2021 is over. Has been for a little while now, which has given some of us here at Everything Is Noise to reflect on the past year and what it meant for us, individually and collectively. This second year of pandemic life has left its mark on all of us, for better (I know, it sounds unlikely to me as well) or worse; if you’re anything like me, you will undoubtedly yearn for a sense of normalcy instead of this floating sensation of dread and uncertainty. It’s only understandable, but the way things are currently looking, we might still be in for the long haul in fighting against this pandemic and its consequences, be they medical, societal, or economical. Now more than ever, we need to come together in shared kindness, empathy, and solidarity, and that includes a very urgent matter:

Please, if at all possible for you, go and get vaccinated! For yourself, those around you, and the (live) music industry that depends on us being able to safely go out and enjoy shows together, go and get vaccinated. I know it’s a touchy subject, and I’m not here to preach at you from a pedestal – if anything, I’m asking as a fellow human being who’s just as tired of the current state as you are. Even if it’s just for the selfish need of wanting to see your favorite bands again, please consider getting your two shots plus booster if you haven’t already.

Leaving the doom, gloom, and possible kaboom out there aside for a second, 2021 actually gave us a lot to enjoy in terms of art and media, some of which we previously shared, and some of which we will indulge in a little further below. There was a wealth of music to dive into, and that were only the records that were newly released last year. For a site like EIN, that was very much a blessing; a curse, too, but only because it was borderline impossible to ingest even a majority of it without missing out on a plethora of gems along the way. Hopefully we were able to share some of our joy with you throughout the year.

Last but not least, thank you for sticking with us, and for spending time interacting with our content. It means the world to us that there’s an audience willing to give us the time of day, and we don’t take that privilege for granted. Therefore, in 2022, we will continue bringing you the best content we can humanly muster, maybe some fresh new ideas as well, so be ready for that! Thanks again, and now, please enjoy our reflections on 2021.


Puh. 2021, am I right? What a year. Pandemic and shit. A crazy year, on multiple levels. For me personally, it meant a drastic career change, moving from my relatively safe job to become a freelancing journalist. It was a risk worth taking, and I never felt as fulfilled with what I do for a living before. Otherwise, me and my s/o were expecting a child, so the past year was especially life-altering. Becoming a dad ticks all the yadayada movie cliches, from totally changing your view on life towards changing who you are, at least to some degree. But who cares about that? Let’s talk music.

I pretty much stuck to my modus operandi on trusting my guts and going with the flow. It never let me down, it kept me from experiencing listener’s fatigue and sustained a healthy and curious relationship between music and myself. A lot of artist dropped fantastic albums, sometimes the amount of quality music released every week was basically overwhelming. I just would have wished to have more time and energy to delve into new styles of music like I did in the past, getting lost in musical rabbit holes and discovering new aural worlds. My drive focused on new music, keeping afloat with releases and revisiting older stuff organically. With this strategy, it was surprisingly easy to nail down my Top 100 albums of the year. I don’t have much else to say to be honest, at least nothing I haven’t already said on different occasions throughout the last year. Thanks to music and art in general for keeping us sane in this insane world. Cherish it!

Here are my 20 favorite albums of 2021:

Hiatus KaiyoteMood Valiant
Injury ReserveBy the Time I Get to Phoenix
Little SimzSometimes I Might Be Introvert
LowHey What
Floating Points with Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony OrchestraPromises
Son LuxTomorrows III
Black Country, New RoadFor the first time
Julien BakerLittle Oblivions
BruitThe Machine Is Burning And Now Everyone Knows It Could Happen Again
Morly‘Til I Start Speaking
ConvergeBloodmoon: I
Bent KneeFrosting
Genghis TronDream Weapon
Delta SleepSpring Island
Silk SonicAn Evening With Silk Sonic
Sugar HorseThe Live Long After
’68Give One Take One
Really FromReally From

Jean Pierre Pallais

Unforgiving or not, the show (life) must go on.

2021 was a year that brought an immense amount of change in my life. I don’t need to repeat the fact that the past several years have especially been unforgiving on us, because that is how it has been for everybody (well, except for the likes of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk and US politicians, screw those guys). Us ‘normal-folk’ have this weight on our shoulders, now more than ever, and despite that, we need to continue pushing forward. It seems that all we can do is watch while society and our world is slowly falling apart, but that couldn’t be more wrong.

