2021 Year in Review: Favorite Albums


I’ve reviewed 23 albums on this blog in 2021, and probably listened to just as many that I didn’t feel compelled to write about. From this list I’ve selected six of my favorite albums that I recommend you give a listen.

Check out my lists of favorite albums from 2014201620172018, 2019, and 2020 as well.

Afrique Victime by Mdou Moctar

The Beginning, the Medium, the End and the Infinite by IKOQWE

Jubilee by Japanese Breakfast

Menneskekollektivet by Lost Girls

Really From by Really From

They’re Calling Me Home by Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi

Album Review: Afrique Victime by Mdou Moctar


Album: Afrique Victime
Artist: Mdou Moctar
Release Date: May 21, 2021
Label: Matador Records
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Chismiten”
  • “Tala Tannam”
  • “Asdikte Akal”
  • “Afrique Victime”

Thoughts: Mdou Moctar is a guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter from Niger who is one of the Tuareg people, a semi-nomadic Muslim group of the Sahara region.  His musical style is called assouf or “desert blues,” popularized by artists like Ali Farka Touré and Tinariwen.  Moctar and other assouf artists take influence from the guitar playing style of Jimi Hendrix, although the musical structure deviates wildly from the Western pop system of verse-chorus-bridge.  A lot of reviewers describe the music as psychedelic although I’d say it’s more improvisational and more of a hypnotic reverie than a drug trip. The songs are sung in the Tamasheq language, but I’ve read that they deal with the horrors of French colonialism and the ongoing exploitation of Africa by the West, as well as songs of love and resilience. Listening to this album was an “ear-opening” experience.

Rating: ****

Monthly Mixtape – May 2021


 

A Place To Bury Strangers – “End Of The Night”

Wastewomxn – “Natural Ones”

No-No Boy – “The Best God Damn Band in Wyoming”

Sunny Jain – “Where is Home”

Mdou Moctar – “Afrique Victime”

Evripidis and His Tragedies (featuring Rachel Kenedy) – “Your Dreams”

Freedom Fry – “Le Point Zéro”

Previous Mixtapes:



Monthly Mixtape – October 2020


Genre-wise this feels like the most mixed up mixtape ever. I love it.

It also feels like a boat-load of new albums have been released in the past six weeks and I haven’t found time review any of them. So much music, so little time.

Maren Morris :: “Better Than We Found It”

Palberta :: “Before I Got Here”

Sam Amidon :: “Time Has Made A Change”

Molchat Doma :: “Sudno”

Jake Blount :: “Roustabout”

Mdou Moctar :: “Chismiten”

Previous Mixtapes:

Monthly Mixtape – January 2019


Welcome to a New Year of new music!

Cochemea :: “All My Relations”

Cochemea Gastelum, long-time saxophonist with Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, explores his roots, blending jazz with rhythmns of his Native American ancestors.

Abby Jeanne :: “Pleasures Pain”

Abby Jeanne is a young soul singer from Milwaukee.

Georgia Anne Muldrow :: “Play It Up”

Georgia Anne Muldrow of Los Angeles performs hip-hop with heavy jazz influences.

The Gods Themselves :: “Girl Crush”

The Gods Themselves are a disco punk band from Seattle.

Mdou Moctar :: “Kamane Tarhanin”

Mdou Moctar of Niger plays a modern, electronic take on Tuareg trance music.

 

Previous Mixtapes: