Best of 2021 – Last year we missed doing our annual “Best Of.” This year we present it after a year of quarantine albums galore. Tours didn’t start until May but new music was flowing from the start of 2021. 2022 is already aiming to be a busy year. Here are our choices for the Best of 2021.
We’ve evolved from Phoebe Bridgers, Megan Thee Stallion and others of last year to a new crop of artists.
Best Label – Fire Talk Records – Home to Bnny, Mamalarky, Packs and more this boutique label is setting up to be the next Saddle Creek Records.
Secretly Group @secretlygroup, Saddle Creek Records @saddlecreek, Fire Talk Records @firetalkrecs, Don Giovanni Records @DonGiovanniRecs
Nest New Artist – “New” is always relative. Georgia Maq has been part of Camp Cope, and Isabella Manfredi was part of The Preatures. Our winner is Ashe who album Ashlyn was hard to put down this year.
Georgia Maq @goldsoundz_, Allison Russell @allisonrussellmusic, S.G. Goodman @s.g.goodman, Ashe @ashemusic, Jillette Johnson @jillettejohnson, Hawxx @hawxxmusic, Noa Kirel @noakirel, Kill Birds @killbirdsmusic, Killboy @killboy , Sloppy Jane @sloppyjanebandd , Ydegirl @ydegirl, The Linda Lindas @the_linda_lindas, Allison Ponthier @allisonponthier, Isabella Manfredi @isabellamanfredi, Pom Pom Squad @pompomsquad
Best Local (Colorado) Artist – Local artists can often be touring or even national acts. This category was very competitive with the amount of quarantine albums that came out. Our winner is Companion who mesmerized us in the Spring. They will quickly become a national act.
Best Dance – Dance is also electronic and electro pop. Magdalena Bay & Sofi Tukker are the 800 lb gorillas in this category. Kito is our winner for surprising collaborations.
Magdalena Bay @magdalenabay, Sofi Tukker @sofitukker, Kito @kito
Best Pop – Pop like Indie is often open to interpretation. It is often what dominates at venues. Our winner is Charlotte Cardin whose Phoenix album was one of the best albums this year.
Hana Vu @hanavuuu, Lucy Dacus @lucydacus, Japanese Breakfast @jbrekkie, Baby Queen @queenofthebabies, Charlotte Cardin @charlottecardin, Jess Chalker @jess_chalker_, May-A @mayacumming, Ashe @ashemusic, Girl In Red @girlinred, Angèle @angele_vl, Sloppy Jane @sloppyjanebandd, Nadia Vaeh @nadiavaeh, Olivia Rox @oliviarox, Number One Popstar @numberonepopstar, Bahari @bahari, Noga Erez @nogaerez, Lola Lennox @lolalennex
Best Rock – Rock is often the guitar driven beat that keeps you going. Kill Birds, who have been touring with Foo Fighters are our winner.
Royal and the Serpent @royalandtheserpent, Amyl and the Sniffers @amylandthesniffers, Mattiel @mattielworldwide , Upsahl @upsahlmusicl, Self Esteem @selfesteemselfesteem, Kill Birds @killbirdsmusic, Nadia Sheikh @nadiasheikhmusic, Red Hook @weareredhook, Pom Pom Squad @pompomsquad
Best Indie – Indie always means both a sound but also a level of development. These are the artists at the small venues touring to survive. We have a diverse selection this year. Bnny is our winner.
Best Experimental – There is always a “flinch” moment when you saw experimental. It involves a great deal of risk as personified by our winner Fifi Rong who is working on her dual album set with one album all in English, and one all in Chinese. She is crowdfunding now.
Insect Ark @insectark, Fifi Rong @fifirong, Sasami @sasamiashworth, Irreversible Entanglements @irreversibleentanglements, Haru Nemuri @haru_nemuri
Best Hip Hop – This is the first year that FEMMUSIC has this category. There may be some arguments as to whether all these artists fit it. Coi Leray is the best newcomer in this area. Ray BLK is our winner.
Bia @bia, Tones and I @tonesandi, Doja Cat @dojacat, Sza @sza, Cardi B @iamcardib, Megan Thee Stallion @theestallion, Coi Leray @coileray, Ms Banks @msbanks, Ray BLK @rayblk, Remi Wolf @remiwolf, Tinashe @tinashenow
Best Jazz – We will admit to not hearing as much jazz this year. Laufey is the winner with original interpretations of classics.
Laufey @laufey, Nnenna Freelon @officialnnenna
Best Country – Brandi Carlile is a favorite in this category and will take home more GRAMMYs. Allison Russell wins for being new and original.
Brandi Carlile @brandicarlile, Allison Russell @allisonrussellmusic, Yola @iamyolaofficial, CMAT @cmatbaby, Jackson & Sellers @jacksonsellersmusic, Ingrid Andress @ingridandress
Best Heavy Metal – Infected Rain is a former winner in this category. Jinjer, Halestorm & The Pretty Reckless dominate. The Velveteers are this year’s winner.