This downward trajectory makes it seem hopeless that all is lost, nothing is meaningful; it is totally understandable to see it that way. Despite all this, we need to continue pushing forward. We need to grin and bear it in order to make the change that we want to see in the world. If we give up, we only accelerate our own demise. The fact the world sucks is a constant force on our lives, much like gravity is. We learn to live with it, we adapt, and we keep pushing onward. But I do understand that it is never as simple as that unfortunately…

As I mentioned earlier, 2021 was hectic for me, as I am sure it was for all of us. Fortunately for me, it was mostly the good kind of crazy. The first half of the year was nothing special, just more of the same overwhelming amount of disheartening news headlines. The latter half though was a seemingly never-ending whirlwind of one massive change after another for me. It all started with purchasing and moving into our first home. A few months later, my partner (now wife) and I had our wedding, which was easily one of the happiest days of my life, but it was also incredibly heartbreaking for my family as my abuela (grandma) had unexpectedly passed away just a week before; she was going to be there celebrating with us. I wish she could’ve been there, especially since she lives in a different country meaning that I didn’t get many opportunities to see her.

During all this wedding craziness, I was simultaneously preparing (or trying to) for a huge checkpoint/hurdle in my graduate program. The timing was piss-poor, as this two-hour preliminary oral exam wasn’t even two weeks away from the wedding. I honestly don’t know how I was able to manage to pull this out of my ass but somehow I did – I am now a PhD candidate in my graduate program. I wish I would’ve been able to show my abuela how far I’ve come, especially with my constant struggle with imposter syndrome. No matter how much I doubted and questioned myself and my ability, she believed in me and was always there for moral support.

Words cannot describe how overwhelmed I was during this time, but I pushed through to the other side. If I can get through that, I can get through anything, so I won’t let the momentum stop anytime soon. Luckily enough, there was plenty of music throughout the year that kept me moving forward. Just when I wanted to call it quits, I had countless reminders in the forms of albums give me the slight shove that I needed. I don’t think I could’ve done it without all the records that echoed the pain, the struggle, the hopelessness, and conversely the seldom hopefulness that I felt throughout the year. Everything Is Noise provided me an outlet to write about music I enjoyed (and others not so much) while also pushing me to explore countless artists and types of music. I couldn’t be more grateful to be part of something so genuinely special.

This is what got me through the year:

Musk OxInheritance
Panopticon…and again into the light
Floating Points with Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony OrchestraPromises
Fucked UpYear of the Horse
The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to DieIllusory Walls
AmenraDe Doorn
Black Country, New RoadFor the first time
Devil Sold His SoulLoss
DeafheavenInfinite Granite
Injury ReserveBy the Time I Get to Phoenix
Converge & Chelsea Wolfe Bloodmoon: I
BRUIT ≤ The Machine is burning and now everyone knows it could happen again
Epiphanic Truth Dark Triad: Bitter Psalms to a Sordid Species
Alora Crucible Thymiamatascension
Vildhjarta måsstaden under vatten

Highlighted content: Black Country, New Road – “For the first time” | Devil Sold His Soul – “Loss” | Vildhjarta – måsstaden under vatten | WFA: Kardashev | WFA: Psychonaut

Landon Turlock

Landon and A Lack of Lists but A Recovering Love for Listening

I know it is a dramatic understatement that the past couple of years have been hard on a global scale. For me personally, I managed to dodge and weave through 2020 relatively unscathed before 2021 clotheslined me and a lot of the people I love.

Without elaborating too much, I think it’s fair to say that musical discovery was less of a priority than finding a soundtrack to make it through what was probably the hardest year of my adult life. As such, I gravitated towards a lot of music that was either comforting or cathartic as I processed a lot of grief and loss. In that way, I found a lot of connection with the self-deprecation and sarcastic sadness of The 1975 and Waterparks, as well as the relentless rage of Humanity’s Last Breath’s Välde and Brand of Sacrifice’s Lifeblood. Did any of this music crack my Albums of the Year list? Not really, but they provided me with something that I needed at the time.

A lot of what I missed in 2021 was connection, and that sense of community was what brought me back to Everything Is Noise. Some of you may know that I was previously the Editor-In-Chief of It Djents starting in 2016 and as it transitioned into Everything Is Noise in 2018, before stepping away in early 2019 to focus on running a small non-profit. In the summer of 2021, I felt like I was finally in a place with my obligations where I could return to what has honestly been one of the most positive and encouraging groups of people I’ve had the honour of being around.

