We've reached the midway point of the year and you know what that means, it's time to count down the best alt music of 2021 and man there was a lot of it!
15. Skegss - Rehearsal: In March, Skegss released Rehearsal and with it instantly expanded on an already growing sound by adding in more punk and acoustic influences. Rehearsal made a number of people in the U.S. stand up and pay attention to the Australian band. Read our full review here.
14. IAN SWEET - Show Me How You Disappear: IAN SWEET is another artist that expanded upon their sound when she released Show Me How You Disappear in March. This album brought in much more alt-pop influences and came with a number of catchy bangers. Read our full review here.
13. Claud - Super Monster: Claud stormed on the scene with their February release Super Monster. THe album, which took it's title from a Daniel Johnstone painting is chock full of alt-pop music for both sunny and rainy days. With this release Claud firmly established their presence on the alt scene. Read our full review here.
12. Small Black - Cheap Dreams: With an electronic sound that pays a respectful homage to alt music of the 80's, Small Black's Cheap Dreams is an album with a story to tell. It leads listeners along both through lyrics and music in a way that is difficult to do. Cheap Dreams has been a winner for Small Black. Read our full review here.
11. SHAED - High Dive: SHAED who made huge waves on the scene because of their banger "Trampoline" finally released their debut LP in May. High Dive is a catchy and clean alt pop album and is a great debut for the Washington D.C. trio. We're excited for what the future holds with this group. Read our full review here.
10. Tigers Jaw - I Won't Care How You Remember Me: Alt/emo veterans Tigers Jaw returned with their sixth studio album I Won't Care How You Remember Me in March. The album has some pretty important messages about living life and the role others play in it. If you haven't checked it out, you need to change that. Read our full review here.
9. Middle Kids - Today We're the Greatest: Australian natives Middle Kids returned with their sophomore release Today We're the Greatest. The album is an emotional one with ties back to life and love. One track on this record includes band members Hannah Joy and Tim Fitz's baby's heartbeat on it. Read our full review here.
8. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard - Butterfly 3000: The prolific Australian six piece are back with their second release of the year in Butterfly 3000. What represents the bands 18th studio release, also represents an interesting evolution in sound for the group. The album has an almost dream-pop feel to it, while remaining a Gizz album. Read our full review here.
7. The Blue Stones - Hidden Gems: Alt rockers The Blue Stones released their sophomore album Hidden Gems to critical acclaim in March. A genre bending release, Hidden Gems was a monumental achievement for the Ontario duo. Read our full review here.
6. Bachelor - Doomin' Sun: Doomin' Sun is a relative new-comer this year, having just been released in late May. However, Bachelor, the super team of Jay Som and Palehound are already well established acts in the alt scene. We had high expectations for this collaboration, given the duo's track record of individual releases and they didn't disappoint. Read our full review here.
5. Leon III - Antlers in Velvet: Leon III, a Virginia born, Texas based band are up and comers in the alt world. They released their sophomore album Antlers in Velvet in early March and when it dropped we already knew it was going to be considered for this list. Antlers in Velvet is a psychedelic/Americana blend that needs to be experienced. Read our full review here.
4. Dinosaur Jr. - Sweep It Into Space: Massachusetts alt rock legends Dinosaur Jr. stormed 2021 in late April with Sweep it into Space. The album continues Dinosaur Jr.'s recent run of guitar-driven alt/rock that you could get into a pit with or simply dance along to. They've been doing this since the late 80's and Dinosaur Jr. once again proved, they still have it. Read our full review here.
3. Manchester Orchestra - The Million Masks of God: Manchester Orchestra returned with The Million Masks of God a barn burner that tangles with the themes of loss, grief, guilt, pain, recovery, and forgiveness. The album grips your heart as it lays out its narrative and again highlights why Manchester Orchestra are among the best in the business. Read our full review here.
2. Julien Baker - Little Oblivions: In March, Julien Baker made her return to the indie scene and quickly reestablished why she's one of the best songwriters out there today. Little Oblivions was a revelation this year. Its call to action against the problems we face today was inspiring. Read our full review here.
1. Japanese Breakfast - Jubilee: Michelle Zauner, a master of writing about heartache and loss has had a huge year. First, she published her memoir Crying in H Mart and then she released Jubilee an album about reclaiming joy. The public instantly took notice as she's taken to the scene by storm playing on The Tonight Show and a number of other appearances. Read our full review here.
Thank you for checking out our list! What are your favorite albums of 2021 thus far? We can't wait to see what the year brings with the rest of the releases!