Tuesday 18 January 2022

2021 End-Of-Year List from Mikey Ortega (This Noise Is Ours Contributor/Diclonious)

Top 10 Albums of 2021

Well, it looks like we’ve survived another year.  Even though we’re still living through a pandemic and restrictions are still being enforced, at least we still got some killer tunes to help us get through the year.  We got another all-female three piece from Boise, making their debut. We got a blackened-screamo/post-hardcore band releasing two sick albums and we got one of the most influential experimental hardcore bands, collaborating with one of the most prominent singer-songwriters in the last 10 years. 2021 wasn’t as bad as 2020. At least we were able to see live shows. If there was one thing that sucked about 2021, it’s all the vinyl that had to get delayed, because all the major labels booked every plant there is. But at least we were given download codes, so we can at least listen digitally, before the vinyl arrives.  Lastly, before I get into my Top 10, I want to name some honourable mentions. As you know, it can be a bit difficult putting down your Top 10 with there being thousands of releases coming out this year. In no particular order, here are some albums that I think should get some love:


Lustmord & Karin Park – ALTER

Lori Bravo – BARE BONES

Circle of Sigh – NARCI



Kosmodemonic – LIMINAL LIGHT



Storie Grubb – CRAWLSPACE

Portrayal of Guilt – We Are Always Alone


And now my TOP 10 Albums of 2021:


#10. Sawtooth Monk – Peregrination

If you’ve listened to Boise’s Ealdor Bealu, then you know what a talented individual Travis Abbott is.  His side project, Sawtooth Monk, is a perfect blend of folk, space rock and prog, that really captures the atmosphere of the great outdoors. PEREGRINATION is a perfect example of that. It’s an album that really opens your mind and takes you in a journey. With tracks like “Off The Grid”, “The Centering Breath” and “Borrowed Time”, PEREGRINATION is an album that doesn’t repeat itself. Every new track is a new adventure. 

#9. Sara Ohm – Noise Creeps.

One of the most intense releases this year, NOISE CREEPS really packs a punch and makes a statement. It’s an album that captures a time where not everything was what we thought. Seeing everyone speaking up, you knew something has got to really change. When it comes to the writing and texture, you can’t help but admire Sara’s ability to create an atmosphere and challenge the status quo   and I hope that lots of people talk about this album for many years.

#8. Lori LaRayne – Thirst

For a good 5 years, now, I’ve been keeping my ears out on what’s happening in the Boise music scene.  And it’s artist like Lori LaRayne, why I do. Her debut album, THIRST, is an album I don’t come across that often. It’s a great blend of folk, Americana and goth, and it makes me respect each genres even more. Worth checking out if you want to get out of your comfort zone.

#7. Blood Lemon – Blood Lemon

Another Boise band that also grabbed my attention is Blood Lemon. I’ve been anticipating their debut album, ever since their first single, “Burned”, was heard on Radio Boise. It’s a record with lots of great jams that makes you proud of rock n’ roll. Right when you think you have Blood Lemon figured out, they will just change the course, and has you guessing again. When you have 3 talented musicians, who’s been at it for a while, you’re definitely gonna get an album that totally rocks and will blow your mind.

#6. King Woman - Celestial Blues

When King Woman released the video for “Morning Star”, you knew that CELESTIAL BLUES was gonna be another benchmark for the band. They already took Doom to new heights with their debut ep, DOUBT and would later take it up a notch with IN THE VISION OF SUFFERING. There was no doubt that CELESTIAL BLUES was gonna be a crushing album. Kris Esfandari and the rest of the band, have proven that they can push themselves and challenge the genre. It’s really great to see the band expanding themselves with Celestial Blues. You just know the band is going to exceed your expectations.

#5. Lingua Ignota – Sinner Get Ready

When ever Kristen Hayter puts out a new Lingua Ignota album, I can’t help but to be excited. I always wonder what direction the project is gonna take next and with SINNER GET READY, it really caught me surprised. It’s a record that isn’t like the previous ones. With SINNER GET READY, we find Lingua Ignota’s sound a bit more stripped down, but still has that raw power that we all know and love. 

#4. Backxwash – I Lie Here with My Rings and My Dresses


Canada’s Backxwash was definitely the darkhorse in my list. I remember Vile Creatures being hyped for this album but I didn’t get to check it out til August. Probably one of the most dark and intense experimental hip-hop albums I’ve heard in a while. You do hear a lot of influences from trap, industrial, black metal, etc. If I LIE HERE WITH MY RINGS AND MY DRESSES sounds like something up your alley, then definitely check it out.

#3. The Armed – Ultrapop

It’s amazing to hear how The Armed started out as a matchcore band to what they are now.  Especially with an album like ULTRAPOP, which is all over the place, yet, very cohesive. ULTRAPOP is a high energy record that keeps the spirit of rock n’ roll alive. You are definitely gonna have lots of fun with this record.

#2. Portrayal of Guilt – Christfucker


2021 must have been one hell of a year for Portrayal of Guilt. The band put out two killer records this year – WE ARE ALWAYS ALONE in January and CHRISTFUCKER in November. As much as I would have love to put both records on my Top 10, I felt it wouldn’t be fair to the other artist who put out some killer releases this year. So, I decided to go with CHRISTFUCKER. Maybe because that one is their most recent, so it felt more fresh but CHRISTFUCKER is a pretty dark and ugly record. If there was a soundtrack for how bleak and misanthropic this year has been, CHRISTFUCKER is definitely the one you’ll be spinning.

#1. Amigo the Devil – Born Against

If there was one record that really clicked with me, it would be BORN AGAINST by Amigo the Devil.  From the lyrics to the songwriting, BORN AGAINST brought some comfort that got me through 2021.  Some songs were sad. Others had a sense of humour but above all, every track was beautifully written.  For a folk project, it gets pretty dark, compared to other heavy records that came out this year. This is one of those records that I put on while drinking some whiskey and just watch the World go completely mad.

Well, I hope everyone had an awesome 2021. Can’t wait to see what 2022 brings and keeps the momentum going. Really looking forward to some new music by Author & Punisher, Crowbar, The French Tips, The Black Scorpio Underground and more. Hope to bring new reviews and interviews this year.  

Everyone keep safe and continue supporting the music scene.

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