And it is through that re-engagement with Everything Is Noise in the fall of 2021 that I managed to build up my very small list of albums of the year, which is comprised of Inferi’s Vile Genesis and Archspire’s Bleed the Future. I’d love to give you a list of 100 albums that blew me away in 2021, but frankly I am still gently reconnecting with the part of me that loves encountering new music, so two albums are all I have for now. I look forward to 2022 being a year where I can reinvigorate that passion and recover from a challenging period while reconnecting with the many things in and outside of music that I love.

Landon’s Favourites of 2021

Inferi Vile Genesis
ArchspireBleed the Future

Highlighted content: Inferi – “Vile Genesis” | WFA: Poh Hock | Crown Lands – “White Buffalo”

Daniel Reiser

This apocalypse sucks, but at least live music is back

We were promised something better. I didn’t spend all this time consuming all this post-apocalyptic media to be handed down some shit virus and a fight over face masks. I was promised warlords with rubber armor, a ravaged countryside, and biomechanics. I was promised badass weaponry and trying scenarios that help me learn and grow, earn my grit.

Instead, I’m stuck in this country where some overconfident no-thinkers decided a Q was a hero, and unsuccessfully tried their hand in whatever the fuck January 20th was. It’s all depressing, and it all started in March of 2020. I wish it had ended that year, and I wish I had more optimism 2022 will be a year of progress that lifts our nonsensical cannibalistic online infighting into a utopia, but not his utopia (I wouldn’t even wish my greatest enemy that fate).

In the meantime, in 2021 live music came back into my life, and boy was I ready. Going into the pandemic I was naively stoked that it’d be cleared out by June 2020, and we’d be in the summer breeze of Texas nights listening to Windhand, Lil Ugly Mane, True Widow, and Uniform & The Body sipping on my favorite cheap beer. Looking back I realize how cute that naïveté was. Flash forward to October of ‘21, and we’re in line at one of Austin’s premier live music spots waiting to see the gangsta himself, Freddie Gibbs. It had been almost two years to the day since we had heard any live music. Our last show was Levitation 2019, in which we saw Black Moth Super Rainbow, High on Fire, and the very last show Riley Gale and Power Trip performed in Austin before we lost him (always RILEY GALE FOREVER). We were both nervous, but vaccinated, and uncomfortable but willing to acclimate. Fortunately, Gangsta Gibbs put on a hell of a show. As one of the best rappers alive he lived up to his namesake with witty banter, crowd control, and crunchy raps. It was only a 30 minute set, but he worked every second of it. It was refreshing as fuck, but only the second best live show of the year. The best show goes to none other than Boy Harsher.

Every year my partner and I attend Levitation in Austin. It’s what used to be called the Austin Psych Fest, run by the Levitation, and orchestrated by local darlings The Black Angels. Always on the heels of Austin’s premier ACL Festival, but always with the better line-up. It’s absolutely what Austin is, and not what others want you to think Austin is. This year we were fortunate to catch Nation of Language, Nothing, Drab Majesty, Yves Tumor, Thundercat, Shabazz PalacesHere Lies Man, and Boy Harsher (and that’s not even half the line-up).  There was an energy downtown that hadn’t been felt for quite some time, and everyone seemed genuinely happy to be out. Any semblance of anyone taking these musicians for granted melted away as all of them put on absolutely stellar performances.

I had been a fan of Boy Harsher, but had never seen them live. I never even really thought about it. With a roster of absolute musts, it wasn’t something that I marked as necessary. Not for any particular reason, but really just out of an abundance of absolute musts. My entire perception of them changed that night.

It was the second day of the festival, and we were at the Empire Control Room. They revamped the venue, and since Barracuda was sacrificed to the shutdown it has become one of my favorite venues down here. Nation of Language absolutely killed it. I was blown away by their stellar optimism and chemistry the trio exudes (more about that here). We hopped to the second inside stage to watch Here Lies Man do their thing. We had actually caught them the last time we were here, and they were still the tight knit groove forward metal outfit I remembered them as. Afterwards Drab Majesty took the outside stage. I thought this is what we had come for. Drab shot to the top of my listening list after my partner suggested them to me. I fell head over heels for the post-punk dreary synth driven sound. I had spent the better part of 2021 getting  lost on The Demonstration, and overall that album has moved it’s way to my top 10 of all time list. They put on a hell of a performance. The entire crowd converged together to sing along, dance, and sway while these two white hair big glass silver shiny rock stars performed track after track of pure post-new wave bliss. I loved every second of it, and thought the night couldn’t get any better.

