The Best Non-Jazz Albums of 2021

Initial draft collected on Nov. 7, 2021. The file will be updated as additional worthy records are found (although updating may lag behind the official 2021 list). Last year's list was never frozen (OK, let's say it was frozen on Nov. 7, 2021). There also exists a parallel list of The Best Jazz of 2021.

Note: numbering of lists (aside from A/A-) is only temporary, to make it easier for me to tally up stats. I've made no effort to order (other than alphaetical by artist) anything in grades below A-.

Also, several A-list albums below were close enough to Jazz that I duplicated the entries in the Jazz file (generally giving them lower rankings there; the rank here corresponds to the year file).

[*] indicates that I reviewed this on the basis of an advance, often a CDR copy (a good thing, I might add, for vinyl-only releases). [**] identifies a record that I've only heard via download or through a streaming service like Napster.

For all lists, I've included a few 2020 (and possibly earlier) records that I discovered after last year's freeze date, but I've only included such records if they were released on or after Dec. 1, 2020, or were so little known that they received no mention in the 2020 metacritic file. These are marked, e.g., -20, after the label.

New Music

1. Anthony Joseph: The Rich Are Only Defeated When Running for Their Lives (Heavenly Sweetness)
Poet, novelist (The African Origins of UFOs, Kitch: A Fictional Biography of a Calypso Icon), singer-songwriter, born in Trinidad in 1966, moved to UK in 1989, eighth album since 2007. Six pieces stretch out, the pointed poems have much to say ("how long do you have to live in a place before you can call it home?"), and the band, which starts jazzy but swings and powers up like Mingus, needs room to breathe. Credits list four saxophonists. Together they're formidable, but the monster solos I'd guess to be the work of Shabaka Hutchings. ** [Also in Jazz.]

2. Gift of Gab: Finding Inspiration Somehow (Nature Sounds)
Blackalicious rapper Timothy Jerome Parker, died in June at 50, fourth solo album. Good taste in underground beats and flow, one of the fastest, most literate rappers ever, scores some important political points, but the most poignant piece was on how he kept writing through dialysis, contemplating an end he wasn't ready for, because he had so much more to do. **

3. Nathan Bell: Red, White and American Blues (It Couldn't Happen Here) (Need to Know)
Singer-songwriter, from Iowa, looks like he has ten or so albums going back to 2007 (In Tune, On Time, Not Dead). Sings about prison and guns and money and Jesus and his father, and most of all about an America that's making it rougher and tougher than anyone deserves. Patty Griffin helps out.

4. Magdalena Bay: Mercurial World (Luminelle)
Synth-pop duo from Miami, singer-songwriter Mica Tennenbaum and producer Matthew Lewin, first album after 3 EPs and 2 mixtapes. Dance beats initially reminded me of Chic. While they increasingly became distinct, they didn't lose anything. Could turn out to be better. **

5. Maria Muldaur With Tuba Skinny: Let's Get Happy Together (Stony Plain)
Trad jazz band from New Orleans, Todd Burdick plays the tuba, but Shaye Cohn (cornet) usually gets first mention, backed by trombone, banjo, clarinet, two guitars, and washboard. They have close to a dozen albums since 2009, usually with Erika Lewis singing. Muldaur, who started in Jim Kweskin's Jug Band, is perfectly at home here. ** [Also in Jazz.]

6. No-No Boy: 1975 (Smithsonian Folkways)
Julian Saporiti, Vietnamese-American born in Nashville, based in Portland, second album, steeped in Asian-American history, group named for John Okada's 1957 novel ("perceived as disloyal to the US but not fully Japanese"), title for the year Saigon fell. **

7. Todd Snider: First Agnostic Church of Hope and Wonder (Aimless)
I never read those "most anticipated albums" pieces, but if I had to write one, this would lead. Given that, this feels a bit slight, but I can't complain about the tributes to dead homies -- he's always been a "reality-based" bard, and that's to be expected after 2020. I will complain a bit about the "agnostic" shtick: if you can't believe, why not let it go? I reckon his answer is "hope and wonder," but why presuppose a cause beyond oneself? Main innovation here is in the rhythm, where he breaks from folk tradition, probably for good. **

8. Olivia Rodrigo: Sour (Geffen)
Teenage (18) pop singer-songwriter from Temecula, California; great-grandfather from Philippines. Started taking acting and singing classes at age 6, got a film role at 12, a Disney+ series at 16, and is beginning to sound like a grizzled veteran -- even more so on the expertly paced ballads than on the opening anthem, "Brutal." **

9. Arlo Parks: Collapsed Into Sunbeams (Transgressive)
Semi-pop singer-songwriter from London, given name Anaïs Oluwatoyin Estelle Marinho, ancestors from Nigeria, Chad, and France, first album after two EPs. I, for one, find "Hope" remarkably reassuring, and less for the lyrics than for the music, something few others have been able to do (Stevie Wonder, I guess). I wouldn't have held it for the sixth single, but it wouldn't have been my first pick either. **

10. Carsie Blanton: Love & Rage (So Ferocious)
Singer-songwriter, based in New Orleans, albums since 2005, breakthrough was her 2019 album Buck Up. Eleven more first rate songs. Easy enough: to stay off her "Shit List," just "Be Good." **

11. Steve Earle & the Dukes: J.T. (New West)
Ten songs written by Earle's son, Justin Townes Earle, who died of a drug overdose last year. The younger Earle recorded nine albums 2007-19. I've heard the last six, thought he was a decent songwriter -- I warmed most to his last, The Saint of Lost Causes -- but not nearly as good as his father. This offers the best of both: cherry-picked songs, performed adroitly by a much better singer and a first-rate band. **

12. L'Orange & Namir Blade: Imaginary Everything (Mello Music Group)
Producer and rapper/lyricist, Blade, from Nashville, released his debut album last year, so some further research is in order. L'Orange has a real knack for putting tracks together, but he also picks interesting collaborators. **

13. Dry Cleaning: New Long Leg (4AD)
English post-punk band led by singer Florence Shaw, first album after EPs and singles, dry talk over measured guitar riffs and choppy beats. Reminds some of Gang of Four. Less political, or maybe just more discreet about it. **

14. Loretta Lynn: Still Woman Enough (Legacy)
Fourth album since 2016 produced by John Carter Cash, all including sessions from 2007 plus later songs. I don't know the mix, but she's 88 now, and had a stroke in 2017 which delayed the release of Wouldn't It Be Great. So it's surprising she sounds so steady all the way through this one. Helps that it's short (35:09), mostly built arounnd new versions of her classics, padded out with three gospel pieces (including the creepy "I Don't Feel at Home Anymore." Still, happy to hear her singing so strong. **

15. Rico Nasty: Nightmare Vacation (Sugar Trap/Atlantic -20)
Rapper Maria-Cecilia Simone Kelly, first studio album after a half-dozen mixtapes (first in 2014, when she was 17). Can't say much about lyrics, but titles run like "STFU," "OHFR?," and "Pussy Poppin," so I figure attitude and beats. Ends with her "breakout" 2018 single "Smack a Bitch," preceded by a remix of same, driving the whole thing home. **

16. Jaubi: Nafs at Peace (Astigmatic)
Pakistani instrumental quartet, exploring "eastern mysticism and the spiritual self [Nafs]." Starts calmly, not unlike Orüj Güvenç's Ocean of Remembrance, but doesn't stay in that groove as they move from Lahore to Oslo and pick up a couple of ringers, notably on towering saxophone. ** [Also in Jazz.]

17. Czarface/MF Doom: Super What? (Silver Age, EP)
Hip-hop supergroup (7L, Esoteric, Inspectah Deck) teams up with rapper Daniel Dumile for a short album (10 tracks, 26:44), a follow up to their 2018 Czarface Meets Metal Face. Originally slated for April 2020, held back due to lockdown, finally appearing after Doom's death in October. **

18. DJ Black Low: Uwami (Awesome Tapes From Africa)
South African DJ, Sam Austin Radebe, various featured rappers. Love the beats here. Don't know much more. **

19. Penelope Scott: Public Void (Tesla's Pigeon, EP -20)
Twenty-year-old singer-songwriter, DIY electronics, song "Rät" has over a million YouTube views, a story of nerd love and disillusionment ("I bit the apple 'cause I trusted you, it tastes like Thomas Malthus, you proposal is immodest and insane . . . you promised you would be Tesla, but you're just another Edison"). Initially released as a 6-cut download, then reissued a month later with a 7th song (total 26:06). **

20. Garbage: No Gods No Masters (Infectious Music)
Seventh album since 1995, one every 4-7 years since 2001. Home base for drummer/producer Butch Vig, fronted by Shirley Manson. Starts strong and true: "The men who rule the world/ have made a fucking mess." "Deluxe Edition" adds a second disc, starting with their impressive 2017 "No Horses" single, ending with the best song here ("Time Will Destroy Everything"), with some pleasing covers for filler. **

21. Hayes Carll: You Get It All (Dualtone)
Country singer-songwriter from Arkansas, albums since 2002, most real good. This comes close, both for sharp observations and basic form, and gets deeper as it sinks in. **

22. Navy Blue: Song of Sage: Post Panic! (Freedom Sounds -20)
Brooklyn rapper Sage Elsesser, professional skateboarder, fashion model, visual artist, second album. Speaks over nondescript synths, conscious, at one point explains, "this is therapeutic." **

23. Skee Mask: Pool (Ilian Tape)
German DJ/producer Bryan Müller, singles since 2014, third album. Long, available digital and 3-LP but would fit comfortably on 2-CD (18 tracks, 103:14). Love the stutter rhyths with odd embellishments, the slower ones only a bit less. **

24. Dave: We're All Alone in This Together (Neighbourhood)
British rapper David Omoregie, born in Brixton, parents Nigerian, second album. His stardom leaves him alone but constantly connected to the binds of race and class, the common condition that informs his brilliant title. **

25. James McMurtry: The Horses and the Hounds (New West)
Singer-songwriter from Texas, father was noveist Larry McMurtry, 10th album since 1989. Counts as Americana, with a feel for language and an eye for detail, over guitar which carries you along gently. I wasn't as quickly taken by this one as by his recent albums, but it delivers in the end. **

26. Billie Eilish: Happier Than Ever (Interscope)
Second album, still a teenager (though I'm not sure she ever was), produced by her brother Finneas O'Connell, reducing her budget to slack DIY beats. Nothing here grabs me like her debut, but lots of things hint at her appeal, not to say genius, even if her charms are decidedly cerebral. **

27. Youssou N'Dour Et Le Super Étoile De Dakar: Mbalax (Universal Music Africa)
Very little information on this, but he's brought back his original band name, and styled a tribute to the style they made famous. Sounds very much of a piece with what he's been doing forty years now. **

