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]
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.