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10 or so albums that really broke all waves of 2021

Poule d’Or is turning 12 years old these days and looking back at a past twelve months of musical releases feels ever more strange. The whole concept of a coherent album seems to be under growing pressure by the track-driven playlisting needs of the streaming industry. Also, the last full calendar year of pandemic life has led to this Poule d’Or business taking place largely online, which is a rather obvious statement for a website, but the best part of this endeavor has always been offline, seeing albums being toured, bands playing, festivals, people.

Naturally this isn’t a very special or unique experience during these awkward times but still a somewhat new one, while pandemic realities have of course been much worse than canceled gigs and conferences. Meanwhile, Poule d’Ors editorial highlights of 2021 included these two do-not-miss photo interviews with Faye Webster and John Moods.

Albums then. After consulting the professional outlets of Pitchfork, Gorilla vs. Bear, Stereogum, NME, Line of Best Fit, Paste Magazine, HighClouds and more, and largely agreeing with the best albums of 2021 being released somewhere between Little Simz, Arlo Parks, L’Rain, Mdou Moctar, Helado Negro, Efterklang and Dry Cleaning, here goes a list of 10 or so albums that Team Poule felt were somewhat overlooked but still very much ruffled the feathers of 2021 – and probably beyond. In no particular order, after John Glacier..

John Glacier – SHILOH: Lost For Words | PLZ Make It Ruins | London, UK | July 2021

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SF Johnson – Songs from an Empty Orchestra | self released | Tokyo, Japan | June 2021

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Faye Webster – I Know I’m Funny haha | Secretly Canadian | Atlanta, USA | June 2021

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Casper Clausen – Better Way | City Slang | Copenhagen, Denmark | January 2021

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Saccades – Flowing Fades | Fuzz Club Records | London, UK | April 2021

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Evripidis and his Tragedies – Neos Kosmos | Snap! Clap! Club | Barcelona, Spain | March 2021

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Jeshua – Unreliable Narrator | Lilybank Records | Glasgow, UK | June 2021

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Lunar Isles – Mirror Shapes | self-released | Cheongju Si, South Korea | November 2021

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MUNYA – Voyage To Mars | Luminelle Recordings | Montreal, Canada | November 2021

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Nalan – I’m Good. The Crying Tape | Mansions and Millions | Berlin, Germany | December 2021

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John Moods – So Sweet So Nice | Mansions and Millions | Berlin, Germany | August 2021

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Curtis Harding – If Words Were Flowers | Anti-Records | Atlanta, Georgia | November 2021

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Adult Oriented Pop – 06:15 AM | Lazy Octopus Records | Stockholm, Sweden | June 2021

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Kalaha – Mystafa | April Records | Copenhagen, Denmark | February 2021

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Turns out there were quite a few banging albums! If you are now thinking, damn I wish I knew about these records sooner, do not worry but follow the official Poule d’Or playlist over on Spotify. It is updated regularly and contained all these tracks at some point last year. For more info, click here.

Also, as you have made it this far, you do seem to enjoy a good list, so maybe check Team Poule’s picks for calendar years 2020, 2019, 2018, 20172016 … and try finding those vintages on Spotify: 20102011 and 2012.

What were your favorites in 2021? Find Team Poule on Twitter @pouledor – or in the comments below.

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All credits for the title photo go to Ida Stocker and her only.

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