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Jan 25, 2022

This is part 2 of our belated Top 130 Songs of 2021 list, featuring #96-130. Check out part 1, featuring the Top 95, here. With such a long ranking as this, once you get further down the list the exact placements are somewhat arbitrary. Suffice it to say that whether a song is listed at #80 or 130, it is still a track out of the thousands we heard last year that we have deemed one of the best of 2021.

Jan 07, 2022

For many in America and around the world, when 2021 began they were in a state of uncertainty. The pandemic still raged and the chaotic Trump presidency was coming to an end (even if you supported the policies of the former president, it’s hard to argue that his term wasn’t turbulent). In January 2021 vaccines were on the horizon, but not widely available yet and it was unclear how and when any of us would get a shot. It was also up to speculation as to how peaceful the transition of power from President Trump to then-president-elect Biden would be, given the former’s “big lie” about a supposed stolen election. And only a few days into the new year, January 6 to be precise, it was clear that the transition would not be orderly at all, when Trump supporters stormed the capitol in a previously unthinkable display of insurrection (a term I’d in the past thought of as simply the title of one of the lesser Star Trek movies). For music fans and musicians, at the start of 2021 there was anxiety as to when live music would be able to return, with many music venues barely hanging on. It also seemed that some notable artists were holding back from releasing already completed albums until touring was a possibility again.

Alas, when 2021 ended there was still much uncertainty. While many of us did our part and got vaccinated (and even boosted). While kids as young as five could get a shot in time for Christmas. While there was a brief period where going to a concert, a movie, and the grocery store seemed safe, even without masks on perhaps. But then along came the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and, despite it sounding like the name of a friendly Transformer, the mutation spiked everyone’s pandemic anxiety again. Is it safe to send kids to school, even if they are masked and vaccinated? The Grammys have been postponed indefinitely and will major music festivals and tours be next?

The best that can be said about 2021 then is that it wasn’t as bad as 2020, which for many in the post 9/11 generation might be considered their most trying year. We were able to get vaccinated. Kids were able to go back to school (virtual learning was tough on kids, parents, and teachers). Long delayed movies came out (Daniel Craig finally got his tear-inducing Bond swansong). Some vacations were taken. Politics in Washington got somewhat boring again under Biden. The economy was doing better. But life was far from being back to normal and fear set it in that the pandemic world was going to be the new normal much longer than hoped.

2021 was at least a fruitful year for new music. Some released albums were partially or fully recorded pre-2020, others were written and recorded under lockdown. Herein is a list of the 100 new albums we most loved in 2021, records that helped get us through another tough year. We fully acknowledge that we’re late to the best-of-2021 party. We had other considerations in the last quarter of 2021, such as finishing and putting out our special double 20th Anniversary Issue and finalizing and announcing our 20th anniversary Covers of Covers album, both of which took precedence over working out exactly what our favorite albums of the year were. Plus, we long for the days when music websites posted albums of the year lists in late December or even early January, instead of late November/early December.

For those curious about the process: each of our writers were asked to submit a list of their Top 45 albums of 2021. They had to be new albums (not reissues) first released in 2021. Beforehand we collectively came up with a nominations list and most of their choices had to come from that list, but the writers were allowed to include some other albums too. For an album to make the Top 100 at least three different writers needed to have it on their lists. Nineteen different writers and editors voted and the number one and number two albums were each picked by 17 different writers and most of the Top 75 were picked by at least six different writers. Then via a magic of math and an Excel document, it was all calculated into the list you find now.

Here’s hoping that 2022 will a much less eventful year than the last two, boring even, but that the music is just as good.

Jan 07, 2022

2021 began and ended in a state of uncertainty, but was still a fruitful year for new music. Here are Under the Radar’s 100 favorite albums from the year. Here is part 2 of our Top 100 Albums of 2021, featuring #91-100 and some honorable mentions. Check out part 1 here.

Aug 12, 2021

Courtney Barnett, the songstress from down under, has graced us with four studio albums, an EP and several singles since 2012, and her latest ones, “Rae Street” and “Before You Gotta Go,” both precede her upcoming LP Things Take Time, Take Time (which is due out November 12 via Mom + Pop Music/Marathon Artists). The 33-year-old singer/songwriter/guitarist from Melbourne, Australia, is less about dividing her discography into songs you do and don’t like, and more about grouping them into the ones you love and the other ones you really really love. Indie folk, garage rock, stoner soul, she does it all, and these 10 picks are only a taste to get you hooked on the rest and tide you over until the new album comes out. Speaking of, we’ll start with “Rae Street,” which is not officially on this list but gives you an idea of where Barnett is at now (and was #1 on our Songs of the Week list), as well as “Before You Gotta Go,” which just came out this week. Then there’ll be an honorable mention and the full Top 10. By Lily Guthrie.

Jun 08, 2021

This year’s Tribeca Film Festival is one of the first American film festivals to return to a somewhat normal structure. Tribeca has a lot on offer across its in-person, distanced outdoor screenings around New York City and virtual screenings. The festival’s broad lineup includes everything from big name premieres, such as the opening night film, In The Heights, and Steven Soderbergh’s highly anticipated No Sudden Move, to a variety of much smaller films. Plus, with the 129 films of the “2020 Official Selection’’ section of the festival, the Tribeca Film Festival will be making up for both last year’s cancelled festival, and a tough year for movies in general.

Here are just 10 of the many films we can’t wait to see from the festival’s gigantic lineup, as selected by Under the Radar film critic, Kaveh Jalinous, who will be covering the fest.