News & Press

The Best Albums of 2021 (So Far) | KCRW

Whew, it’s already halfway through 2021 — how did we get here? While only David Byrne can answer that, we do know that the torrent of excellent music released this year has certainly helped us navigate the last six months.

From rock star returns to underground luminaries to breakthrough debuts, there’s been a lot to keep up with. To help wade through it all, KCRW is pleased to present a selection of stunners on our mid-year albums list. 

Since there’s plenty more great music to come, we’re saving the cagematch of our comprehensive ranked list for the end of the year in favor of a more iconoclastic take on this in-between space, featuring an unranked selection of individual favorite albums hand-picked by KCRW DJs and music staff.

Check out KCRW’s favorite albums of 2021 so far, and put ears on all the goods with our Spotify playlist.

I listened to Schwey’s new album from start to finish during a drive, and could not believe the progression within each song and into the next. “Schwey 2: Cyber Soul” feels like the perfect mixtape to compliment your summer — and quite possibly the fall and winter, too. The Vancouver collective showcase their skills dabbling in soul, funk, and dance music, but what stands out most are the beautiful harmonies that rest like butter over the drums and synths. It’s an album that’s sure to put a smile on your face, and make your toes tap and fingers snap. — Anthony Valadez, Morning Becomes Eclectic Co-Host, KCRW DJ