Our Music Favorites of 2021 (So Far)…

No doubt about it, the world feels different than it did about this time last year. It may have mostly already left our collective memory, but halfway through 2020 there was an uncertainty about the future that was just beginning to dawn on us, a deconstruction of life plans that threatened to stretch far beyond the cancellations of a few months of live music.

A year later, as we take stock of what we've heard and loved so far in 2021, things feel a little more hopeful. The slow and sure return of live music has helped many of us with that, one concert announcement or ticket purchased at a time, and in general plans for the near future no longer feel foolishly optimistic. Here's to progress! One thing that did not make it through the past 16 months undamaged? The ability to focus. Never mind reading a book, some of us can barely make it through a movie at this point! Still, music in its longer forms – the LP and the EP – has remained a constant, a complete artistic statement that often takes on meaning for those receiving it far beyond what the artist themselves intended. Especially in times like these.

We once again asked our staff about their favorite releases of the year so far – what in 2021 has stood out, grabbed and/or moved them most?

Katie Bradley, Host

Gumiho / GUMIHO
Cold Cave / Fate in Seven Lessons
Soft Kill / Not Quite Dracula Music
Mannequin Pussy / Perfect EP
Bachelor / Doomin' Sun

Jason Thomas, Host/Programming Asst.

Sleaford Mods / Spare Ribs
Weezer / Van Weezer
Dawn Richard / Second Line
Dry Cleaning / New Long Leg
Roosevelt / Polydans

Demi Harvey, Digital & Social Media Editor/Host

Japanese Breakfast / Jubilee
The Grand Alliance / The Grand Alliance
Dawn Richard / Second Line
Dry Cleaning / New Long Leg
Bachelor / Doomin' Sun

Alisha Sweeney, Host/Local Music Director

Lucy Dacus / Home Video
Shungudzo / I'm not a mother, but I have children
Claud / Super Monster
Japanese Breakfast / Jubilee
Arlo Parks / Collapsed in Sunbeams

(Local Releases):

The Grand Alliance / The Grand Alliance
Fair Elle / I'm Sorry You Feel That Way
American Culture / For My Animals
LVDY / Gold
South of France / Remember That Cool Thing We Did

Jessi Whitten, Host

Arlo Parks / Collapsed in Sunbeams
Bo Burnham / Inside
Japanese Breakfast / Jubilee
girl in red / if i could make it go quiet

Willobee Carlan, Program Dirtector

Arlo Parks / Collapsed in Sunbeams
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard / LW
Beabadoobee / Our Extended Play EP
SHAED / High Dive
Paul McCartney (and Friends) / McCartney III Imagined

Bruce Trujillo, Especial/Host

Genesis Owusu / Smiling with No Teeth
Ya Tseen / Indian Yard
Japanese Breakfast / Jubilee
The Mañanas / Cheers EP
The Marías / CINEMA

Zach, Producer/Weekend Host

Manchester Orchestra / The Million Masks of God
Saint Motel / The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Pt. 3
Mother Mother / Inside
Middle Kids / Today We're the Greatest
Black Honey / Written & Directed

Jeremy Petersen, Morning Host/Producer

Chad VanGaalen / World's Most Stressed Out Gardener
The Notwist / Vertigo Days
Rostam / Changephobia
Japanese Breakfast / Jubilee
SAULT / Nine

Spend some time with the music! Here's a selection of songs culled from our lists on Spotify.