December 29, 2021

HCTF's best of 2021 (15-11)

HCTF's annual list of the 20 albums that will be in regular rotation for many years to come. As per usual many genres are represented. Here Comes The Flood covers a lot of ground and it shows in this eclectic, final tally.

Today: countdown from number 15 to 11.

Please shop at your local record store. Most of them have a website where you can order your stuff. Buy directly from the artist, attend live shows when it's safe to do so again. Tell your friends. Word-of-mouth can't be beat as the prime source to discover new music.

Tuff Sunshine: Yesterday Suit

15 Tuff Sunshine: Yesterday Suit

Johnny Leitera goes solo and he has no regrets.

Cutting through the bullshit becomes easier as one gets older and nostalgia is a means to preserve the best bits of the past. He has to answer to no one but himself. Leitera ia a man who tackles one problem at the time and it shows in his music. With a relaxed sense of humour and a good ear for melody that makes his songs timeless (and therefore unfashionable). DIY melodic post-punk that refuses to be rushed, with the meandering title track Yesterday Suit demanding the listeners undivided attention for 7 minutes straight.

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Viagra Boys: Welfare Jazz

14 Viagra Boys: Welfare Jazz

Don't play nice. Play loud. Show your vulnerability.

Imagine the Stooges in their Raw Power phase having a ball with The Birthday Party and De Staat, with Tom Waits smiling in the background. Monolithic dance grooves clash with a prog rock flute solo or a screaming saxophone. But when all is said done they just want to settle down in the country with a nice lady. No wonder that they end the album with a cover of the John Prine classic In Spite of Ourselves, with Amy Taylor handling the part of Iris DeMent.

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Scott Gagner: BloodMoon

13 Scott Gagner: BloodMoon

Backtracking as a means to regain his sanity gives singer and mulit-instrumentalist a new perspective.

After yet another string of raging fires in California [he] had enough. He decided to move back to Minneapolis, Minnesota to get away from it all. His new album BloodMoon celebrates the good life, the ability to breathe again and living in a comfy home with his family, with all the necessary amenities nearby. He is happy living the quiet life - I Don't Get Out Much (Anymore), staring at the night sky and wondering if there is life on Orion and if so, are they willing to come down to make things better.

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Golden Alphabet: Removable Baby Jesus

12 Golden Alphabet: Removable Baby Jesus

Roots band from the Big Apple finds salvation through music.

(...) a happy-sad album, with witty tongue-in-cheek songs like Bucky Bronco and Wiggly Tornado (it must be a first to write a song from the perspective from the storm itself), sitting next to barely contained anger of being dragged to mass in Become Bright or getting really, really stoned in Sundays I Gave. It is quite fitting that they wrap things with a song about being tongue-tied in a one-on-one with Jesus himself in Nose To Nose and Toes To Toes. If anything religion spawned a great set of songs. Zealous preachers and bigots will beg to differ, but after all is said and done, it turns out that music will always be the higher (and real) power in the end.

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Hadda Be: Another Life

11 Hadda Be: Another Life

Angry post-punk, break-ups and ennui as the perfect soundtrack for a bleak era.

Singer Amber Rose Price stands her ground, rising above the melodic din provided by her band members, with bass player Ben Richards channeling The Cure. Another Life could have been recorded in the darkest hours of the Thatcher-era. The stifling atmosphere the lockdown is almost palpable, but there is also plenty of room to discuss relationships hitting rock bottom. Hadda Be are in sync with both the past as the current state of things. That's no reason to be cheerful, but as a reality check it covers all the bases.

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