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"I love the sound of 2000s pop coming out of completely blown-out van speakers"

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. revealed and available for you to peruse. On the other page, objectivity is the goal as all identifying information has been removed leaving only a brief description of each album, which we thought might be kinda fun. 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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Ratboys


Happy Birthday, Ratboy

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TSR230

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, Happy Birthday, Ratboy comes 10 years to the day since the release of the band’s first EP. New recordings of the 5 original RATBOY EP songs make up the A-side of the record, with 5 new versions of rare college-era tracks and the newly-written “Go Outside” on the B-side.

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A Great Big Pile of Leaves


Pono

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TSR240

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

Produced by A Great Big Pile of Leaves and recorded primarily at their home studio, new album Pono was mixed by touring guitarist Matthew Weber 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 Pono 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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Really From


S/T

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TSR225

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 Boston-based band Really From 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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Another Michael


New Music and Big Pop

vinyl
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TSR204

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

New Music and Big Pop is Another Michael’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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Topshelf Records


2021-2022 Label Sampler

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TSRS014

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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Gulfer


End of the World

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TSR247

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

End times be damned, “End of the World” 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 Gulfer’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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Lunarette


Aislamiento

digital
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TSR249

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 Lunarette, who channel this specific anxiety on the final track of their trilogy of one-offs, “Aislamiento” (Spanish for “isolation”). Over upbeat, shuffled guitar pop, Lunarette illuminate the dark corners of pandemic-inspired depression and anxiety with a bright melodic arrangement. Originally written by Brian Alvarez at the beginning of quarantine in 2020, and later embellished with vocal arrangements by Colin O'Neill and a shuffled groove by Kevin Doxsey’s choice sampling, “Aislamiento” 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 “Aislamiento”.

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Gulfer


Neighbours

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TSR244

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

When Gulfer guitarist and vocalist Vincent Ford 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. “Neighbours”–a frenzied and raucous one-off rife with technical flourishes–is no different. Ford says that the song was written specifically about processing his experiences with a loved one diagnosed with schizophrenia, but that he only realized when the song was done. Between its noodly, punchy transitions–a signature staple of the band’s songwriting–Ford explores what it must have been like to live with schizophrenia and not know it. Musically, “Neighbours” speaks to this mentally debilitating experience with tact and precision: frantic, stop-on-a-dime passages set a punkish, animated backdrop for Ford’s ruminations, giving him an appropriate setting to unpack his and his loved one’s experiences.

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Lunarette


Low Sky

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TSR248

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

“Low Sky” is the second in a series of three standalone singles by Lunarette. Originally begun by Brian Alvarez in 2017, “Low Sky” found new life during quarantine with the addition of vocals and melodic touch by Lunarette bandmate Jackie Mendoza. At the center of “Low Sky” is a gorgeous Queens sunset in which Alvarez found the song’s initial inspiration. Interpreted with clean bubblegum production and Mendoza’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 Lunarette’s songwriting. In the final chorus, Mendoza asks and answers, “what’s the meaning of life? / there is no question”, a confident and instructive punctuation to the lavender evocations of “Low Sky”.

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Lunarette


Tangerine Spritz

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TSR241

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

Songwriter Kevin Doxsey explains feeling completely uninhibited during the writing process for Lunarette’s newest single “Tangerine Spritz”, a bubblegum trip-hop one-off that stands in intriguing contrast from the rest of the band’s nascent catalog. Singer Jackie Mendoza‘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. “Tangerine Spritz” feels ambitious with its pop-focused production, and undeniably catchy in its rhythmic adventurousness.

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supernowhere


Gestalt

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TSR243

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

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

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Gregory Uhlmann


Goosebumps

digital
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TSR239

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

The one-off single “Goosebumps” from LA’s Gregory Uhlmann 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. Uhlmann deftly reflects this perception with a composition that seems to subtly stretch the time between its softly strummed guitar, Uhlmann’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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Gulfer / Charmer


Split

digital
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TSR232

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

Despite never having met IRL, the Montreal, QC- and Marquette, MI-based quartets Gulfer and Charmer 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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Elephant Gym


Go Through the Night

digital
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TSR235

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

Stemming from their recent collaboration with the Japanese band toe, Elephant Gym’s new single “Go Through the Night” fluidly interpolates the classic toe song “Two Moons” into their unique scene where reality intertwines with dreamworld illusions.



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toe


DOKU-EN-KAI

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TSR233

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, DOKU-EN-KAI provides an immersive escape for all of us yearning for the return of live music. Throughout DOKU-EN-KAI’s 85-minute runtime, toe 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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Olivia Kaplan


Tonight Turns to Nothing

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TSR231

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

Olivia Kaplan's debut full-length album, Tonight Turns To Nothing, speaks to a generation of people that have been forced to find balance amidst devastation and absurdity. In 11 songs, she reflects on the pitfalls of modern intimacy and her own personal defeats with a measured self-awareness, melancholy and wit. The songs were written and recorded during the off hours of her side-hustle as a waitress in Los Angeles and made in the garage studio of the album’s producer and her band-mate, Adam Gunther.

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Weatherday


Come in

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TSR226

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

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

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Lunarette


Clair de Lunarette

digital
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TSR224

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

Clair de Lunarette is a split EP release with Babe City records, and is the band's first foray into the spotlight since the dissolution of Gingerlys. Striving for release, both personal and communal, Lunarette 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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