When Boy Harsher came on, there was a radiation of tense excitement. It had gotten darker, lights turned low, and the October air was comfortable. We moved to the back side of the venue and hung out by the left wall waiting for them to come out. Red lights illuminated as Jae and Gus took the stage. They greeted the crowd, and dove right in. At that point the entire venue changed. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE was dancing. The lights flickered from red to blue, and back to red again. An older man with Willie Nelson braids, a flannel, and his much younger girlfriend danced feverishly as if their lives depended on it in front of us. I had never seen anything like it. Everyone was happy, everyone was excited, everyone was celebrating in unison, and every second of it was sobering. It felt like a soul cleanse wiping off all the fucking ick of the last two years. It was a moment of pure bliss I was experiencing with my favorite person in the whole wide world, and I’ll never forget it. I never realized Boy Harsher could do this, and I was so grateful for learning that they could. It was something that I will always remember, and made me reflect on how much live music means to us. I’m sure this doesn’t sound like much as I type it out, but with the shit that 2020, and 2021 threw at all of us, I think it’s best we get back to basics and cherish celebrating what makes the world better: Art. Art and artists make the world better. Let’s not take that shit for granted.

Dan’s 5 Favorite Albums of 2021:

King Woman – Celestial Blues
Fiddlehead – Between the Richness
Vince Staples – Vince
Yves Tumor – The Asymptotic World
Lil’ Nas X – Montero

Highlighted content: King Woman – “Celestial Blues” | Lil’ Nas X – “Montero” | Cold Cave – “Fate In Seven Lessons”

Jake Walters

“All is not lost!” Or, “How I stopped Worrying and Learned to Love.” 2021 was the greatest year of my life

I know, I know. I’m supposed to be complaining about how the last year was shit and the world is ending, and yes, there are many indications that would point to that very fact and I fully endorse that sentiment. However, I have my own mental health to deal with and no one lives in my head but me, so keeping the air in there breathable is kind of a top priority. Focusing on keeping myself well in mind and body have been paramount and to that end I moved house, fell deeper in love, got engaged, and ramped up my vinyl collection to an absurd degree. I was absorbed in music, music conversation, and even attended a Decibel’s Metal & Beer festival and got to see the mighty Blood Incantation and Immolation play a live set, all while enjoying beer with my pals and fiance. Yes, the world at large was still on the downturn in 2021, but I focused on what I could control which when you think about it, is precious little. Music is and continues to be therapy as well as art, and I think that’s a beautiful thing.

When it comes to specific moments of music that I enjoyed throughout the year there were plenty. I was on a bit of a metal bender throughout the year with plenty of soft spots popping up along the way to balance things out when needed. Panopticon, Stormkeep, and Sněť lived in my head rent free with their albums, and any time I wanted to take it easy, I’d put Morly or Leon Bridges on the turntable and take it easy. I’d also often go back to albums brought me comfort like the self-titled Cigarettes After Sex LP, some Tony Rice (RIP), and Bela Fleck. These artists always bring me comfort and keep me grounded, and in this semi-new normal that’s already wearing thin, comfort is vital. Stay healthy friends!

Jake’s Favorite Albums of 2021

Sugar HorseThe Live Long After
Morly‘Til I Start Speaking
Panopticon…and again into the light
Suffocate For Fuck Sake – Fyra
ReplicantMalignant Reality
StormkeepTales of Othertime
1914Where Fear and Weapons Meet
Vertebra AtlantisLustral Purge In Cerulean Bliss
Midnight OdysseyBiolume Part 2 – The Golden Orb
SněťMokvání V Okovech

Highlighted content: 1914 – “Where Fear and Weapons Meet”

Rodrigo Torres Pinelli

Rodrigo wants to embrace growth in a challenging pivotal year

My first full year as an Everything Is Noise writer. Couldn’t be more proud, honestly. At first, I thought I wouldn’t make it. The challenge for me was nearly unendurable. Reading reviews makes it seem like writing about music is easy to achieve. Nonetheless, it was probably my biggest challenge of the year – more than getting my university degree, for real. Not only due to the sharpness it demands, or for the explorative vocabulary I must build, but for the authenticity. I was looking to find my own voice.

