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"one of the best albums of the year in any genre" -Stereogum →

2021 titles

Before you proceed, we’d like to point out that two distinct versions of this page exist and you may decide you’d prefer one over the other. While both pages highlight the same titles overall, one page (this one, that you’re on right now) has all the details, artists, album titles, cover art, etc. removed leaving only a brief description of each album, which we thought might be a kinda fun way to objectively peruse what we released this year. The other page is fully featured and has all of the identifying information visible. Either page you choose, thanks for checking out what we’ve released this year!

<3 Kevin, Mack, Sarah, Seth, & Will (plus our interns Sean and Vanessa!)

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FFO: Land of Talk, Wye Oak, PUP, Rilo Kiley, Soccer Mommy, Hop Along, Great Grandpa, Built to Spill, Waxahatchee

Released as a surprise on April 1st, 2021, [ALBUM] comes 10 years to the day since the release of the band’s first EP. New recordings of the 5 original [ALBUM] songs make up the A-side of the record, with 5 new versions of rare college-era tracks and the newly-written “[SONG]” on the B-side.

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FFO: Minus the Bear, Oso Oso, Piebald, From Indian Lakes, Delta Sleep, Slaughter Beach, Dog

Produced by [ARTIST]and recorded primarily at their home studio, new album [ALBUM] was mixed by touring guitarist [MUSICIAN] at Gradwell House Recording and mastered by Dave Downham (Beach Slang, Into It. Over It.). With eight years between releases, the band recalls how the recording process of [ALBUM] felt like they were making their first record, adding “we worked at our own pace with no preconceived notion of what it needed to be.”

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FFO: Jeff Rosenstock, toe, The World Is A Beautiful Place, Gulfer, Great Grandpa, Kamasi Washington, Deerhoof

Drawing on influences of jazz improvisation, minimalist composition, and punk rock ethos, the [PLACE]-based band [ARTIST] dismiss traditional genre and formulae in favor of explorative, indie rock amalgamations. Since 2014, their ever-evolving sound has incorporated stylistic touchstones from math rock to ambient, exploring themes of place, self, and culture through a dialect entirely their own.

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FFO: Shy Boys, Pinegrove, Whitney, waveform*, Julia Brown

[ALBUM] is [ARTIST]’s most collaborative work yet. Recorded in a small A-frame house-turned-makeshift studio outside Ferndale, NY, the record finds the trio pushing their sound in a dreamier, more folk-influenced direction, building songs around vulnerable, intimate performances using an ethereal palette of breezy guitars, subtle keyboards, and layered harmonies.

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The culmination of a year's worth of work with and for artists that we're so fortunate, excited, and thankful to be affiliated with. It's been the most surreal of years, but has also been one of the strongest in terms of musical output that our label has ever had. Catch up with everything we've released recently with our annual PWYW sampler!

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FFO: Oso Oso, Joyce Manor, Algernon Cadwallader, melodic and inventive rock with technical flourishes

End times be damned, “[ALBUM]” is decidedly more melodic than punk, with hooks that demonstrate the band’s ability to write songs on any part of the experimental rock spectrum. Its keenly constructed rhythms keep [ARTIST]’s compositions unpredictable and inventive, perhaps a figurative mirror in which the band can optimistically see a way out of the impending end of the world.

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FFO: The Cardigans, Mia Joy, introspective and shuffled guitar pop

For many, relearning how to socialize after the extended isolation of quarantine can feel like an insurmountable task. It’s no different for [ARTIST], who channel this specific anxiety on the final track of their trilogy of one-offs, “[ALBUM]” (Spanish for “isolation”). Over upbeat, shuffled guitar pop, [ARTIST] illuminate the dark corners of pandemic-inspired depression and anxiety with a bright melodic arrangement. Originally written by [MUSICIAN] at the beginning of quarantine in 2020, and later embellished with vocal arrangements by [MUSICIAN] and a shuffled groove by [MUSICIAN]’s choice sampling, “[ALBUM]” was ultimately completed in a group setting, with the band retreating together to a quiet cabin environment in upstate New York to apply the finishing touches. Although wildly different from pandemic isolation, the cabin retreat recalled those initial feelings, creating a new, shared experience of isolation from which the band drew the needed inspiration to finish “[ALBUM]”.

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FFO: Oso Oso, Joyce Manor, Algernon Cadwallader, raucous punk with technical flourishes

When [ARTIST] guitarist and vocalist Vincent [MUSICIAN] sets out to write a song, the words often come before the music–and even then, the overarching meaning isn’t always clear until the song is complete. “[ALBUM]”–a frenzied and raucous one-off rife with technical flourishes–is no different. [MUSICIAN] says that the song was written specifically about processing [THEIR] experiences with a loved one diagnosed with schizophrenia, but that [THEY] only realized when the song was done. Between its noodly, punchy transitions–a signature staple of the band’s songwriting–[MUSICIAN] explores what it must have been like to live with schizophrenia and not know it. Musically, “[ALBUM]” speaks to this mentally debilitating experience with tact and precision: frantic, stop-on-a-dime passages set a punkish, animated backdrop for [MUSICIAN]’s ruminations, giving [THEM] an appropriate setting to unpack [THEIR] and [THEIR] loved one’s experiences.

