top of page

KAMP Picks of the Year 2021

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

I hope I am not speaking out of hand, but I think it is fair to say 2021 was a pretty good year for KAMP. There was a lot of involvement and we had a ton of new members join our organization. Plenty of new DJs hosted shows, played great music or talked sports or reported news or the like. Thank you to all who made this past year a success.

KAMP E-Board and MDs display their picks each week in the station, and in a similar manner here we will report KAMPer’s picks for this year. Perhaps some of these picks will look familiar, and some may be completely alien. In any case, please enjoy a look into the music that our officers and members want to highlight for you.

With some constraints, our members were encouraged to write as little or as much as they wanted, and I think that we have a great exhibition of KAMP taste (or lack thereof) on display here.


Ruby – Head Music

Ruby’s Picks of the Year

I have to admit, 2021 was not a great musical year for me. Not because I feel that the music released this year was worse in quality than any other year, but because the uncertainty of these past two years has rendered me dependent on the nostalgia of my high school comfort albums, hindering my exploration of new releases. This, coupled with my scrambled brain’s inability to recall which albums stood out to me over the last 12 months made assembling this list quite difficult. However, there was undeniably some fantastic music released this year that inspired me and reminded me of art’s incredible persistence through hardship.

6. Taylor Swift-Red (Taylor’s Version)

The only reason this album is not higher on my list is that it is not, technically, a new release. Taylor Swift re-recorded her amazing 2012 album Red, which I distinctly remember buying from Barnes and Noble when I was in seventh grade. I know that as the head music director of a free-format college radio station I am supposed to look down my nose at basic, capitalistic mainstream pop artists like Taylor Swift but what can I say; I got into her music when I was nine years old and she will always have a place in my heart. As a long-time fan it is interesting to hear the subtle changes that are made to the re-released tracks now that Swift has had time to grow and change as songwriter. The highlight of this album, to me, was the extended version of “All Too Well”. The original version of “All Too Well” is Swift’s best song, in my opinion. I was initially skeptical as to whether an additional 5 minutes would feel redundant, but the longer version added depth to the song’s story and somehow managed not to feel repetitive. Jamming to these new versions of my old favorite songs helped me survive finals, and for that I will be forever grateful.

5. Olivia Rodrigo-Sour

Sour is an album I wish I had heard first at the age of fifteen. It perfectly distills much of the angst and insecurity that unfortunately accompanies teenage girlhood and first heartbreaks, and I can see why this album has rocketed to the top of the charts. It is a pure pop album, and can feel a bit generic at times, but the melodies and instrumentation are undeniably well-crafted. The use of power chords on “Brutal” and “good 4 u” is reminiscent of Avril Lavigne and Paramore, and I applaud any artist who brings the sound of 2000s pop punk back into mainstream pop. However, the song that stood out to me the most when I listened to the whole album was "hope ur okay”, a beautiful song about wishing the best to childhood friends you’ve grown apart from. Olivia Rodrigo is clearly an incredibly talented young woman; I am thrilled to be experiencing the beginning of her musical career and can’t wait to hear what she creates in the future.

4. Remi Wolf-Juno

I first listened to Juno late at night, exhausted after a long day of school but stuck finishing some work before being able to sleep. I saw the colorful album art and hoped the music would be similarly vibrant, which is what I needed to motivate myself that night. I was absolutely not disappointed. Juno is an incredibly fun, upbeat, and creative album. Its base is in pop and R&B, but mixes in experimental elements like chaotic riffs and vocal distortion. The electric guitar on “Liquor Store” and the vocal harmonies on “Buttermilk” stood out to me as especially unique elements. Its lyrics discuss relationships and young adult life, touching on the frustrations of being stuck inside during the pandemic in “Anthony Kiedis”. All the tracks on Juno are catchy and danceable without sacrificing musical ingenuity and complexity. I have had this album on repeat all year since its release, and I imagine I’ll still have it on repeat in 2022.

3. Pond-9

9 is an eclectic, psychedelic album that is one of the most musically interesting releases I discovered this year. I truly fell in love with this album when I was listening to it on my way home and the soft lo-fi interlude of “Pink Lunettes” started playing as I walked through my neighborhood against the backdrop of a pink sunset. This album seamlessly layers many funky synth effects over distorted guitar and thumping basslines. The variety of different sounds and instruments used blend together amazingly well and create a complex, detailed musical structure on every song. I really enjoy the variety of rhythms and tempos on 9, ranging from danceable beats to slower indie ballads. Though the lyrics are not the focus of the album, with so many other interesting features present, the words are poetic, each song painting a story. I did not expect to like this album as much as I did, as it sounds very different than most of the albums I count among my favorites, but I am so glad I gave it a listen.

