Whether you noticed yet or not, music is a pretty significant part of our brewing culture. With that in mind, we thought it would be fitting to start a tradition of our top 10 albums at the end of each year. Maybe you'll know these albums, maybe you'll find something new. Either way, we hope it sheds a bit more light on who we are as brewers and people.
Without further ado, here's Ron S's Top 10 Albums for 2021:
10 - Tyler, the Creator - Call Me if You Get Lost
With Tyler, you know you're going to get a perfect middle ground of creative, edgy hip hop mixed with some theatrics. CMIYGL is no different. This sounds like a polished Cherry Bomb with DJ Drama screaming, probably too much, throughout the entire album. However, creatively, this is top notch; it's fun, weird, and perfectly obnoxious. A bit of a back to your scheduled programming after IGOR.
9 - Teenage Wrist - Earth is A Black Hole
I don't know what it is about this band but I just love them. This scratches my 90s grunge/alternative itch with modern tones and levels. Don't mishear that, it certainly has that shitty fuzzy distortion we love from that era, but layer in some shoegaze riffs and swooning vocals for good measure. Chorus pedals and Foo Fighters-esque hooks round this album out just right for repeat listening.
8 - Fiddlehead - Between the Richness
Bands like this really resonate when paired with a specific experience. I heard this album for the first time on a trip to Massachusetts to visit some dear friends and this album transports me there immediately. Those are the types of albums you want to have for years to come. Fiddlehead sounds like if Title Fight decided to just release Floral Green again but with Basement sounding vocals. Catchy, a bit snotty, and those oh-so-wonderful lazy emo guitar leads. Rip this is March as the weather starts to turn and you start seeing the ice melting off the trees.
7 - John Mayer - Sob Rock
I'll be damned if this record isn't borderline perfect. John Mayer has come and gone for me over the years, but this album really resonates with me. Is it because my first child was born to Toto - Africa and most of this album sounds exactly like that? Probably. I'll say this, while the album borders on funny at moments, there is a real honesty that draws you in. I think the layout of the album is really well done and Mayer has done a lot of work to portray himself in a positive and likeable light. And obviously, the guitar work is immaculate.
6 - Japanese Breakfast - Jubilee
I came onto this album later in the year and it IMMEDIATELY stuck. It's incredibly catchy, well-crafted, and moody. The hooks are out of this world and as a sucker for good production- I absolutely love the way this album sounds. I can't put my finger on what it reminds me of, but if you like good music, give it a listen.
5 - Regional Justice Center - Crime and Punishment
Ok, the rest of this list is pretty heavy. Starting here, RJC is brutal out the gate and it doesn't stop throughout all of Crime and Punishment. I'm a sucker for face-paced, relentless hardcore with some crushing moments through. This album is exactly that. 10 songs clocking in at a cool 13 minutes and 27 seconds, you'll look like Sarah Conner holding onto the fence after the nuclear bomb goes off in Terminator II.
4 - Converge - Bloodmoon I
Converge is one of my favorite bands of all time, but it's kind of hard to call this a Converge album. With Chelsea Wolfe and Stephen Brodsky involved, there is a much larger cast of characters that had a huge impact on the sound of this album. Admittedly, I'm not a HUGE fan of Jacob Bannon's low droning vocals, so replacing those with Chelsea Wolfe's haunting voice and Stephen Brodsky's borderline perfect voice really benefits this whole thing. There are moments that sound like Converge and moments that sound like a horror movie soundtrack. Is it a daily listen? No. But I'll be damned if it wasn't an awesome album and in the right setting, fitting.
3 - Knocked Loose - A Tear in the Fabric of Life
When this dropped, it was just the short film accompaniment on Youtube and I was absolutely blown away. Horrifying, crushingly heavy and devastating. This band truly could have gone to shit after the "arf arf" on Laugh Tracks, but they've really found their stride. Lyrically, this album is haunting and weird and musically, it's about the same. I don't know if many people knew this was coming, but I'm glad it did. They've delivered on their last two albums.
2 - Every Time I Die - Radical
I really thought I wasn't going to like this record. I didn't love the singles and didn't love that they were just holding onto the album until they could tour again. I get it, but didn't love it. Anyway! The album came out and they did a perfect job of working those singles into the structure of the whole album. It might be a tad too many songs, but there are so many all-timers on this album, it finds a balance. Lyrically, Keith feels confused, but on purpose and I enjoyed the ride. It's not Low Teens, but I think they followed up that album well. ETID seems to have really set themselves as a band that powered through the wave of goofy metalcore and has a timelessness most folks my age appreciate.
1 - Turnstile - Glow On
Anyone that knows me knew this was going to be my number 1 album. They marketed it perfectly and released just the right songs at the right time. I was so excited when this album dropped- more excited than usual, and that's because of how they hyped it. Thankfully it delivered from front to back; traditional hardcore, reggae a-al Bad Brains, funky drums and bass parts and 311 grooves. This all seems like it wouldn't traditionally work but they executed it perfectly. Vocally, it's catchy and approachable, especially for a hardcore band. I find myself dancing and headbanging almost simultaneously throughout. Just really well orchestrated, meaningful, and impactful hardcore with great homages to all of their musical upbringings. Perfect record. Cheers!