Bringing back the KWSS Record Club on Monday Mornings was one of my favorite things to do in 2021. I caught the bug from Dubs Private Reserve. Listening to his selections every Thursday night is something I definitely miss now that the show is gone. You aren’t going to hear albums played in their entirety on any commercial station.

And it’s not just local. Every week we introduce listeners to not just AZ and other independent artists, but also to albums in the mainstream. So without further ado, here are my top 10 albums in 2021, in alphabetical order because I loved them all in unique ways. They also link either directly to stream or their website. Tune in to the KWSS Record Club every Monday morning at 9am on KWSS Radio!

  1. Ali A and the Agency – Help Yourself. An end of the year treat, and was also so happy to finally see the band live again for the album release show. A wonderful journey and as always Ali knows how to hit the hard topics and keep you dancing while doing so. Streaming in several places but here is the Spotify link.
  2. Broken Baby – Late Stage Optimism. This album was a “quarantine baby” and also one of my greatest editing challenges to play on the radio. Worth every second. Even bought this one on vinyl, not just to support this LaLa Land band but it’s just so damn good. Find all options to listen here.
  3. Comptalo – Stop Calling Me. This man is one of the hardest grinding musicians in the greater Phoenix area, dare I say the entire southwest. The work paid off too, this album is a fantastic dive into multiple genres and experimentations with sound and lyrics. It’s one that has many singles, but please go and hear this album start to finish. Jarrod is already hard at work for 2022 and I’m 100% here for it.
  4. Duran Duran – Future Past. Do I need to explain? Forever a Duranie since my pre-teen/teen years in the 80’s, Duran Duran is a band that even after 40 years can still produce something that sounds fresh and new and make you forget all about the Thank You album. Future Past is a wonderful celebration of their life as a band, and I’ve already decided my theme song for 2022 is Anniversary. Stream everywhere.
  5. The Killers – Pressure Machine. Another fantastic story-telling album that deserves a listen from start to finish. Definite Springsteen vibes on this one, as Brandon and band sing the song of modern small-town life. Stream here.
  6. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizzard – L.W. Big thanks to Jay Cairo for introducing us to King Gizzard. If you are looking for a little funk, check out this album and their 500 others, because they are a production machine!
  7. The Maine – XOXO From Love & Anxiety In Real Time. Another quarantine baby, this is a fun listen and also appeases my pop-punk side. I also really appreciate the artists that put their pandemic feelings into these albums, because it lets us know we were all in it together, and all coming out of it together. Stream it here.
  8. Modest Mouse – The Golden Casket. This band has always had a true alternative sound that you can’t really place in a genre, a true unique sound and this album is no exception. Stream away!
  9. Mother Mother – Inside. Always an honorary “local” indie band, I’m super-excited to welcome Mother Mother back to AZ in early January (fingers toes eyes crossed!) This quarantine baby album is lyrical must-listen. Lots of feels in this one. Listen here.
  10. St. Vincent – Daddy’s Home. Another lyrical and experimental deep-dive, which is typically what you can expect from Annie Clark. This album was inspired by her father’s release from prison in 2019. No better way to get your feelings out than through music. A fantastic listen.

Wishing all of you a happy new year, and thank you for rocking local with us.