1. The Killers – Pressure Machine

If you are looking for Hot Fuss this is not it. Because who am I kidding, I am always hoping for Hot Fuss 2. Think more like Sam’s Town stripped down. This one is more bathed in storytelling than ever. This isn’t happy dance music. Instead it is Brandon Flowers’ look at the small town in Utah he grew up in. I am not always a fan of dialogue in any form on an album, but it works here. The preludes help the depth of each song’s story take further depth. It takes me back to the height of americana found in albums such as John Mellencamp’s Scarecrow. I think this album will resonate for future fans when they look back. It feels so personal.

    1. The War On Drugs – I Don’t Live Here Anymore

The War on Drugs is usually too melancholy for me to stay tuned in. But this one sizzles with a real focus on old school pop diversity. Like Bob Dylan or Tom Petty singing on LIndsey Buckingham loops and Don Henley beats. The music shines. The word I read in more than one review was sonic; “a Sonic Journey of Sweeping, Emotional Depth”, “ sonic rabbit hole”,  “becoming the sonic equivalent of darkness dissipating after the storm”, “sonic world”. “Living Proof might be my favorite song of the year. The only complaint I had on this album is that it died off at the end. If it were a five song EP it makes my top five.

  1. Black Country, New Road – For The First Time

This British, seven-piece,  mellow, jam band is more complicated than the term ‘jam band’. True artists are not afraid to be themselves from day one. That is this. Maybe it is better termed experimental post punk. Is post punk post rock a genre yet? It is a mesmerizing road trip. Even the lyrics travel from spoken to sung. It is raw and unrestrained. Strap in. I think this band will blow up in 2022 and you heard it here first.


  1. Iceage – Seek Shelter

This is my standard rock pick of the year. This Danish band with fuzzy guitars found its way on the playlist and kept capturing my ear. This really begins my ‘dad rock’ part of my list lol. Iceage, Black Country New Road, The War on Drugs, The Killers. All rock solid albums that just miss elite status. Let me know which of the four you lean toward after listening.


  1. Pink Siifu & Fly Anakin – $mokebreak

Pink Siffu’s rage rap/rock record was the peak of 2020 angst. The deluxe version came out this year. It’s more of that chaotic richness. Siifu is another artist with more than one release this year. A late in the year revisit of $mokebreak moved this up to the top twenty. Pink and Fly put out a rock solid record last year, but this one piqued my interest more.


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