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

Album Of The Month – London Singer-Songwriter GLASS SANDS With Sparkling Debut ‘BETTER THAN LIFE’

Best album of October 2021 according to Turn Up The Volume’s ears

29 October 2021

Artist: GLASS SANDS
Who: Musical moniker of indie singer/songwriter
Christopher Laurence Shackleton based in London.

Album: BETTER THAN LIFE

Info: Written and recorded over a five-year period, “Better Than Life” features some of Chris Shackleton’s most mature and versatile songwriting yet featuring ambitious sonics that take influence from alternative rock, post-punk, post-rock, krautrock and shoegaze. Lyrically, “Better Than Life” broaches on both the personal and the political with songs that focus on themes such as loneliness, populism, gentrification and just how far one is willing to go to find satisfaction in life.

Turn Up The Volume says: Expect an intriguing mix of moody moments (Coming Home /
In Your Hands / Ballad Of The Byford Dolphin / Hammerfest
), guitar-driven riff-hook-and-lick knockouts that cut like a Swiss knife (Better Than Life / She Hangs On The Western Wall / Phantom Pains / Cigarette Machine) and a slo-mo closer (Basilisk) that could feature on
the soundtrack of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks TV series.

An overall versatile accomplishment that grows on you with every spin. A twists and turns record swinging from dreamy pop to fuzzing and buzzing rock and back. Don’t miss this! You don’t need a pool to throw a party with Better Than Life on the stereo. Best album October 2021!

Stream/buy ‘Better Than Life’ here…


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GLASS SANDS: Facebook

Turn Up The Volume’s 20 KNOCKOUT TRACKS Of The Month – OCTOBER 2021

Turn Up The Volume‘s 20 Knockout Tracks for October 2021!
A stream of rattling rippers, jagged jams and romantic reveries.

All together on Spotify

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All knockouts, one by one

‘Magic Medicine’ by DEAP VALLY (California)

After 10 years the sisters in arms want to inject their bond with new musical challenges
to keep their marriage alive and kicking (they’ll be always alive and kicking anyway).

Their new LP called, yes, Marriage and lands on 12 November.

The first taster is a slo-mo synth-vaccinated groove with Lindsey Troy‘s fully charged
guitars all over it and Julie Edwards, as usual taking care of the solid backbone drum
beat. Troy‘s vocals and Edwards echoing voice in the back give the song an extra thrill.

Takeyour medicine here…

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‘Black Widow Spider’ by PARQUET COURTS (Texas / New York)

Last week the wayward Parquet Courts unleashed their 7th album, titled
Sympathy For Life. One of the many highlights is Black Widow Spider.

A sticky head-spinning rocker.

Turn it up, folks…

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‘Faze Out’ by JAMES DOMESTIC (UK)

Expect a slash and trash jackhammer, an angry
spit and sneer storm, a Sturm und Drang uppercut.

143 seconds of furious frustration is what you get. Retro organs
clatter like if a nightmare is just around the corner, but Domestic
thunders like he’s a determined survivor who will not go down
just like that.

Join the wild ride…

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‘Better Than Life’ by GLASS SANDS (London, UK)

I listened to the title track of this London-based singer/songwriter’s new album
about 50 times, so far. It’s a guitar-driven riff-hook-and-lick standout that cuts like
a new Swiss knife with feverish and heartfelt vocals amplifying the dumbfounded
chorus. Holy smoke.

Press play, it’s better than life…


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‘Pennsylvania by JESSE STONE (Montreal, CA)

The rock ‘n roll swagger of Eddie Cochran, the surf guitar electricity
of Link Wray, and the fervent fire of Bo Diddley. Get the punchy
picture? This rollin’ razzle-dazzle riffage will boost your mood.

Get up and twirl yourself dizzy

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‘Staying Here’ by ACTING STRANGE (Scotland)

Stadium rockers The Killers will nod their heads in praise
when they hear this Scottish duo new excellent album
Staying Here.

The title track is a sassy stonker, a glam-synth-bam
banger with a relentless beat and vivacious vocals.
Top cut!

Feel the vibe…

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‘Wild Flowers’ by WARMDUSCHER (London, UK)

London’s funk-punk gang is gearing up
for their big breakthrough album.

This first taster is a trippy bass-driven disco groove you can sway
your hips to in the morning while waking up, in the evening while
getting drunk, and during the day when you’re getting bored.

Fucktastic…

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‘Dad Vibes’ by LIMP BIZKIT (Florida)

I never really liked Limp Bizkit. They wanted
to be the white Rage Against The Machine
and jumped on every crossover bandwagon.

But hey, this new single made my ears flap like crazy.
After all these years I clap for Fred Durst & co.

Rap it up, Fred…

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‘Butterfly Room’ by SHATTERCONES (London)

This fulminating sucker-punch tackles the Brexit Apocalypse with
a raging force and poignant frustration. Watch your back, Bojo!

It comes from their staggering 4-track EP This Septic Isle.

Release the bats…


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Blacked Out‘ by THE MANIC BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB (Toronto, CA)

When surreality becomes reality cry outs like these pop up to translate
alienated feelings that dominate your daily life. This club of two decided
to embed their frustration into a swirling dance stunner for our doomed
generation.

Pithy, peppery, and a blacked-out chorus that sticks as primo glue.
Add glamorous vocals and a glittering full-on wall-of-sound and the
final result is a supersonic stunner.

