Music Year-End List || Niek’s Favorite Singles and EP’s of 2021

Our last 2021 wrap-up list showcases my favorite singles and EPs of 2021. ICYMI, Dennis posted his short format favs last week. Previously, we posted our Album top 50s here and here.

For me, 2021 had an abundance of great music to offer, and I believe this applies to singles and EPs as well. To avoid decision anxiety, I’ve listed them alphabetically. I’ve excluded some killer EPs and singles because (some of the) songs would later appear on the artists’  full lengths.

Enjoy reading and listening. See you all next year! If you’re looking for a convenient playlist of most (43 of 50) of the songs, check here. [post continues below]

Alvilda || Négatif 
Alvilda, a jangly powerpop sensation from Paris, mix ’60s girl group with ’70s Good Vibrations pop punk influences and je t’aime it a lot.

Anxious Pleasers || Anxious Pleasers 
One of my favorite discoveries this year. What an exhilarating and insanely catchy punk record.

Bad Sex || Bad Sex (Miranda b/w Devil Doll)
With their latest single, the Cupids of Bad Sex band send a well-aimed arrow to anyone who gets excited by The Sweet, The Cry, The Exploding Hearts and Gentleman Jesse.

Beach Things || Beach Things
Beach Things (Singapore) bridge the gap between powerpop, indierock and poppunk on their debut EP.

Bitchkiss || All Blondes Go To Hell 
An EP “inspired by the many perversions & delusions of Southern California.” Glamrock that is equal parts The Runaways and ’80s hair metal but more concise and minus the guitar solo’s.

BOSS || Cash Em In
Cash ‘Em In is the kind of banger you don’t mind blowing your speakers on. It’s a perfect blend of ’70s UK punk and glam rock-‘n’-roll with a reproduction value that is through the roof.

Carpet Golf || Not As Good A Fisherman As Brock Lensar Is A Man 
Carpet Golf self-describe as “friendship-core” that is “rooted in twee sincerity and emo sentimentalities with rich indie rock experience.” That sounds about right!

Christopher Walkman || If I Had A Band Part 2 
If Christopher Walkman had a band, he would write gorgeous indie pop songs with cool guitar work, like in the near perfect Oh No.

Danny’s Favorites || There Still Punk
While everyone was struggling in quarantine, Trevor Lake apparently fell into a magic well full of strands of Good Vibrations and Lookout! Records DNA. Public Figure was one of my jams in 2021

Dave Strong || Little Girl/I Would
Dave Strong made some waves with solo debut single this year. Both songs have a strong Leftovers/Kurt Baker vibe and are instantly likeable.

Dirty Fences || Iron Taste B/W Candle Lit
Garagepop’n’roll masters Dirty Fences released four singles this year, which I all enjoyed but I wrote about zero of them. Weird. Anyhow, their latest single is my favorite by the band.

The Erratix || You Don’t Care
The debut release of The Erratix is a must listen for people who like their power pop energetic with plenty of punk attitude. The tasteful addition of keys give the songs some extra schwung. FFO: The Cry!, Something Fierce, & The Cute Lepers.

Ex Press || Itchy To Move
Ex Press have created their own hybrid of synthpunk, powerpop, new wave and pop punk that‘s got me all excited.

The Feels || She’s Probably Not Thinkin’ Of Me
Two word description of this single? Powerpop perfection.

Foyer Red || Zigzag Wombat
Twee Math is such a fitting description of the sound of Foyer Red, and their Zigzag Wombat EP is the perfect remedy for cynical music fans complaining about the lack of surprise or innovative ideas in present day guitar music.

Hearts Apart || Number One To No One
The debut EP of this band full of veterans of the Italian punk scene is a 5-song hand grenade filled with earworms reminiscent of Radioactivity and toyGuitar.

Hipshot Killer || Guns And Gas
I instantly fell for this killer EP. The guitar work is more complex and layered than the average punkrock band and the vocals give this strong collection of songs an emotional edge.

Imploders || Imploders
Imploders’ self-titled EP is a 7-minute in-your-face adrenaline rush of ’80s hardcorepunk. Produced by Sam Coffey, it’s fast and agressive, yet melodic with several cool breakdowns.

Ingrates || Don’t Wanna Work b/w Leather Lover 
Didn’t find the chance to write about this debut single of California duo Ingrates yet. This has the marks of the Good Vibrations label all over it, and Ingrates are my band to watch for 2022

Invisible Rays || Landline b/w Bloom
Landline and Bloom are two killer indie rock tracks. There is a warmth and breezyness to the indie rock of Invisible Rays, which sounds equally fresh as authentically from the ’90s.

Kewpid || Tunnel Of Love b/w Star Crossed
Kewpid (featuring Geoff Palmer and members of Lawman) plays terrific mid-tempo pop punk on their debut single. Let’s hope this project gets a follow up!

Los Traiciones || Express 
Infectious punky powerpop (late ‘70s style) from Argentina.

Las Infrarrojas || Las Infrarrojas & Indy Tumbita
Las Infrarrojas from Spain expertly blend ’60s girl group, rock’n’roll, surf and psych on this quadruple A-side single that I need to have in my collection ASAP.

Los Recuerdos || Los Recuerdos 
If you like your powerpop catchy, fast paced, and with ramshackle and jangly guitars, you will feel right at home with Los Recuerdos. FFO: Nude Beach, Tough Shits, The Whiffs.

Mesh || Mesh 
There is not a weak song on this modern post punk classic, and with Company Jeep Mesh deliver at least one hit for the ages.

Mujeres || Rock y Amistad
I have no idea why we didn’t write about this EP since both Dennis and I count it among our favorite EPs of 2021. Anyhow, the four songs on this EP, each with a different befriended band, are all wins.

Nuevo Catecismo Catolico & Kurt Baker || Quarantine Blues
Nuevo Catecismo Catolico partner up with prolific powerpop gatekeeper Kurt Baker on this highly inflammable single that combines powerpop and glamrock. The A-side is a killer original and the flipside a fun cover.

Pinch Points || Reasons To Be Anxious
Australian turbopunks Pinch Points return with a  timely anthem. With powerful and relatable lines about feeling anxious while not being at home, not having your phone, and while reading the news, Reasons To Be Anxious aims right for the gut. “Home is where the WIFI is!”

Pleasure Island || Pleasure Island 
Pleasure Island plays a melancholic and nostalgic form of garagepop that incorporates elements of psych and surf. The band’s vocalist is great and shines brightest on the gorgeous When We’re Together.

Rabbit || Gone 
Rabbit jumpstart their career with a 3-song debut 7″ full of electric and exciting powerpop, mixing Royal Headachesque guitar work with a great singer who attacks these songs with full conviction

Rick The Loser || Combat Boots 
Rick The Loser is a low key side-project of Novia Scotia based singer/songwriter Eric Stephen Martin. On the Combat Boots EP, Martin chugs out four classic timeless pop songs disguised as slack indie rock and garage pop. When I first heard Strange Dreams, I was blown away by how good of a song it is.

RMBLR || RMBLR 
Six anthemic glamgarage’n’roll hits that sound tough yet melodic, straightforward but not simplistic. And the louder you play them, the better they sound.

The Rubs || I Want You B/W Sleepin’ 
The two lo-fi bedroom powerpop tunes on this single are significantly longer and (even) more pop-oriented than the average track by The Rubs, but I think both songs are excellent.

San Marino || San Marino
I know my threshold for calling a song a hit may be lower than the average person, but each of the four surfy indiepop songs on the EP have the potential to end up on those influential streaming playlists that katapult artists into the limelight.

Sekunderna || Hjärtat EP 
Sekunderna know how to make their garage poppunk melodic and memorable. Released early in the year, and I’m still playing it.

Shiny Times || Lets Get Shiny!
Kim Hart-Weldin’s (Tape Waves) spine tingling voice is on full display on this new EP. Backed by jangly guitars and classic indie pop beats, Let’s Get Shiny! offers a mix of dreamy indie pop and twee that I find hard to resist.

Slack Times || At The Blue Melon Rendezvous 
Do you like The Feelies? Garage pop that is upbeat and jangly? The Athens indie sound of the early ’80s? If so, Slack Times may well turn out to be your new favorite band.

The Smashing Times || Dreams on Union B/W A Changing Letter
More lo-fi underground pop nuggets by The Smashing Times for fans of The Pastels, Television Personalities and The Times. A-side Dreams On Union may be my favorite song by the band yet.

Smirk || EP 12″
Nic Vicario (Smirk) continues to refine his cool groovy guitar riffing, and this EP is my favorite Smirk EP yet. The songs sound more direct, accessible, and melodic without losing any punk attitude.

Star 99 || My Year In Lists 
Star 99 plays a wholesome form of indiepunk and altpop that feels like a breathe of fresh air. RIYL: Swearin’, Discount, & Tacocat.

Stephen’s Ruin || Runaround 
Stephen’s Ruin approach pop perfection on Runaround. It’s energetic, full of hooks and melody, and the final 30 seconds give me butterflies.

Stephen’s Shore || Brisbane Radio
Four moody and breezy jangle pop tunes from the ever reliable Meritorio Records.

Taqbir || Taqbir 
Female fronted hardcorepunk from Morocco that feels dangerous and sounds awesome.

Tee-Vee Repairman || Patterns
Take the guitar riffs of Sheer Mag, throw in some snotty Aussie vocals, back it up with drum beats from either a human or a machine and you get the incredible contagious powerpop-meets-garage-meets-punk mashup that is Tee-vee Repairman.

The Telephone Numbers || Leviathan
Sure, while you’re at it releasing one of the best jangle pop records of the year, why not also release what is probably one the best jangle singles?

Televisionaries || Charlotte Beach
Charlotte Beach is a perfect throwback surfrock-‘n’-roll song by Televisionaries. C-H-A-R-L-O-T-T-E, let’s go!

Tuff Talk || Shelly/Never Say Die
Tuff Talk plays guitar-riff heavy powerpop you just have to play loud and bop your head to. Never Say Die is a massive left-of-the-dial hit.

Uni Boys || Long Time No See
Uni Boys sounds like an authenthic ’70s powerpop band on their first physical release. Wouldn’t be surprised to see these guys pop up in my 2022 AOTY list…

Weekend Fan! & The Sensitive Lips || Weekend Fan! vs The Sensitive Lips
Fans of authenthic late ’70s, early ’80s powerpop rejoice with this killer split single from two new Japanese powerpop acts.

The Yolks || Take Your Time
The Yolks aka Kings Of Awesome aka Masters of Lo-fi Powerpop return with two new hits. One has a bubblegum and soul vibe that fits the band perfectly, the other sounds like a lost track by the Nerves.

2 thoughts on “Music Year-End List || Niek’s Favorite Singles and EP’s of 2021”

  1. A spectacular list, I have loved it and I have discovered a lot of great bands.
    Thank you very much from Spain and here you have a fanatic follower of your Webzine !!!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top