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The Future of Music 2021

2021 Album Release Schedule2021 Music HighlightsFuture Music 2021Future of Music+-
2020AFOBlgSpillTabMain700

We find ourselves in strange times, almost surreal at some points - with the Covid situation and strange political happenings around the world. This time has been typified by resorting to various home-comforts - including comfort-eating, and comfort-listening to a large degree.

 

This makes for a healthy does of Nostalgia with lots of flavours of the 80’s and 90’s harkening back to gentler times. We’ve see the continued growth of all kinds of sub-genres - with Twilight / Kitchen Disco being on of my favourites. By and large though what we have is really a new sense of eclecticism. Exemplified by artists like Ed Sheeran - who straddle several genres and keep surprising us with creative collaborations.

 

I myself, apart from Twilight Disco - seem to find myself leaning still more into slightly whimsical and quirky electronic pop - a genre that’s always been a favourite. While the 2021 Breakthrough Artists section below shows just how eclectic and broad the scope is - across pop, rock, punk, metal, electronica, R&B, Hip Hop and a smattering of instrumental jazz even.

 

Generally though I seem to largely be wanting something more familiar and comforting, while I feel an experimental phase lies not too far ahead!

 

I could have selected any of a number of artists to be my poster girl/boy/band of the year - while I felt a strong emotional connection with some of Spill Tab’s (Claire Chicha) recent output in particular. It owes quite a bit of influence to two previous favourites - Billie Eilish and Skott in particular.


10 Favourite Albums of 2020

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In my 2020 review I noted a heavy element of nostalgic sounds - recalling the now relative paradise of the 80's and 90's.

 

All top five choices in particular have a healthy dose of nostalgia bout them for sure - also of course the sophistication of Twilight Disco! :

  1. Jessie Ware - What’s Your Pleasure?
  2. The Weeknd - After Hours
  3. Róisín Murphy - Róisín Machine
  4. Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia
  5. The Avalanches - We Will Always Love You
  6. Sault - Untitled (Black Is | Rise)
  7. Purity Ring - Womb
  8. Skott - Always Live for Always
  9. Becky and the Birds - Trasslig EP
  10. Grimes - Miss Anthropocene

10 Favourite Songs of 2020

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While my top album choices prove to be somewhat laid back in many ways, that is not the case with the individual Single or Song choices - which seem rather more sparky and effervescent. Some significant quirky but fairly sophisticated electronic pop! :

  1. Run the Jewels feat. Royal Blood - The Ground Below (Royal Jewels Mix) | Ooh La La | JU$T
  2. Grimes - Darkseid w/ 潘PAN | Delete Forever
  3. 100 gecs - hand crushed by a mallet (Remix) | Money Machine | gecgecgec (Remix)
  4. Carpenter Brut - Blood Machines Theme | Maniac
  5. Jayda G - Both of Us | Are U Down
  6. Jessie Ware - Save a Kiss | What's Your Pleasure | In Your Eyes | Spotlight | Soul Control | The Kill
  7. The Weeknd ft. Rosalía - Blinding Lights | In Your Eyes ft. Kenny G | Too Late | Save Your Tears
  8. Dua Lipa - Physical | Hallucinate | Don't Start Now
  9. Billie Eilish - No Time To Die | Therefore I Am | My Future
  10. Madalen Duke - Born Alone Die Alone | Part Goddess Part Gangster | Run Boy

Breakthrough Artists for 2021 / BBC Sound of etc.

This was an unusually arduous task this year as there was generally very little overlap of the main lists - with each magazine and music body advocating for a different set of artists. As a result I have a fairly unprecedented Long List of 150+ candidates - straddling near enough every major genre out there bar classical.

 

From the Long List I chose circa 20 that appealed to be most - while on a different day I would undoubtedly have made a different selection. Music is such an emotive subject - and for me, like many things. it is dominated by what prevailing mood and plain of existence I find myself on.

 

As is often the case I find myself leaning towards slightly quirky and whimsical electronic pop - typically female-fronted. While there are a few interesting choices in there too. I did not deliberately set out to make the Long List so eclectic - it is very much a product of these times - and like said has some fairly significant genre coverage including a number of rising stars in instrumental jazz - those alas did not make the short list which follows, then book-ended by the full Long List I compiled from all those leading music resources.

