See similar posts from 2021 (TK), 2020

In no particular order. I would love to know what you think.. Keep scrolling past the Spotify playlist for some brief thoughts on each track.

The OBGMs - “Same”

What’s in the water in Toronto? Whatever it is, it’s responsible for some great punk rock: Death From Above 1979, PUP, and now The OBGMs. This their first single following their breakout 2020 album The Ends.

Friko - “Holdin’ On People”

Horsegirl was the band that put the insanely fertile “Hellogallo” scene on the map. But it was their friends and fellow scene-mates Friko who stoke the show at their album release party. “Holdin’ On People” was the highlight of an energetic set. I’m glad Friko played Audiotree shortly after since the album version really doesn’t hold a candle to the live performance.

Vulfmon - “Here We Go Jack”

It might be a stretch to call Vulfpeck underrated, but even folks familiar with the band might have missed the album put out by Jack Stratton this year. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of “Here We Go Jack”—it’s an earworm.

CLAMM - “Something New”

Really, the best music find of the year was not a song, but rather FBi 94.5 FM, a community radio station out of Sydney. So many good finds from Down Under and beyond! CLAMM is one of several groups on this list I discovered through my friend Jake and his partner Grace, a DJ for FBi. Driving Aussie punk that’s found strong traction in the underground scene.

LIA LIA - “I’m a Moth!!”

The world needs more nonsense songs.

Horsegirl - “Anti-glory”

“Anti-glory” is one of the most mesmerizing tracks I’ve heard in a really long time. Hard to believe that the members of Horsegirl aren’t even old enough to play most of the venues in Chicago.

TV Priest – “Bury Me In My Shoes”

Hard rock with elements of classic British punk.

Body Type - “The Charm”

On one of my first days during my first-ever trip to Sydney, my buddy Jake said, “I’m gonna take you to see one of the best live shows in Sydney at the moment.” We wound up in a courtyard next to a Cole’s Supermarket. I have to admit, I was skeptical. But then Body Type took the stage, launched into their first song, and I immediately got it. A fun band with some great tunes.

MJ Lenderman - “Toontown”

The token North Carolinian on the list. Indie rock with country-inspired riffs and even a cowbell here and there.

Camp Cope, covering Sam Fender - “Seventeen Going Under”

My favorite cover of the year. Suspect we’ll be seeing this soon on Hottest 100.

Liam Kazar - “So Long Tomorrow”

One of my favorite local acts I found during my brief stint in Chicago. Soulful yet joyful.

Mallrat - “Teeth”

Love the riffs on this track. Another solid contender for Hottest 100.

Belief - “I Want To Be”

My favorite electronic track of the year, fantastic for late-night summer drives.