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
Today, LA-based dark-synth pop artist, L’FREAQ, shares the official video for her newest single, “LOUD,” from her sophomore EP, Showgirl, due out on September 23, 2021 via Position Music.
On the new track, L’FREAQ says, “I made LOUD as my war paint song. I’ve had so many experiences in the music industry of men trying to take advantage of me, specifically one man who led me down a dark alley when I was 16 and made fun of me when I said I didn’t trust him. I went into the studio with my cowriter, Chris Ayer, and we played badass movie scenes on mute of women standing in their power, letting their kick ass personas inspire us. I wanted to make a song that could perfectly narrate those movie scenes, so LOUD was born. This is the song I would play for the 16-year-old version of me, helping her realize that she doesn’t need a man to get ahead, and she’s free to take on the world.”
The official video, shot in an alley and harkening back to that moment, reclaims autonomy and energy with hair flips, rhinestone gloves and bold fashion. l of On the video, she adds, “I filmed this video in 110-degree heat in my hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. Bless my videographer, Josue Orozco, for always being game to do crazy things like this with me. The unique clothing is from my friend Robert who owns one of the coolest vintage clothing stores in the country, Fashion by Robert Black. I wanted the video to be messy and fun and LOUD, and I edited it myself to create the perfect atmosphere.”
Today, LA-based dark-synth pop artist, L’FREAQ, announces her sophomore EP, Showgirl, is officially due out on August 27, 2021 via Position Music. “Gimmick,” the debut single from the forthcoming release is out today to showcase the Showgirl sound.
Describing the song L’FREAQ says, “After a grueling audition for a singing show in late 2019, I felt incredibly disempowered. One of the judges called me “gimmicky” and I felt as if my career had ended. What I didn’t realize was that this one person, one show, and one opportunity just wasn’t the right fit for me. After months struggling with mental health, I wrote this song as a way for me to empower myself and others, and a tongue in cheek diss to the judge that made me doubt my power.”
Track listing: SHOWGIRL EP
03. Take You Down
05. Nothing on Me
The new release follows L’FREAQ’s debut EP, Weird Awakenings, which played with themes of self-discovery, as well as her 2021 single “Make Me Move.” Armed with a full book of poetry, L’FREAQ took pieces of her work and composed songs with Mike Irish, who also produced and mixed the EP at Shifted Recording Studios. The EP was mastered by Stuart Hawkes at Metropolis London Music. They took their time in discovering a sound that felt genuine, one that explored all the raw places she had been longing to find. Together, they created a modern amalgamation of L’FREAQ’s dark, thoughtful poetry and her raw musical instincts, which inevitably alchemized into songs that are all at once aggressive, sensual and moving.
L’FREAQ is the alias of Brooklyn and LA-based singer/songwriter Lea Cappelli, who crafts songs inspired by pop and R&B but with a biting edge. Some highlights of her career include performing privately for Muhammad Ali, sharing the stage with Jakob Dylan, and performing with Grammy-winning artist India.Arie.