28. Dua Saleh: Crossover (Against Giants, EP)
Born in Sudan, left at age 5 and wound up in Minnesota, makes a point of being non-binary, hip-hop but sings more than raps, third EP (7 songs, 22:56). Diverse songs, each with its own unique allure. **

29. Courtney Barnett: Things Take Time, Take Time (Mom + Pop)
Singer-songwriter from Australia, breakthrough in 2015 was driven by her guitar, which remains a strong suit here. Innovation here is her phrasing, which reminds me ever so much of Lou Reed, which sometimes rises to the level of a tic -- one I adore. **

30. Nitin Sawhney: Immigrants (Sony Masterworks)
Born in London, parents from India, albums from 1993, produces electronica, draws on Indian classical music and various other sources. Nominally a sequel to his 1999 album Beyond Skin. Interludes with topial texts, songs built from strings and beats, a little rap, a lot to say. **

31. Neil Young/Crazy Horse: Barn (Reprise)
Another very solid album, mostly laid back, more comfortable in the country than in Nashville, but they can still bring some heat when they feel it's needed. **

32. John Hiatt With the Jerry Douglas Band: Leftover Feelings (New West)
Singer-songwriter from Indianapolis -- I remember seeing him play solo in a bar there -- settled in Nashville, with 24 albums since 1974. Douglas is a bluegrass guy, and his band swings gently, getting by without a drummer. The unrushed atmosphere suits Hiatt, whose voice has moderated without losing its distinctness. Also, the songs are full of memorable images and turns of phrase. [PS: Didn't check, but found at least one leftover song: "All the Lilacs in Ohio," from The Tiki Bar Is Open -- best song there, and one of the better ones here.] **

33. Iggy Azalea: The End of an Era (Bad Dreams/Empire)
Australian rapper Amethyst Amelia Kelly, moved to US at 16 and picked up a local accent, had a big hit with her 2014 debut. Third and "final" album, supposedly a throwback to her "mixtape roots." Having survived my self-destructive impulses, I'm feeling kind of weird liking a song where the refrain is "I love drugs," or another explaining "You need a good girl/ I'm just a good time." I suppose I could blame the beats. **

34. Carly Pearce: 29: Written in Stone (Big Machine)
Singer-songwriter from Kentucky, moved to Nashville at 19 to seek her fortune, and got a (not very good) album released at 27. At 31, this is her third album, a 15-song expansion on a 7-song February EP. Title song reflects back: "29 is the year that I got married and divorced/ . . . the year I was going to live it up, now I'm never gonna let it down." All songs have co-writers, with Brandy Clark contributing to the first one that stands out ("Dear Miss Loretta"), but after two plays they're all fitting in. **

35. OneTwoThree: OneTwoThree (Kill Rock Stars)
Three Swiss women -- Klaudia Schifferle, Madlaina Peer, Sara Schär, the former of limited Kleenex/Liliput fame -- sing in stripped down English over stripped down bass riffs, reminds me of B-52s as much as Liliput. **

36. Damu the Fudgemunk: Conversation Peace (Def Pressé)
DC rapper Earl Davis, better known as a hip-hop producer, Discogs credits him with 23 albums since 2008, including one from 2020 that featured Archie Shepp. This is the first volume in the label's KPM Crate Diggers series, where various hip-hop producers are invited to rumage through the KPM Music library. Good choice, spinning the beats into a perfectly inconspicuous flow, adding thoughtful raps from Raw Poetic, Insight, Nitty Scott, Blu, and Damu himself. **

37. Homeboy Sandman: Anjelitu (Mello Music Group, EP)
New York rapper Angel Del Villar II, debut 2007, prefers EPs to albums but often blurs the line. This one's 6 tracks, 18:44, produced by Aesop Rock, who joins in on the closer, "Lice Team, Baby" (after the duo's Lice albums). Leads off with "Go Hard," and keeps with it. All six songs are powerful, prickly, even if I'm not even considering swearing off beef, or drinking cow's milk. **

38. The Mountain Goats: Dark in Here (Merge)
It's getting harder and harder for me to get a grip on mainstream rock records -- I'm not retaining the words, the melodies all sink into sameness, nothing stands out. I should probably give up on trying to review them. But this does seem special, even if I can't quite put my finger on why. Maybe the brightness of his voice against the dark of recent history? **

39. Lost Girls: Menneskekollektivet (Smalltown Supersound)
Norwegian duo, Jenny Hval voice and lyrics spoken over guitar-tinged electronica by Hval and Håvard Holden. Five tracks, two run to 12:10 and 15:30, consciousness rising out of mesmerizing depths. **

40. Asleep at the Wheel: Half a Hundred Years (Home)
Founded in West Virginia in 1970, they soon moved to California, then to Austin in 1974, trading in their bluegrass roots for Western swing. Some of their best records since then have been Bob Wills tributes (Ridin' With Bob in 1999 and Still the King in 2015), although they've also done well with Willie Nelson (Willie and the Wheel, from 2009). A plethora of guests pitch in and help out, but fifty years provide the perspective. **

41. Theon Cross: Intra-I (New Soil)
British tuba player, also trombone, plays in Sons of Kemet and other jazz projects, second album, more electronica with Emre Ramazanoglu co-producing, featured guests on 5 (of 10) tracks, adding rap and beats, but the real lesson is: everything goes better with tuba. ** [Also in Jazz.]

42. Morgan Wade: Reckless (Ladylike)
Country singer-songwriter from Virginia, second album. Great voice, solid (and then some) songs. I played this during a stretch with a lot of more idiosyncratic country albums, so its virtues stood out less. But it only gets better. **

43. Ruth Weiss: We Are Sparks in the Universe to Our Own Fire (Edgetone)
Beat poet, born 1928 in Berlin, died 2020. She grew up in Vienna, managed to keep one step ahead of the Nazis, moving to Amsterdam in 1938, then to America, eventually San Francisco. She has some twenty books of poetry since 1958, and several jazz albums. Fairly minimal backing, with synth, bass, wooden log, and tasty squibbles of Rent Romus sax and flute -- puts this record over the top. By the way, Romus credits George Russell with introducing him to Weiss (in 2013). [Also in Jazz.]

44. Marina: Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land (Atlantic)
Singer-songwriter Marina Diamandis, from Wales (Welsh mother, Greek father), four previous albums as Marina and the Diamonds, first with her name shortened. Her consciousness is more deeply personal, and more militantly feminist. **

45. John R. Miller: Depreciated (Rounder)
Nashville singer-songwriter, from West Virginia, has a couple previous albums. Makes himself comfortable, settling into a nice groove and telling stories about people you must have known, or just bumped into. **

46. Megan Thee Stallion: Something for Thee Hotties: From Thee Archives (300 Entertainment)
Rapper Megan Pete, considers this a compilation, consisting of "previously-released YouTube freestyles, as well as previously unreleased archival songs," which sounds to me like it qualifies as a new release. Hard, fast, short pieces, 21 of them, adding up to 44:38. Brash, very much in control. **

47. Thomas Anderson: Ladies and Germs (Out There)
Singer-songwriter, debut 1988, ten albums since, nice unfancy melodies, clever words that mature into stories. Christgau considers this his best since that debut. I'm not so sure, but this is another good one, getting better as I try to write. **

48. Illuminati Hotties: Let Me Do One More (Snack Shack Tracks/Hopeless)
Indie pop band from Los Angeles, principally Sarah Tudzin, second album. Several fast ones are terrific, slow ones less immediately appealing. **

49. LNS & DJ Sotofett: Sputters (Tresor)
Techno producers Laura Sparrow (from Vancouver, first album after some singles) and Stefan Mitterer (from Norway, prolific since 2011), with a guest shot by E-GZR. Described as "a hybrid of warped electro and psychedelic hypnosis," this reminds me of what I first liked about techno: dance beats, stretched and fucked with without ever losing step or sparkle. **

50. Mac Leaphart: Music City Joke (self-released)
Nashville singer-songwriter auditioning for the next generation John Prine, aiming high and failing amiably. Aesthetes may seek originals, but many of the rest of us will settle for compatriots. And when you think about it, that's the rule for folksingers. Bob Dylan imitated all sorts of people before he became himself. **

51. Trak Trak: Sur Sur (Ciclismo -20)
Argentinian singer-songwriter Romina Schenone and a band that looks suspiciously German, play intense dance music that draws on cumbia and reggaeton. A vigorous workout, very catchy. **

52. Kalie Shorr: I Got Here by Accident (Tmwrk, EP)
Nashville singer-songwriter, originally from Maine, self-released an impressive debut album in 2019, then re-released it in 2020 on this label. Big, punchy sound, produced by Butch Walker. Five songs, all substantial, 15:02. **

53. Mdou Moctar: Afrique Victime (Matador)
Tuareg guitar god, from Niger, sixth studio album since 2008, first on a rock label, resulting is some amusing hype: this album supposedly evolves from ZZ Top/Black Sabbath to Van Halen/Black Flag/Black Uhuru. I hear none of that, but fine with me if you want to try Ravi Shankar reaching for Jimi Hendrix's sky. Still, not just guitar. He/they sing in Tamasheq, "with poetic meditations on love, religion, women's rights, inequality, and Western Africa's exploitation at the hands of colonial powers." **

54. Sacred Soul of North Carolina (Bible & Tire)
Various gospel artists, including some who have been in business for considerable years, but recorded at the same time (11 groups in 8 days in February 2020). The band is presumably the same for all, and they rock. No guarantee I won't grow tired of this much holy rolling, but damn impressive for what it is. **

55. Lukah: Why Look Up, God's in the Mirror (Fxck Rxp Rxcxrds)
Rapper, from Memphis, third album. Comes from a harsh world, yet still finds inspiration. "God put me here to be something great" . . . like this, I guess. **

56. Queen Esther: Gild the Black Lily (EL)
Usual sources don't offer a birth name or date or location, but do note that she grew up with gospel, showtunes, countrypolitan, and opera, and has been working since 1996: not just singing but also writing for and acting on stage (including the libretto for The Billie Holiday Project). This is her fourth album since 2004, not counting sidework with James Blood Ulmer, JC Hopkins, Elliott Sharp. I filed her under blues because her first album was called Talkin' Fishbowl Blues, but this album starts with a banjo-driven cowgirl song, followed by an a cappella "John the Revelator," then came close to losing me with an Eagles cover, but won me back with songs like "Lonesome Road" and "She Thinks I Still Care." **

57. Mon Laferte: Seis (Universal Music Mexico)
Singer-songwriter from Chile, fairly big star, name shortened from Norma Monserrat Bustamente Laferte, moved to Mexico City in 2007, sang in a heavy metal band there. Sixth album (aside from her 2003 debut as Monserrat Bustamente), draws on regional Mexican styles. I like the fast ones, and even more so the over-the-top "La Mujer." **

