Best (rock) albums in 2021

Despite the rollercoaster ride of 2021, music remains incredibly important and there have been many great new albums released! Here are some of my favorite albums of the year.

And the only thing that I’ve done
This month is drink beer and
Masturbate, and ignore
Phone calls from you
What else am I supposed to do?

This lyrical gem is taken from Adult Mom’s “Driver” album and the song “Sober”. The entire album is a fantastic indie rock (sic!) experience, that deserves all the attention they can have. 

The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die: Illusory Walls

I first ran into this American indie rock band from Connecticut a few years back. Just after they released their sophomore record, Harmlessness (2015), with the fantastic song “January 10, 2014“. This album is great, and I just love the opportunity to write out their band name. In full.

Erlend Ropstad – Da himmelen brant var alle hunder stille

Oh, Erlend! I am not really that sure about this album. But it keeps growing on me. Much like a memory, the one you brought home from the beach party with friends that went sideways. We’ll see if this album is a fad or not, but… I give you the benefit of doubt. 🧐

Oslo Ess – Pønk, rock og harde kår

One of the few concerts I attended in 2021 due to $%”!#$!”# covid. Being forced to SIT DOWN at this kind of gig is just plain ol’ madness. I want a mosh pit! I want to headbang! And I like you so much better when you leave the ska influence in the backseat.

Skambankt – Jærtegn

While I love the first “version” of Skambankt, with a punky rock attitude, I fell in love with the previous album 1994, with the stripped-down versions of their classics. On this album, they continue on the journey into a more restrained force of rock – strings, a hint of indie & country in between, and still layered in rock…

Death By Unga Bunga – Heavy Male Insecurity

I’m gonna see you
I’m gonna make a move like a thousand times before
I’m gonna get drunk I’m gonna mess it up
Cuz to you I’m a dinosaur.
I like the tension of the night
I’ve got a raging appetite
For destruction and audacity
I’m ready to ignite

I love Death By Unga Bunga. The name. The music. Even if I hate Pineapple on pizza, they got away with that album title. In 2021, they are back with a fab album! They also made it into my top 100 rock songs from 1990-2020 with their “Fight“.

Pil & Bue – The World is a Rabbit Hole

Fuck me! If you have ever wondered how insanely cool a two-man band can sound – wonder no more! Pil & Bue has always been appreciated, but this album is a 6-song mean machine!  Petter Carlsen (guitar/vocal) and Gøran Johansen (drums) make it sound silly easy to sound like a full band… 

Murder Maids – Knives Out

Ze Murder Maidz, yeah! What a debut album! Such a dirty mix of hardcore and punk! It feels like they have been doing this forever! 12 songs. 9 shorter than 3 minutes. Good recipe if you have the songwriting quality. And they do.

Gringo Bandido – Chief Police

From Halden Rock City with love. Egon Holstad wrote, “Norway’s least busy band is finally out with a new album, almost eight years after their debut” in his review. And hailed it as one of the best albums of 2021. He was right. Christian, please do not wait 8 years before the next album, please!  

Spidergawd – Spidergawd VI

Classic Rock Magazine: “The New Wave of The New Wave of British Heavy Metal…….but from Norway !!!!!” Yeah, whatever. Another friggin’ rock and roll album from Spidergawd. But for fuck sake, Per – release the damn Capricorn album on vinyl so we can get some relief. 

Enslaved – Caravans to the Outer Worlds

Enslaved. 25 years of Norwegian Black & Progressive Metal. 8-time Grammy winner.

This is an EP, otherwise, it could be #9 now. Personally, I love this album. But for the hardest of the hardest of the hardest of the hardcorest motherfuckers, this is weak.

“There are even clean vocals passages – a thing that most extreme metallers don’t accept in any way.”

Shit Pommes Frites as we say in Norwegian, this EP is great!

(“#$”#$ you swedes for owning “shit pommes frites” on Google. You SEO motherfuckers! You can take the restaurant in Alingsås that serves nostalgic or sentimental valued “comfort food” up your darkest alley and let your tiny brothers, the Norwegian peasants, own that term for a little, right? RIIIIIGHT!)

Shit Pommes Frites är en restaurang i Alingsås där du kan stilla alla din begär för riktigt bra comfort food.”

Yeah. “Nostalgic and sentimental” sounds pretty shit. From a Shit Påmmes Fritatas ristorante I want an unhealthy dose of fries. Like the Heart Attack Grill. Served with Cheese. Mayo. Garlic. Hot Sauce. Chili. Cheese. Butter. Bacon. Cream. Did I mention Cheese? And Bacon? LOTS of IT! At about 4000 calories per bite.

I am not sure how this leads us to Mastodon, but… FFS! I will not even try. 

Mastodon – Hushed and Grim

I have fancied Mastodon for a number of years. And while I really like the new album, I wish they would have made a “Best of” as the 1 hour 26-minute double album has a few weak spots. But, alas (!), this is a marathon and not a sprint. A repeat marathon. It keeps growing. We will see how much it can grow…  

Mastodon has been described as heavy metal, progressive metal, sludge metal, alternative metal, stoner rock (!), psychedelic metal, experimental metal, and groove metal. Let me introduce a new. A genre that will put them in line with Gojira (you will understand a bit later).