2. Turnstile-Glow On

Glow On was one of the first albums I listened to upon returning to school in person last semester, and I instantly knew I had found a new favorite. The album effortlessly blends the hardcore and punk influences of Turnstile’s earlier releases with catchy melodies and elements of psych rock and dream pop. It is very cohesive, but never repetitive. This is the kind of record that gives me hope for the perseverance of electric guitar-based rock. It builds upon a foundation of solid guitar work, demonstrated especially well in the solo on “MYSTERY” and the intro riffs to “DON’T PLAY” and “DANCE-OFF”, adding clear influences from modern bedroom pop and indie like the intro to “UNDERWATER BOI”. Some of the screaming and power chords on this album also remind me of the best of 2010s metalcore. Overall, the mix of influences present on this fantastically entertaining record creates a sound that pays homage to the punk and garage rock of the past while still fitting into the modern alternative music landscape.

1. Lucy Dacus-Home Video

It was difficult to choose between Home Video and Glow On as my top album of the year, but Home Video ultimately took the title thanks to Lucy Dacus’ stunning lyricism. This was one of those albums that grew on me over a few listens. I first listened to it while preoccupied with my summer internship, and enjoyed the melodies and lovely vocals but did not take time to truly absorb the lyrics. It wasn’t until I revisited the album a few weeks later that I fully appreciated it. Many of the lyrics on this album, particularly those of “Thumbs” and “Christine”, hit so close to home they almost make me feel ill. They are sung in Lucy Dacus’ wonderful voice over a musical bed of warm and fuzzy guitar, soft synth, and twinkling piano. Home Video is a bittersweet record, nostalgic for fumbled and unrequited first loves. Dacus finds beauty in the mundane and heartbreaking aspects of life, a message I needed this year more than ever. Home Video is an album I want to sing along to in a car with my best friends as I drive into the sunset, its an album I would want on the soundtrack to a coming-of-age movie based on my life, and it is an album that will stay with me for a long time.

Peyton Riegel - News

My pick of the year is year of the spider by shannon and the clams, the album is super awesome with psychedelic rock influences, killer harmonies and lyrically very insightful. They were even better live than they were on the record and overall have a great energy and dynamic, similar to early tame impala and black lips.

Nate Smith - Production

Not sure how to describe this year; there were a lot of unexpected things that happened that I am happy about and there were many disappointing events and things unfulfilled. Overall a decent year, I was usually too busy to focus on music most of the time. I didn’t have quite as much time as I would have liked to explore new music or revisit old music, but I think I escaped this year with my taste and zeal for music intact. This list is a few songs that I enjoyed listening to this year; I ended up writing more than I thought for these songs, so sorry about that. Songs with artist and corresponding album, in no particular order:

-Malleus Maleficarum by AFI (Black Sails in the Sunset, 1999)

This song starts with a simple hihat pattern and electric guitar that are basic but set a somewhat ominous vibe. After this brief warning, the song launches into an energetic verse and continues to build hype to the chorus, which has to be one of the best choruses I have ever heard. The song is not that complex, it follows standard song structures and none of the instruments are particularly extraordinary, but the song really captures great energy and emotion that is often hard to find. The vocals have a big part in this, they are powerful and creative and elevate the song to make it much better than the sum of its parts.

-Typhoons by Royal Blood (Typhoons, 2021)

Typhoons was a pretty good album, and the titular single has a lot to like if you are a fan of Royal Blood. Extremely catchy chorus, a little bit of funk, inventive but relatively simple drums, this song is an epitome of what I enjoy about this band.

-Everytime I Die by Children of Bodom (Follow the Reaper, 2000)

Banger. This song has excellent guitar melodies and harmonies that are cleanly packaged in a well written and fun song. This song may not be the fastest or craziest song, but it has so many memorable moments that it’s hard not to like it.

-Livgardet by Sabaton (Livgardet – Single, 2021)

Livgardet was a song I listened to a lot earlier in the year. It isn’t groundbreaking in terms of power metal or Sabaton songs but I like it; it’s a quality song with good songwriting. The orchestral and choir arrangements are big and give an epic feel to the song, which fits the theme of the song and the rest of the instruments. The vocals are very good and have surprisingly nice melodies and timbre that definitely add to what is already a powerful song.

