Thursday, December 23, 2021

The Top 10 Indie Rock albums of 2021

This marks the return of the Indie Rock list which split off into the shoe gaze list, but there were many albums that did not rock hard enough to be rock records or fell askew from other lists so they are falling here. Indie rock has been a thing since the days of bands like Television, in the 90s they got commercialized and scooped up by major labels so it lost its charm, so this does not mean bands that are not on mainstream labels but bands that fall outside of pop and rock.   Much like in years past sort through the genre lists before making the overall top ten of the year list. The fact these artists made it on the list speaks to how great these albums are, so it's not a slight that the number 8 album is above the 9th album, there is something that just gives it an edge that makes me want to listen to it more. After all we can try to look cool and pick the hippest bands for a list, but at the end of the day what makes an album the best is that it makes you want more, you look forward to listening to it again. I do hope you can find your next favorite on this list and have included links to reviews of these albums if you want to check out audio on these guys. Anyways here are the top 10 electronic albums of 2021

10-Penlope Trappes - "Penelope Three" 

The third chapter in Trappes musical trilogy finds her is in the same sonic zip code as Fever Ray, though maybe mixed with Hillary Woods. Production wise there is more in common with electronic music than what she is actually using to write this song. It is minimal but well placed. Her hushed voice flutters over everything like a fall chill in the air

Abysmal Hymns: Penelope Trappes : "Penelope Three"


9- Genghis Tron - "Dream Weapon" 

I can appreciate what is going down here as the album sounds great. It really depends on what you want from this band in terms of if it will live up to your expectations of what their comeback should be like. It is so different than the more Botch like earlier work they should have changed the name, but on it's own merit the album is an impressive piece of modern space rock.

Abysmal Hymns: Genghis Tron : "Dream Weapon"


8-Xiu Xiu - "OH NO" 

After 20 years of creating dark music that falls somewhere between indie rock and post punk, they continue to fuel their legacy with a unique album of duets. TheY are obviously artists that are in the same zip code as Xiu Xiu's brand of weird ranging from Chelsea Wolfe to Drab Majesty, at the best moments of the album they seamlessly blend 

Abysmal Hymns: Xiu Xiu : " OH NO"


7-Ryan Adams- "Big Colors" 

This album feels like an 80s adult oriented rock or adult contemporary was one of the marketing genres back then which meant it is pop but more thoughtful than a bunch of party songs for kids. The War on Drugs would also fall under this if they had come out in the 80s as well and this album is in that neighborhood.  

Abysmal Hymns: Ryan Adams : "Big Colors"


6-Marissa Nadler-'the Path of the Clouds" 

She is returning more to her dream country sounds, this album drifts away in all the ways you want it to. She was aided by Lightning Bolt producer Seth Manchester who added the distorted guitars that sit back in the atmosphere. You might have read some reviews that lead you to believe she is becoming Chelsea Wolfe and this is more of a rock record which is not the case. She does continue to lure you in with this one. 


Abysmal Hymns: Marissa Nadler : 'the Path of the Clouds"

 5-Lantlos - "Wildhund" 

No stranger to us here, this German band is no longer black gaze but now creating a double album of poppy gaze influenced 90s rock. The drummer who has now been with the band for ten years is responsible for some of the more adventurous turns the songs takes. In some ways it is progressive. Not far removed from the likes of Hum or Quicksand, they do not let you hang to comfortably on a groove for long. The guitars replicate tones from that era and the vocals are greatly improved.

Abysmal Hymns: Lantlos : Wildhund"

 4-The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die - " Illusory Walls" 

These guys are almost progressive in the span they cover and wide cinematic sonics they convey, which is beyond the bounds of hard core or screamo. The first song is sweeping and emotive. The album sounds great I love the guitar tone the second song it is almost more Cure like. I am surprised by the addition of female vocals, but I am not sure the last album I checked out by these guys, as they are courtesy of the keyboardist who is now a member of the band. This brings a more indie rock feel to things. 

Abysmal Hymns: The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die ;" Illusory Walls"


3-Failure- " Wild Type Droid" 

I was a fan of this band in the 90s and they were always grunge for when I was too high to want to hear Soundgarden. The opening track of their newest album, which features a pristine croon that could have come from "Fantastic Planet" also clicks with me that these guys are really into Gary Numan, they just use guitars not synths. They are also great song writers and have not lost that touch


Abysmal Hymns: Failure- "Wild Type Droid"


 2-Dinosaur Jr - "Sweep It Into Space" 

I first listened to this album at a more moderate volume, and I think cranking through headphones might do the mix more justice. Unless they are going for a rawer almost Neil Young like sound. Overall this album goes to show these guys keep getting better when many of their peers from this era just dial it in. With all the fanfare Weezer has gained over the years, I think if you compared the output of these two bands Dinosaur Jr would be more deserving of praise when it comes to being consistent song writers

Abysmal Hymns: Dinosaur Jr : "Sweep It into Space"

1-Slothrust- "Parallel Timeline" 

Things are different. The mood has changed and matured. Where "|the Pact" was a much more polished effort than their previous albums, this one is another step forward in the refinement of their sound. They are less grunge than their earlier work, but still pack more punch than say HAIM. At the end of the day

Abysmal Hymns: Slothrust : "Parallel Timeline"

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