Strawberry Skies Monthly Jams: December 2021
It's past time for our last Strawberry Skies Monthly Jams playlist of 2021, so here it is! It's crazy to think that 2021, the year that I started this site, is over.
December 2021's playlist is dedicated to a few new releases, but mostly to my favorite releases of 2021 and my favorite releases that I discovered in 2021. You can listen to the playlist on Spotify here.
"Growing Up Song" - Anxious
Anxious is one of my favorite bands, just some really great humans making really great music. Their debut full-length "Little Green House" dropped a few weeks ago, and this single definitely got me excited for it.
"Illusion" - Broken Vow
Broken Vow put out their EP "Sane Minds End" a few weeks back, and I haven't really gotten a chance to talk about how much I love it here yet. More great music from great human beings.
"Adored" - Like Pacific
Like Pacific is one of the most consistent bands in the world of pop-punk and has been for years, so it's no surprise that their latest album "Control My Sanity" is so solid. There isn't a single skippable song on this record.
"The Season" - Tiny Kingdoms
This Christmas song by Tiny Kingdoms came out a few years ago, but it got featured on the "A Very Pop Punk Christmas" compilation by Unsigned Pop Punk which has had it in my rotation lately. I started working with this band around springtime this year and I'm really proud of all that they've accomplished in 2021.
"For You" - Life's Question
Life's Question just released "Promo 2022", including two new tracks from their debut LP and a re-recording of "Rotting from the Head Down." I got into this band after seeing them live for the first time back in July, and I'm super excited to hear what they do next.
"Banquet - Live at Studio 4" - Movements
I've been praying for a recorded version of Movements' cover of Bloc Party's "Banquet" since I saw them live back in September. Their whole "Live at Studio 4" album is phenomenal.
"Bloodhound" - Scowl
Moving on to favorite releases of the year, Scowl's "How Flowers Grow" is definitely one of my favorite hardcore albums of the year, in addition to being one of my favorite records of the year in general. I can't believe it took me so long to find this band, but I'm so glad that they're on my radar now, and I'm hoping to see them live for the first time in 2022.
"You asked for this" - Halsey
I will forever associate Halsey's 2021 record "If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power" with my first week of college, much like I associate her debut full-length "Badlands" with my final year of middle school, their sophomore LP "Hopeless Fountain Kingdom" with the spring of my sophomore year of high school, and her third album "Manic" with the winter of my junior year. Each of Halsey's releases is so atmospheric to me, and this one is no exception. The collaboration with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of Nine Inch Nails works beautifully.
"LIKE IT" - Waterparks
Before the release of their album "Greatest Hits", I hadn't called myself a fan of Waterparks since 2017. This was a band I fell out of love with a bit over the years, but their latest record pulled me right back in. This is a chaotic, eclectic, magical collection of songs that I'm still obsessed with months later. It translated incredibly well to the live music experience as well.
"What If It Doesn't End Well" - chloe moriondo
I hadn't heard of chloe moriondo before this year, but I'm so, so glad that I've hopped on the hype train now. "Blood Bunny" is a flawless album front to back that builds on moriondo's vocal and lyrical talent in a tremendous way.
"Time Spent, Too Long" - One Step Closer
One Step Closer has been one of my favorite bands since the end of 2019, and I've loved all of their releases thus far. Their first full-length album "This Place You Know" was everything I had been hoping for and more, and really pulls their sound together in a mature, polished way. They blend emotional lyrical content and a traditional hardcore sound perfectly.
"The Years" - Fiddlehead
Like One Step Closer, Fiddlehead is a band that I've been a fan of since mid-2019, so I'm very familiar with their discography, particularly their debut LP "Springtime and Blind." I had high expectations for their follow-up album, and "Between the Richness" is perfect in every way. It bridges the gap between the two records, recapping all the grief, love, light, and loss that frontman Pat Flynn experienced in the years since their last release, and it does so gracefully.
"NO SURPRISE" - Turnstile
This truly was the year of me finally getting new music from bands I've been loving for years, as evidenced by my last few picks. I got into Turnstile around the same time i got into Fiddlehead, the summer of 2019, and I fell in love with their albums "Time & Space" and "Nonstop Feeling." What appealed to me about Turnstile was their fresh, unique take on hardcore, and their 2021 record "Glow On" only further developed that sound. They are one of the coolest bands in the world right now.
"Edge of the World" - Citizen
Another band that I've been waiting for new music from for years, Citizen's "Life in Your Glass World" was one of my favorite records of 2021, and will be one of my favorites in general for years to come. Their lyrical content remains poignant, and their sonic changes are never without purpose. Citizen could give master classes in making revolutionary alternative music.
