contemplate the guitar prowesses of Naia (and his vocal ones too). There still are those sought-after odd-times, but they’re not at the forefront, rather being used as a compositional tool (as they should be!), which further reinforces my feelings that this album is genuinely the best.


Notable Releases

Hover over foreign scripts for pronunciation and romanization.

Friday, 19 February

Blessed –

20:52
math rock
Vancouver, British Columbia
Flemish Eye

Tracklist (click to display)

Monday, 22 February

Qulague – COQ

21:37
math rock
Nagoya, Japan
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)

Friday, 9 April

水中スピカmEq

~37:00
math rock
Japan
Friend of Mine

Read our review.

Tracklist (click to display)


Wednesday, 28

Glass Noose – The Migration

16:24
math rock
Seattle, Washington
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 30 April

3223 – Voyage

23:36
math rock
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Anomalía ediciones

Tracklist (click to display)


Thursday, 6 May

Eight Carl – Ouch

44:12
math rock, noise rock
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 7

Paper Mice – 1-800-Mondays

26:39
math rock
Chicago, Illinois
Three One G

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 14 May

Sam Birchall – Cosmos and Disaster

28:33
math rock
London, UK
Independent

Read our review.

Tracklist (click to display)


Thursday, 1 July

Jack Binkerd – Mockingbird

18:10
math rock
Nashville, Tennessee
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Thursday, 15

Humidor – Humidor (Sprinting Men)

29:45
math rock
Peoria, Illinois
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 16

Painted Worlds – You’ve Been through a Lot, but You’re Beautiful

39:53
math rock, post-hardcore
Georgia
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 30 July

Naia Izumi – A Residency in the Los Angeles Area

47:32
R&B, math rock
California
Masterworks


Tracklist (click to display)


Tuesday, 31 August

Molino – Molino

13:59
math rock
Brazil
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Sunday, 5 September

アルネ遡行

9:21
J-rock
Gifu, Japan
Independent


Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 24 September

Standards – Yum!

15:15
math rock
Los Angeles, California
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 15 October

Codices – Vivid

42:32
post-rock
London, UK
Old Press

Tracklist (click to display)


Sunday, 31 October

Talismanic – Connectivity

79:59
math rock
Asheboro, North Carolina
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 12 November

Delta Sleep – Spring Island

44:33
math rock
UK
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Wednesday, 1 December

Ground Patrol – Migrations

24:50
math rock
New York
Art as Catharsis

Tracklist (click to display)


Wednesday, 15

トリコ上出来

~47:00
math rock
Japan
Independent

Label page

On a Tree – Future Samba

15:28
math rock
Athens, Greece
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
01/14 – Best of Jazz Fusion
01/15 – Best of Jazzcore
01/16 – Best of Math Rock

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