Loud guitars and incisive lyrics are what we need, especially right now.
In an uncertain world, one thing we can count on (even this year!) is that songwriters and musicians will continue to create new music. Here are some new releases for the first couple of months of 2021 that I am eagerly awaiting.
Ani Difranco- Revolutionary Love (January 29)
Ani DiFranco - Revolutionary Love (Official Audio)
Difranco is a longtime musician, activist and hands-on music business figure, running her own Righteous Babe Records. Her albums come out less frequently these days, only increasing the expectation for her take on current events. Difranco's rhythmic sense is always intriguing, as is her compassionate view of social change.
The Hold Steady- Open Door Policy (February 19)
The Hold Steady - Family Farm
Frontman Craig Finn and his bandmates in The Hold Steady are a rock band in the classic sense. The group is based in Brooklyn, but Finn's formative years spent in Minneapolis and its suburbs have continued to inform his lyrical point of view. Loud guitars and incisive lyrics are what we need, especially right now.
Australian singer-songwriter and virtuoso guitarist (and multi-instrumentalist) Tash Sultana is just getting started on what promises to be a brilliant career. They built their formidable reputation as a solo performer, with Sultana adding band members just within the past year. The result of adding other players will be heard on"Terra Firma," their second full-length album.
Mogwai- As the Love Continues (February 19)
Mogwai - Ritchie Sacramento (Official Video)
Mogwai formed in Glasgow, Scotland in 1995, leaning to the experimental, textural side of indie rock. Usually categorized as "post-rock" and specializing in guitar-based instrumentals, when Mogwai include lyrics in their music the words serve the overall aural sweep of their sound. This is the band's tenth studio album.
Julien Baker- Little Oblivions (February 26)
Julien Baker - "Faith Healer" (Official Music Video)
Julien Baker recorded her third full-length in her hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, producing the record and playing most of the instruments herself. "Little Oblivions" follows her previous album from 2017, and the boygenius EP (Baker's collaboration with Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus) from late 2018. The first single is "Faith Healer," a song about addiction, indicating an album of substantive lyrical content.
Cloud Nothings- The Shadow I Remember (Feb. 26)
Cloud Nothings - "Am I Something" (Official Music Video)
Cleveland's Cloud Nothings represent the punk side of indie rock for early 2021 with an album that follows close on the heels of last year's "The Black Hole Understands." "The Shadow I Remember" finds the band once again working with storied punk and alternative rock producer Steve Albini. As I said earlier, we need those loud guitars!