I must have spent hours staring at my screen, completely lost, overwhelmed, and ultimately scared. Upon reading and re-reading the articles I’ve written this year, I’ve found that many times, there’s a need within me to share my life experience and its connection with the album in question. Although I first deemed this an unconscious egocentric behavior, I eventually acknowledged the desire to bring thoughts to the surface. My internal self was finding its way out through my words.

In a year where I’ve encountered myself dealing with anxiety, insomnia, fear of the future, and uncertainty, my writing tasks kept my feet on the ground. It became a therapeutic experience. Each piece of writing contains a bit of my substance, one that I could not describe until I saw it reflected in my paragraphs. Such reflection is perhaps the most valuable takeaway of my year here.

It couldn’t have been without the incredible team that makes EIN what it is and the myriad of albums that came out. I still can’t figure out how some of the guys keep track of everything that comes out. There’s just too much good stuff out there coming out every day. It has been, by far, the year where I listened to more music than I could ever think of.

Can’t think of a genre that did not deliver this year. Glancing through the playlists I’ve made, I can spot many highlights. Yet, as I do that, I also commensurate the profuse amount of different artists I’ve discovered. In a way, it sheds light on the beauty of our task. However, it also reflects the toll of being constantly exposed to new stuff.

Possibly, you could agree with me that the connection you feel with an artist or an album many times is affected by how much you listen to the music. Like a virtuous circle. This is something I lacked this year. I felt like I couldn’t develop as solid bonds as I thought. Hopefully, this coming year finds me improving that aspect.

Rodrigo’s list of albums that probably didn’t make many AOTY lists but meant something to him:

Alaskan TapesFor Us Alone
ComatoseA Way Back
The Hyena KillA Disconnect
Orange and MountainsDrawers
When Waves CollideChasm
Last HyenaHow Soon Is Mars
Random OrchestraMembrane
Bryan AwayCanyons to Sawdust
Slowly Rolling CameraWhere the Streets Lead
Tacoma Narrows Bridge DisasterThe World Inside
GatesHere and Now
Hello MeteorThe End Of All Known Land
MyletsM. Rueff

Highlighted content: WFA: Giardina | La Maravillosa Orquesta del Alcohol – “Ninguna Ola” | A SCENE IN RETROSPECT: sleepmakeswaves – “Love of Cartography”

David Rodriguez

It’s hard not to call 2021 a disappointment in some ways. Of course, no year is perfect, but we continue to have very uncommon years, still wrought with a pandemic and the endless effects of that. I live in the US, so uh… we’re not handling it well overall.

Looking at Everything Is Noise, it was my first full year as the editor-in-chief, and I, as in me personally, feel like I fell a bit short. A lot of our larger content didn’t get the attention it deserved – my goal of writing one EINthology a year wasn’t met (though there was a very, very good one written by Hanna on Carcass), I didn’t get back to Sound Test, a feature I created and love(d) working on, and nothing new and fresh really launched either. It was a comfort year, even if many of us were anything but comfortable. We stuck to our main guns, made sure the stuff we did put out was great quality, and kept shit moving.

I do tend to be a little hard on myself, but I think I am realistically so. I like to keep apprised of ways I can improve. I’ll take personal stock of where I’m at and where I should be, and where I can get to. I’ve been like this for years, since I started supervising student employees at my day job and I try to bring much of that same mentality here since I do help in leading our team of writers with the rest of the editorial team.

The fact of the matter is, when it came to 2021, we all just did what we could, and that’s totally fine. Many people on our team had a tough time with life and other things getting in the way. Some of our writers had to leave the team in pursuit of more stability, something we always support and make sure we’re all cognizant of. We all love doing what we do here at EIN, but this isn’t more important than self-care, or looking after a loved one, or general mental or physical health.

But you know what? I still am very proud of what we did last year. I’m proud that we kept the ship going as straight as possible. I’m proud that we never stopped looking out for each other’s best interests and caring for each other. I’m so proud that EIN is the place that it is, both in terms of output and internally. I’m working on my fifth year here with the site, and not only can I not imagine my life without it at this point, but it also makes me excited for the future. 2022 feels… optimistic, like maybe we’ll do some great things this year. Maybe we’ll find the time and energy to put out some new, interesting content. Regardless, I hope that whatever we end up doing that you, reader, continue to stick with us. We thank you for doing so thus far.

Dominik Böhmer

Dominik Böhmer

Pretentious? Moi?

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