58. Emily Duff: Razor Blade Smile (Mr. Mudshow Music)
Singer-songwriter from New York, fourth album since 2017, surprised to find she doesn't have a Wikipedia page, also that producer Eric Ambel has both a personal one and a separate discography page (as well as the expected pages for his groups, the Yayhoos and the Del-Lords). **

59. Sue Foley: Pinky's Blues (Stony Plain)
Blues singer-songwriter, originally from Canada, based in Austin when she released Young Girl Blues in 1992. Sixteenth album, leads with a pretty mean guitar instrumental, and keeps the heat up, especially on her "Hoochie Coochie Man" rewrite, "Hurricane Girl." Closes with another guitar romp: "When the Cat's Gone the Mice Play." **

60. Vincent Neil Emerson: Vincent Neil Emerson (La Honda)
Singer-songwriter from Texas, third album after East Texas Blues and Fried Chicken and Evil Women, evidently had second thoughts about calling this one "High on Gettin' By" or "Saddled Up and Tamed." Flashes a bit of John Prine early, more Rodney Crowell (producer here) later. Part Choctaw-Apache, good for the deepest ballad here. **

61. Allison Russell: Outside Child (Fantasy)
Singer-songwriter from Montreal, absent father from Grenada, mother put her into foster care then got her back, step-father sexually abused her (subject of first song here), first album under her own name, after group efforts with Po' Girl, Birds of Chicago, and Our Native Daughters. Hard to get a grip on, but haunting and revealing and redeeming, somewhere between folk and soul, with bits of gospel, blues, jazz, and French. **

62. Jazz Spastiks: Camera of Sound (Jazz Plastic)
Underground hip-hop beatmakers, based in Scotland, dozen-plus albums since 2010. Focus is on the beats and scratches, rather old school, but nearly half the pieces have guest rappers (most quite good, like Wee Bee Foolish), with skits sprinkled about like DJ Shadow fragments. Group name in appropriate on all counts. **

63. Kady Diarra: Burkina Hakili (Lamastrock)
Singer from Burkina Faso, a wedge of former French colony tucked below Mali and Niger, and above Ghana, formerly known as Upper Volta. Third album, title translates as "Spirit of Burkina," songs in four languages, including Bwaba ("her native") and Bambara (more common in Mali), as well as French. I can't speak to the "political elements," but clearly a strong force with a solid groove, propped up by rock guitar toward the end. **

64. Miko Marks & the Resurrectors: Our Country (Redtone)
Singer (songwriter I assume, but credits are scarce, and I recognize some covers) from Flint, Michigan; won a "best new country artist" award in 2006, back with her first album since 2007. Sounds like Bonnie Bramlett at first, then morphs into Mavis Staples. One for this year's political mixtape: "Goodnight America." **

65. Fimber Bravo: Lunar Tredd (Moshi Moshi)
From Trinidad, based in London, plays steel pan, released a soca album back in 1990, most recent album Con-Fusion in 2013. Opens with "Can't Control We," placing steel pan in a tradition of defiance rooted in Africa and stoked by slavery and repression. But the steel pans don't star here: they're embedded in the very fabric of life. **

66. Ghost of Vroom: 1 (Mod Y Vi)
Collaboration by Mike Doughty (ex-Soul Coughing, vocals/sampler/guitar) and Andrew Livingston (cello/piano/organ). Talkie vocals over garage beats, some as singular as "More Bacon than the Pan Can Handle," some as timeless as "Revelator." **

67. Margo Cilker: Pohorylle (Loose)
Country singer-sonwriter from Oregon, first album. Sounds just about perfect for country. Songs take a bit longer to settle in, but she's got something there too. **

68. Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band: Dance Songs for Hard Times (Family Owned)
Country/blues band from Brown County, Indiana; 11th album since 2004, the "big" band a trio with Breezy Peyton on washboard and Max Senteney on drums and bucket, the Reverend playing antique guitars and singing. Rough and rambunctious, with "Too Cool to Dance" so perfect the Blasters could sue, and "Come Down Angels" a hymn that seeks not just to raise the rafters but rip them asunder. **

69. Juçara Marçal: Delta Estácio Blues (QTV Selo/Mais Um)
Brailian singer, appeared in Vésper and Metá Metá before going solo in 2014. Second solo album. Combines a soft touch with sharp angles and unexpected rhythms. **

70. Thomas Fehlmann: Böser Herbst (Kompakt)
Swiss electronica producer, based in Berlin, been doing it since the 1980s, not a huge number of albums (Discogs lists 13). Title translates as: bad (or evil) autumn. Written as soundtrack for a documentary, related to Babylon Berlin (previous alsum was 1929: Das Jahr Babylon). Ambient in tone, but never fades into background. **

71. Durand Jones & the Indications: Private Space (Dead Oceans)
Retro-soul group, from Indiana, third album, not sure how this will hold up over time, let alone in direct comparison with similar 1970s groups (like the Stylistics and the Chi-Lites), but for 2021 it's exceptionally lovely without being overly lush, and I'm really enjoying that. **

72. Bobby Dove: Hopeless Romantic (self-released)
Country singer-songwriter from Canada (Montreal), third album. Reviews display a curious lack of pronouns, but are right as to the classic form and depth of the songs (aside from the one in Spanish, which I still have doubts about). **

73. Amyl and the Sniffers: Comfort to Me (Rough Trade)
Australian post-punk band, Amy Taylor the singer. Reminded me a bit of X-Ray Spex, more of L7. Can't say I didn't get a bit tired by the end of the second play, but as solid as any such band I've heard in more than a few years, and considerable pleasure at first. **

74. Doja Cat: Planet Her (Kemosabe/RCA)
Amala Dlamini, rapper/singer from Los Angeles, third album, big, flashy pop production, first half (plus closer "Kiss Me More") as strong as any 2020 pop album. Sags a bit in the middle, and I'm not wild about the song delicately titled "Ain't Shit." **

75. Iamdoechii: Oh the Places You'll Go (Doechii, EP)
Discogs identifies her as Jaylah Hickmon, from Tampa, but hasn't gotten to this 7-track 21:37 album, let alone a 4-track successor I'm having trouble locating. Not interested in Instagram much less Tik Tok, I have to make do with press like: "She is finest identified for her hottest monitor 'Yucky Blucky Fruitcake.'" And: "Iamdoechii's estimated internet price is $10 million." Dubious spot is a lecture on "God" that starts conceited and turns egalitarian. Real reservation is that it isn't real yet, but I wish it were. **

76. Joy Oladokun: In Defense of My Own Happiness (Amigo/Verve Forecast/Republic)
Singer-songwriter, grew up in Arizona, parents Nigerian immigrants, moved to Los Angeles, then Nashville. Not country, but her straightforward songwriting is at home there. Especially catchy: "I See America." **

77. Adeem the Artist: Cast Iron Pansexual (self-released)
"Seventh-generation Carolinian, a makeshift poet, singer-songwriter, storyteller, and blue-collar Artist." Was born Adem Bingham, songs signed Adeem Maria, uses they/them pronouns, has a wife named Hannah, picks and sings country, minus any of the conventional tropes. Mostly songs about gender, but more firmly rooted in humanity. Notable lyric: "everyone's looking for Jesus/ or anyone else they can hang." **

78. Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine (Oh Boy)
A year after Prine's Covid death brought forth a flood of eulogies that approached what he deserved, his label limps on with a small stable of good-but-not-Prine songwriters. So with another product shortfall, why not invite a second volume of tribute covers? Eleven years after Vol. 1, it's not like they're going to the well too often (though they probably won't stop until they do). And they did draw bigger and better names this time, without coming close to running out of songs. **

79. Tommy Womack: I Thought I Was Fine (Schoolkids)
Singer-songwriter from Kentucky, based in Nashville, started in a band called Government Cheese, solo albums since 1998, surprises with a couple of covers here ("That Lucky Old Sun," "Miss Otis Regrets"). A straight rocker with some stories, including one about a minister buying ice cream, and another about Elvis. **

80. Wild Up: Julius Eastman Vol. 1: Femenine (New Amsterdam)
Eastman was a commposer, pianist, vocalist, and dancer, who grew up in upstate New York, lived 1940-90, anticipated elements of minimalism but didn't dare make it boring. This major work first appeared in 1974, and was revived by two groups in 2021 (the other is by Ensemble O/Aum Grand Ensemble). Led by cellist Seth Parker Woods, handful of albums since 2014, I count 17 musicians plus voice, with less electronics and more horns (including sax solos), making it more dramatic, more fun. **

81. Fanfare Ciocarlia: It Wasn't Hard to Love You (Asphalt Tango)
Romanian brass band, which probably means Romani [confirmed], formed in the late 1990s with albums in 1998 and 1999 (World Wide Wedding). Starts with a Bill Withers cover, strange enough to make you hungry for more, then lapses into more traditional fare: upbeat party music. **

82. Sierra Ferrell: Long Time Coming (Rounder)
Country singer-songwriter from West Virginia, based in Nashville, third album, big step up in labels. A bit of jazz in the bluegrass. **

83. Bob Vylan: We Live Here (Deluxe) (Venn, EP)
British grime duo, individuals go by Bobby Vylan (vocals) and Bobbie (or Bobb13) Vylan (drums), single appeared in 2020, a fitting answer to you fascist scum out there, but I couldn't find their 2020 EP, until this expanded edition showed up (adds 2 cuts for 10, 23:26, including the 1:10 "Moment of Silence"). I'm tempted to call it the grimest record out of the UK since the Sex Pistols, but they have more self-respect than that. **

Also added the following 2020 albums after freezing the 2020 year-end file:

1. Sa-Roc: The Sharecropper's Daughter (Rhymesayers)
Rapper Assata Perkins, originally from DC, studied at Howard, based in Atlanta, father sharecropped tobacco in Virginia. Races through 15 songs, sharp and urgent. Features include Saul Williams and Black Thought. **

2. Naeem: Startisha (37d03d)
Baltimore rapper Naeem Juwan, previously dba Spank Rock. Don't know what to say about this, but gets catchier and more intriguing with each play. **

Honorable Mention

Additional non-jazz rated B+(***), listed alphabetically.

