PUP’s Steve Sladkowski discusses his 10 favorite albums of 2021
PUP had a relatively quiet 2021, but they recently started making noise again and they're gearing up for a much louder 2022. This year saw them cover "Holier Than Thou" for the massive Metallica tribute album, and last month they put out two new songs (produced by Peter Katis) and announced a massive 2022 tour with support from Cloud Nothings, Pinkshift, and Sheer Mag, varying by date.
With the year coming to a close, we asked PUP what their favorite albums of 2021 were, and guitarist Steve Sladkowski made us a list of his top 10 favorites, including records by Claire Rousay, Mustafa, Illuminati Hotties, Courtney Barnett, Mdou Moctar, Squid, and more. He also wrote a little bit about each one -- see his full list with commentary below.
PUP's 2022 tour hits the NYC-area on May 9 at Starland Ballroom and May 11 at Terminal 5, and those shows are both with Sheer Mag and Pinkshift (tickets). All dates are listed below.
STEVE SLADKOWSKI'S 10 FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2021
Claire Rousay - A Softer Focus
This is one of the more compelling listens of ambient music I stumbled on this year. I love how Claire Rousay’s music sounds like she’s filtering mundane and/or major life events through a lush kaleidoscopic lens.
Liam Kazar - Due North
Liam’s record has been in rotation since seeing him perform on a lazy summer Sunday on the patio of Sleeping Village in Chicago at the Cosmic Country Show. Perfect for hazy days when all you want is understated Midwestern songcraft.
Mustafa - When Smoke Rises
Mustafa is one of Toronto’s brightest lights and formerly one of the city’s best-kept secrets. His songs are unlike anything heard in this city’s music scene… maybe ever?
Illuminati Hotties - Let Me Do One More
We got to hear a couple of these songs live before they made their recorded debut. They were awesome then and they’re even better now. If you haven’t yet listened to Illuminati Hotties yet… drop everything and do it now because they’re the best thing going.
Casper Skulls - Knows No Kindness
Like Illuminati Hotties, our friends and tourmates Casper Skulls graced us with some of the songs on KNK before they had committed them to wax. This collection of songs is understated and beautiful and show the band’s dedication to process and craft which surely is going to keep growing in exciting ways.
Cadence Weapon - Parallel World
Cadence has been making incredible rap records for years and years. He is a former poet laureate of his hometown of Edmonton and one of the nicest and most authentic dudes going in Canadian music. He took on Toronto’s hypocrisies and political leadership head on in this Polaris Prize-winning record. It rules.
Courtney Barnett - Things Take Time, Take Time
Courtney Barnett is probably the best living songwriter in rock and roll. I suppose you could debate me on it but I doubt you’d change my mind.
Mdou Moctar - Afrique Victime
Mdou Moctar is the most vital guitar music I have heard in quite some time. If you play the instrument, or listen to music made by guitars, this record is essential (as is his previous output on the excellent Portland, OR-based Sahel Sounds label).
Squid - Bright Green Field
Whatever is going on in the UK right now is glorious. Post punks hanging out with jazz freaks and noise weirdoes making future music. God damn what a record!
Floating Points & Pharaoh Sanders feat. London Symphony Orchestra - Promises
I have never heard a record like this before. It’s probably my most listened to record of the year and I hear something new every time. Perfect for any time of day when you need something mellow and meditative - and who couldn’t use more of that these days?
PUP -- 2022 Tour Dates
2/7/22 - Winnipeg, MB - Burton Cummings Theatre #
2/8/22 - Winnipeg, MB - Burton Cummings Theatre #
2/10/22 - Calgary, AB - Big Four #
2/11/22 - Edmonton, AB - Edmonton Convention Centre #
2/14/22 - Vancouver, BC - PNE Forum #
4/1/22 - Pittsburgh, PA - Roxian Theatre ^ *
4/2/22 - Columbus, OH - Newport Music Hall ^ *
4/3/22 - Chicago, IL - Riviera Theatre ^ *
4/5/22 - Minneapolis, MN - The Fillmore ^ *
4/9/22 - Victoria, BC - Capital Ballroom ^
4/10/22 - Seattle, WA - Showbox SoDo ^
4/11/22 - Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom ^ +
4/16/22 - Phoenix, AZ - The Van Buren ^ +
4/24/22 - Denver, CO - The Ogden Theatre ^ +
4/27/22 - Dallas, TX - Granada Theater ^ +
4/28/22 - Houston, TX - House of Blues ^ +
4/29/22 - Austin, TX - Stubb's Waller Creek Amphitheater ^ +
5/1/22 - Atlanta, GA - Shaky Knees Music Festival
5/3/22 - Asheville, NC - The Orange Peel ^ +
5/4/22 - Raleigh, NC - The Ritz ^ +
5/5/22 - Richmond, VA - The National ^ +
5/6/22 - Philadelphia, PA - Franklin Music Hall ^ +
5/7/22 - Washington, DC - The Fillmore Silver Spring ^ +
5/9/22 - Sayreville, NJ - Starland Ballroom ^ +
5/10/22 - Boston, MA - House of Blues ^ +
5/11/22 - New York, NY - Terminal 5 ^ +
5/13/22 - Montreal, QC - MTelus ^ +
5/14/22 - Toronto, ON - History ^ +
7/6/22 - 7/9/22 - Cheltenham, UK - 2000trees Festival
8/24/22 - 8/27/22 - Málaga, Spain - Canela Party Festival
# with Billy Talent & NOBRO
^ with support from Pinkshift
* with support from Cloud Nothings
+ with support from Sheer Mag