Here’s why…

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‘It’s Critical’ by SAVING JACKIE (San Antonio, Texas)

The heated rap-rock gang from San Antonio launched
a video for the title track of their debut album.

The clip is a clear-cut message regarding life-threatening diseases.
Flamboyant frontwoman Jenny 4C Ramirez emphasizes the fight
for your life
bravery while making your blood stream faster through
your veins.

Bang your head here…

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‘Chaos Space Marine’ by BLACK COUNTRY, NEW ROAD (London)

These young gunslingers rushed to indie stardom with their ace
jazz and prog-rock influenced debut LP For The First Time.

Isaac Wood (frontman) about this brand new song: “it’s the best song we’ve ever
written. We threw in every idea anyone had with that song. So the making of it was
a really fast, whimsical approach – like throwing all the shit at the wall and just
letting everything stick.”

I smell great shit…


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‘Medicine’ by SLEEPSHAKE (Canada)

A blazing rock slam about the desperate need for stable emotional stimulation.
Blustering guitars, flurried synths, hot-blooded vocals, a discharging chorus, and somewhere in the middle a thunder and lighting guitar solo to electrocute all your
mind-destroying demons. Every time you take this medicine, you’ll get a kick out of it.

If you like British turbo Royal Blood
you’ll go berserk to this cracker too.

Yeahhhhh…

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‘The Met’ by COLATURA (Brooklyn, NY)

Instantly effective pop tunes like these make me smile
from left to right and back. Shiny guitars with shoegazy
sparks, a dizzy-making rhythm, happy-go-lucky sentiments,
and seducing vocals. A song that would turn Taylor Swift
into an indie star.

Check it out…


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‘Count The Death’ by THE CHRONICLES OF MANIMAL AND SAMARA: (London)

A crystal-clear structured protest against greedy political sharks and
megalomaniac charlatans oppressing people for their own devastating
agendas. Again Manimal and Samara show how to fuse poignant poetry
and versatile metal genres.

Manimal and Samara are sonic architects.

Follow their path here…

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‘Blood Moon’ by CONVERGE and CHELSEA WOLFE (USA)

The fab goth-metal gang made an album with goth heroine Chelsea Wolfe
and Cave In‘s Stephen Brodsky. The LP, titled Bloodmoon: I will soundtrack
our nightmares from November 19 on.

Here comes the first piece Blood Moon. A classic mix of deafening bombast,
theatrical doom and gloom, barking voices (except for Chelsea of course), and
hardcore torment. A perfect Halloween monster.

Your Halloween starts here…

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‘Wanna See’ by HANNYA WHITE (London, UK)

White continues her sound-exploring search. Here she fuses
symphonic instrumentation with deep-bass-resonating synth
turbulence. Trippy, dissonant, and even claustrophobic when
short fragments of White‘s restless breathing emerge somewhere
in there.

The ongoing pizzicato violin play adds both an airy and eerie timbre.
I have no idea what the totally silent outro with some echoes of (what
seems to be) firecrackers in the very end, is about. What I do know is
that the first thought that crossed my mind when hearing this, was:
Aphex Twin is back, in disguise.

Stream/buy ‘Wanna See’ here…


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‘Nightmare Pills’ by EX-HYENA

Pretty quick into the song the early days of electronic
British legends Human League and Baxter Dury‘s synth
pop sensuality (especially the female voices) popped up
on my stereo in my head.

It sounds as if this Boston tandem warns us of Big Brother’s ambition to brainwash humankind with mind-altering chemicals with this darksome, yet instantly striking
electro jam. Haunting, feverish, and gloomy are the keywords here. Best played at
night while being dazed and confused by the surreal times we experience the past
18 months.

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‘The Beachland Ballroom’ by IDLES (Bristol, UK)

A new album is canned and sees
the day of light on 12 November.

The lead single is “an honest-to-goodness
soul song named after the iconic Ohio venue.”

Expect the slower side of Idles with hefty eruptions now
and then and frontman Joe Talbot‘s blood cooking.

Feel the heat…

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‘Slow Down’ by MOONWOOD (Sydney)

It’s been a while since I heard an epic belter that evokes
an image on the screen in my head of a massive stadium
filled with a sea of people holding their phones up with
shining lights and scream at the top of their lungs.

This powerful love ballad will
trigger your romantic side…

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See/hear you next month, music junkies…

London Singer Songwriter GLASS SANDS Scores With His New Electrifying Album ‘BETTER THAN LIFE’

10 October 2021

Artist: GLASS SANDS
Who: Musical moniker of an indie singer/songwriter from London

New album: BETTER THAN LIFE

Turn Up The Volume: Expect an intriguing mix of moody moments (Coming Home / In
Your Hands / Ballad Of The Byford Dolphin / Hammerfest
), guitar-driven riff-hook-and-lick knockouts that cut like a Swiss knife (Better Than Life / She Hangs On The Western Wall / Phantom Pains / Cigarette Machine) and a slo-mo closer (Basilisk) that could feature on the soundtrack of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks TV series. An overall versatile accomplishment that grows on you. A twists and turns record swinging from dreamy pop to fuzzing and buzzing rock and back. Don’t miss this! You don’t need a pool to throw a party with Better Than Life on the stereo.

Stream/buy here…


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GLASS SANDS: Facebook