The Alternative’s 50 Top Records of 2021 (page 3)


PAGE 1 (#50 – #26)PAGE 2 (#25 – #6) – PAGE 3 (#5 – #1 + Playlist & Award Winners)

5. Chloe Moriondo — Blood Bunny

Chloe Moriondo’ Blood Bunny might not be her debut album, but it was certainly the debut of the artist that they’ve become. Trading the ukulele and bedroom-pop charm that was synonymous with their name for loud, electric guitars and a morbid sense of humor, Blood Bunny allowed listeners an even greater insight into the sweeping highs and lows of being a young person in our current climate. The album starts with the insanely catchy, windows down, cruising down the highway with all of your closest friends energy of album opener “Rly Don’t Care” and casually drops us into the sugary sweet and insanely morbid, “I Eat Boys” and it’s that particular one-two punch that sets the tone for the rest of the listening experience. The humor is dark, the hooks are bright and infectious, and the Blood Bunny as it exists is the perfect dichotomy of who Chloe Moriondo is. What more could you ask for? —Joel Funk

4. Wild Pink — A Billion Little Lights

The third album from New York trio Wild Pink is as close to revelation as the group as come yet. It’s beautiful, yet overwhelming; it’s lighthearted yet sad. John Ross & company have fine tuned their Americana-leaning indie-rock, molding it into something bright. From the powerful transition between “Bigger Than Christmas” and “The Shining But Tropical” to the peaceful finality of “Die Outside,” the group as made something uniquely special. —Eric Bennett

3. Japanese Breakfast — Jubilee

2021 was Michelle Zauner’s year. Between the publication of Crying in H Mart, her critically acclaimed first book, and Jubilee, her critically acclaimed third LP as Japanese Breakfast, she’s got reason to celebrate. Jubilee itself is something of a celebration, an album “about joy,” in her own words, and songs like the sparkling ‘80s pop gem “Be Sweet” and the buoyant “Slide Tackle” live up to that description. It isn’t all bliss and beauty, though; the pining “In Hell” has a chorus that reads, “hell is finding someone you love / and I can’t have you,” and the shimmery ballad “Tactics” finds Zauner considering all the ways she can get “a great distance from you,” while, musically, “Posing in Bondage” is jittery and eerie. It’s an album full of color and verve and bleeding humanity, bursting at the seams with trumpets and rollicking solos and strings and a wry wit. It’s hard to describe Jubilee better than Zauner does herself on the record’s behemoth opener: “it’s a rush.” —Zac Djamoos

2. Julien Baker — Little Oblivions

On Little Oblivions, Julien Baker’s distinctly sweeping, solemn songs come alive in what has been credited as her first full-band record. On her first two records, the stark 2015 debut Sprained Ankle and the more majestic 2017 stunner Turn Out The Lights, Baker built a name for herself as a singer-songwriter of intensely personal songs that cut deep. Little Oblivions veers her course toward a more definite indie-rock affair, some songs bursting into surprisingly loud electric crescendos that lend her music a force of sound to match her emotional heft. It works amazingly well throughout—the opening “Hardline” and centerpiece “Bloodshot” give the impression that Baker is making her High Violet here, writing somber songs that feel designed for large rooms. Meanwhile, songs like “Heatwave” and “Ziptie” continue to expand and refine Baker’s established sound while emphasizing the power some of her sharpest lines to date. —Jordan Walsh

1. Turnstile — GLOW ON

Turnstile are one of the leaders in the new wave of hardcore, a staple in the hardcore community. The band has continued to showcase their love for the genre on GLOW ON. Although not as “tough” as some of their previous records and counterparts, GLOW ON does what Turnstile does best, deliver catchy riffs with hooks that make each song memorable and unique. They stay true to the elements of hardcore, but they add an additional modern flair in synthesizers and electronic instruments, making for a creative spin on an already classic sound. Tracks such as “MYSTERY,” “BLACKOUT,” and “T.LC. (TURNSTILE LOVE CONNECTION)” prove to be standout hits, offering great guitar riffs and versatility in how they approach hardcore with a more pop-like tone. Other tracks such as “WILD WORLD” and “NEW HEART DESIGN” boast their ability to take influence from other genres, sporting a unique drum sound on the former and the disco-y riff on the latter. Even their collaboration with Blood Orange demonstrates the band’s ingenuity and a willingness to take risks in a genre that can sometimes come off as restrictive—“ALIEN LOVE CALL” deviates most from the genre of hardcore, yet the wailing and repetitive vocals still reflect who Turnstile are as a band. With their recent performance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Turnstile have secured themselves as heavy hitters in the conversation about the new wave of hardcore. GLOW ON is an album that is accessible, unique, and above all, distinctly Turnstile—a fun band who is on the path to wavering the lines of hardcore. —Sarah Knoll

The 9th Annual 2021 Alternative Awards




Best of 2021 Playlist


PAGE 1 (#50 – #26)PAGE 2 (#25 – #6) – PAGE 3 (#5 – #1 + Playlist & Award Winners)

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