 

On this occasion I've decided not to do all that pigeon-hole genre assignment as I don't really find it that helpful for my own tastes and rather becomes a limiting exercise instead of a more open exploration.

 

Note also that I had to disqualify a number from the listing as I had already featured them last year - Inhaler therefore does not feature at all, while I really like Griff - but covered her in last year's selection! This is an incredibly International selection this year with artists coming from all corners of the world - versus the usual UK/US lean.

 

Apart from Spill Tab at the top of the pile both Short and Long Lists are alphabetical by artist :

Spill Tab - My Artist for 2021

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Alaina Castillo

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Alfie Templeman

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Ashwarya

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Claudia Valentina

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Holly Humberstone (BBC Sound of #2)

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Julie Bergan

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Klein Zage

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Logic1000

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Louie Blue

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Lucy Deakin

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PVA

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Pyra

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Shadi G

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Sofia Kourtesis

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Tate McRae

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Tayo Sound

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Wargasm

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The 150+ 2021 Breakthrough Artists Long List

* Asterisk / Bold denotes personal favourites - as above!

  • 24kGoldn
  • 220 Kid
  • Aggi Dix
  • * Alaina Castillo
  • Alewya
  • * Alfie Templeman
  • Amaarae
  • Anxious
  • Aquiles Navarro
  • As Everything Unfolds
  • * Ashwarya
  • Astrid Engberg
  • Attalie
  • AWA
  • Baby Keem
  • Baby Queen
  • BackRoad Gee
  • Bad Boy Chiller Crew (BBCC)
  • Berwyn (BBC Sound of 2021 : #3)
  • BLOXX
  • Boncyan
  • Bree Runway
  • Bríet
  • Calabashed
  • Cat Burns
  • Chloe Moriondo
  • Cj Pandit
  • Claud
  • * Claudia Valentina
  • CMAT
  • Coach Party
  • Courting
  • Daine
  • DEAR-GOD
  • Death Tour
  • Demie Cao
  • Denise Chaila
  • Drug Store Romeos
  • Dutchavelli
  • Enny
  • Erika de Casier
  • Felix De Luca & Shatter Hands
  • Flo Milli
  • Folly Group
  • For Those I Love
  • Fousheé
  • Fred again..
  • Frosty
  • Genesis Owusu
  • Girl in Red
  • Goya Gumbani
  • Gracey
  • Greentea Peng (BBC Sound of 2021 : #4)
  • ** Griff (BBC Sound of 2021 : #5) (alas already included in 2020)
  • Gustaf
  • Hollow Sinatra
  • * Holly Humberstone (BBC Sound of 2021 : #2)
  • Hope Tala
  • Ideal
  • India Jordan
  • Isola
  • Ivorian Doll
  • Jany Green
  • Jockstrap
  • Johan Kull
  • Johanna Burnheart
  • Joesef
  • Jordana
  • Josie Man
  • * Julie Bergan
  • Kamal
  • KennyHoopla
  • Kid Kapichi
  • * Klein Zage
  • KMRU
  • Kynsy
  • Lil Halima
  • * Logic1000
  • Lol K
  • Loose Articles
  • Lou Hayter
  • * Louie Blue
  • Louisa Melcher
  • Lowertown
  • Lucinda Chua
  • * Lucy Deakin
  • LustSickPuppy
  • Lynks
  • Malady
  • Marijannah
  • Martha Skye Murphy
  • Martyn Bootyspoon
  • Meet Me @ The Altar
  • merci, mercy
  • Michelle
  • Mina Okabe
  • Miriam Bryant
  • MoMa Ready
  • Myke Towers
  • The Mysterines
  • Nathan Dawe
  • Nayana Iz
  • NewDad
  • Nicolas Cage Fighter
  • Noisy
  • Nublu
  • Offica
  • ONEFOUR
  • Orion Sun
  • Pa Salieu (BBC Sound of 2021 : #1)
  • Pixey
  • Park Hye Jin
  • Powfu
  • Priya Ragu
  • * PVA
  • * Pyra
  • R.A.E
  • Raheaven
  • Remi Wolf
  • Romero
  • Rose Gray
  • Scalping
  • * Shadi G
  • Shaybo
  • Skullcrusher
  • Smoothboi Ezra
  • * Sofia Kourtesis
  • * Spill Tab ***** [My Artist of the 2021]
  • Sprints
  • Sweeping Promises
  • * Tate McRae
  • * Tayo Sound
  • Tessa
  • The Goa Express
  • The Lathums
  • The Lazy Eyes
  • The Lounge Society
  • The Snuts
  • Tiana Major9
  • Tori Handsley
  • Tuomo
  • * Wargasm
  • Wendy Eisenberg
  • Where Did Nora Go
  • Witch Fever
  • Wordcolour
  • Yard Act
  • Yung Raja
  • Zola Mennenöh
  • Zsela