Fuck Metal. 

Yesh! Like in “Metal to fuck to”.

IDLES – CRAWLER

Yay! The CAPS LOCK band is back! I got introduced to IDLES at some point, in some setting, by someone or something I really, really do NOT remember. But it does not matter. Their new album is great. And they did the subtle pun of putting the Wizz before the Snake King. If it was not intended, I will hunt Bobbitt down and ask how it works! 

Gojira – Fortitude

“This is worthwhile fucking to”, said a friend once, while we were listening to Gojira. I concur. The new one out is dense and dynamic, and perhaps their best so far – it is a mean machine. Worth experimenting with. Really cannot wait.  

Geese – Projector

I like Geese. If I recall correctly, a review somewhere claimed they resembled U2. That is totally uncalled for as far as I am concerned. Post punk. Post Schmunk. Enjoy!  

Fiddlehead – Between the Richness

Pitchfork was right: “​​Fiddlehead’s second album doesn’t stray far from the band’s foundational qualities: gruff but approachable, intense without being aggro, emo but not emo.”

They fiddle with my head. And I really like this.

Ashnikko – DEMIDEVIL

Not sure if DEMI DEVIL is the right term. SEMI? MEGA? Ashnikko ruled Tik-Tok and brought took her artistry outside the Tik and Tok. According to Wikipedia, her parents exposed her to country music and Slipknot. That mix went quite well, I have to say. 

Fake Fruit – Fake Fruit

Time for fruit. Fake fruit. But the Fake Fruit debut is far from fake and one of the newcomers I am really looking forward to getting more from. I really have a hard time describing how they sound. But everything is Hannah D’Amato’s show. “Her words carry over broken dick chords and kvetching double-time riffs.” as a review so heart-warming explained it.

Bokassa – Molotov Rocktail

Lars Ulrich has for many years been an idiot (I love Napster – and, beer is good!) But he was totally on point when hailing Bokassa as “his favorite new band” describing them as “Insanely fucking cool” after hearing their first album “Divide & Conquer”. But… Thing is, Lars… What are you gonna call them now? Insanelierz fucking coolerz? Me. Not. Know. But. Great. They. Are.

Årabrot – Norwegian Gothic

Wow! What a way to celebrate a 20-year career! They finish their album with “Shut the fuck up. You’re not that special. You’re not that special. You’re not that special.” Admittedly I have had a weak spot for Karin Park for a long time (her 2014 song “Look what you’ve done” was great), but what Kjetil Nernes has achieved with Karin on this album is just beyond everything.

But, ÅRABROT is really that special. Fuck you George! 

Amyl and The Sniffers – Comfort To Me

From Norwegian complex Årabrot to more in-your-face Australian Amyl and The Sniffers. According to Wikipedia, Amy compared them to the drug (amyl nitrite) in an interview with Paul Glynn of the BBC: “In Australia, we call poppers Amyl. So you sniff it, it lasts for 30 seconds and then you have a headache – and that’s what we’re like.”

Yeah. I might get a badass headache after going to a gig with you. It serves two: Headbangers and MoshPit. 

I’m not looking for trouble, I’m looking for love
I’m looking for love
Will you let me in your hard heart?
Let me in your hard heart, let me in your pub


Gotta admit. Amy carries a great mullet. Real badass business in the front, party in the back. 

Low – HEY WHAT

From Russia with Low. Aww, what an incredible bad pun. From Duluth with Love. Now, that is how it should be! Low has followed me since the ’90s, and they keep going. My all-time favorite remains being “Murderer” from their 2016 “Drums & Guns“.

girl in red – if I could make it go quiet

girl in red does not go quietly. I love Marie Ulven because she has stated ambitions to rule the world. Those with the guts to speak out their goals – even if it is a stretch – should be applauded!

“I want to go farther. I want to be the world’s greatest artist. I say it seriously, but there is also a bit of nonsense in it because it is such an incredibly sick thing to say

Marie can rule the world. Girl in Red is doomed for greatness.

She was a different kind, made you feel satisfied
Momentary happiness makes you feel alive
You had it all but you get be easily seduced by
The things that rip me apart
I’m a safe bet but you get intrigued
By uncertainty and mystique
Was I stupid enough to believe
you would change that for me?

From Did You Come?

Poppy – Flux

I was introduced to Poppy by my daughter. My daughter is 12 years old and has great taste in music. Poppy’s BLOODMONEY was the one. And Poppy made me believe. Even if BLOODMONEY is one of the coolest songs I know – all time – I find her new album is so great it deserves a place on my list.

Summary….

Well… That pretty much sums it up, I think. 2021 was another great year of music and a really, really, really crappy year for live shows. Got Indie Rock? Got Metal? Got Experimental shitz? Got a venue somewhere?

See you in the mosh pit! 

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