These Are TURN UP THE VOLUME’s 15 BEST ALBUMS Of 2021 (So Far)
1 July 2021
1. ‘Calvacade’ by BLACK MIDI (UK)
Released: 26 May 2021 – their second album
Turn Up The Volume: From outlandish sonority – think Scott Walker – to Zappa-esque adventurousness, from a ‘normal’ song (Marlene Dietrich) to free jazz weirdness. The sonic mind of this impressively inventive band is both inscrutable and intriguing. Cavalcade confirms the experimental brilliance of their debut LP. Miles Davis experimenting with guitars in the 21st Century.
Key Track: John L
2. ‘FULL SPECTRUM’ by THE CHRONICLES OF MANIMAL AND SAMARA (Singapore/Italy)
Released: 26th February 2021 – debut LP
Turn Up The Volume: Manimal and Samara are a poetallica sensation. Imagine Sylvia
Plath fronting a theatrical and mind-challenging psychedelic noise band. Their debut album is a multi-faceted opus in sound and vision. Compelling poetry embedded in a titanic thunder and lighting symphony going from perplexing metal to chill-out ambient. The final result is at times jaw-dropping, at times confusing, at times dumbfounding but always fascinating. When surreality becomes reality you know something is about to happen.
Key track: Psychopath’s Monologue
Stream album here…
3. Album: SEEK SHELTER by ICEAGE (Denmark)
Released: 7 May 2021 – 5th LP
Turn Up The Volume: Finally, Iceage do what they were expected to do for a long
time. Creating a standout album that makes the hair in the back of your neck stand
up. Melodramatic with ardency, impassioned with vigour, romantic with grimness. Charismatic frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt leads the troops as never before.
Their fifth, their best.
Key track: Vendetta
4. ‘SURVIVORS’ by ONISM E (San Antonio / NYC)
Released: 19th February 2021 – debut album
Turn Up The Volume wrote: Gusto, high-spiritedness, and anxiety are the
keywords here. This warm-blooded record is a heart-rending reflection of the
group’s state of 2021 mind. A galvanizing collection of cohesive poignant emo
songs influenced by the disturbing way our troubled world is handling human
issues, once-in-a-lifetime dramas, and the personal turmoil of frontwoman Chavez.
Her soul-stirring and powerful (Aretha Franklin / young Tina Turner) voice, weeping
guitars, and the electrical intensity are at times overwhelming and heartbreaking. Impressive!
Key track: Stay
Stream/buy album here…
5. ‘i became birds’ by home is where (florida, us)
released: 5 march 2021 – debut album
turn up the volume: i’m damn sure this incredible punch-powered-punk-passion
turbo was here before, about 40 years ago, inspiring bored kids like black flag, shellac, melvins, jello biafra, and other anarchist snotnoses, to leave home, steal guitars and drums in order to have some wild fun while scaring bad people with their deafening racket. so here they are back again, inspiring young social media junkies to steal guitars and drums instead of watching their phones all day long. home is where it all starts when you have no money to rent a smelly rehearsal room to rock your heads off. so you move into your own basement and scream your poor lungs to pieces. listen up all you lost teenagers out there, play i became birds over and over again ’cause these hungry florida misfits can and will save your lives. home is where this fuck-and-punk-tastic record is made.
key track: sewn together from the membrane of the great sea cucumber
6. ‘For The First Time’ by BLACK ROAD, NEW ROAD (London)
Released: 5 February 2021 – debut LP
Turn Up The Volume says: Like Pavement going prog rock with the sound- exploring
state of mind of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Jazzy and classical music textures make sure your curious mind is focused all the time. And singer Isaac Wood‘s voice resonates freakishly identical to the chilling voice of American songwriter Conor Oberst from indie band Bright Eyes. It’s not a happy record, but who needs cheesy pop tunes all the time in these science-fiction-like times, anyway. I know it’s their first time, but these hungry noise crusaders will stun us again and again in the future. Believe the hype.
Key track: Science Fair
7. ‘CARNAGE’ by NICK CAVE & WARREN ELLIS (Australia)
Released: 25 February 2021
Turn Up The Volume: This black and white pearl is a mix of the romantic crooner and
the haunting crooner. Growing with every spin. Compelling orchestrations, classical arrangements, with Ellis showing his musical skills once more. Can’t remember when Cave made an average album. Did he, actually? Okay, Carnage once again on my headphones.
Key track: White Elephant
Stream album here…
8. ‘WE… ARE DOOMED’ by THE IRRATIONAL LIBRARY (The Netherlands)
Released: 15 January 2021
Turn Up The Volume: The rap and roll venom of Rage Against The Machine, the fuck-you-hypocrites grimness of Black Flag, the punky saxophone of X-Ray-Spex, the sharp poetic spit and sneer anarchy of Mark. E. Smith, the challenging spirit of open-minded-plainspoken-ass-kicking-anti-establishement doom and gloom crusaders. Sounds exactly like 2020/2021, like the end of the world as we know it, but also like an album that’s going to be on my earphones for a long time.”
Title track: We… Are Doomed
Stream album here…
9. ‘G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END!’ by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR (Canada)
Released: 2 April 2021 – 7th longplayer
Turn Up The Volume: A fitting soundtrack for a funeral. The funeral of humankind. The funeral of the planet we, ourselves, destroyed. Somber and apocalyptic. Repetitive doom-and-gloom psychedelia. Repetitive wall-of-guitar-scapes. Goosebumps all the way. But in the end, Godspeed thinks we will start all over again, a new beginning, a new future. Let’s hope so.
10. ‘Blue Weekend’ by WOLF ALICE (London)
Released: 4 June 2021 – third LP
Turn Up The Volume: Except for flaming rockers Smile and Play The Greatest Hits
the band takes a different direction with a stream of epic ballads with gospel-like
choirs (The Last Man On earth), emotional symphonies (How Can I Make It OK?) with
multi-layered goosebumps harmonies and orchestrated pop brilliance overall.
Key track: The Last Man On Earth
11. Mutator by ALAN VEGA
12. New Fragility by CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH
13. Putain Royale by PINK ROOM
14. As Days Get Dark by ARAB STRAP
15. Vivre by ARNO