Best of 2021 - Samantha Barrett's Picks (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Best of 2021

Samantha Barrett's Picks (2021)

Staff Picks

"Thank you for letting me see myself... I want to thank you for letting me be myself"

I start with quote from "TLC" by Turnstile. Something about this line resonates in the ongoing conversations in making myself a better human. As I reflect in 2021, I had to acknowledge the mess known as 2021 and how it impacted who I am as a person. I spent the year trying to keep the PMA and just gravitate to things that sparked joy. I found a new appreciation for the state of New York, celebrated a milestone anniversary with my favorite human, saw some baseball games (#LGM) and saw some friends safely.  Things are still strange out here but I am grateful for having such good people in my life that have been there for me this year and I am fortunate to have seen some of my favorite bands do their thing again. As we close this out, I hope all is decent in the world in 2022, I want to be able to hug my friends again. We need to take care of each other to get out of this together.

Sammie B Top 10 albums of 2021

10. Rehasher: Tasty Slices, Vol. 1


You had me at a Josie and the Pussycats and Oskar cover. In all seriousness… I have grown to love punkified covers and this basically filled that void in my life. Roger Lima from Less Than Jake does such a great job vocally making some of these pop tracks punk, you can barely tell they are covers.

9. The Dirty Nil : Fuck Art

Dine Alone Records

The Dirty Nil are Canadian rock gods. Very early this year they released Fuck Art which continues their trajectory into the rock sphere with another set of 11 fun and catchy power pop/rock songs. Also have you seen the custom pet album covers, best possible thing to go along with a very good album!

8. The Last Mile: Respect The Frequency

Rad Girlfriend Records

Melodic Canadian punks The Last Mile unleashed Respect The Frequency this year. Containing members of Prevenge, Offside, Answers, Ifarm. This three piece band created this 11 track album full of energetic and melodic tracks that harks the sounds of Fugazi and Dag Nasty era punk. “Skyline” really shines on this album as it was instantly stuck in my head when it first premiered. 

7. Neckscars: Don’t Panic

Sell The Heart Records

Upstate New York punks Neckscars released a stellar melodic debut album titled Don’t Panic this year. These delightful human beings created a group of 10 anthemic tracks filled with noodly melodic riffs and signature Will Romero gruff vocals.

6. Ship Thieves: Irruption

Chunksaah Records

I was so glad that the Ship Thieves released Irruption this year. The album was recorded a few years ago and feels so familiar to anyone who follows the Wollard/Hot Water Music camp. Building off of the last release, No Anchor, so glad that Irruption continued in that trajectory of crunchy guitars with smooth basslines and his signature gruffy vocals. 

5. Superbloom: Pollen

These Brooklyn, NY rockers have created a collection of 12 fantastic tracks that helps us transport us back to the past. Their debut album, Pollen, brings us back to 90s grunge  and alternative rock genre nostalgia in the best possible ways. Mixing heavy influences of bands like Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and shoegaze like Nothing. Pollen was an instant hit in my books.

4. Tigers Jaw: I Won’t Care How You Remember Me

Hopeless Records

I Won’t Care How You Remember Me is the sixth album by Scranton indie band Tigers Jaw.  The album is another catchy, and honest song that exemplifies their consistent growth as a band. I really love the beautiful way the two vocal pairings from Ben and Brianna continue to work so perfectly together.

3. Pass Away: Thirty Nine 

Suburbia Records

Brooklyn punks Pass Away released Thirty Nine late this year. So glad to have some time to process this because Thirty Nine is 10 perfect tracks of Festy anthems. Catchy with very (at times) relatable and  interesting lyrics that hark the sounds of The Lawrence Arms, Iron Chic Hope to see them soon play in a beer-soaked Brooklyn basement.

2. Turnstile: Glow On

Roadrunner Records

Never been a fan of Turnstile until their latest Glow On came out. This album is basically hardcore greatness. Glow On transcends this band past just being a hardcore band, might of helped cross them over to a the next level, elevate their already existing hardcore catalogue with hints of Pop, Indie, Shoegaze, and even R&B but also maintaining their hard aggressive edge. I cannot help but want to sway and headbang to this beautifully crafted collection of super catchy tracks. 

1. Drones: Our Hell Is Right Here

LockJaw Records

Having come from one hell of a year, the UK’s Drones spit out a record that was straight fire. Tackling the subjects of a divorce, losing a family member, mental health issues during a global pandemic, vocalist Lois McDougall belts out some of her best lyrics in Our Hell Is Right Here. The album is super cohesive and is full of fast and furious punk riffs.

Here are some EP's (in no particular order) I enjoyed this year

Good Grief : Sapphire/Back in Action
Koyo : Drive Out East
Gates : Here And Now
Dad Sports : I Am Just A Boy Leave Me Alone!!!
Mars Dust Devils: Sota
Rest Easy: Sick Day EP