  1. 75 Dollar Bill Featuring Barry Weisblat: Social Music at Troost Vol. 1 (self-released) **
  2. The Allergies: Promised Land (Jalapeno) **
  3. Aminé: TwoPointFive (Republic/CLBN) **
  4. The Anchoress: The Art of Losing (Kscope) **
  5. Teno Afrika: Amapiano Selections (Awesome Tapes From Africa) **
  6. Baby Queen: The Yearbook (Polydor) **
  7. BaianaSystem: OXEAXEEXU (Maquina De Louco) **
  8. Bktherula: Love Black (Warner) **
  9. Pi'erre Bourne: The Life of Pi'erre 5 (SossHouse/Interscope) **
  10. Darrin Bradbury: Artvertisement (Anti-) **
  11. The Brkn Record: The Architecture of Oppression Part 1 (Mr. Bongo) **
  12. Garrett T. Capps: I Love San Antone (Vinyl Ranch) **
  13. Melissa Carper: Daddy's Country Gold (self-released) **
  14. Curly Castro: Little Robert Hutton (Backwoodz Studioz) **
  15. Cheekface: Emphatically No (New Professor Music) **
  16. The Chills: Scatterbrain (Fire) **
  17. Chvrches: Screen Violence (Glassnote) **
  18. Combo Lulo: Neotropic Dream (Names You Can Trust) **
  19. Charley Crockett: Music City USA (Son of Davy) **
  20. Rodney Crowell: Triage (RC1) **
  21. Jesse Daniel: Beyond These Walls (Die True) **
  22. Guy Davis: Be Ready When I Call You (M.C.) **
  23. Lana Del Rey: Blue Bannisters (Polydor/Interscope) **
  24. Dessa: Ides (Doomtree, EP) **
  25. McKinley Dixon: For My Mama and Anyone Who Look Like Her (Spacebomb) **
  26. DMX Krew: Loose Gears (Hypercolour) **
  27. Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers: Set Me Free (Louisiana Red Hot) **
  28. Doss: 4 New Hit Songs (Lucky Me, EP) **
  29. Nahawa Doumbia: Kanawa (Awesome Tapes From Africa) **
  30. Hope Dunbar: Sweetheartland (self-released) **
  31. Eminem: Music to Be Murdered By: Side B (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope -20) **
  32. Ensemble 0/Aum Grand Ensemble: Julius Eastman: Femenine (Sub Rosa) **
  33. Noga Erez: Kids (City Slang) **
  34. Joe Fahey: February on Ice (Rough Fish) **
  35. Rory Feek: Gentle Man (Gaither Music Group) **
  36. R.A.P. Ferreira: Bob's Son: R.A.P. Ferreira in the Garden Level Cafe of the Scallops Hotel (Ruby Yacht) **
  37. R.A.P. Ferreira: The Light Emitting Diamond Cutter Scriptures (Ruby Yacht) **
  38. Robert Finley: Sharecropper's Son (Easy Eye Sound) **
  39. Fire in Little Africa (Motown) **
  40. The Flatlanders: Treasure of Love (Rack 'Em) **
  41. For Those I Love: For Those I Love (September) **
  42. Four Tet: Parallel (Text -20) **
  43. Rhiannon Giddens With Francesco Turrisi: They're Calling Me Home (Nonesuch) **
  44. Girl in Red: If I Could Make It Go Quiet (AWAL) **
  45. The Go! Team: Get Up Sequences Part One (Memphis Industries) **
  46. Tee Grizzley: Built for Whatever (300 Entertainment/Atlantic) **
  47. Mickey Guyton: Remember Her Name (Capitol Nashville) **
  48. The Halluci Nation: One More Saturday Night (Radicalized) **
  49. Halsey: If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power (Capitol) **
  50. Curtis Harding: If Words Were Flowers (Anti-) **
  51. Lande Hekt: Going to Hell (Get Better) **
  52. HTRK: Rhinestones (N&J Blueberries) **
  53. Iamdoechii: Bra-Less (Doechi, EP) **
  54. Idles: Crawler (Partisan) **
  55. IKOQWE: The Beginning, the Medium, the End and the Infinite (Crammed Discs) **
  56. Jack Ingram/Miranda Lambert/Jon Randall: The Marfa Tapes (RCA Nashville) **
  57. Alan Jackson: Where Have You Gone (EMI Nashville) **
  58. Arushi Jain: Under the Lilac Sky (Leaving) **
  59. Japanese Breakfast: Jubilee (Dead Oceans) **
  60. Rochelle Jordan: Play With the Changes (Young Art) **
  61. JPEGMafia: LP! (Republic) **
  62. Jupiter & Okwess: Na Kozonga (Everloving) **
  63. Ka: A Martyr's Reward (Iron Works) **
  64. Kasai Allstars: Black Ants Always Fly Together, One Bangle Makes No Sound (Crammed Discs) **
  65. Kiwi Jr.: Cooler Returns (Sub Pop) **
  66. John Kruth: Love Letters From the Lazaretto (self-released) **
  67. Femi Kuti & Made Kuti: Legacy + (Partisan, 2CD) **
  68. Mon Laferte: 1940 Carmen (Universal Music Group) **
  69. Alessandra Leão: Acesa (self-released) **
  70. Veronica Lewis: You Ain't Unlucky (Blue Heart) **
  71. The Linda Lindas: The Linda Lindas (self-released, EP -20) **
  72. Little Simz: Sometimes I Might Be Introvert (Age 101) **
  73. Low Cut Connie: Tough Cookies: The Best of the Quarantine Broadcasts (Contender) **
  74. Mach-Hommy: Pray for Haiti (Griselda) **
  75. Lori McKenna: Christmas Is Right Here (CN, EP) **
  76. Mereba: Azeb (Interscope, EP) **
  77. Mexstep: Vivir (Mexstep Music) **
  78. Mother Nature and BoatHouse: SZNZ (Closed Sessions) **
  79. The Muslims: Fuck These Fucking Fascists (Epitaph) **
  80. Navy Blue: Navy's Reprise (Freedom Sounds) **
  81. Billy Nomates: Emergency Telephone (Invada, EP -20) **
  82. Okuté: Okuté (Chulo) **
  83. Orquestra Afro-Brasileira: 80 Anos (Day Dreamer) **
  84. Genesis Owusu: Smiling With No Teeth (Ourness/House Anxiety) **
  85. Parquet Courts: Sympathy for Life (Rough Trade) **
  86. Carly Pearce: 29 (Big Machine, EP) **
  87. Greentea Peng: Man Made (AMF) **
  88. Liz Phair: Soberish (Chrysalis) **
  89. Poppy: Flux (Sumerian) **
  90. Masha Qrella: Woanders (Staatsakt) **
  91. RaeLynn: Baytown (Round Here) **
  92. Raxon: Sound of Mind (Kompakt) **
  93. Dawn Richard: Second Line (Merge) **
  94. Riders Against the Storm: Flowers for the Living (Divide and Conjure) **
  95. Emily Scott Robinson: American Siren (Oh Boy) **
  96. Zilla Rocca: Vegas Vic (Three Dollar Pistol Music) **
  97. Sault: Nine (Forever Living Legends) **
  98. Scorpion Kings X Tresor: Rumble in the Jungle (Blaqboy) **
  99. Shad: TAO (Secret City) **
  100. Shame: Drunk Tank Pink (Dead Oceans) **
  101. Sleaford Mods: Spare Ribs (Rough Trade) **
  102. Cleo Sol: Mother (Forever Living Originals) **
  103. Sufjan Stevens & Angelo De Augustine: A Beginner's Mind (Asthmatic Kitty) **
  104. Pauline Anna Strom: Angel Tears in Sunlight (RVNG Intl.) **
  105. Taylor Swift: Evermore (Republic -20) **
  106. Taylor Swift: Fearless (Taylor's Version) (Republic) **
  107. Taylor Swift: Red (Taylor's Version) (Republic) **
  108. Tele Novella: Merlynn Belle (Kill Rock Stars) **
  109. Crystal Thomas: Now Dig This! (Dialtone) **
  110. Tinashe: 333 (Tinashe Music) **
  111. Tyler, the Creator: Call Me if You Get Lost (Columbia) **
  112. Caetano Veloso: Meu Coco (Sony Music Brasil) **
  113. Viagra Boys: Welfare Jazz (Year0001) **
  114. Morgan Wade: Reckless (Ladylike) **
  115. Wee Willie Walker and the Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra: Not in My Lifetime (Blue Dot) **
  116. Hayley Williams: Flowers for Vases/Descansos (Atlantic) **
  117. Lainey Wilson: Sayin' What I'm Thinkin' (Broken Bow) **
  118. Babes Wodumo: Crown (West Ink) **
  119. Remi Wolf: Juno (Island) **
  120. Yard Act: Dark Days (ZEN FC, EP) **
  121. Young Stoner Life/Young Thug/Gunna: Slime Language 2 (YSL/300 Entertainment) **
  122. Young Thug: Punk (YSL/300 Entertainment/Atlantic) **

Also added the following 2020 albums after freezing the 2020 year-end file:

Reissues/Historic Music

The standard for historic music is a record where everything was recorded 10+ years ago, regardless of whether it's ever been in print before. Some past lists may have treated previously unreleased music as new (regardless of actual age), but I've never been able to manage that distinction consistently. This category also includes compilations of previously released music, including straight reissues, although my selection is very erratic.

1. Rip It Up: The Best of Specialty Records (1946-58, Craft)
Repeats 18 songs from Specialty Records Greatest Hits, but drops two great ones: "Thrill Me" (Roy Milton and Camille Howard), and "Good Golly Miss Molly" (Little Richard). So you can also fault them for lack of imagination, but the label exists to restore indelible classics to vinyl, and that's what they do here. **

2. What Goes On: The Songs of Lou Reed (1967-2019, Ace)
I know all of these songs intimately, but I've rarely heard anyone but Reed play them. The selection ranges widely, yet familiarity binds them together, one pleasant surprise after another. Makes me finally recognize that Reed's songs aren't just for him. They're for all of us. **

3. 1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything (Island)
Does "That" make any sense here? Subtitle feels like an anagram where you can shift words around endlessly without settling on a satisfactory result. No doubt the music was changing, as was the world, but subject and object are harder to grasp. Maybe it was dialectical? The documentary series runs eight episodes, about 6 hours, and contained enough music for a 4-CD box, so a single CD is bound to disappoint. As a synopsis, sure isn't bad, especially starting with "Imagine" and "What's Going On." But David Bowie, who probably gets more screen time than anyone, and "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," which is heavily featured as the year's most striking song, are missing here, as are Curtis Mayfield, Bill Withers, Joni Mitchell, and Sly & the Family Stone. On the other hand, there are songs and artists here that I don't recall in the videos (like Rod Stewart, the Beach Boys, Edwin Starr's "Ball of Confusion," and the Temptations' "Just My Imagination"). I'm not inclined to complain about any of those last four -- even the piece from the otherwise lame Surf's Up (although John Martyn and Nick Drake do seem a little parochial, even in England). No doubt licensing has something to do with it, even though Universal, which owns Island, owns damn near everything. Makes me wonder if Sony can do an answer record (which should get us Bowie, Scott-Heron, and Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side"). **

4. Joseph Spence: Encore: Unheard Recordings of Bahamian Guitar and Singing (1965, Smithsonian/Folkways)
One of the few major artists from the Bahamas (1910-84), folk singer, guitarist, his 1958 Folkways recordings the standard this offers an encore to. Off-kilter, redeemed by gospel spirit. **

5. Chuck Berry: Live From Blueberry Hill (2005-06, Dualtone)
I lived a couple years in St. Louis: one on Eastgate, across from a bagel bakery, at the east end of what was even then known as the Delmar Loop. Blueberry Hill was the local pub, and I spent a fair amount of time in there -- only Left Bank Books and Streetside Records saw more of me. I don't recall any music there, but Joe Edwards built his empire around it. His biggest coup was getting Chuck Berry to play monthly from 1996 to 2014. This picks 10 tracks from the middle of his run. His voice is shot, and the lean elegance of songs you certainly know has thickened, and the band/sound is far from spectacular, but his excitement is still palpable, and he throws in some ad libs you'll want to hear. After all, "if you love it, you ain't never too old." **

6. Cold Wave #2 (2015-20, Soul Jazz)
Opens with three pretty good cuts, but Job Sifre's "At Least We Try" raises the level, and everything else rises with it. First volume took the chill too seriously. This reminds you that lots of interesting electronica has been happening in obscure corners, but sometimes it helps to mix it up a bit. **

7. Bob Marley & the Wailers: The Capitol Session '73 (Mercury/Tuff Gong)
Stranded in California after being dropped from a tour opening for Sly & the Family Stone, the Wailers headed to Hollywood to tape a live-in-studio set, only now released on DVD. I haven't seen, and probably wouldn't bother watching, the video, but here's the audio. The set's a bit pat, but half the songs I know well from their first two American albums -- Catch a Fire and Burnin', both masterpieces -- and the others fit in nicely. Ends with a rousing "Get Up, Stand Up." **

8. Essiebons Special 1973-1984: Ghana Music Power House (Analog Africa)
A compilation of from Ghana's Essiebons label, long headed by producer Dick Essilfie-Bondzie, leans more toward Afrobeat than the earlier highlife style. I usually prefer the light grace of highlife, but this overwhelming deluge of rhythm works too. **

9. Khaira Arby: Live in New York 2010 (Clermont Music)
Singer from Timbuktu in Mali (1959-2018), touted as the first Malian woman to start a musical career under her own name (1992). Credited with two albums (at least internationally), the first coincident with her 2010-11 tour of the US and Canada, whence this set from Bard College. Tremendous energy here. **

10. Cuba: Music and Revolution: Culture Clash in Havana Cuba: Experiments in Latin Music 1973-85 Vol. 2 (Soul Jazz, 2CD)
Compiled by Gilles Peterson & Stuart Baker, reportedly with extensive liner notes, tied to a large format book release. Several bands are famous even here (Irakere, Los Van Van), failure to recognize more is probably my bad. Good, sometimes great, music, possibly classic. Hard to be sure without further examination, but so far I'd give this one a slight edge over Vol. 1. **

Also added the following 2020 (or earlier) albums after freezing the 2020 year-end file:

Honorable Mention

Additional non-jazz rated B+(***), listed alphabetically.

  1. Amapiano Now (NTS) **
  2. Can: Live in Stuttgart 1975 (Mute, 2CD) **
  3. J Dilla: Welcome 2 Detroit [20th Anniversary Edition] (2001, BBE, 2CD) **
  4. Bob Dowe/The Melodians: Build Me Up/Pre-Meditation (1968-78, Doctor Bird, 2CD) **
  5. The Ebony Hillbillies: Barefoot and Flying (2011, EH Music -20) **
  6. Marianne Faithfull: The Montreux Years (1995-2009, BMG) **
  7. Emmylou Harris and the Hot Band: Hot Night in Roslyn: 1976 Radio Broadcast Recording (Hobo) **
  8. I'll Be Your Mirror: A Tribute to the Velvet Underground & Nico (Verve) **
  9. The J Ann C Trio: At Tan-Tar-A (1966, Modern Harmonic/Sundazed) **
  10. Lenny Kaye Presents Lightning Striking (1934-2013, Ace, 2CD) **
  11. Alan Lomax's American Patchwork (1978-83, Mississippi) **
  12. The Melodians: Pre-Meditation (1968-78, Trojan/Sanctuary) **
  13. Bob Dowe/The Melodians: Build Me Up/Pre-Meditation (1968-78, Doctor Bird, 2CD) **
  14. Hailu Mergia & the Walias Band: Tezeta (1975, Awesome Tapes From Africa) **
  15. Now That's What I Call Music! Outlaw Country (1968-2015, NOW) **
  16. Lee Scratch Perry: The Specialist: The Pama Years (1969-71, Pama) **
  17. Plastic People of the Universe: Magicke Noci 1997 (Guerilla) **
  18. Star Lovers: Boafo Ne Nyame (1987, Hot Casa) **
  19. Stereolab: Electrically Possessed [Switched On, Vol. 4] (1999-2008, Duophonic/Warp, 2CD) **
  20. Shem Tupe/Justo Osala/Enos Okola: Guitar Music of Western Kenya: 45s From the Archive of Shem Tupe (Mississippi) **
  21. The Velvet Underground: A Documentary Film by Todd Haynes (1954-70, Polydor, 2CD) **
  22. Vis-a-Vis: The Best of Vis-a-Vis in Congo Style (1976, We Are Busy Bodies) **
  23. Wallahi Le Zein! (Mississippi) **

Also added the following 2020 albums after freezing the 2020 year-end file:

  1. Aaron Neville: Tell It Like It Is: The Sansu Years (1968-75, HHO) **
  2. The White Stripes: My Sister Thanks You and I Thank You: Greatest Hits (1998-2007, Third Man/Columbia) **


Additional new non-jazz records rated B+(**) or below (listed alphabetically by artist).