-Malachite by Lydia Ainsworth (Right from Real, 2014)

I found this song through robodj, and I can only say thank you to whatever previous KAMPer added it. Malachite is a strange electronic song with a simple beat and very minimal instrumentation. There is a basic drum beat that remains the same almost the whole song, layered synthesizers, vocals, and that’s pretty much it. The synthesizers use many cool samples such warbling bell tones, thin organ notes, and electronic choirs. The vocals also use effects and layering to create a unique composition that sounds incredibly full. It probably only took a midi keyboard, one microphone, and a computer to make this song, and it truly sounds like so much more.

-Choirs of Sickness by The Absence (Coffinized, 2021)

From the opening guitar riff, this song grabs you and doesn’t let go for the entire run time. The song could be generally categorized as melodic death metal, but it also has strong thrash metal vibes too. The band delivers a ton of energy in the initial verse and chorus, before slowing it down for the bridge. This section has some tasteful clean guitar which effortlessly transitions into a guitar solo. Some unexpected clean singing follows this, and the song goes right back into the heavy stuff. The drums and guitar carry this song and impart so much hype that it’s hard not to headbang.

-Readymade by Ado (Readymade – Single, 2020)

Readymade is one of the singles released last year by Japanese vocalist Ado. The song stood out to me because it has a sort of funky and unusual beat that I didn’t expect from a pop/dance song. Ado is known for her vocal variety and it is definitely showcased in this song. In addition to using all facets of her natural voice, the vocals occasionally use effects to really cover a wide spectrum of feel (hard to explain, just listen to the song). This is kind of her calling card, and I’m sure it will get old at some point but for me the novelty certainly hasn’t faded yet.

-La Llorona by Angela Aguilar (Primero Soy Mexicana, 2018)

This is a version of a Mexican folk song that you probably have already heard. This version by Angela Aguilar is over eight minutes long and it brings all the emotion of the original song while adding more. The song includes more verses than most other versions and it also has an incredible ending section that uses effects to make the vocals sound like they are under water and quavering. This makes sense if you know the song, and it’s a really powerful use of modern effects to augment a song that is likely near a century old. The guitar arrangement is beautiful, but the vocals really steal the show which is the intention. Ms. Aguilar flows through the song with great tone and control, effortlessly using falsetto and vibrato to deliver the lyrics in a wonderful and powerful manner.

-Arntor, A Warrior by Windir (Arntor, 1999)

I’m pretty sure a Windir song made it on my list last year, and I think it is fitting for one to be here this year (checked, there was lol). This song is from an older album and it has a very raw sound. In some other black metal of this time period, such production can result in the music sounding a bit too campy, and I think this song avoids that for the most part while still retaining the low fidelity production that is expected of the style. The song is a wild ride of viking/black metal that has many folk influences. The black metal atmosphere and instrumentals are there, but the song takes many turns and utilizes some cool guitar parts and synths to depart quite a bit from what you might consider black metal. Even if (like me) you can’t understand a word of the Norwegian lyrics, this song still will take you on a journey.

-El Nuevo Huapango by Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlan (El Nuevo Huapango, 2012)

This a great mariachi song that I was introduced to a while back. The song is almost nine minutes long and it takes you on a nice trip, never losing your attention along the way. As the name would suggest, the song is a huapango and it comes with all the things you might expect. Departing from what you might expect, this song uses its length to show off every section of the mariachi and each one gets their time for a cool solo. Of particular note are the vihuela and guitar solos which are very clean and impressive. The band has two guitarists and they trade parts in their solo, with each player panned to a different side of the mix. This creates a very cool product that is not as common in this style of music. Another section of note is a bridge part near the end of the song, where the guitar, vihuela, and trumpets fall out and the violins play with only the guitarron. It’s a clever thing that I haven’t heard much before, and it starts the build to the final chorus. This last prechorus section has to be the most hype mariachi piece I have ever heard. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Honorable mentions:

Composure by August Burns Red

The Back Nine by Authority Zero

The Somberlain by Dissection

Gohotekitobikatanosusume by Creepy Nuts

Otome Kaibou by DECO*27

Music Directors:

Trey Cardi – Hip Hop

Top 50 Songs of 2021 (with honorable mentions)

