Albums of the Year: 2021

2021 was a tough year, for everyone, I’m not one for competition but it was a particularly difficult year for myself, I’ll touch on that another time, but its a big part of why I haven’t written anything since August!

It was, however, a great year for music. I figured then, that I’d try and get my writing mojo back by compiling my traditional Albums of the Year list.

10. IDLES – Crawler

Anyone who has read previous Album of the Year articles from myself will be shocked to see IDLES so far down this particular list, “Ultra Mono” placed 8th in last years list, “Joy as an Act of Resistance” placed #1 in 2018, Brutalism got me through a very tough 2017, and it was honestly touch and go that Crawler would make the cut, but it did, and its 10th place isn’t to suggest its not as good as Ultra Mono, I actually think it’s a better album than last years effort, The Beachland Ballroom has become one of my favourite IDLES songs, but 2021 has been so, so strong and IDLES’ output this year isn’t quite what my mind has needed this year, and it certainly doesn’t hit like Brutalism did, and so, it finds itself this far down.

09. Shame – Drunk Tank Pink

If the year had begun and ended in January, Shame would have taken the top spot, make no mistake, this is a phenominal post-punk album, just stunning, amazing, brilliant. Born in Luton is a master piece in my opinion, its a song I never, ever skip.

08. Death From Above 1979 – Is 4 Lovers

I’ve been a fan of Death from Above 1979 for a long, long time, I’ve always loved their steam engine like drumming and their absolutely filthy bass lines. They’re part of the reason I wanted to learn the bass guitar (though thinking Taka Hirose from Feeder was a cool motherfucker was the main inspiration there). Is 4 Lovers delivers more of the same but has an almost disco like feel to it.

07. Quicksand – Distant Populations

Back in 2002, whilst at a festival that Green Day were headlining, I fell in love with a particular band, that band was Rival Schools. I found out later in Kerrang! that they were what is known as a “super group”, with their lead Walter Schreifels being of particular note. He’s a man that seems unable to stand still, moving between a number of different bands, most under the straight edge/hardcore/post-hardcore genres, so any time I hear that he’s recording again, whomever it may be with, I have to hear it. He rarely disappoints, and Distant Populations with Quicksand is amongst his best yet.

06. Royal Blood – Typhoons

For me, 2017’s “How Did We Get So Dark” didn’t quite hit the heights of 2014’s debut album. It felt like more of the same but not quite as good, however 2021’s Typhoon’s takes Royal Bloods aggressive drums + bass combo (similar to Death from Above 1979), cranks it up but adds alot of groove. If the previous albums were straight out rock and roll, Typhoons adds a groove and makes their sound almost disco but with a Queens of the Stone Age filth to it, its wonderful, wonderful stuff, with the highlight being, in my opinion, Limbo.

05. Dooms Child – Dooms Children

This one came as a huge surprise out of nowhere. Put together by Wade McNeill (Alexisonfire and Gallows), dropped away from the drop d tuning and punk aggression and gave us a very chilled out, laid back, however you want to phrase it, 70s stoner rock album. Think The Doors and you’re some of the way there in terms of the sound of this album, I’ve had days where I’ve listened to “Flower Moon” three or four times in a row. Brilliant.

04. Glitchers – Thought Crimes

It’s hard to get much more punk than Glitchers, a proper DIY band who turn up outside other performers concerts (either pre or post show, not during from what I understand) or in town centres and perform quick sets, often to the annoyance of local authorities who try to move them on with force. With song titles like “Fuck the Tories” and tracks that are a literal wall of noise (and performed live through a megaphone during one of their “gigs”) this is another two piece that make enough noise to put much, much bigger bands to shame.

03. Slant – 1집

I’ve no idea what they’re singing about, but South Korean hardcore outfit Slant, deliver an absolute masterclass in Smash the Shit Out Of Everything punk rock across 10 songs in 16 minutes, just absolutely astounding, their enter kicking and screaming and leave again just as quickly as they arrived but with everything around you utterly fucked up, with hardly a pause for breath between songs. Cathartic isnt the word.

02. Witch Fever – Reincarnate

Witch Fever don’t give a shit about being pigeonholed, its rare you get the metal and punk worlds bleeding together. Ordinary people probably think they sound the same, but those with a trained ear know the difference, Witch Fever are here to fuck that up and fuck it up they do whilst delivering an assault on the patriarchy. This lot need to be bigger.

01. Turnstile – GLOW ON

2018’s “Time & Space” was only beaten to my top spot by Joy As An Act Of Resistance by IDLES. I’d like to pretend that Turnstile saw that, went away, wrote some stuff and delivered Glow Up to me personally. Whilst IDLES have been more prolific in the years between, Turnstile have taken the quality over quantity approach and delivered an absolute monster of an album, the bassline from UNDERWATER BOI is so wonderfully catchy, the vocals throughout carry on with the bands other worldly feel, if I were one for dancing, this would be punk rock you could dance to.

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