  1. 75 Dollar Bill: Live Ateliers Claus (self-released) ** [B+(**)]
  2. 75 Dollar Bill Featuring David Watson: Social Music at Troost Vol. 2 (self-released) ** [B+(*)]
  3. Snoh Aalegra: Temporary Highs in the Violet Skies (ARTium/Roc Nation) ** [B+(*)]
  4. ABBA: Voyage (Polar) ** [B-]
  5. Ada Lea: One Hand on the Steering Wheel the Other Sewing a Garden (Saddle Creek) ** [B+(**)]
  6. Adele: 30 (Columbia) ** [B-]
  7. Adult Mom: Driver (Epitaph) ** [B+(**)]
  8. Aeon Station: Observatory (Sub Pop) ** [B+(**)]
  9. Aesop Rock X Blockhead: Garbology (Rhymesayers Entertainment) ** [B+(**)]
  10. Arooj Aftab: Vulture Prince (New Amsterdam) ** [B+(*)]
  11. Fatima Al Qadiri: Medieval Femme (Hyperdub) ** [B-]
  12. Lauren Alaina: Sitting Pretty on Top of the World (Mercury Nashville) ** [B-]
  13. Damon Albarn: The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows (Transgressive) ** [B+(*)]
  14. Alfa Mist: Bring Backs (Anti-) ** [B+(*)]
  15. Alice Phoebe Lou: Glow (self-released) ** [B+(*)]
  16. Alice Phoebe Lou: Child's Play (self-released) ** [B+(*)]
  17. Gary Allan: Ruthless (EMI Nashville) ** [B+(*)]
  18. Altin Gün: Yol (ATO) ** [B+(**)]
  19. Aly & AJ: A Touch of the Beat Gets You Up on Your Feet Gets You Out and Then Into the Sun (Aly & AJ Music) ** [B+(*)]
  20. Anika: Change (Sacred Bones) ** [B+(**)]
  21. Tamar Aphek: All Bets Are Off (Kill Rock Stars) ** [B+(**)]
  22. Arab Strap: As Days Get Dark (Rock Action) ** [B+(**)]
  23. Arca: Kick II (XL) ** [B+(*)]
  24. Arca: Kick III (XL) ** [B]
  25. Arca: Kick IIII (XL) ** [B]
  26. Arca: Kick IIIII (XL) ** [B]
  27. Armand Hammer & the Alchemist: Haram (Backwoodz Studioz) ** [B+(**)]
  28. The Armed: Ultrapop (Sargent House) ** [B]
  29. Ashnikko: Demidevil (Parlophone, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  30. Atmosphere: Word? (Rhymesayers Entertainment) ** [B+(*)]
  31. Angela Autumn: Frontiers Woman (self-released, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  32. The Avalanches: We Will Always Love You (Island -20) ** [B+(**)]
  33. Aya: Im Hole (Hyperdub) ** [B+(**)]
  34. AZ: Doe or Die II (Quiet Money) ** [B+(*)]
  35. Baby Keem: The Melodic Blue (PgLang/Columbia) ** [B+(*)]
  36. Backxwash: I Lie Here Buried With My Rings and My Dress (Ugly Hag) ** [B+(*)]
  37. Bad Bad Hats: Walkman (Don Giovanni) ** [B+(*)]
  38. Julien Baker: Little Oblivions (Matador) ** [B+(*)]
  39. Mandy Barnett: Every Star Above (BMG) ** [B]
  40. Jon Batiste: We Are (Verve) ** [B+(**)]
  41. Beans on Toast: Survival of the Friendliest (Beans on Toast Music) ** [B+(**)]
  42. Beauty Pill: Instant Night (Northern Spy, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  43. Benny the Butcher: The Plugs I Met 2 (Black Soprano Family, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  44. Benny the Butcher: Pyrex Picasso (Rare Scrilla/BSF, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  45. Bfb Da Packman: Fat Niggas Need Love Too (The Lunch Crew) ** [B+(**)]
  46. Eric Bibb: Dear America (Provogue) ** [B+(**)]
  47. Bicep: Isles (Ninja Tune) ** [B+(**)]
  48. Selwyn Birchwood: Living in a Burning House (Alligator) ** [B+(*)]
  49. Black Country, New Road: For the First Time (Ninja Tune) ** [B+(**)]
  50. The Black Keys: Delta Kream (Nonesuch) ** [B+(**)]
  51. Black Midi: Cavalcade (Rough Trade) ** [B]
  52. Black Pistol Fire: Look Alive (Black Hill) ** [B+(*)]
  53. Blackberry Smoke: You Hear Georgia (3 Legged) ** [B+(*)]
  54. Namir Blade: Namir Blade Presents Aphelion's Traveling Circus (Mello Music Group -20) ** [B+(*)]
  55. Bleachers: Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night (RCA) ** [B+(*)]
  56. Leah Blevins: First Time Feeling (Crabtree) ** [B+(*)]
  57. Blu: The Color Blu(e) (Nature Sounds) ** [B+(*)]
  58. Dean Blunt: Black Metal 2 (Rough Trade) ** [B+(**)]
  59. Bomba Estéreo: Deja (Sony Music Latin) ** [B+(**)]
  60. Bridge of Flowers: A Soft Day's Night (ESP-Disk) * [B+(*)]
  61. Leon Bridges: Gold-Diggers Sound (Columbia) ** [B+(*)]
  62. Solemn Brigham: South Street Sinner (Mello Music) ** [B+(*)]
  63. Brockhampton: Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine (Question Everything/RCA) ** [B+(**)]
  64. Chris Brokaw: Puritan (12XU) ** [B+(**)]
  65. The Brother Moves On: Tolika Mtoliki (Matsuli Music) ** [B+(**)]
  66. Bruiser Wolf: Dope Game Stupid (Bruiser Brigade) ** [B+(*)]
  67. Lindsey Buckingham: Lindsey Buckingham (Buckingham) ** [B+(*)]
  68. The Bug: Fire (Ninja Tune) ** [B+(*)]
  69. Burial + Blackdown: Shock Power of Love EP (Keysound, EP) ** [B+(**)]>
  70. Burial: Chemz/Dolphin (Hyperdub, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  71. Bo Burnham: Inside (The Songs) (Imperial Distribution) ** [B-]
  72. Cedric Burnside: I Be Trying (Single Lock) ** [B+(**)]
  73. Tré Burt: You, Yeah, You (Oh Boy) ** [B+(**)]
  74. The Buttshakers: Arcadia (Underdog) ** [B+(**)]
  75. Cabaret Voltaire: Dekadrone (Mute) ** [B+(*)]
  76. Matt Caflisch: Runaway (Fat Oak -20) ** [B+(*)]
  77. Tia Carroll: You Gotta Have It (Little Village Foundation) ** [B+(**)]
  78. Kiely Connell: Camulet Queen (self-released) ** [B+(**)]
  79. Playboi Carti: Whole Lotta Red (AWGE/Interscope -20) ** [B+(**)]
  80. Nick Cave & Warren Ellis: Carnage (AWAL) ** [B]
  81. Sarah Mary Chadwick: Me and Ennui Are Friends, Baby (Ba Da Bing!) ** [B+(**)]
  82. Chai: Wink (Sub Pop) ** [B+(**)]
  83. Chief Keef: 4Nem (Glo Gang/RBC) ** [B]
  84. The Chisel: Retaliation (La Vida Es Un Mus Discos) ** [B+(*)]
  85. Chubby and the Gang: The Mutt's Nuts (Partisan) ** [B+(**)]
  86. Eric Church: Heart (EMI Nashville) ** [B+(**)]
  87. Eric Church: Soul (EMI Nashville) ** [B+(*)]
  88. Circuit Des Yeux: Io (Matador) ** [C+]
  89. Clairo: Sling (Fader/Republic) ** [B+(*)]
  90. Cloud Nothings: The Shadow I Remember (Carpark) ** [B+(**)]
  91. J. Cole: The Off-Season (Dreamville/Roc Nation) ** [B+(*)]
  92. Common: A Beautiful Revolution Pt. 2 (Loma Vista) ** [B+(**)]
  93. Chris Conde: Engulfed in the Marvelous Decay (Fake Four) ** [B+(*)]
  94. Confucius MC: Somewhere (YNR Productions) ** [B+(**)]
  95. Contour: Love Suite (Good Question, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  96. The Contraptionists: Working Man's Dread (self-released) ** [B]
  97. Conway the Machine: La Maquina (De Rap Winkel) ** [B+(**)]
  98. The Coral: Coral Island (Run On, 2CD) ** [B]
  99. Bob Corritore & Friends: Spider in My Stew (2021, SWMAF/VizzTone) ** [B+(**)]
  100. Elvis Costello & the Attractions: Spanish Model (UMe) ** [B+(**)]
  101. Charley Crockett: 10 for Slim: Charley Crockett Sings James Hand (Son of Davy) ** [B+(**)]
  102. Joy Crookes: Skin (Insanity) ** [B+(**)]
  103. Steve Cropper: Fire It Up (Provogue) ** [B+(**)]
  104. Lucy Dacus: Home Video (Matador) ** [B+(**)]
  105. Dan Ex Machina: Bail Shag EP (self-released, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  106. Danger Dan: Das Ist Alles Von Der Kunstfreiheit Gedekt (Antilopen Geldwäsche) ** [B+(*)]
  107. Richard Dawson & Circle: Henki (Weird World) ** [B]
  108. Lana Del Rey: Chemtrails Over the Country Club (Polydor/Interscope) ** [B+(**)]
  109. Erika De Casier: Sensational (4AD) ** [B+(**)]
  110. Indigo De Souza: Any Shape You Take (Saddle Creek) ** [B+(*)]
  111. Deafheaven: Infinite Granite (Sargent House) ** [B+(*)]
  112. Ani DiFranco: Revolutionary Love (Righteous Babe) ** [B+(**)]
  113. Dijon: Absolutely (R&R Digital/Warner) ** [B]
  114. Dinosaur Jr.: Sweep It Into Space (Jagjaguwar) ** [B+(*)]
  115. Dltzk: Frailty (Deadair) ** [B]
  116. Doja Cat: Planet Her (Kemosabe/RCA) ** [B+(*)]
  117. Dos Santos: City of Mirrors (International Anthem) ** [B+(*)]
  118. Drake: Certified Lover Boy (OVO/Republic) ** [B]
  119. Eris Drew: Quivering in Time (T4T LUV NRG) ** [B+(**)]
  120. Ducks Ltd.: Modern Fiction (Carpark) ** [B+(**)]
  121. Hope Dunbar: You Let the Light In (self-released) ** [B+(**)]
  122. Elkka: Euphoric Melodies (Technicolour, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  123. Erin Enderlin: Barroom Mirrors EP (Black Crow Productions, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  124. Equiknoxx: Basic Tools (Equiknoxx Music) ** [B+(**)]
  125. Marianne Faithfull With Warren Ellis: She Walks in Beauty (BMG) ** [B+(**)]
  126. Kari Faux: Lowkey Superstar (Don Giovanni) ** [B+(*)]
  127. Jared Feinman: Love Is an Obstacle (West of Philly) * [B+(*)]
  128. The Felice Brothers: From Dreams to Dust (Yep Roc) ** [B+(**)]
  129. Sam Fender: Seventeen Going Under (Polydor) ** [B]
  130. Fiddlehead: Between the Richness (Run for Cover) ** [B+(*)]
  131. Flatland Cavalry: Welcome to Countryland (self-released) ** [B+(*)]
  132. Flying Lotus: Yasuke (Warp) ** [B+(**)]
  133. Fred Again: Actual Life (April 14-December 17 2020) (Atlantic) ** [B+(**)]
  134. Fred Again: Actual Life (February 2-October 15 2021) (Atlantic) ** [B+(**)]
  135. Dori Freeman: Ten Thousand Roses (Blue Hens Music) ** [B+(*)]
  136. Ezra Furman: Sex Education: Songs From Season 3 (Bella Union, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  137. GA-20: GA-20 Does Hound Dog Taylor: Try It . . . You Might Like It! (Karma Chief/Alligator) ** [B+(**)]
  138. Gas: Der Lange Marsch (Kompakt): [sp]: B+(*)
  139. Myriam Gendron: Ma Délire: Songs of Love, Lost & Found (Feeding Tube) ** [B+(**)]
  140. Ghetts: Conflict of Interest (Warner) ** [B+(*)]
  141. John Glacier: Shiloh: Lost for Words (PLZ Make It Ruins) ** [B+(**)]
  142. Goat Girl: On All Fours (Rough Trade) ** [B+(**)]
  143. Charles Wesley Godwin: How the Mighty Fall (self-released) ** [B+(*)]
  144. The Goon Sax: Mirror II (Matador) ** [B+(**)]
  145. Julia Govor: Winter Mute (Jujuka, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  146. Colleen Green: Cool (Hardly Art) ** [B+(**)]
  147. Grouper: Shade (Kranky) ** [B+(*)]
  148. Guedra Guedra: Vexillology (On the Corner) ** [B+(**)]
  149. Ghais Guevara: May Ur Melanin Shield U From Ragnarok (self-released, EP -20) ** [B+(**)]
  150. Ghais Guevara: Black Bolshevik (self-released, EP -21) ** [B+(**)]
  151. Danny L Harle: Harlecore (Mad Decent) ** [B+(**)]
  152. Hutch Harris: Suck Up All the Oxygen (self-released, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  153. Walker Hayes: Country Stuff (Monument, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  154. Natalie Hemby: Pins and Needles (Fantasy) ** [B+(*)]
  155. H.E.R.: Back of My Mind (RCA) ** [B+(**)]
  156. Hiatus Kaiyote: Mood Valiant (Brainfeeder) ** [B+(*)]
  157. Dylan Hicks: Accidental Birds (Soft Launch) ** [B+(**)]
  158. Hiss Golden Messenger: Quietly Blowing It (Merge) ** [B+(*)]
  159. The Hold Steady: Open Door Policy (Positive Jams) ** [B+(**)]
  160. Jon Hopkins: Music for Psychedelic Therapy (Domino) ** [B]
  161. Michael Hurley: The Time of the Foxgloves (No Quarter) ** [B+(**)]
  162. Chrissie Hynde: Standing in the Doorway: Chrissie Hynde Sings Bob Dylan (BMG) ** [B+(**)]
  163. Iceage: Seek Shelter (Mexican Summer) ** [B]
  164. Shawneci Icecold & Fatlip: Carte Blanche (Underground45) ** [B+(*)]
  165. Ifé: '0000+0000 (Discos Ifá) ** [B+(**)]
  166. Christone Kingfish Ingram: 662 (Alligator) ** [B+(*)]
  167. Injury Reserve: By the Time I Get to Phoenix (self-released) ** [B+(*)]
  168. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit: Georgia Blue (Southeastern) ** [B]
  169. Wanda Jackson: Encore (Big Machine, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  170. Yvette Janine Jackson: Freedom (Fridman Gallery) ** [B+(*)]
  171. Jaguar: Madremonte (El Palmas) ** [B+(*)]
  172. Boldy James & the Alchemist: Bo Jackson (ALC) ** [B+(*)]
  173. Colin James: Open Road (Stony Plain) ** [B+(*)]
  174. Loraine James: Reflection (Hyperdub) ** [B+(*)]
  175. Cassandra Jenkins: An Overview on Phenomenal Nature (Ba Da Bing) ** [B+(**)]
  176. Jlin: Embryo (Planet Mu, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  177. Tom Jones: Surrounded by Time (S-Curve) ** [B+(*)]
  178. Topaz Jones: Don't Go Tellin' Your Momma (New Funk Academy/Black Canopy) ** [B+(**)]
  179. India Jordan: Watch Out! (Ninja Tune, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  180. Jungle: Loving in Stereo (Awal) ** [B+(*)]
  181. Kalabrese: Let Love Rumpel: Part 1 (Rumpelmusig) ** [B+(**)]
  182. Kanda Bongo Man: Yolele! Live in Concert (No Wahala Sounds -21) ** [B+(**)]