1. Black Midi - John L

2. Injury Reserve - Knees

3. James Blake - Say What You Will

4. Ichiko Aoba - Asleep Among Endives

5. Lana Del Rey - Arcadia

6. Black Country, New Road - Chaos Space Marine

7. Bo Burnham - All Eyes on Me

8. Phoebe Bridgers - That Funny Feeling

9. Kanye West - Moon

10. Deathsdynamicshroud.wmv - Tear in Abyss

11. Porter Robinson - Blossom

12. Brockhampton - What’s the Occasion?

13. Low - Day Like These

14.Monica Martin - Go Easy, Kid

15. Floating Points & Pharoah Sanders - Movement 6

16. Mob Rich - Yoko Ono

17. Mustafa - Stay Alive

18. Little Simz - Woman

19. Sufjan Stevens & Angelo De Augustine - Reach Out

20. Lingua Ignota - Man Is Like a Spring Flower

21. Tyler, the Creator - Juggernaut (feat. Pharrell Williams & Lil Uzi Vert)

22. Silk Sonic - Leave the Door Open

23. Sematary - Scarecrow

24. JPEGMafia - Rebound!

25. Spelling - Always

26. Moses Sumney & Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - Soon it Will Be Fire

27. William Parker - Cosmic Funk

28. Black Dresses - We’ll Figure it Out

29. Aminé - Charmander

30. Lil Nas X - Industry Baby (feat. Jack Harlow)

31. Underscores - Spoiled Little Brat

32. Backxwash - I Lie Here Buried With My Rings and My Dresses (feat. Ada Rook)

33. Weezer - Numbers

34. Anna B Savage - Baby Grand

35. Left at London - Pills & Good Advice

36. Chase Ceglie - Somehow, Somewhere

37. Ginger Root - Loretta

38. Slowthai - Canceled (feat. Skepta)

39. Big Red Machine - Latter Days (feat. Anaïs Mitchell)

40. Xiu Xiu - Rumpus Room

41. Benny Sings - Rolled Up (feat. Mac DeMarco)

42. Willow - transparent soul

43. Bladee - egobaby

44. Magdalena Bay - The Beginning

45. bbno$ - yoga (feat. Rebecca Black)

46. Natalia Lafourcade - Alma mía / Tú me Acostumbraste / Soledad y el mar

47. Billie Eilish - my future

48. Squid - G.S.K.

49. Converge - Coil

50. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - “GOVERNMENT CAME” (9980.0kHz 3617.1kHz 4521.0 kHz) / Cliffs Gaze / cliffs’ gaze at empty waters’ rise / ASHES TO SEA or NEARER TO THEE

Honorable Mentions

51. L’Rain - Find It

52. Celeste - A Little Love

53. Poppy - EAT

54. Frontierer - Oxidized

55. King Krule - Half Man Half Shark (Live)

56. The Body - Tied Up and Locked In

57. Webcage - Self-Esteem

58. Japanese Breakfast - Paprika

59. Yves Tumor - Jackie

60. Pink Siifu - long hair don’t care

Brian Baer - RPM

1. Luxury Elite – blue eyeshadow

2. Infravision – Illegal Future

3. UNKLE – Ronin I

4. Lucid Express – Lucid Express

5. Men I Trust – Untourable Album

6. Royal Blood – Typhoons

7. RUFUS DU SOL – Surrender

8. Perturbator – Lustful Sacraments

9. CFCF - memoryland

10. Flight Facilities – FOREVER

George Romero - Alt

1. injury reserve - knees 2. vegyn - i see you sometimes (feat. jeshi) 3. caroline polachek - bunny is a rider 4. asian glow - circumstances telling me who i am 5. the hellp - height 6. kanye west - jail 7. magdalena bay - you lose! 8. yeule - don’t be so hard on your own beauty 9. 454 - LATE NIGHT 10. home is where - assisted harakiri honorable mentions 11. rx nephew - american tterorist 12. kitchen - julie 13. baby keem & kendrick lamar - family ties 14. parannoul - beautiful world


John Konrad

John’s Top 10 Albums of 2021:

1. Dandelion - The Greeting Committee

The Greeting Committee’s This Is It was one of my most-played albums of 2020,so it’s no surprise that their sophomore album would find its way into my 2021 favorites. Whereas This Is It was a jazzy and tender deep dive into childhood and social anxiety, Dandelion is a breakup album through and through. Charting every emotional stage of a breakup from beginning to end with achingly real lyrics, Dandelion is able to comfort you and then immediately make you cry.

