27 Great Records You May Have Missed: Autumn 2021

We understand that the endless stream of new releases can seem overwhelming. That’s why every few months our editors and writers compile a list of overlooked recent albums that deserve your attention. None of these records were named Best New Music, and some of them weren’t even reviewed by Pitchfork, but they’re worth listening to.

(All releases listed here are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, Pitchfork may earn an affiliate commission).

5 AM: For Zz

At 5 a.m., Tokyo 5ive artists Moko Goto (aka Powder) and Andry create loose and challenging pop abstractions. They recorded For Zz over the past year, and it’s pleasantly everywhere. There’s a depressing version of Donnie & Joe Emerson’s timeless “Baby”, the house rattle “Sleep-mail” and polyrhythmic pop songs like “Today” and “HOT!” “I agree, all these useless bits and pieces just fill the brain,” says a voice at the opening of the album’s last highlight moment “a little.” “I mean, my brain is full and empty.” 5 a.m. perfectly represents this feeling of negative overload. –Hubert Adjei-Kontoh

Listens: Band camp

anaiis: this is no longer a dream

French-Senegalese singer Anaiis has described the writing of her debut album, this is no longer a dream, as if “spitting out the poison that invades my body.” Throughout, his chiffon falsetto functions as a guiding light, piercing through a haze of piano and synthesizer. The healing process is messy and non-linear: in each song, she looks forward to better times ahead as she recalls the pain caused by someone who kept her “hanging in the air, always asking for help.” In the final song, he finds strength in his own resilience: “After falling apart, nothing can tear you apart.” –Vrinda Jagota

Listens: Amazon | Apple Music | Bandcamp | Spotify | Tidal

Ashley Shadow: Just the end

In the follow-up to her 2016 self-titled debut, Vancouver musician Ashley Shadow is placid and world-wise, watching from her front porch as she lives on old memories and friends. Just the end is melancholic folk-rock reminiscent of Angel Olsen and The Weather Station, with guest vocals from Bonnie “Prince” Billy, pedal steel from Neko Case guitarist Paul Rigby Wise, and production assistance from Joshua Wells of Black Mountain. Though the songs hum along with little more than Shadow’s vocals, guitar, and shakers, others punctuate the distortion. But each is calm and knowledgeable, the perspective of someone who has become an expert on life. –Cat Zhang

Listens: Amazon | Apple Music | Bandcamp | Spotify | Tidal

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Ashley Shadow: Only the End

Astrid Sun: Out of your life

Astrid Sonne’s title Out of your life seems to gesticulate at an unknown event in the distant future. And although the album is almost entirely instrumental, save for a lonely and beautiful piece of a cappella choral music, the Copenhagen composer and violist models her synthesizer and string fusions on a corresponding monumental scale. In places, its pulsating pads are reminiscent of the classic Oneohtrix Point Never; elsewhere, there are sad baroque undertones and popular faux textures. The cumulative effect is reinforced by a handful of 3D “playable rooms” created to accompany the album: a virtual world in which we are simply visitors, a narrative beyond our reach, fundamentally unknowable but still strangely poignant. –Philip Sherburne

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