Five lesser-known albums to broaden your music library in 2021
As many stayed at home for the better part of this year, digital culture became a primary way of filling the elongated stretches of time ahead. Melodies, both new and old, reverberated against quarantine spaces, echoing various moods and aspirations, while also providing a sturdy sense of comfort. However, if you’ve found yourself growing tired of your go-to playlists, here are five lesser-known albums to broaden your music library as 2021 approaches.
1. The Lo-fis by Steve Lacy
The Compton-born guitarist is perhaps best known for his position within the critically-acclaimed band The Internet, but he has also been steadily releasing solo content since he was 15 in 2013. The Lo-fis is a collection of demo tracks the artist released in early December. Although they may be short, these songs certainly still pack an indulgent punch through his riveting stream-of-consciousness style and 70s-inspired chords.
Highlights: Jars of It, Atomic Vomit, When I
Watch the music video for Jars of It here:
2. I Don’t Wanna Lose by Kate Bollinger
Though only 22, Kate Bollinger sounds like an old, familiar friend. Her songs create a solid landscape in which to explore the terrains of the relationship between self and others. I Don’t Want to Lose – packed with her effortless vocal inflections – could be compared to the work Feist or Mazzy Star. However – having a producer more inclined to hip-hop – she divulges from traditional indie-pop. The American singer’s introspective, dreamy EP will guide you into a patch of much needed ultraviolet light as the new year approaches.
Highlights: Untitled, I Don’t Wanna Lose, Talk About It
Watch the music video for Untitled here:
3. Forest Green by Q
The West Coast musician released his second album Forest Green last year, strongly showcasing his light guitar riffs and languid voice. In seven brief tracks – a 17-minute listen – Q constructs succinct ballads that blend seamlessly into one another. On Lavender he creates an ode to the tantalising smell of the flower on an admirer, while I Might Slip Away if I Don’t Feel Nothing – which was featured on the NBA 2k20 soundtrack – captures the ebb and flow of an incompatible relationship.
Highlights: Lavender, I Might Slip Away if I Don’t Feel Nothing
Watch the music video for Lavender here:
4. New Conditions by April
Growing up outside in County Kildare, Ireland, April was first introduced to songwriting by her musical family. The artist gained traction on Soundcloud where she posted gripping renditions of Billie Eilish, Gus Dapperton and Lana Del Rey tracks. New Conditions was released in May and has propelled the singer within the Irish music scene. The EP captures the light, lilting tone blend of her vocals and chords – underpinned by her sturdy lyrics – as well as the confidence she’s gained as a performer over the past year.
Highlights: New Conditions, What I’d Do For You
Watch the music video for New Conditions here:
5. Sensitive Soul by Hope Tala
This west Londoner earned a well-deserved spot on Barack Obama’s coveted favourite songs of 2020 roundup for her single All My Girls Like to Fight. Having achieved first-class honours for a BA in English Literature from the University of Bristol – and subsequently turning away a MA offer from Cambridge to pursue music full time – the singer’s lyrics are laden with allusions to her favourite writers spanning from the 16th century to today. Sensitive Soul is a brief but sun-filled EP, showcasing the artist’s infusion of turn-of-the-century r&b and bossa nova bliss.
Highlights: Lovestained, Anywhere, Sunburn
Watch the music video for Lovestained here: