Glam Rock

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

You’ve already seen our lists with favorite albums – here‘s Niek’s list and there‘s mine – but also many shorter format releases were wantlist worthy. Below you can listen to an overview of the Top 50 singles and EPs that I thought were the best from 2021. I’ve excluded releases with songs that also appear on my album list. Links point to Discogs or Bandcamp (the headings), and to previously posted reviews (in the body text) – add to your wantlist (or collection) what you like!

1. Noah C Lekas || Sounds From The Shadow Factory
[Beat Poetry, US || Blind Owl] To be honest I haven’t been able to give this one as much attention as I would have liked. Not only because I mainly spent my time on full-length albums, but also for practical reasons: only two songs are shared on Bandcamp, YouTube, Soundcloud and Spotify, and unfortunately a physical copy wasn’t available in Europe (and sold out quickly in the US). Still, I didn’t doubt for a moment whether this should be at the top, simply because this was the most impressive release of the past year in all respects. Poems and rock music form a great combination here: “It’s jazz for the mind // It’s blues for the soul.” It’s Art!

Music Year-End List || Niek’s Favorite Albums of 2021

Okay, time to look back and reflect on the musical year that was 2021. Even though I’ve always spent most of my listening time on new music, I don’t think I’ve ever spent this much time browsing, scanning, and prowling for it as I did in 2021. I did not keep track of the exact numbers (Dennis is our stats guy as he showed in his Top 50 of 2021 post last week – make sure to check that one out if you haven’t already!), but trust me, it was a lot. The focus on new releases came at the cost of not spending as much time as I may have liked with some 2021 records which are decidedly great. The list below reflects the records I ultimately played and enjoyed the most.

Overall, I think 2021 was a really strong year for music, with many of the bands in my list releasing their best work yet. Like always, my list is heavy on punk, powerpop, garage and indie rock. But I’ve also included many indie and jangle pop records, a genre that had a particularly strong year. My number one album of 2021 in some way is an outlier, but I believe it is a modern classic.

Final thought: while working on this list, my mind frequently wandered to Jan Kooi who suddenly died this year. Jan was a record store (co)owner who had impeccable taste in anything music related and whose taste I, and I speak for Dennis as well, blindly trusted. I didn’t know Jan personally, but his curiosity and generosity in sharing new music was one of the main inspirations for starting Add To Wantlist. His top 31 records of the year list was consistently great and his legacy will not be forgotten. So long Jan, and thank you for the tunes.

Check out my Top 50 records (and 50 additional notable records!) below. Here is a convenient playlist with my favorite tracks of the 100 albums (98, because two records are not on Spotify).

Music Year-End List || Dennis’ Favorite Albums of 2021

All year long we look forward to this moment of looking back, escaping the continuous flow of new releases for a while, taking the time to recap what really stood out these 12 months. In 2021 I took my FOMO more seriously than ever: I’ve checked out 2,200+ new albums, twice as many as last year (this hobby is getting out of hand). The disadvantage of this is that you don’t get any sleep, but still it isn’t possible to give anything that looks promising the attention it deserves. Anyway, along the way I built up a longlist of 120+ LPs that are wantlist-worthy, which I now have brought down to a Top 50.

In any post on this website, we try to put into words which artists are involved, how their instruments and vocals sound, whether their songs are catchy or dreamy or energetic or dark, where their inspiration for lyrics came from, etc., but I have my year-end list compiled as I always have, simply in order of what I loved and played the most – personal taste preference as the debatable deciding factor. My choices are all about guitar-driven, authentic indie rock, power pop, garage rock, roots, and jangle pop, plus a little bit of soul, country, folk, and alternative rock.

New single: Boss || Cash ‘Em In

If you are looking to get in the right mood for the weekend, let it be this one. A-side Cash ‘Em In is the kind of banger that you don’t mind blowing your speakers on. The song starts with a spoken intro from the Chisel frontman Cal Graham and then transforms in a perfect blend of ’70s UK punk and glam rock-‘n’-roll with a reproduction value that is through the roof. B-side Red Signal sounds like a punked up version of Thin Lizzy.

Boss is an international all-star band fronted by Fucked Up drummer Jonah Falco. He’s joined by Maxime Smadja (Rixe) and Charlie Manning Walker (Chubby And The Gang) on guitar, Amaury Benitez (Rixe, Trap) on bass, and Nick Sarnella (Crown Court and The Chisel) on drums. Cash ‘Em In is the follow up to the band’s excellent first single (Steel Box, 2018). I kinda hope that Boss will be a more prolific band in the near future, but given the output of the other bands Falco and his bandmates are in, there will be plenty of good music coming from this crew either way.