2. Things Take Time, Take Time - Courtney Barnett

Barnett takes her signature spoken-word monotony and incredible guitar talents and packages them in a quiet quarantine album that shines in its sincerity. Every song is memorable and every decision feels like the right one. It’s music to eat a bagel to on an overcast day.

3. Emphatically No. - Cheekface

I sincerely believe that Cheekface is responsible for some of the most clever satirical lyrics of our generation. They balance wordplay, cultural references, and wry humor effortlessly, resulting in a biting exploration of contemporary internet culture that’s always insightful and never preachy. Every song in Emphatically No. says something that you’ve thought before, because Cheekface has their finger on the pulse of the broke indie-adjacent 20-something experience.

4. III - Yucky Duster

Yucky Duster’s posthumous album III is a fitting sendoff to one of my favorite garage rock/punk bands of recent years. Their sound is bratty, electric, and DIY, offering playful lyrics that never take themselves too seriously. Yucky Duster knows exactly when to embrace their imperfections and when to show off.

5. Local Valley - José González

Swedish songwriter José González is a standout artist in a contemporary indie folk scene already teeming with talent, and Local Valley is a beautifully tranquil demonstration of that talent. Local Valley’s hypnotic use of Spanish guitar and González’s understated vocals are enough to lower your blood pressure. It’s an album that makes me want to fall asleep under a tree in the open plains.

6. Good Kids Make Bad Apples - Spud Cannon

Good Kids Make Bad Apples is fast-paced, celebratory indie music with enough of a pop sound to lift your spirits. The entire album has a youthful energy and feels like a group jam session, owing in part to the ensemble of voices that hype up every song. It’s funky and fun and just what I wanted to be listening to this year.

7. Marriage - Deap Vally

Deap Vally again does what they do best: delivering deep, bassy, roaring punk to punch and kick the air to. Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards’ vocals are angry and sultry and bitter like licorice. The song Billions is filled with so much seething anger and spite that it made me want to overthrow the government.

8. DEMIDEVIL - Ashnikko

Elaborate and iconic personas have become a huge part of modern rap performances, and no one does it better than Ashnikko, who rocks the aesthetic sensibilities of the weird girl from high school with an unlimited budget. Combining the sexy confidence of female rappers like Doja Cat with a sincere love of the weird, DEMIDEVIL is great rap/pop for the digital age. The album collects countless hit singles that still go as hard as they did the first time around, and work even better as part of a cohesive collection.

9. Let Me Do One More - illuminati hotties

Illuminati hotties get experimental and manic in their new album and embrace a more confident punk direction. The sentimental Millennial insecurity of Kiss Yr Frenemies is still there in Let Me Do One More, but the latter feels more liberating and self-assured. Also Buck Meek features on a track, which is wild.

10. Comfort to Me - Amyl and the Sniffers

Amyl and the Sniffers are a great example of an active capital-p Punk band that don’t feel like sellouts, with all the attitude, transgression, and vulgarity that that implies. Amy Taylor makes for a perfect frontwoman, because she’s bigger than life, pissed off, and can absolutely shriek. This is an album best listened to at maximum volume.

Annabel Paulson

1. Snake River Conspiracy – Sonic Jihad

2. Gentle Dom – Fanta Se

3. Sisters of Mercy – Some Girls Wander by Mistake

4. Hole – Live Through This

5. Cars Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial

6. Germs – (GI)

7. Pierce the Veil – Collide With the Sky

8. Duster – Stratosphere

9. Dorian Electra – My Agenda

10. Frost Children – Elixir Rejection

Nick Smith

-Bossa Nova Baby by Teddi Gold. This was my most listened to song of 2021

-Death is all I Think About by Atena. This was my second most listened to song of 2021

-OVER THE HILLS by Buckshot. This was my third most listened to song of 2021

-WHATS MY NAME by City Morgue. Good song, has an angry/violent rap vibe.

-god of the sunsets by SEB. Good song, very chill/romantic vibe

-BELIEVE IN ME, WHO BELIVES IN YOU by Aries. Decent album, but has as few standout bangers on it.

-Frontal Lobe Submission by Landon Tewers. Landon Tewers was my most listened to artist this year. This a good album, and a lot of his other stuff slaps too.

-Brickwall Brickwall Brickwall by Istasha. One of many good songs by Istasha

-Wild Wild West by Cold Hart. Good song, one of many. Cold Harts music fits right into my Lil Peep playlist

194 views0 comments


bottom of page