  183. Kaytranada: Intimidated (RCA, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  184. Amythyst Kiah: Wary + Strange (Rounder) ** [B+(*)]
  185. Khrysis: The Hour of Khrysis (Jamla) ** [B+(**)]
  186. Kid Cudi: Man on the Moon III: The Chosen (Republic -20) ** [B+(**)]
  187. Angélique Kidjo: Mother Nature (Decca) ** [B]
  188. EG Kight: The Trio Sessions (Blue South) ** [B+(**)]
  189. The Killers: Pressure Machine (Island) ** [B+(*)]
  190. Katy Kirby: Cool Dry Place (Keeled Scales) ** [B+(*)]
  191. The Klezmatics: Letters to Afar (Chant) ** [B+(*)]
  192. Kojaque: Town's Dead (Soft Boy) ** [B+(*)]
  193. Mick Kolassa: Uncle Mick's Christmas Album (Endless Blues) [B]
  194. Kondi Band: We Famous (Strut) ** [B+(**)]
  195. Lily Konigsberg: Lily We Need to Talk Now (Wharf Cat) ** [B+(**)]
  196. Koreless: Agor (Young) ** [B]
  197. La Femme: Paradigmes (Disque Pointu) ** [B+(**)]
  198. Lady Gaga: Dawn of Chromatica (Interscope) ** [B+(*)]
  199. Langhorne Slim: Strawberry Mansion (Dualtone) ** [B+(**)]
  200. Howie Lee: Birdy Island (Mais Um Discos) ** [B+(*)]
  201. Rob Leines: Blood, Sweat, and Beers (self-released) ** [B+(**)]
  202. Les Filles De Illighadad: At Pioneer Works (Sahel Sounds) ** [B+(**)]
  203. The Jeffrey Lewis & Peter Stampfel Band: Both Ways (self-released) ** [B+(**)]
  204. SG Lewis: Times (PMR) ** [B+(**)]
  205. Lil Nas X: Montero (Columbia) ** [B+(*)]
  206. LoneLady: Former Things (Warp) ** [B+(**)]
  207. L'Orange: The World Is Still Chaos, but I Feel Better (Mello Music Group) ** [B+(**)]
  208. Lord Huron: Long Lost (Republic) ** [B]
  209. Lorde: Solar Power (Universal) ** [B+(**)]
  210. Los Lobos: Native Sons (New West) ** [B+(*)]
  211. Low: Hey What (Sub Pop) ** [C]
  212. Andy Fairweather Low & the Low Riders: Lockdown Live (Secret) ** [B+(*)]
  213. L'Rain: Fatigue (Mexican Summer) ** [B+(*)]
  214. LSDXOXO: Dedicated 2 Disrespect (XL, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  215. Lukah: When the Black Hand Touches You (Raw Materials) ** [B+(**)]
  216. Mach-Hommy: Balens Cho (Griselda, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  217. Madlib: Sound Ancestors (Madlib Invazion) ** [B+(*)]
  218. Man on Man: Man on Man (Polyvinyl) ** [B+(**)]
  219. Aimee Mann: Queens of the Summer Hotel (SuperEgo) ** [B+(*)]
  220. Charlie Marie: Ramble On (self-released) ** [B+(**)]
  221. Miko Marks & the Resurrectors: Race Records (Redtone, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  222. Terrace Martin: Drones (BMG) ** [B+(**)]
  223. Mas Aya: Mascaras (Telephone Explosion) ** [B+(**)]
  224. Sibusiso Mash Mashiloane: Ihubo Labomdabu (Unlocked Keys) ** [B+(*)]
  225. Maxo Kream: Weight of the World (Big Persona/RCA) ** [B+(**)]
  226. Otis McDonald: Beats Vol. 3 (Track Tribe) ** [B+(*)]
  227. Vic Mensa: I Tape (Roc Nation, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  228. Meridian Brothers/Conjunto Media Luna: Paz En La Tierra (Bongo Joe) ** [B+(**)]
  229. Mike.: The Highs. (4TheHomies) ** [B+(**)]
  230. MIKE: Disco! (10k) ** [B+(**)]
  231. Mike and the Moonpies: One to Grow On (Prairie Rose) ** [B+(*)]
  232. Mimz & Dunn: Infinite Lawn (self-released) ** [B]
  233. Modest Mouse: The Golden Casket (Epic) ** [B+(**)]
  234. Mathias Modica: Sonic Rohstoff (Kryptox) ** [B+(*)]
  235. Mogwai: As the Love Continues (Temporary Residence) ** [B]
  236. Ashley Monroe: Rosegold (Mountainrose Sparrow) ** [B]
  237. Gurf Morlix: The Tightening of the Screws (Rootball) ** [B+(*)]
  238. Moor Mother: Black Encyclopedia of the Air (Anti-) ** [B+(*)]
  239. Moor Mother & Billy Woods: Brass (Backwoodz Studioz -20) ** [B+(**)]
  240. Van Morrison: Latest Record Project: Volume 1 (BMG/Exile, 2CD) ** [B]
  241. Róisín Murphy: Crooked Machine (Skint) ** [B+(*)]
  242. Kacey Musgraves: Star-Crossed (MCA Nashville) ** [B+(**)]
  243. Laura Mvula: Pink Noise (Atlantic) ** [B+(*)]
  244. My Idea: That's My Idea (Hardly Art, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  245. Nas: King's Disease II (Mass Appeal) ** [B+(*)]
  246. Nas: Magic (Mass Appeal, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  247. Nation of Language: A Way Forward (PIAS) ** [B+(**)]
  248. Helado Negro: Far In (4AD) ** [B+(*)]
  249. Nelly: Heartland (Columbia, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  250. Willie Nelson: That's Life (Legacy) ** [B]
  251. Willie Nelson: The Willie Nelson Family (Legacy) ** [B]
  252. Nervous Dater: Call in the Mess (Counter Intuitive) ** [B+(**)]
  253. New Age Doom: Lee Scratch Perry's Guide to the Universe (We Are Busy Bodies) ** [B+(**)]
  254. The Notwist: Vertigo Days (Morr Music) ** [B+(**)]
  255. NTsKI: Orca (Orange Milk/EM) ** [B+(**)]
  256. Gary Numan: The Intruder (BMG) ** [B+(**)]
  257. Joy Orbison: Still Slipping Vol. 1 (XL) ** [B+(**)]
  258. Palberta: Palberta 5000 (Wharf Cat) ** [B+(*)]
  259. Park Hye Jin: Before I Die (Ninja Tune) ** [B+(**)]
  260. Caroline Parke: Pause and Pine (self-released) ** [B+(*)]
  261. Part Chimp: Drool (Wrong Speed) ** [B]
  262. Hannah Peel: Fir Wave (My Own Pleasure) ** [B+(**)]
  263. Perila: How Much Time It Is Between You and Me? (Smalltown Soupersound) ** [B]
  264. Chris Pierce: American Silence (Pierce) ** [B+(*)]
  265. Dax Pierson: Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Dissatisfaction) (Dark Entries) ** [B+(**)]
  266. Pink Siifu: Gumbo'! (Field-Left) ** [B+(**)]
  267. PinkPantheress: To Hell With It (Parlophone, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  268. Robert Plant/Alison Krauss: Raise the Roof (Rounder) ** [B+(*)]
  269. Polo G: Hall of Fame (Columbia/Only Dreamers Achieve) ** [B+(*)]
  270. Pom Pom Squad: Death of a Cheerleader (City Slang) ** [B+(**)]
  271. Mariá Portugal: Erosão (Fun in the Church) ** [B+(**)]
  272. R2Bees: Back 2 Basics (Ziiki Media) ** [B+(*)]
  273. Rainbow Girls: Rolling Dumpster Fire (self-released, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  274. Jordan Rakei: What We Call Life (Ninja Tune) ** [B+(*)]
  275. Isaiah Rashad: The House Is Burning (Top Dawg Entertainment/Warner) ** [B+(*)]
  276. Raw Poetic Featuring Damu the Fudgemunk: Big Tiny Planet (Redefinition, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  277. The Reds, Pinks & Purples: Uncommon Weather (Slumberland) ** [B+(*)]
  278. Jason Ringenberg: Rhinestoned (Courageous Chicken) ** [B+(**)]
  279. Porter Robinson: Nurture (Mom + Pop) ** [B]
  280. Jeff Rosenstock: Ska Dream (Polyvinyl) ** [B+(*)]
  281. Rostam: Changephobia (Matsor Projects) ** [B+(*)]
  282. Claire Rousay: A Softer Focus (American Dreams) ** [B]
  283. RP Boo: Established! (Planet Mu) ** [B+(**)]
  284. Mark Rubin (Jew of Oklahoma): The Triumph of Assimilation (Rubinchik) ** [B+(**)]
  285. Rüfüs Du Sol: Surrender (Rose Avenue/Reprise) ** [B+(**)]
  286. Jana Rush: Painful Enlightenment (Planet Mu) ** [B]
  287. RXK Nephew: Slitherman Activated (Towhead) ** [B+(**)]
  288. Saint Etienne: I've Been Trying to Tell You (Heavenly) ** [B+(**)]
  289. Curtis Salgado: Damage Control (Alligator) ** [B+(*)]
  290. Anna B Savage: A Commmon Turn (City Slang) ** [B]
  291. Elori Saxl: The Blue of Distance (Western Vinyl) ** [B+(*)]
  292. Scotch Rolex: Tewari (Hakuna Kulala) ** [B]
  293. Penelope Scott: Hazards (Many Hats, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  294. Senyawa: Alkisah (Burning Ambulance) ** [B]
  295. Self Esteem: Prioritise Pleasure (Fiction) ** [B+(**)]
  296. Serengeti: KDxMPC (self-released, EP -20) ** [B+(*)]
  297. Serengeti: Curse of the Polo (self-released) ** [B+(*)]
  298. Serengeti: Have a Summer (self-released) ** [B]
  299. Serpentwithfeet: Deacon (Secretly Canadian) ** [B+(*)]
  300. Elvie Shane: Backslider (Wheelhouse) ** [B+(*)]
  301. Shanique Marie: Gigi's House (Equinoxx Musiq) ** [B+(*)]
  302. Silk Sonic [Bruno Mars/Anderson .Paak]: An Evening With Silk Sonic (Aftermath/Atlantic) ** [B+(**)]
  303. Sturgill Simpson: The Ballad of Dood & Juanita (High Top Mountain, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  304. Nala Sinephro: Space 1.8 (Warp) ** [B+(*)]
  305. Sir Babygirl: Golden Bday; The Mixtape (self-released) ** [B+(**)]
  306. Skyzoo: All the Brilliant Things (Mello Music Group) ** [B+(**)]
  307. Slayyyter: Troubled Paradise (Fader Label) ** [B+(*)]
  308. Sleater-Kinney: Path of Wellness (Mom + Pop) ** [B+(*)]
  309. Slowthai: Tyron (Method) ** [B+(*)]
  310. Connie Smith: The Cry of the Heart (Fat Possum) ** [B+(**)]
  311. Snail Mail: Valentine (Matador) ** [B+(**)]
  312. Snotty Nose Rez Kids: Life After (Distorted Muse/Fontana North) ** [B+(**)]
  313. Rejjie Snow: Baw Baw Black Sheep (Honeymoon/+1) ** [B+(**)]
  314. Space Afrika: Honest Labour (Dais) ** [B+(*)]
  315. Spellling: The Turning Wheel (Sacred Bones) ** [B+(*)]
  316. Spirit of the Beehive: Entertainment, Death (Saddle Creek) ** [B]
  317. Sprints: Manifesto (Nice Swan, EP -21) ** [B+(*)]
  318. St. Vincent: Daddy's Home (Loma Vista) ** [B+(**)]
  319. Peter Stampfel: Peter Stampfel's 20th Century in 100 Songs (Louisiana Red Hot) ** [B+(**)]
  320. Vince Staples: Vince Staples (Blacksmith/Motown, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  321. The Steel Woods: All of Your Stones (Thirty Tigers) ** [B]
  322. Billy Strings: Renewal (Rounder) ** [B+(**)]
  323. Jazmine Sullivan: Heaux Tales (RCA) ** [B+(*)]
  324. Sv1: Health (Curiosity Shop, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  325. C. Tangana: El Madrileño (Sony Music) ** [B+(*)]
  326. Aaron Lee Tasjan: Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan! (New West) ** [B]
  327. Kaidi Tatham: An Insight to All Minds (First Word) ** [B+(**)]
  328. Charm Taylor: She Is the Future (Sinking City) ** [B+(**)]
  329. Alfie Templeman: Forever Isn't Long Enough (Chess Club) ** [B+(**)]
  330. Tirzah: Colourgrade (Domino) ** [B+(*)]
  331. Don Toliver: Life of a Don (Cactus Jack/Atlantic) ** [B+(**)]
  332. Too Much Joy: Mistakes Were Made (People Suck Music) ** [B+(**)]
  333. Torres: Thirstier (Merge) ** [B]
  334. TØRSÖ: Home Wrecked (self-released, EP) ** [B]
  335. Trees Speak: PostHuman (Soul Jazz) ** [B+(*)]
  336. Tropical Fuck Storm: Deep States (Joyful Noise) ** [B+(*)]
  337. Tune-Yards: Sketchy (4AD) ** [B]
  338. Turnstile: Glow On (Roadrunner) ** [B+(*)]
  339. U-Roy: Solid Gold (Trojan) ** [B+(*)]
  340. Valerie June: The Moon and Stars: Prescription for Dreamers (Fantasy) ** [B+(*)]
  341. Kate Vargas: Rumpumpo (Bandaloop) ** [B+(**)]
  342. Villagers: Fever Dreams (Domino) ** [B]
  343. Pabllo Vittar: Batidao Tropical (Sony) ** [B+(*)]
  344. Ghalia Volt: One Woman Band (Ruf) ** [B+(**)]
  345. Leon Vynehall: Rare, Forever (Ninja Tune) ** [B]
  346. Joshua Ray Walker: See You Next Time (State Fair) ** [B+(**)]
  347. Summer Walker: Still Over It (LVRN/Interscope) ** [B+(*)]
  348. The War on Drugs: I Don't Live Here Anymore (Atlantic) ** [B]
  349. Dean Wareham: I Have Nothing to Say to the Mayor of L.A. (Double Feature) ** [B+(**)]
  350. Waterparks: Greatest Hits (300 Entertainment) ** [B+(*)]
  351. Wau Wau Collectif: Yaral Sa Doom (Sahel Sounds) ** [B]
  352. We Are the Union: Ordinary Life (Bad Time) ** [B+(*)]
  353. Weakened Friends: Quitter (Don Giovanni) ** [B+(**)]
  354. The Weather Station: Ignorance (Fat Possum) ** [B+(**)]
  355. Jane Weaver: Flock (Fire) ** [B+(**)]
  356. Faye Webster: I Know I'm Funny Haha (Secretly Canadian) ** [B+(*)]
  357. Kanye West: Donda (GOOD Music/Def Jam, 2CD) ** [C+]
  358. Westside Gunn: Hitler Wears Hermes 8: Sincerely, Adolf (Griselda/Empire) ** [B]
  359. Westside Gunn: Hitler Wears Hermes 8: Side B (Griselda/Empire) ** [B]
  360. Tierra Whack: Rap? (Interscope, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  361. Tierra Whack: Pop? (Interscope, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  362. Tierra Whack: R&B? (Interscope, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  363. Wiki: Half God (Wikset Enterprise) ** [B+(**)]
  364. Willow: Lately I Feel Everything (MSFTS/Roc Nation) ** [B+(*)]
  365. Remi Wolf: We Love Dogs! (Island) ** [B+(**)]
  366. Wolf Alice: Blue Weekend (Dirty Hit) ** [B+(**)]
  367. Carolyn Wonderland: Tempting Fate (Alligator) ** [B+(**)]
  368. Joyce Wrice: Overgrown (Joyce Wrice Music) ** [B+(**)]
  369. Yola: Stand for Myself (Easy Eye Sound) ** [B]