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FFO: The Cardigans, Jon Secada, hi-fi hopeful pop with hues of the 90s

“[ALBUM]” is the second in a series of three standalone singles by [ARTIST]. Originally begun by [MUSICIAN] in 2017, “[ALBUM]” found new life during quarantine with the addition of vocals and melodic touch by [ARTIST] bandmate [MUSICIAN]. At the center of “[ALBUM]” is a gorgeous [LOCATION] sunset in which [MUSICIAN] found the song’s initial inspiration. Interpreted with clean bubblegum production and [MUSICIAN]’s sage optimism, the song is awash in ultraviolet vocal layers set to an upbeat Jon Secada-inspired groove—a subtle but effective injection of bygone feels that is a staple of [ARTIST]’s songwriting. In the final chorus, [MUSICIAN] asks and answers, “what’s the meaning of life? / there is no question”, a confident and instructive punctuation to the lavender evocations of “[ALBUM]”.

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FFO: The Cardigans, Lorde, bubblegum trip-hop with a variety of synth patches

Songwriter [MUSICIAN] explains feeling completely uninhibited during the writing process for [ARTIST]’s newest single “[ALBUM]”, a bubblegum trip-hop one-off that stands in intriguing contrast from the rest of the band’s nascent catalog. Singer [MUSICIAN]‘s enchanting voice guides the song with flavorful imagery, conjuring thoughts of youthful innocence and hot summer nights spent with friends in the city. The depth of production reflects these conjurations with a cosmopolitan darkness—a diversity of synth sounds and auxiliary percussion fill out the unique, almost maximal composition, flashing dynamically like an urban oasis. “[ALBUM]” feels ambitious with its pop-focused production, and undeniably catchy in its rhythmic adventurousness.

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FFO: Radiohead, Stereolab, Women, Modest Mouse, slithery and arpeggiating indie rock

[ARTIST] juxtapose entrancing midtempo composition with slithery, arpeggiating melodies backed with melodic drumming. Bassist and singer [MUSICIAN] is at the forefront of most songs with their lilted voice that seems to glide effortlessly over the syncopated phrasings of their bandmates [MUSICIAN] (guitar, vocals) and [MUSICIAN] (drums), with [MUSICIAN] occasionally taking over vocal leads with a delicate, hushed voice that further enriches [ARTIST]’s atmospheric articulations.

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FFO: Jodi, Little Kid, delicate art-folk with calm gurgling synth

The one-off single “[ALBUM]” from LA’s [ARTIST] is an art-folk number about the elasticity of our perception of time. Depending on your mental state and what’s happening in your life at any given moment, time seems to move faster or slower. [MUSICIAN] deftly reflects this perception with a composition that seems to subtly stretch the time between its softly strummed guitar, [MUSICIAN]’s delicate lilt, and trotting drums. Atop meticulously placed auxiliary percussion, a tremolo’d, gurgling synth appears in the song’s climax as if to pull listeners in another direction and accelerate their experience of time, pulling them from the slow, repetitive lull of lockdown.

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FFO: Del Paxton, Tigers Jaw, Algernon Cadwallader, Glocca Morra, Cap'n Jazz, TTNG, Maps & Atlases

Despite never having met IRL, the [PLACE]- and [PLACE]-based quartets [ARTISTS] have joined together for a split release, via Topshelf, Royal Mountain, and No Sleep Records. Currently separated by a closed border and the pandemic, the two veteran...

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FFO: American Football, tricot, CHON, GoGo Penguin, mouse on the keys, Yvette Young

Stemming from their recent collaboration with the Japanese band toe, [ARTIST]’s new single “[ALBUM]” fluidly interpolates the classic toe song “Two Moons” into their unique scene where reality intertwines with dreamworld illusions.



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FFO: Tortoise, CHON, American Football, The Mercury Program, Explosions in the Sky, Pele, Do Make Say Think

Shot ‘in the round’ at le Poisson Rouge in NYC, and directed by Josh Coll, [ALBUM] provides an immersive escape for all of us yearning for the return of live music. Throughout [ALBUM]’s 85-minute runtime, [ARTIST] effortlessly split open the musical spectrum and rearrange its pieces into their signature sound that draws on elements of math-rock, jazz, hardcore, and post-rock.

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FFO: Cassandra Jenkins, Wilco, Big Thief, Andy Shauf, Blake Mills, Haley Heynderickx

[ARTIST]'s debut full-length album, [ALBUM], speaks to a generation of people that have been forced to find balance amidst devastation and absurdity. In 11 songs, [THEY] reflects on the pitfalls of modern intimacy and [THEIR] own personal defeats with a measured self-awareness, melancholy and wit. The songs were written and recorded during the off hours of [THEIR] side-hustle as a waitress in [PLACE] and made in the garage studio of the album’s producer and [THEIR] band-mate, [MUSICIAN].

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FFO: Xiu Xiu, The Microphones, The Brave Little Abacus, Have A Nice Life, Glocca Morra, Car Seat Headrest, Glass Beach, Surf Curse

[ARTIST] is the bedroom noise-pop project of the mononymous [PLACE] artist [MUSICIAN]. Although anonymous to their entire fanbase, their cult-acclaimed album [ALBUM] has garnered them a large and dedicated following through its raucous musical universe and serpentine sparklepunk stylings. [ALBUM] will see its first vinyl issue via Topshelf Records in 2021.

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FFO: Cocteau Twins, The Radio Dept., Yumi Zouma, Hatchie

[ALBUM] is a split EP release with Babe City records, and is the band's first foray into the spotlight since the dissolution of [OTHER ARTIST]. Striving for release, both personal and communal, [ARTIST] lean into the pop sensuality of their polished, electronic world. Lush, swirling guitar layered over dynamic, jingling synth melodies fill the atmosphere of their debut EP. Harkening to late night drives, and the carefree sentimentality of future nostalgia, lead single “Austin St.” beckons listeners to swap the serious for a waking daydream.



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