Taking Meds’ Skylar Sarkis tells us about his 10 favorite albums of 2021

NYC punks Taking Meds just released their rippin' new album Terrible News From Wonderful Men a couple weeks ago, and now vocalist Skylar Sarkis (also of Growing Stone and Highway Sniper) has made us a list of his 10 favorite albums of 2021. It leans heavily on hardcore, but there's some other stuff on there too, and every record on this list is worth hearing. Check out the list below.

As mentioned, Taking Meds are playing album release shows this January in Boston, Rochester, and Brooklyn. The Brooklyn show is on 1/8 at Our Wicked Lady with Timeshares, Nervous Dater, and Heavy Lag (tickets).

The Chisel - Retaliation

The rest of this list is in no particular order but The Chisel is my #1 for the year. The title track alone makes this better than most albums, period. Luckily, the rest of the album is just as good. To me, this is perfect hardcore. The production is perfectly raw yet perfectly clear. They manage to use melody and traditional song structure without sacrificing any of the bite. The Oi! and '80s hardcore influences are blended perfectly. Plus there’s several songs about fighting people and a Billy Bragg-style closing track. This band fucking rules.

Militarie Gun - All Roads Lead To The Gun (Vol 1 and 2)

I had the pleasure of seeing these guys twice this year. They play single note guitar lines that deliver more energy than most hardcore bands playing down-tuned power chords. Ian is a consummate frontman and the lyrics manage to be simple but still interesting and free of pretense, which is exactly what this calls for.

Gel - Violent Closure

At the risk of repeating myself, this is another near-perfect hardcore record. Again, my favorite kind of hardcore production is clear but raw, and Gel delivers that in spades. Every song is stacked with catchy riffs and Sami’s voice has the extremely likable quality of always sounding like it’s on the verge of giving out but somehow never faltering. Hardcore for the freaks.

Soul Glo - DisN**** (Vol 1 and 2)

Soul Glo accomplishes a level of versatility that few others in aggressive music are able to, and those that do come to mind don’t do it as well as Soul Glo. Every song sounds different but every song sounds unmistakably Soul Glo. Pierce is a madman with the pen and voice. Soul Glo are the masters of controlled chaos.

Weakened Friends - Quitter

Meds did about three weeks of shows with Weakened Friends this fall and I can attest that they sound huge for a three piece, both live and on Quitter. This album sounds like a mix between a huge grunge act and a weirdo 4AD indie rock band (both from 1994). Sonia’s vocals round that out with hooks that fully belong on alt-rock radio at the turn of the century. All of these things obviously hit for me and this is definitely my new favorite Weakened Friends release.

C4 - Chaos Streaks

Boston hardcore in its best form. It stays oscillating between bouncy, stompy parts and just straight up blasts. C4’s go beyond the dismissiveness and irreverence that I love most about BHC into being just straight up hilarious, but I don’t care. This band goes hard enough that they’re allowed to have joke lyrics. Reminds me of Rampage and more bands should sound like this.

Spaced - Demo 2021

Spaced are my favorite band to come out of Buffalo this year. They’re doing highly competent, straightforward hardcore with really tasteful effect-laden guitar parts in a way that sets them apart. They also having ripping solos which is extremely important.

Mystery Girl - Mystery Girl

Mystery Girl is making highly competent power pop with the perfect amount of glam influence. This album sounds like it’s from the 70s and there aren’t very many bands pulling this sound off with the expertise that they do. Highly recommend.

Webbed Wing - What’s So Fucking Funny?

Taylor is a beast. This album should be as big as It’s A Shame About Ray. Perfectly done slacker alt-rock. This man is one hell of a songwriter.

Ekulu - Unscrew My Head

It’s not easy to channel Cro-Mags and Leeway and make something that stands this strongly on its own, especially in 2021 when those reference points are lost on a lot of kids. This record is phenomenal and whoever plays lead guitar in this band is an animal. I could look it up but I simply can’t write another sentence for free.