Additional reissued/archival non-jazz records rated B+(**) or below (listed alphabetically by artist).

  1. The Beaters: Harari (1975, Matsuli Music) ** [B+(**)]
  2. Alex Chilton and Hi Rhythm Section: Boogie Shoes: Live on Beale Street (Omnivore) ** [B+(*)]
  3. Cold Wave #1 (2017-20, Soul Jazz) ** [B+(**)]
  4. Marshall Crenshaw: The Wild, Exciting Sounds of Marshall Crenshaw: Live in the 20th and 21st Century (Sunset Blvd.) ** [B+(*)]
  5. The Cucumbers: The Desk Drawer Tapes (1988-2005, Life Force) ** [B+(**)]
  6. Bob Dowe: Build Me Up (1973-78, Trojan-Sanctuary) ** [B+(**)]
  7. Edo Funk Explosion Vol. 1 (1980-85, Analog Africa) ** [B+(**)]
  8. Eyedea: Thirty Nine Lines (Crushkill -20) ** [B+(**)]
  9. Allen Ginsberg's The Fall of America: A 50th Anniversary Musical Tribute (Ginsberg) ** [B+(**)]
  10. Harari: Rufaro/Happiness (1976, Matsuli Music) ** [B+(**)]
  11. Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers: Ramble in Music City: The Lost Concert (1990, Nonesuch) ** [B+(**)]
  12. He's Bad! 11 Bands Decimate the Beats of Bo Diddley (Slovenly) ** [B]
  13. John Hiatt: The Confidence Man in Canada (1989, Hobo) ** [B+(*)]
  14. Kid Creole and the Coconuts: Nothin' Left but the Rest (1996, 2C2C) ** [B+(**)]
  15. Lily Konigsberg: The Best of Lily Konigsberg Right Now (Wharf Cat) ** [B+(*)]
  16. La Ola Interior: Spanish Ambient & Acid Exoticism 1983-1990 (Bongo Joe) ** [B+(*)]
  17. Nick Lowe and Los Straitjackets: Walkabout (2013-19, Yep Roc -20) ** [B]
  18. Gary Lucas: The Essential Gary Lucas (Knitting Factory, 2CD) ** [B+(*)]
  19. Modern Love (BBE) ** [B+(**)]
  20. Ephat Mujuru & the Spirit of the People: Mbavaira (1983, Awesome Tapes From Africa, EP -21) ** [B+(*)]
  21. New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers: Volume 2 (2007, Stony Plain) ** [B+(**)]
  22. Nermin Niazi and Feisal Mosleh: Disco Se Aagay (1984, Discostan) ** [B+(**)]
  23. Leo Nocentelli: Another Side (1971, Light in the Attic) ** [B+(*)]
  24. The Notwist: The Notwist [30th Anniversary Edition] (1991, Subway) ** [B+(*)]
  25. Owiny Sigoma Band: The Lost Tapes (2015-19, Brownswood) ** [B+(**)]
  26. Prince: Welcome 2 America (2010, NPG/Legacy) ** [B+(*)]
  27. Rare.wavs (Vol. 1) (Foreign Family Collective) ** [B+(**)]
  28. Lou Reed: I'm So Free: The 1971 RCA Demos (RCA) ** [B+(**)]
  29. Ritmo Fantasía: Balearic Spanish Synth-Pop, Boogie & House (1982-1992) (Soundway) ** [B+(**)]
  30. Bunny Scott: To Love Somebody (1975, Freestile) ** [B+(*)]
  31. Screamers: Demo Hollywood 1977 (Super Viaduct, EP) ** [B+(**)]
  32. Billy Joe Shaver & Kinky Friedman: Live Down Under (2002, Omnivore) ** [B+(**)]
  33. Nancy Sinatra: Start Walkin' 1965-1976 (Light in the Attic) ** [B+(**)]
  34. Spitboy: Body of Work (1990-1995): All the Songs (Don Giovanni) ** [B+(*)]
  35. Joe Strummer: Assembly (1986-2002, Dark Horse) ** [B+(**)]
  36. The Trojan Story (1961-71, Trojan, 3CD) ** [B+(**)]
  37. Neil Young: Young Shakespeare (1971, Reprise) ** [B+(**)]
  38. Neil Young With Crazy Horse: Way Down in the Rust Bucket (1990, Reprise, 2CD) ** [B+(**)]

New non-jazz records I haven't heard estimated to have a 2% (or better) chance of making the A-list if/when I finally hear them (limited sampling grades appear here, but 2% chances drop significantly under ++):

  1. AZ: Doe or Die II (Quiet Money) [H]

Reissued non-jazz records I haven't heard estimated to have a 2% (or better) chance of making the A-list if/when I finally hear them: