Turn Up The Volume’s 20 BEST ALBUMS Of 2021

1. ‘New Fragility’ by CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH (Brooklyn, NY)

Released: 12 February 2021

Ounsworth (mastermind): “The songs are politically motivated,
which is unusual for me. It’s about what I think we’re all experiencing
at the moment, certainly here in the United States, anyway, trying
to move forward amidst an almost cruel uncertainty.”

Turn Up The Volume: Riveting tunes, sharp-cutting reflections,
magical sparks, Ounsworth‘s feverish voice, and his glittery guitar
play make this LP the best one since the self-titled 2005 debut.
Bewitching all the way. My 2021 number one

Key single: New Fragility…

Stream/buy album here…


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2. 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, emotional with grimness. Charismatic frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt leads the troops as never before.

Their fifth, their best.

Key single: Vendetta

Full album…


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3. ‘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 search of this impressively inventive band is
both inscrutable and intriguing.

Cavalcade confirms the experimental brilliance of their debut LP.
Miles Davis going post-punk in the 21st Century.

Key single: John L

Full album…

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4. ‘Marriage’ by DEAP VALLY (Los Angeles)

Turn Up The Volume: The drop-dead gorgeous sisters in rock arms Lindsey Troy
and Julie Edwards celebrate their 10th year of producing high-powered turbulence.
Their bond is tighter than ever and their boogie-woogie more varied than ever.

Mind you, don’t expect a jazz record. Deap Vally are still about rocking ‘n rolling
while tackling their demons with vocal bravado and forthright ruminations.

Key single: Magic Medicine

Get married here…


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5. ‘Comfort To Me’ by AMYL AND THE SNIFFERS

Released: 10th September 2021

Turn Up The Volume:

Old skool punk ‘n’ roll? Absolutely. Any good? You betcha!

Amyl and her buddies made another blistering riff-manic-monster of
a hell fucking hell yeah record. Pogo madness is back. Sturm und drang
from start to finish. Holy Moly!

Key single: Hertz

Stream/buy album here…


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6. ‘CARNAGE’ by NICK CAVE & WARREN ELLIS (Australia)

Released: 25 February 2021

Turn Up The Volume: This black and white pearl is the work of
the romantic Cave crooner meeting the haunting Cave crooner. Idyllic
orchestrations, classical arrangements, and bad seed Warren Ellis
showing, once more, his refined grandeur.

A tantalizing tandem made in twilight heaven.

Key track: White Elephant

Stream album here…

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7. Full Spectrum by THE CHRONICLES OF MANIMAL AND SAMARA (UK)

Released: 26 February 2021

Turn Up The Volume: Manimal and Samara are a poetallica sensation.
A new laser light at the end of a mythical and tenebrous tunnel.

Imagine Sylvia Plath fronting a mind-challenging, noise-exploring band.

Their debut album is a multi-faceted opus in sound and vision. Puzzling poetry
exploring life, death, birth, past, present, and future embedded in titanic thunder
and lighting symphonies going from perplexing metal to chill-out ambient.

Surreality becoming reality in a tormented world.

Key single: Psychopath’s Monologue

Stream ‘Full Spectrum’ here…

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8.’Infinity’ by GHOST PATTERNS (UK)

Released: 3 September 2021

Turn Up The Volume: The amplified haziness of Slowdive, the mystifying
soulfulness of Spacemen 3, the multi-layer-constructing skills of My Bloody
Valentine
.

Hallucinating soundscapes, synth shadowplays, and guitars dueling with
each other while tireless drums dauntlessly beat, and wailing voices wander
in an enigmatic fog of reverberation.

This is what the (sur)real world of Ghost Patterns sounds like.

Key track: House Of Lies…

Stream/buy album here…


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9. ‘Pressure Machine’ by THE KILLERS

Released: 13 August 2021

Turn Up The Volume: This time the bombastic rockers take another direction
to express their emotiveness. Moody, nostalgic, melancholically romantic with
frontman Brandon Flowers looking back at his teenage years in his hometown
Utah. Think Bruce Springsteen‘s sentimentality on his masterpiece Nebraska.

Overall an emotive and melodramatic
record without going over the top.

For some critics, it’s too mellow.
For me, its gripping mellowness
that works just fine.

Key track: Quiet Town

Dim the lights…

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10. ‘Mutator by ALAN VEGA (US)

Released: 23 April 2021

Liz Lamere (Vega’s widow) remembers: “Our primary purpose for going into the studio
was to experiment with sound, not to ‘make records. I was playing the machines with Alan manipulating sounds. I played riffs while Alan morphed the sounds being channeled through the machines.’

Turn Up The Volume: Most of the lost albums that eventually came/come to the
surface one day should have stayed lost forever. If they were good enough to be
released the moment they were recorded they would have never ended up in a
smelly cellar or, worst case, in a trash can.

So what about Alan Vega’s lost one? One: it feels special to have the legend back.
Two: the album seems to come from a very dark mind, from the obscure places
of Vega‘s soul, creating a nightmarish and Kafkaesque chill-out atmosphere for
a 30-minute David Lynch film-noir.

Talking about a great find!

Key track: Nike Soldier

Stream/buy full album here…


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11. ‘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-and-ass-kicking-anti-establishment doom and gloom crusaders.

Sounds like 2021, like the end of the world as we know it.

Key single: And The Next Song

Stream album here…

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12. ‘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 Mogwai. 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 a tsunami of cheesy pop tunes in these science-fiction-like times, anyway. I know it’s their first time, but these hungry noise crusaders
will stun us again in the future.

Believe the hype!

Key track: Science Fair

Full album…

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13. ‘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
Eline Chavez.

Her soul-stirring and powerful (Aretha Franklin / young Tina Turner) vox, the weeping
guitars, and the electrical intensity are at times overwhelming and heartbreaking. Impressive!

Key track: Stay


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Stream/buy album here…


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14. ‘Putain Royale’ by PINK ROOM (Belgium)

Released: 12 Match 2021

Turn Up The Volume: The essential message of this new powerhouse album is loud and clear: noise-challenging turbo Pink Room is here to stay! Their tsunami energy is beyond any decibel regulation. Again, loudmouth Bart Cocquyt leads the rip-roaring trio.

As I said before his vocal range is out-of-this-world. He easily could front a death metal band (Stay Black/Stay White) or a Nirvana reunion (Losing/Skin) or kick Ozzy Osbourne‘s ass (Hail Satan). Expect ear-shattering jackhammers, over-the-top frenzy, and clamorous lockdown paranoia.

Putain, putain, c’est vachement bien, nous sommes quand même tous des bohemiens.

Key track: Losing

Stream/buy here…

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15. ‘G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END!’ by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR

Released: 2 April 2021

Turn Up The Volume: A exquisite soundtrack for the funeral of the present,
and at the same time for the re-birth of humankind in the future.

Somber, apocalyptic and longing.

The Canadian mavericks are looking
for a way out of all the (pandemic) mess
with a mesmerizing fervor. Remarkable.

Stream/buy album here…


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16. ‘Crawler’ by IDLES
17. ‘Blue Weekend’ by WOLF ALICE
18. ‘Better Than Life’ by GLASS SANDS
19. It’s Critical by SAVING JACKIE
20. ‘Vivre’ by ARNO

CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH – Sixth Album ‘NEW FRAGILITY’ Full Of Gently Weeping Guitar Pop Sparks

14 February 2021

Band: CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH
Who: One-man band of Alec Ounsworth

Album: NEW FRAGILITY – 6th LP
Released: 12th February 2021

Ounsworth: “The songs are politically motivated, which is
unusual for me. It’s about what I think we’re all experiencing
at the moment, certainly here in the United States, anyway,
trying to move forward amidst an almost cruel uncertainty.”

AllMusic/Matt Collar: “While Clap Your Hands Say Yeah has essentially always been a solo vehicle for lead singer/songwriter Alec Ounsworth, the group’s introspective sixth album, 2021’s New Fragility takes this idea to its fullest degree. During Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s early years in the mid-2000s, Ounsworth often dismissed critical comparisons of their work to bands like Radiohead and Neutral Milk Hotel, even when they were meant as compliments. While one can certainly hear touchstones echoed throughout New Fragility, it has the singularity and focus of one artistic voice.” Score: 4/5.

