Recommended Albums: June 2021

Well folks, we’re halfway done with 2021 and let me tell you: June had some true haymakers packed in for the end of the month. I’m sure people who are plugged in to the weekly release schedule is already aware, but seven of the eleven albums listed here all came out on 6/25. And there are still more out on that day that I enjoyed like Pom Pom Squad, Tyler The Creator and SAULT. The fact that I caved and listed 11 albums here instead of the usual ten should tell you all you need to know. Lots of big indie releases, not too many things that people who read my blog will be surprised to see listed here.

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Warm Visions’ Best Albums + Songs of 2021 So Far

It’s not quite at 2021’s halfway point yet, but there has been a good amount of music that’s been so exciting to me that I want to share how things have been shaping up NOW. Below you’ll find 30 of my favorite albums of the year so far (it’s ranked, but like, I’m just one guy. The rankings don’t mean much. Listen to every album on this list that interests you, regardless of a number attached to it), a cursory mention of 2 EPs I’ve really enjoyed, along with 30 unranked songs that have stuck with me over the last six months. I’ve linked each album with a stream, so make sure to support these folks. There have been some lovely surprises from newcomers, some mind-blowing entries into already sturdy artist catalogs, and more. Looking forward to continuing to digest more and more new music in 2021 until my belly is swollen and protruding. Hope you enjoy.

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Listen: Damiana – “Sunken Lupine” [2021]

The good people at Hausu Mountain tipped me onto one of their cool upcoming projects (coming in a month! Mark your calendars!) from Damiana, a long-running project from Natalie Chami of TALsounds and Whitney Johnson of Matchess. A true Chicago superduo! I say long-running, but this is their debut LP, previously only working together in live sets or in home jams.

Their years of working together definitely shine through on this upcoming EP, with layers upon layers of synth, voice, electronics and other instruments and effects washing over one another in beautiful tandem. It’s not just a weightless curtain of ambience, there’s a steady beat, some spiritual chord changes, and a sense of dreamy movement throughout the project. It’s like if you took a Cocteau Twins song, specifically something off of Victorialand, froze it, took an microscope to it and stitched together some of its most atomic components, you’ll find this song. Not sure if it made sense, but to me it’s some high praise.

Damiana’s Vines comes out 7/16 via Hausu Mountain. Pre-order it HERE.

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Listen: Spooky Tavi – “Rewind” [2021]

It’s pretty fitting I’m featuring a song that talks about going back in time, because hoo-wee this Spooky Tavi record I’m sharing here, Hyperdrive, out now via Doom Trip, transports me to the VERY specific period of time of late 2011 to mid 2012. For some reason I was listening to a lot of hazy synth jams during that time. I couldn’t for the life of me tell you which artists I was listening to at the time that sounded like this… but damn. From reviewing random records for my radio station to listening to assorted things popping up on Gorilla Vs Bear, I Think I’m Floating and other music blogs, it’s definitely in there. Gems of mp3s, unsourced, last posted about in the early aughts, floating in my holy library.

Anyways, the track here “Rewind” is a sweet and mellow slice of nostalgia-invoking synth pop, blossoming with foggy synth and held together by gently driving guitar and bass. It’s purely infectious and if you’re like me and love a great dream pop banger, you’ll keep coming back to this track + record. Don’t miss it!

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Listen: Indigo De Souza – “Kill Me” [2021]

Don’t have much to say about this song except for the fact I’ve listened to it 10+ times over the last 24 hours. I have plenty else to listen to. I chose this consecutive times. It kicks so much ass. A swirling, cathartic and emotionally teetering masterclass of a rock song. Indigo De Souza’s new album Any Shape You Take is out August 27th via Saddle Creek – you should pre-order that. SC also recently reissued De Souza’s last album I Love My Mom, so go check that out. This song rocks though. Holy smokes.

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Listen: Aldous Harding – “Old Peel” [2021]

Ok if you’ve read this blog at all since late 2016, you know I’m a major Aldous Harding stan. After seeing her open for Deerhunter and being completely spellbound by her arresting form of performance (and songwriting), and ranking her 2017 album Party as my favorite album of that year and seeing her live five times now… yeah. It’s a thing.

Well – she’s back. She just released a new single (with two versions!) “Old Peel”, that she’s performed live in the past. I actually distinctly remember seeing this one live because she had grabbed a Rough Trade mug that she rhythmically hit with a drumstick throughout the song. It was always just the “mug song” to me. But this is another entry in her more “accessible” music, but it still carries the goliath weight of uncanniness her music inherently possesses. It’s marvelous. Please new album. OH – I did see tour dates coming in 2022. That’s something!

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Listen: Izzy Johnson – “existing” [2021]

Alright I’ve already posted about the upcoming Izzy Johnson album, earth tones, coming July 2nd via Driftless Recordings, but the newest single “existing” warrants me posting about it once more. “existing” is a more upbeat slice of floating acoustic magic compared to their previous single “seeing”, but still containing just as much auditory magic, with flowing sheer ribbons of voice cradling steadily plucked acoustic guitar. A calming, auditory salve.

The track as a whole has a great pace to it, with additional instrumental and arrangement flourishes steadily joining the frame as the song progresses. One could even say that this track is an embodiment of the tweet format “open for a surprise”, as a flute-backed, lounge-esque breakdown opens up for the last minute of the song, laminating the feelings of free happiness that had been bubbling up around the track in the previous four minutes.

earth tones is coming via Driftless Recordings on July 2nd – pre-order the album HERE.

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Listen: Disco Blaze – “Jump Back (Comm’ Of The Fireballs)” [1977]

Digging back through my trove of downloaded delights lead me to this “ultra-rare” funk record from Nigerian group Disco Blaze, Jump Back!. If you’re in need of a good funkin’, these guys have you covered. You can find the whole album ripped on YouTube (of course), but I wanted to highlight a favorite of mine while going through it, a long instrumental ripper “Jump Back (Comm’ Of The Fireballs)”. It’s got some slick shredding action and a classic funk bassline. You cannot deny. Also love the homemade shot this YouTube channel chose as the pic for the video.

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Listen: Michael Cormier – “Last Hurrah” [2021]

Been a while since I posted any individual tracks – sorry about that! Coming back at ya with a good one though – the new song & video from Michael Cormier called “Last Hurrah”, coming from his upcoming album More Light!! out June 25 via Oof Records + Dear Life Records.

You know I’m a big fan of an animated video and “Last Hurrah” has logged a notable entry in that canon. The main premise is a bar full of zombies having a raucous karaoke party, but there are two big twists, or reveals, that you need to stay buckled in for. Haven’t seen a video this creative in a long time. Music-wise, it’s some nice Americana-touched folk rock with gently soaring slide guitar in the background and minimal acoustic instrumentation in the foreground. I hate comparisons of course, but Andy Shauf’s The Party comes to mind first, which you know I love. Lyrically, we also know that the ennui of weak friendship and fleeting memories is a big plus for me, so this track nails it. Check out this dang song!

More Light!! is out June 25 via Oof Records / Dear Life Records – pre-order HERE.

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Recommended Albums: May 2021

Back at it again with another Recommended Albums. May 2021 was pretty solid with some great new releases, including two highly-anticipated ones from Daniel Bachman and Erika De Casier for me. Not much to say here honestly – listen to all these dang records. Hopefully more blog content this month. Sorry for the silence in May!

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