10 Known Albums I'm Looking Forward To in 2021

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This list contains confirmed releases - a lot of favourites still under TBC though - as below. These are the properly named ones that have a set release date already (alphabetical as usual) :

  • Ashnikko - Demidevil
  • Die Antwoord - 27
  • Grimes – Miss Anthropocene Rave Edition
  • Lana Del Rey - Chemtrails over the Country Club
  • Logic1000 - You’ve Got the Whole Night to Go EP
  • Sia - Music
  • Slowthai - Tyron
  • Rihanna - R9
  • Rosalía - R3
  • Young Thug - Slime Language 2

2021 Album Release Schedule Highlights

JANUARY

  • Ani DiFranco - Revolutionary Love
  • Arlo Parks - Collapsed Sumbeams
  • Barry Gibb - Greenfields
  • Buck Meek - Two Saviors
  • Dusk – The Hermit
  • Flux Pavilion - .wav
  • Goat Girl - On All Fours
  • Jazmine Sullivan - Heaux Tales
  • Lia Ices - Family Album
  • Logic1000 - You’ve Got the Whole Night to Go EP
  • Madlib - Sound Ancestors
  • Palberta - Palberta5000
  • Rhye - Home
  • Shame - Drunk Tank Pink
  • Sleaford Mods - Spare Ribs
  • Steve Earle & the Dukes - J.T.
  • The Notwist - Vertigo Days
  • TRZTN - Royal Dagger Ballet
  • Viagra Boys - Welfare Jazz
  • You Me at Six - Suckapunch

FEBRUARY

  • Alice Cooper - Detroit Stories
  • Architects - For Those That Wish to Exist
  • Ashnikko - Demidevil
  • Black Country, New Road - For the first time
  • Bonnie Tyler - The Best Is Yet to Come
  • Celeste - Not Your Muse
  • Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - New Fragility
  • Cloud Nothings - The Shadow I Remember
  • Epica - Omega
  • Femi Kuti and Made Kuti - Legacy+
  • Foo Fighters - Medicine at Midnight
  • John Carpenter - Lost Themes III: Alive After Death
  • Julien Baker - Little Oblivions
  • Katy Kirby - Cool Dry Place
  • London Grammar - Californian Soil
  • Lost Horizons - In Quiet Moments Part 2
  • Madison Beer - Life Support
  • Maxïmo Park - Nature Always Wins
  • Melvins - Working With God
  • Mogwai - As the Love Continues
  • Pale Waves - Who Am I?
  • Pentatonix - The Lucky Ones
  • SG Lewis - Times
  • Sia - Music : Songs from and Inspired by the Motion Picture
  • Slowthai - Tyron
  • Sun June - Somewhere
  • The Hold Steady - Open Door Policy
  • The Pretty Reckless - Death by Rock and Roll
  • The Staves - Good Woman
  • The Weather Station - Ignorance
  • Wild Pink - A Billion Little Lights
  • Willie Nelson - That's Life

MARCH

  • Arab Strap - As Days Get Dark
  • Cory Hanson - Pale Horse Rider
  • Covey - Class of Cardinal Sin
  • Dodie — Build A Problem
  • Evanescence - The Bitter Truth
  • Ringo Starr - Zoom In
  • Rob Zombie - The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy
  • Sting - Duets
  • Teenage Fanclub - Endless Arcade
  • Tigers Jaw - I Won’t Care How You Remember Me