The single is out now on Static Shock Records. It appears to be sold out already, which makes sense given the kickass nature of the songs…


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Johnny Jetson || Overheated

Tattooed Millionaires frontman Johnny Jetson started rockin’ out in the gritty lower east-side (NYC) in the 1980s. He moved to L.A. in the 1990s, where he formed The Space Age Playboys with Warrior Soul frontman Kory Clark. That band received some serious tailwind in the early days of file sharing and for a while topped the charts at MP3dotcom. His next band The Tattooed Millionairres became the first unsigned band to reach one million streams online. The succes made Johnny a wanted commodity and he wrote, played, recorded and party’d with the likes of Steve Jones (Sex Pistols), Tommy Lee (Motley Crue), Chris Holmes (WASP), and Snoop Dogg. His band toured with Metallica, Motorhead, Monster Magnet, Backyard Babies and Hardcore Superstar.

This week Johnny Jetson releases his latest solo collection Overheated. Featuring ten throwback anthems of glamrock’n’roll, Overheated is the logical successor of the record he released last year (Make Your Move). The songs of Johnny Jetson are no nonsense pretentionless bangers, all about having a good time. Surely, Jetson succeeded with Overheated.

Jetson closes out the album with Rodney On The Rock, a Ramonesesque tribute to legendary DJ Rodney Bingenheimer. “Stay tuned for more rock-‘n’- roll radio!”



Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Teddy Grey || The Great Failed Romances Of The Twentieth Century

There are worse, much worse ideas for a concept album than The Great Failed Romances Of The Twentieth Century. It’s the focus of an ambitious project by NY based artist Teddy Grey. Grey picked and wrote songs about 30 celebrity romances that went wrong, including iconic couples (Sid & Nancy, Hepburn & Tracy, Ike & Tina, Sonny & Cher, Lindsey Buckingham & Stevie Nicks), but also weird ones (Vanilla Ice & Madonna), and romances that may not have actually occured (Monroe & JFK, Brando & Dean). An extensive supporting cast of musicians helped out in the recordings.

Part satire, part heartfelt tribute to pop culture history, The Great Failed Romances Of The Twentieth Century is packed with wit and catchy melodies. Musically, the record is all over the place with each song sounding differently, from pop punk to arena rock, from ballads to retro pop, giving the record a theatrical, musical vibe that harbors more than a touch of Weird Al Yankovich as well. Consequently, the record can be hit or miss depending on your taste. Put differently, you are unlikely to care for all 84 minutes of the record, but there will be a little bit for everyone. It’s no surprise that Grey describes his music as “Rock N Roll McDonalds.”

Highlights for me are the Sid & Nancy jam There’s Nothing That I Love (But You Come Close), Unwritten Gay Romantic History (Greta & Mercedes), Little Black Book (James & Marlon), and Letters (Virginia & Vita). Cool concept, fun tunes.



Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Dirty Flix || Set Your Radio On Fire

Set Your Radio On Fire is the debut full length of Dirty Flix. That title could either be read as a command or as a warning, because a) the music of Dirty Flix is clearly out of step with what gets played on the radio nowadays, and b) if you play this one loud your radio may in fact catch on fire. That is, Dirty Flix’s mix of glam, sleaze, rock’n’roll, powerpop and punk is highly combustible, full of energy and contagious as hell. Underneath the sleazy guitars there is a lot of pop, which should come as no surprise. The members of Dirty Flix used to play in bubblegum pop punk outfit The Lettermans and cite Cheap Trick as one of their primary influences. Dirty Flix sounds much louder and faster than Cheap Trick though. I see The Cry! and Barreracudas as more recent reference points of the band’s sound – the band also namedrops The Rolling Stones, The Replacements, and New York Dolls.

Speaking of the radio, the band’s lead single Hollywood Dreamgirl already received airtime by legendary dj Rodney Bingenheimer on the underground Garage. Not all radio sucks right? That song is a major hit, but that applies to A LOT of songs on Set Your Radio On Fire, including a fun cover of The Jags’ Back Of My Hand. Perhaps my favorite track on the record is the kickass anthem Dying Of Boredom – by far the longest track on the record but still one I have on constant repeat right now.

Set Your Radio On Fire is a hook-filled high octane rock’n’roll party that will test your speaker system and your neighbors’ patience. Stream the record now, buy later: LPs in different colors coming soon at Punk Head Records.



Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Punk Head Records

New compilation: Various Artists || Heroes Of the Night – Punk, Pop, And Wave From The UK Underground ’79-’83

We recently wrote about The Go-Go’s, one of the first all-female bands to write their own songs and have a number #1 hit record. But they were not the only female pioneers trying to break barriers. Heroes Of The Night is a new compilation that pays tribute to a specific group of boundary movers: frontwomen in the U.K. and Irish Punk, Powerpop, New Wave, Hard Rock and Synth-Pop underground of the late ’70s, early ’80s. The compilation features 12 artists including The Russians, Cheap Cinema, Vermillion and the Aces, The Chevrons and Teachers Pet. Three Phase provide the closing track, exclusive to the vinyl release.

The compilation features some of the coolest and rarest singles of that scene and era. As separate 45s, these songs are either impossible to find or will cost you a fortune. Thanx to Brooklyn label Reminder Records, conveyors of quality punk, glam & powerpop reissues, we can finally own all these underground classics on one convenient platter. It’s not like we needed a reminder (pun not intended) that this was probably the best era for this kind of music, but I’m grateful for compilations like this one. Three-word review: Must own compilation.


Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Reminder Records || Discogs

New album: The Brothers Steve || Dose

Okay, let’s start with some background. The Brothers Steve is fronted by singers and guitarists Os Tyler and Jeff Whaler, helped out by Steve Coulter on drums, Jeff Solomon (bass), and Dylan Champion (guitar). It’s not the first time we covered some of these dudes on Add To Wantlist. Whaler, Solomon and Coulter played in the band Tsar, whose debut Rob Nesbitt of The Suitesixteen dubbed “a near perfect record” in his Gimme 5 feature. We covered the writing of Steve Coulter (under the pseudonym S.W, Lauden) in a post about the legendary Santa Barbara band Popsicko. The Brothers Steve debuted with in 2019 with #1. Today marks the release of the band’s second album Dose.

Listening to Dose, there is almost nothing to suggest that this is in fact a 2021 record. Rather, the sound of The Brothers Steve harkens back to different golden eras of guitar music, most notably ’70s powerpop and glam, late ’60s psychedelic rock, and bubblegum pop. In less capable hands, Dose could have been a hot mess of false sentimentalism and opportunistic revivalism. The hands (and feet) of The Brothers Steve seem perfectly fine though: Dose is a timeless record if ever. What stands out first is how authentic and well built the record sounds. But the real appreciation, at least for me, starts once you notice how much fun the record is. Sugarfoot and Better Get Ready are smile-inducing bubblegum pop classics in the making with instantly sing-alongable lyrics. Griffith Observatory is layered in harmonies and backing vocals and its chorus should come with a warning sign for risk of addiction. Oh, and don’t overlook the booty shakin’ glamrock’n’roll hits Wizard Of Love and Electro-Love.

In a world of short attention spans looking for the shiny and loud objects, Dose is the kind of record that will easily be overlooked. The qualities of Dose may be too subtle at first. I kindly recommend not giving in to that temptation and giving this a chance. The Brothers Steve will reward you for your patience, I promise.



Dose is out now on CD at Big Stir Records.
Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Bitchkiss || All Blondes Go To Hell

The cover of the All Blondes Go To Hell EP features a mashup of the two members of Bitchkiss: Zach Megalis and his girlfriend Ellie. Zach writes the music and plays all the instruments, Ellie writes all the words and sings them with full conviction. Which is just as well with song titles like Hot Sex, Hollywood Perverts, and Death At The Beach. Oh and the title track of course, which Ellie, who is a blonde herself, introduces by exlaiming seductively: “I’m not Sweet, Just Nasty.” As soon as the music kicks in,  the sound of Bitchkiss reveals itself: Glamrock that is equal parts The Runaways and ’80s hair metal but without the guitar solo’s and the song length. Oh, and with a lot of palm muted guitar riffs (which I am a sucker for), a growling singer and maximum punk attitude. I find myself returing to the EP frequently, always turning up the volume.

The couple recorded the four-song EP in their apartment in Hollywood. “The EP is inspired by the many perversions & delusions of Southern California,” Zach explains. Zach, by the way, did the album art. Mashing up faces is a recurring theme, see his Instagram page for more of his work. I particularly like the comic book mashups.

Anything else, Bitchkiss? “We were born 2,000 years ago on Planet Mars. We love lobster tails, margaritas, beach parties, and sex shops. Our favorite color is green.”



Bitchkiss plans on releasing the EP on vinyl sometime soon. Music video’s are also in the works.
Add to wantlist : Bandcamp

Scroll to Top