My Top 50 Albums 0f 2021

It was another incredible year for music and I was lucky enough to witness such creativity during this second year of the pandemic. I had a longer list, but narrowed it down to fifty new albums to share with you. So many fantastic releases and reissues in all genres, but more importantly I saw live music once again. Only a handful of live shows, so far but each one unique and worth the price of admission. Highlights include Thee Oh Sees at The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA and Richard Ashcroft at Royal Albert Hall in London.

Without further delay, here are my favorite new albums released in 2021, and in order.

  1. Chris Schlarb & Chad Taylor, Time No Changes
  2. Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, I Told You So
  3. Teenage Fanclub, Endless Arcade
  4. Floating Points (Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony Orchestra), Promises
  5. Lake Mary & Oxherding, With the Windows Open
  6. William Parker, Migration of Silence Into and Out of the Tone World, Vol. 1–10
  7. Marisa Anderson/William Tyler, Lost Futures
  8. The Weather Station, Ignorance
  9. Gary Bartz, JID006
  10. L’Rain, Fatigue
  11. Molly Lewis, The Forgotten Edge
  12. Sam Gendel & Sam Wilkes, Music for Saxofone and Bass Guitar More Songs
  13. John Zorn, Gnosis: The Inner Light (feat. Bill Frisell, John Medeski, Kenny Wollesen, Carol Emanuel)
  14. Damon Locks Black Monument Ensemble, NOW
  15. Lucy Dacus, Home Video
  16. Grouper, Shade
  17. Bill MacKay and Nathan Bowles, Keys
  18. Madlib, Sound Ancestors
  19. White Flowers, Day By Day
  20. Huck Notari, Strange and Beautifully
  21. Durand Jones & the Indications, Private Space
  22. Bacao Rhythm and Steel Band, Expansions
  23. The War on Drugs, I Don’t Live Here Anymore
  24. Arooj Aftab, Vulture Prince
  25. Little Simz, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
  26. Golden Brown, Gems and Minerals
  27. Carlos Niño & Friends, More Energy Fields, Current
  28. Adeline Hotel, Good Timing
  29. Yasmin Williams, Urban Driftwood
  30. James Brandon Lewis, Jesup Wagon
  31. Arlo Parks, Collapsed In Sunbeams
  32. Billie Eilish, Happier Than Ever
  33. Godspeed You! Black Emperor, G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END!
  34. Makaya McCraven, Deciphering the Message 
  35. Clarissa Connelly, The Voyager
  36. Dry Cleaning, New Long Leg
  37. Sons of Kemet, Black to the Future
  38. Chelsea Carmichael, The River Doesn’t Like Strangers
  39. DARKSIDE, Spiral
  40. Kenny Garrett, Sounds from the Ancestors
  41. Moor Mother, Black Encyclopedia of the Air
  42. DJINN, Transmission
  43. Tyler The Creator, Call Me If You Get Lost
  44. BADBADNOTGOOD, Talk Memory
  45. SUSS, Night Suite EP
  46. Azita, Glen Echo
  47. Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog, Hope
  48. Nils Frahm, Old Friends New Friends
  49. Patricia Brennan, Maquishti
  50. Phantom Handshakes, No More Summer Songs

There were many great reissues this year and some of my favorites were Bola Sete, Grateful Dead, John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane, R.E.M., Beau Brummels, and Johnny Cash.