APRIL

  • Glasvegas - Godspeed
  • Greta Van Fleet - The Battle at Garden's Gate

MAY

  • Weezer - Van Weezer

TBA

  • 3TEETH - TBC
  • Adele - TBC
  • Alicia Keys - Alicia
  • Alien Weaponry - TBC
  • Amenra - TBC
  • Animals as Leaders - TBC
  • Anthrax - TBC
  • Arcade Fire - TBC
  • Arch Enemy - TBC
  • At the Gates - TBC
  • Avenged Sevenfold - TBC
  • Azealia Banks - Fantasea II: The Second Wave
  • Backxwash - TBC
  • Baroness - TBC
  • Beartooth - TBC
  • Bebe Rexha - TBC
  • Ben Harper - Winter Is for Lovers
  • Big Thief - TBC
  • Billie Eilish - TBC
  • Björk - TBC
  • Bleachers - YBC
  • Bring Me the Horizon - TBC
  • Bullet for My Valentine - TBC
  • Busta Rhymes - TBC
  • Cane Hill - TBC
  • Cardi B - TBC
  • Chromatics - Dear Tommy
  • Chubby and the Gang - TBC
  • Chvrches - TBC
  • CL - Alpha
  • Coheed & Cambria - TBC
  • Converge - Blood Moon
  • Courtney Barnett - TBC
  • Daniel Lanois - Heavy Sun
  • Danny Brown - XXXX
  • Darkness - Spiral
  • Darkside - Spiral
  • Denzel Curry - TBC
  • Devin Townsend - Lightwork
  • Diddy - No Way Out 2
  • Die Antwoord - 27
  • Dinosaur Jr. - TBC
  • Drake - Certified Lover Boy
  • Dry Cleaning - TBC
  • Fever 333 - TBC
  • FKA Twigs - TBC
  • Frank Ocean - TBC
  • Future - Life Is Good
  • Garbage - TBC
  • Ghost - TBC
  • Girl Band - TBC
  • Gojira - TBC
  • Grimes – Miss Anthropocene Rave Edition
  • GWAR - TBC
  • GZA - Dark Matter
  • Hand Habits - TBC
  • Insane Clown Posse - Yum Yum Bedlam
  • J. Cole - The Off Season + It’s A Boy + The Fall Off
  • Janet Jackson - Black Diamond
  • Japanese Breakfast - TBC
  • Jerry Cantrell - TBC
  • Jinjer - TBC
  • Judas Priest - TBC
  • Kacey Musgraves - TBC
  • Kaleo - Surface Sounds
  • Kanye West - Turbo Grafx 16 + Donda: With Child
  • Kendrick Lamar - TBC
  • Kerry King - TBC
  • Kid Cudi - Entergalactic + Man on the Moon III
  • KMD - Crack In Time
  • Lana Del Rey - Chemtrails over the Country Club
  • Lil Naz X - TBC
  • Lil Wayne - I Am Not a Human Being III
  • Liz Phair - Soberish
  • Lorde - TBC
  • Lucy Dakus - TBC
  • Lykke Li - TBC
  • Magda Davitt (Sinead O'Connor) - No Mud No Lotus
  • Mastodon - TBC
  • Maxwell - Night
  • Meek Mill - TBC
  • Megadeth - TBC
  • Meshuggah - TBC
  • Metallica - TBC
  • Migos - Culture III
  • Mike Will Made It - Michael
  • Ministry - TBC
  • Modest Mouse - TBC
  • Moontype - TBC
  • My Bloody Valentine - TBC
  • Natalie Imbruglia - TBC
  • Neon Indian - TBC
  • Noname - Factory Baby
  • OneRepublic - Human
  • Ozzy Osbourne - TBC
  • Park Hye Jin - TBC
  • Parquet Courts - TBC
  • Phoenix - TBC
  • Polyphia - TBC
  • Poppy - TBC
  • Porter Robinson - Nurture
  • Pusha T - TBC
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers - TBC
  • Rihanna - R9
  • Rosalía - R3
  • Royal Blood - TBC
  • Ryley Walker - TBC
  • Schoolboy Q - TBC
  • Scorpions - TBC
  • Slowdive - TBC
  • Snail Mail - TBC
  • Spoon - TBC
  • Sky Ferreira - Masochism
  • St. Vincent - TBC
  • SZA - TBC
  • The Cure - TBC
  • The Killers - TBC
  • The Offspring - TBC
  • The War on Drugs - TBC
  • The Weeknd - TBC
  • Whitechapel - TBC
  • The Wrens - TBC
  • Travis Scott - Utopia
  • Vince Staples - TBC
  • Weezer - Van Weezer
  • Weyes Blood - TBC
  • Yo Gotti - Trapped
  • Young Thug - Slime Language 2
  • Zack de la Rocha - TBC
  • Zara Larsson - Poster Girl
  • Zayn Malik - Better
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