The GLOBAL TEXAN CHRONICLES TOP 5 RELEASES 2021+ 5
Global Texan Chronicles Top 5 Releases 2021 reviews can be found by searching the GTC archives.
by Walter Price
Here we are. At the conclusion of another year wrought with confusing politics, pesky variants, and social media strife. Yet, as it always has, music has stood right beside us. Soothing us, urging us, comforting us, and, in some cases, causing well worth it speeding tickets.
And while there have been some absolutely brilliant and much-ballyhooed releases by Arlo Parks, Eilish, Japanese Breakfast, and Lil Nas X, I say there are some tiptop releases that deserve as much praise as those hyped hits. Releases from artists who may be considered just under the radar who are creating stories and environments to sink your soul into, protest to, get lost in fantastical whimsy with, and sounds that simply thrill.
In my opinion, the following releases are the crème de la crème of 2021. Please continue to support your local small businesses and independent artists. It’s more important now than it’s ever been.
GTC TOP 5 RELEASES 2021
JENN GRINELS Live Volume 1
This one had me at, “Hello Cleveland!”. In an era of lockdowns and uncertainty, ‘Live, Volume 1′ album feels like comfort food. Grinels’ brand of Americana soothes the hunger pangs and withdraws from missing out on concerts’ communal swaying, singalongs, and all that cheeky banter and storytelling in between songs that only a live event can offer. Jenn Grinels is undoubtedly one of the tiptop singer-songwriters going these days and with a voice and songwriting that feels right at home on stage, this album quenches the soul.
Artist photo via Facebook
BROKEN BABY Late Stage Opitimism
To call a rock n roll band the ultimate in their genre seems a little subjective, if not heavy-handed. But when it comes to Broken Babys’ ‘Late Stage Optimism’ LP, the glove fits. Fronted by one of rock’s most charismatic frontwomen, Amber Bollinger, and produced by a true wizard, Alex Dezen, this album delivers weighty messages in brazen pop-laced tracks that will certainly cause uncontrollable bopping. And if you consider the fact that this duo is a pure DIY outfit through and through, well, the indie spirit is strong. Tracks to latch onto, “Madonna’s a Dick”, “Hand Heat”, “Jack White Money”, and “He Likes Me”. And please don’t sleep on the Broken Baby’s series of live performance music videos, also released this year, they’re all, the energy! (YouTube)
Band photography by Amber Navarro
KATE VARGAS Rumpumpo
Hey, stop trying to figure this album out! NY NY’s Kate Vargas’ Rumpumpo (produced by Charles Newman) isn’t going to slide neatly into your expectations. Rather, it’ll change your opinion, emotional state, and surprise you with each and every stream. Raw, sultry, bluesy, and eclectic, this LP is hands-down in a world of its own. There’s no real need to slap my well-intentioned hyperbole on it, it’s an album that has to be experienced for yourself. trust me, it’ll take ya places you didn’t even know you wanted to go. Tracks to hitch your soul to; “Honeydripper”, “Spit 3 Times”, “Church of the Misdirection”, and (of course) “Rumpumpo”.
Artist photo by Jared Roybal
I’d be the first to acknowledge that I’ve never been one to adequately review what composer Dutch Falconi unleashes on the world. But I do know, with two stunning releases this year, ‘Bloom & Brimestone’ and ‘Budapest Undead’, is that this master of the whimsical, macabre, thrills and chills creates worlds to get lost in. Shadowy fairgrounds of the weird and for all the money in the world, I’d never ever be able to properly articulate these two albums’ intrigue. So, I’ll humbly refrain and let you experience the magic for yourself.
Artist photo courtesy of Public Display PR
DAILY THOMPSON God Of Spinoza
Chock-full of connective tissue to all your fave post-punk, desert rock, garage, and grunge sounds, Dortmund, Germany’s Daily Thompson dropped their incredible LP, ‘God Of Spinoza’ in 2021. 8 tracks that showcase not only this outfit’s masterclass songwriting, melody crafting, but also its upper-tier arrangments. At times sprawling, each song is as scenic as it is crunchy and soul-pounding. If you were trying to figure out if rock n roll is dead or not. Here’s your answer…
Band photo by Jonas Wenz