Turn Up The Volume: Affecting stories and Ounsworth’s outlandish voice and sparkling guitar play cause weird echoes of magic. It’s the best CYHSY album since their self-titled 2005 debut, with standout tracks such as…

– HESITATION NATION –


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– THOUSAND OAKS –


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– NEW FRAGILITY –


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Stream/buy full album here…


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CYHSY: Facebook


(photo by Turn Up The Volume! Brussels – Belgium)

CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH Share Fourth Cut From Upcoming Album – Here’s ‘CYHSY, 2005’

29 January 2021

CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH, the one-man band of Alec Ounsworth
will share new album New Fragility with the world on 12th February.

“The songs are politically motivated, which is unusual for me. t’s about
what I think we’re all experiencing at the moment, certainly here in the
United States, anyway, trying to move forward amidst an almost cruel
uncertainty”
says Ounsworth.

We already enjoyed three pieces and here’s number four, weirdly
titled CYHSY, 2005 (a reference to the self-titled debut LP from 2005?).
A poppy song with loads of strings and Ounsworth‘s peculiar voice
all over it.

Tune in here…

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All 4 shared tracks on Spotify

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CYHSY: Facebook


(photo by Turn Up The Volume! Brussels – Belgium)

Coming Soon… Brand New Album By CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH

3 January 2021

Band: CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH
Who: American indie band formed in 2004, that
turned into the solo project of Alec Ounsworth
over the years.

Album: NEW FRAGILITY – 6th album
Release: 12th February 2021
Details: here

Alec Ounsworth: “These songs are politically motivated, which
is unusual for me. t’s about what I think we’re all experiencing at the
moment, certainly here in the United States, anyway, trying to move
forward amidst an almost cruel uncertainty.”

Singles: Where They Perform Miracles / Hesitating Nation / Thousand Oaks

All 3 here on Spotify

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CYHSY: Facebook


(photo by Turn Up The Volume! Brussels – Belgium)

Important TUTV note! CYHSY wrote one of the best tracks of
this century with Over and Over Again (Lost and Found)
(from self-titled 2005 debut LP)…


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Silent Lullaby – CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH Drops Another New Track ‘WHERE THEY PERFORM MIRACLES’

18 December 2020

Alec Ounsworth aka CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH is gearing
up for his new album New Fragility, out 29th January 2021.

We already got two spine-chilling singles. Hesitating Nation
and Thousand Oaks, are about the ugly signs of these times,
and sonically a pair of hauntingly guitar-driven ripsnorters with
Ounsworth‘s otherworldly voice all over it.

Track number three WHERE THEY PERFORM MIRACLES (in Bethlehem?)
is a silent night humdinger with a Xmassy feel. Enchanting. Soul-Stirring.

Enjoy here…

The three new songs
together on Spotify

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CHSY: Facebook


New album New Fragility, out 29th January 2021 via CYHSY

(photo on top via Sonic PR)

Simply The Best! Turn Up The Volume’s 15 KNOCKOUT TRACKS For October 2020

This past month’s best…

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I love the smell of rock ‘n’ roll in the morning!

Turn Up The Volume‘s 15 Knockout Tracks for October!
Right here, right now…

‘Rock ‘N Roll Refugee’ by PIG (London)
A dark glam wave banger with a titanic chorus to wake up the neighborhood. A glitter haymaker fueled by layers of intimidating guitars and Pig’s voice resonating like Sisters Of Mercy‘s figurehead Andrew Eldritch. From his new album ‘Pain Is God‘ out 20th November.

‘Intercontinental Radio Waves’ by TRAAMS (UK)
Back after 5 years with a trademark Traams jam. Rattling drums, propulsive bass, turbulent guitars, and an overall infectious groove. Hallelujah! New LP coming soon.

‘Maggot Line’ by THE BATTERY FARM (Manchester)
Scorching guitars, a merciless drum beat, and red-hot fulminating spits and sneers.
Like the 1-2-3-4 Ramones‘ blitzkrieg craziness, but nastier and with twice as many
decibels. “We’re all gonna die, it’s all our fault!” An alarming 2020 warning! Lobotomy!


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‘Shot In The Dark’ by AC/DC (Australia)
A new riff loaded sucker-punch by the veteran Aussie rockers. Old school boy Angus revealed: “The title is a little bit cheeky because we all like a little nip of alcohol in the night
or a few shots in the dark.”

‘Hesitating Nation’ by CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH (USA)
About the ugly signs of these times, and sonically a hauntingly guitar-driven
ripsnorter with Ounsworth‘s otherworldly voice all over it. Spectacular return!

