Getting Verbose with the 2021 Rock ’n’ Roll Poll

Namir Blade photo by Lance Conzett

The “Year in Music” issue from The Nashville Scene is out this week. It’s a great read from cover to cover, including the Top Local Albums Countdown, The Year in Jazz Review, The Year in Hip-Hop and, of course, The 2021 Rock ‘n’ Roll Poll.

I have the honor of being invited to contribute answers to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Poll but, truth be told, I am a little too verbose with my answers for everything to make it to print. I’m passionate about the local scene and struggle to give a short answer to a question like “What’s the best release of the year?”. So, included below are my full answers to the poll; if for nothing more than my own documentation of the year.


What local artist/band ruled Nashville in 2021?
Every year I find this question harder to answer. The list of phenomenal releases for a given year gets more and more overwhelming as Nashville continues to prove it has goodness in every corner.

Negro Justice + Gee Slab absolutely crushed it with Resplendent. Houston Kendrick created a stone cold classic with Small Infinity. Nashville Ambient Ensemble is still in heavy rotation. Eve Maret consistently blew my mind. Notelle, Bantug, $avvy, Wilby, Daisha McBride, PETTY, Palm Ghosts, *repeat repeat, Anchor Thieves, Bea Troxel and so many more worth mentioning.

My ultra biased answer is all YK records of course: No Stress, Jay Leo Phillips, Jack Silverman, Jasmin Kaset, The Robe and continued releases from Tower Defense.

What local artist/band is going to rule in 2022?
Rumor has it the Six One Tribe collective has an absolute treasure trove of material for next year including works from Gee Slab, Negro Justice, Rio Tokyo, Corduroy Clemens and more.

Beyond that I’m excited for new Ron Obasi, Erin Rae, Sundaes, Da Real A1yo, B. Stokes, Tim Gent, Chuck Indigo, Lawndry, Flesh Eater and anything on To-Go Records / Cold Lunch Recordings.

What’s your favorite discovery this year?
Nashville’s emerging noisy shoegaze scene courtesy of Tape Deck Mountain, Total Wife, Your Gaze, Rig B and Kentucky Derby Con Man in particular.

What’s helped you the most in coping with the ongoing pandemic?
I always look forward to Bandcamp Friday and posting about the deluge of discoveries that come from that. On that note, more Nashville Hip-Hop artists need to embrace Bandcamp!

One thing you hope doesn’t come back once the pandemic ends?
I dunno if it’s a pandemic thing or not but now that shows are back, early doors are the best. Every band in town should be booking 6pm shows. Doors at 8, show at 9 should be a relic of the past.

Who deserves more coverage than they got in 2021?
There’s a ton of albums that flew under the radar: Les Ailes – Tennessee, Lawndry – Day Storm, Future Crib – Full Time Smile, FU Stan & BeHoward – Claude & Ray, Anchor Thieves – Delete Delete | Enormous Normalcy, St. Slug – Self-titled, Zwil AR – Rebell-Diamanten, Thad Kopec – I Hold Out My Hands, et al.

What’s the best music story of the year?
I am hopeful that the best music story of the year is yet to come when The Groove raises enough funds to buy their building on Calvin Ave.

What’s your favorite local record of 2021?
No way to pick one! Styrofoam Winos self-titled release, Negro Justice + Gee Slab’s Resplendent, Ross McReynolds & Juan Solorzano’s Instrumentals and $avvy’s Boys Wear Pearls just to name a few.

What’s your favorite local song of 2021?
Styrofoam Wino’s “Stuck in a Museum,” Total Wife’s “Reveal Sky”, Gee Slab + Negro Justice’s “Mr. Wonderful,” Jack Silverman’s “Mixed Signals” and Jasmin Kaset’s “Have You Met Me Yet?” makes for a nice mini-mix tape.

Best performance you saw this year?
I have never once left a Tower Defense show with an ounce of disappointment.

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