"Let The Right One In" - Boston Manor
I've been singing the praises of Boston Manor's EP "Desperate Times, Desperate Pleasures" since it was released a few months ago. I wasn't sure if a sound change would be accompanying the band's departure from Pure Noise Records, but they seem to have fit right in with Sharptone Records. The sky is truly the limit for this band.
"Third Chain" - Soul Blind
I saw Soul Blind for the first time this year and Koyo's record release weekend for "Drives Out East", and I've seen them a few times since then. This band makes me feel the way I did when I listened to Alice in Chains for the first time as a kid. Cannot wait to hear their LP.
"Broken Vow" - Broken Vow
I mentioned Broken Vow's EP "Sane Minds End" earlier in this post as a December release, but it's also one of my favorite releases of the year. You may think I'm saying this prematurely, but I'm not. Listen to the EP and you'll get it.
"Lockbox" - Stand Still
Stand Still has to be the best band to come out of 2021. They released their first single "Free My Mind" in the spring, but their summer EP "A Practice in Patience" is what put them on the map for me. They have to be one of the best live bands I've ever seen.
"Charmer" - Tiny KIngdoms
Tiny Kingdoms' EP "For A Moment We Were All Alone" was one of my favorite EPs of 2021, and not just because I worked on the campaign for it. Some seriously quintessential pop-punk jams on here.
"Semi-Prologue" - Action/Adventure
Action/Adventure's "Pulling Focus" was another one of my favorite EPs from this past year, again, not just because I work with this band. These songs were made to be played in a live setting and I'm so glad they've been able to play some shows lately.
"Low Point" - Regrown
The release of Regrown's "Closed Casket Material" EP was a long time coming, but it was certainly worth the wait; each of the six songs is a 10/10.
"Since You Asked" - Koyo
My favorite EP of 2021, hands-down, has to be "Drives Out East" by Koyo. This band has had me in a metaphorical chokehold since they released their first EP in early 2020, and they amaze me more and more every day. I know it's because I'm from Long Island, but this band feels like home.
"Are You Still Listening?" - rationale.
I interviewed rationale. at the beginning of 2021 for a separate project, and I had always said I liked them but had never really given them a serious listen. Their new album that came out in 2021 is great, but the rest of their catalog was one of my favorite discoveries of 2021.
"Heatseeker" - House & Home
For a while, it felt like everyone on the planet was telling me to listen to House & Home, and I'm very glad that I listened. I also got to interview them back in the spring, which was a ton of fun.
"Don't Mind If I Do" - Mac Miller
Seems fitting that I finally listened to "K.I.D.S." by Mac Miller in full for the first time during my senior year of high school. This is a classic and always will be.
"Living Grave" - Vanguard
It's been a little over a year since I stopped eating meat and I've mostly cut out dairy as well since then (yay for big life changes). Vanguard was one of the bands that really pushed me to make that choice and made me feel empowered for it.
"WHAT'S GOOD" - Tyler, The Creator
This one was a bit of a buzzer-beater - I listened to "IGOR" by Tyler, The Creator for the first time about halfway through December 2021, but I'm so glad that I did. This became one of my favorite concept albums and one of my favorite albums in general almost instantly.
"I Was in Love" - Born Without Bones
"Baby" by Born Without Bones was an album that I had put off checking out for a long time for one reason or another, but I finally listened to it for the first time back in February 2021 and it ripped my heart out in all of the best ways. You could've told me this was the soundtrack to a Broadway musical and I would have believed you (this is a good thing).
"Streets" - Doja Cat
Everything about "Hot Pink" by Doja Cat just fills my heart with joy - the cover art, every single song, and Doja herself. This is one of my favorite tracks from the record but there isn't a dull moment on the entire tracklist.
"Graceland Too" - Phoebe Bridgers
My favorite album that I discovered in 2021 was "Punisher", and my favorite artist that I discovered in 2021 was Phoebe Bridgers. I feel like I don't have to explain why I feel that way - she and this record are both just phenomenal.
I wanted to take a second to thank anyone who has supported me through Strawberry Skies in 2021, whether you read an article or interview, listened to a playlist, tuned in to a radio show, bought a sticker, shared a post on social media, or any/all of the above. I'm very proud of what this site has become over the past few months and I can't wait to watch it grow even more in 2022.
What were your favorite songs this month? Let me know by tweeting me at @JENSESSlON or the blog at @StrawbSkiesBlog! The blog can also be found on social media @StrawberrySkiesBlog on Instagram and Strawberry Skies Blog on Facebook.