‘Shine’ by N.O.A.H (Ireland)
Move over Bono! These Irish indie rockers have that powerful grandeur, that euphonic richness, and that monumental magnitude of U2’s stadium rock sound. This is a 24-Carat gold debut. Bingo!

‘Normal People’ by THE NEW POLLUTION (Worchester, New York)
Funky punky injections with clashing guitars, manic bass lines, organ-ic electronics
and critical vocals. An edged tune for basement parties and illegal ramshackle discos.
Dance till you drop is the key message as Armageddon is just around the corner. From their excellent Shakedown EP.


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‘Bombshells’ by SANDCASTLE JESUS (Essex, England)
From the very tingling intro chords, you instantly feel that a stupendous tune is coming your way. Oh yeah, game on, definitely. And what actually follows is an alive and kicking guitar pop hit that puts a big smile on your glowing face, activates your adrenalin’s production, triggers your body movements, and makes you just feel ecstatic.

‘Revolution Son’ by SHIVA AND THE HAZARDS (Melbourne, Aus)
The swagger, the vibe, the beat, the Noel Gallagher guitar solo, it’s what made the 90s so exciting and vivacious. Supersonic sing-along anthems made of stone and bittersweet epic symphonies. It was cool to be a rock ‘n’ roll star & now again. D’ You Know What I Mean?

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‘On And On’ by LOOSE FANG (Vancouver, Canada)
I’m sure you’ll agree that screwed-up times were and still are a fertile resource of inspiration for dazzling rock crackers. Just like this roaring roller going forth and
back with a flaming on and on chorus speeding up your pulse instantly. Get up
and make the right moves for a better get-together future, folks.

‘Nowhere Near An Ocean’ by SUNSTACK JONES (UK)
Imagine you’re in the Californian desert watching a non-stop 24-hour retro psych festival, dreaming on cloud nine. This what this sunset reverie does to you. We can all use such moments in these strange mouth mask times. From their notable new LP Golden Repair.


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‘Today’ by REGENT (UK)
‘Today’ is a solid gold staggering ballad made to be played in huge arenas with the crowd waving with candles all the way. The passionate blues at play here reminded me instantly of Led Zeppelin‘s timeless timeless score ‘Stairway To Heaven‘. Electrifying emotions going forth and back, going quiet and loud, going from intense to breathtaking and back.

‘It’s Never Easy’ by CLASSIC WATER (The Netherlands)
This is a captivating, meditative gem, centered around a rollin’ guitar riff and sparkling piano touches. The song moves and grooves all the way until the gospel-like handclap finale. Tom Gerritsen‘s Americana voice has that glowing timbre that made Ryan Adams
and the late great Gram Parsons so emotionally special. Lovely!

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‘Mata Hari’ by THE CHRONICLES OF MANIMAL AND SAMARA (Italy)
A slowdown trip-hop trip with a relaxing repercussion on your worried 2020 thoughts, an ambient soundscape for the midnight hours. British 90s dance act Leftfield came instantly to my mind, especially that tipsy track on their debut LP called Original with the sensual ex-Curve singer Toni Halliday. Another far-out trip!

‘Happy House’ by COMMON FLAWS (Italy)
With an ongoing deep bass beat Common Flaws gives the already vibrant rhythm of Siouxsie and The Banshees‘ 1980 jam ‘Happy House‘ a 90s techno resonance. The sampled, female vocals come from the 1999 romantic comedy Notting Hill with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. Eye-catching video clip this way…

All together on Spotify

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See/hear you next month, music junkies…

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A Spectacular Return With Two Spine-Tingling Singles – Here’s CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH

New sonic impulses

15 October 2020

Alec Ounsworth and his moniker CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH is back with two truly spine-tingling singles from new, upcoming album, New Fragility, out 29th January 2021.

The two fresh tracks HESITATING NATION and THOUSAND OAKS are, lyrically, about
the ugly signs of these times, and sonically a pair of hauntingly guitar-driven ripsnorters with Ounsworth‘s otherworldly voice all over it. A truly spectacular return!

“These songs are politically motivated, which is unusual for me” says Ounsworth who felt compelled to tackle politics, and what’s happening in the US indicating how serious he believes the situation to be.

Tune in…

– HESITATION NATION – .
– THOUSAND OAKS – .
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ClapHands

(photo by TUTV!)