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
Mackenzie Scott is TORRES. In July she released Thirstier, her latest album. Recorded in the fall of 2020 at Middle Farm Studios in the UK and co-produced by Scott, Rob Ellis and Peter Miles, Thirstier marks a turn towards a bigger, more bombastic sound for TORRES. The anxious hush that fell over much of Scott’s previous music gets turned inside-out in songs tailored for post-plague celebration. The album features the singles “Hug From A Dinosaur”, “Don’t Go Putting Wishes in My Head”, and the title track.
Thirstier is Torres’ 5th studio album. She has opened for Brandi Carlile, Garbage and Tegan and Sara. Torres has a blunt humanity to her music. It leaves her vulnerable and exposed. Reaching for new heights with Thirstier, Torres roars. Torres is on a nationwide tour now through October 21. She will finish at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC.
TORRES (moniker of Mackenzie Scott) announces her new album, Thirstier, out July 30th on Merge Records, and a North American and European tour. In conjunction, she unveils the album’s first single/video, “Don’t Go Puttin Wishes in My Head.” Thirstier, the follow-up to 2020’s Silver Tongue, is Scott’s most exuberant and daring record to date, showcasing her in thrilling freefall. “I’ve been conjuring this deep, deep joy that I honestly didn’t feel for most of my life,” says Scott. “I feel like a rock within myself. And I’ve started to feel that I have what it takes to help other people conjure their joy, too.” The album revolts against the gray drag of time, a searing and life-affirming eruption of an album that wonders what could happen if we found a way to make our fantasies inexhaustible. Thirstier explodes the borders of imaginative possibility.
Recorded in the fall of 2020 at Middle Farm Studios in the UK, Thirstier marks a turn towards a bigger, more bombastic sound for TORRES. The anxious hush that fell over much of Scott’s previous music gets turned inside-out in songs tailored for post-plague celebration. Scott co-produced the album with Rob Ellis and Peter Miles, drawing on her experience self-producing Silver Tongue to push her music onto an even broader scale. Guitar-driven walls of sound, reminiscent of producer Butch Vig’s work with Garbage and Nirvana, surge and dissipate like surf in high winds, carrying Scott’s commanding voice to the fore.
“I wanted to channel my intensity into something that felt positive and constructive, as opposed to being intense in a destructive or eviscerating way,” Scott notes. “I love the idea that intensity can actually be something life-saving or something joyous.”
1. Are You Sleepwalking?
2. Don’t Go Puttin Wishes in My Head
3. Constant Tomorrowland
4. Drive Me
5. Big Leap
6. Hug From a Dinosaur
8. Kiss the Corners
9. Hand in the Air
10. Keep the Devil Out
This massive sound and celebratory mood is evident in lead single “Don’t Go Puttin Wishes in My Head,” a sparkling country romp. Bolstered by glistening synth, it’s a defiant yet disarming number that sees Scott singing of a love that knows no bounds, while sharing her vulnerabilities with remarkable candor. Its charming video was shot in Scott’s apartment with her partner. In her own words, it’s “my relentless arena country star moment—my shameless Tim McGraw cheeseball hit.”