Hawxx @hawxxmusic, Edge of Paradise @edgeofparadise, Jinjer @jinjer_official, The Velveteers @thevelveteers, Infected Rain @infectedrain_official, The Pretty Reckless @theprettyreckless, Halestorm @halestormrocks
Best R & B – This category includes powerhouses like Arlo Parks and Dawn Richard. Alewya is our winner for new and original music this year.
Muni Long @munilong, India Shawn @indiashawn, Dawn Richard @dawnrichard, Alewya @alewya11, Arlo Parks @arloparks, Tkay Maidza @tkaymaidza, Danielia Cotton @danieliacotton, Saleka @saleka
Best Surprise – A “surprise” for us is that unexpected performance when it was not expected. It includes some risky performances such as LVXURI and Big Klit. S.G. Goodman is our hands down winner. We caught her as an opener and she garnered as much reaction as the headliner. She is a blunt, and emotive songwriter.
S.G. Goodman @s.g.goodman, Kiesza @kiesza, LVXURI @mx_lvxuri, Big Klit @klitoriusmaximus
Best Comeback – This has been a surprisingly competitive category. Whether it’s the return of ABBA after a long time to Adele’s new album. The big surprise this month is Taylor Swift taking the world with the longest song. She is our winner.
Kylie Minogue @kylieminogue, Avril Lavigne @avrillavigne, Deborah Gibson @debbiegibson, Liz Phair @LizPhairOfficial, Taylor Swift @taylorswift , ABBA @ABBA, Adele @adele, Lorde @lorde
Super-group duo Bat Fangs have just released the third single “Talk Tough” from their forthcoming album Queen Of My World. An accompanying music video for the song is also out now, which was directed by Mark Shue of Guided By Voices.
Queen Of My World will be released this Friday October 29, 2021 on Don Giovanni Records.
Betsy Wright (of Ex Hex) on guitar and vocals, and drummer Laura King (of Mac McCaughn and Speed Stick) bridge the gap between their respective Washington DC and Carrboro NC scenes, in their unified love of good-time shredding hard rock. @batfangs
Don Giovanni Records have announced the release of the new solo album from Screaming Females guitarist and vocalist Marissa Paternoster. The album is titled Peace Meter and it will be released on December 3rd 2021.
After a handful of releases under the moniker Noun, Peace Meter is the first ever recording to be released under Paternoster’s name, a deliberate choice making it stand on its own as a unique statement from the prolific guitarist.
Marissa Paternoster has released lead track “White Dove.”
Minneapolis’ beloved indie rock trio Bad Bad Hats has signed with Don Giovanni Records for their brand new album, Walkman, due out September 17. While breathing exuberant joy and her singular sense of humor into every syllable, songwriter Kerry Alexander (guitar/vocals) brings personal storytelling and wit into the multi-layered lyrics, while wailing on bouncing guitar lines and infectious melodies with bandmates Chris Hoge (bass) and Con Davison (drums).
Defined by a balance of sweet and sour, the trio’s music honors classic pop songwriting, with nods to nineties rock simplicity and pop-punk frivolity. Lead single “Detroit Basketball” is delivered alongside a video that charmingly depicts the band’s delightfully absurdist perspective, delivered with the utmost sincerity, as they make their valiant return to the spotlight. Piston’s fans will recognize this song’s title as the call-and-response chant that fills the Little Caesars Arena on game night, but the simple phrase stuck in Kerry’s head, who drew on it for inspiration for this searing power-pop track.
Bad Bad Hats Tour Dates
On sale now
July 30: Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St Entry
July 31: Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St Entry (early show)
July 31: Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St Entry (late show)
On sale Friday, July 16
August 12: Spring Green, WI @ Shitty Barn
September 22: Omaha, NE @ Reverb Lounge
September 23: Kansas City, MO @ Record Bar
September 24: Saint Louis, MO @ Off Broadway
September 25: Des Moines, IA @ xBk
October 7: St. Cloud, MN @ Pioneer Place
October 8: Fargo, ND @ Fargo Brewing Company
October 9: Sioux Falls, SD @ Icon Lounge
October 15: Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop
October 19: Newport, KY @ Southgate House Revival
October 20: Columbus, OH @ Natalie’s
October 21: Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Cafe
October 22: Vienna, VA @ Jammin Java
October 23: Richmond, VA @ Richmond Music Hall
October 24: Philadelphia, PA @ Silk City
October 26: Asbury Park, NJ @ The Saint
October 27: Hamden, CT @ Space Ballroom
October 28: New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
October 29: Concord, NH @ Bank of New Hampshire Stage
October 30: Keene, NH @ Colonial Theatre
October 31: Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
November 2: Northampton, MA @ Iron Horse
November 3: Albany, NY @ The Linda
November 4: Buffalo, NY @ The 9th Ward at Babeville
November 5: Cleveland, OH @ Mahall’s
November 6: Ferndale, MI @ Otus Supply
November 7: Grand Rapids, MI @ Pyramid Scheme
November 18: Wausau, WI @ Grand Theater
November 19: Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club
November 20: Chicago, IL @ Schubas
December 2: Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
December 3: Duluth, MN @ Sacred Heart Music Center