best of 2021

far be it from me to be a list-making fanboy

but fuck it - here's a list

the fifteen records i most enjoyed in 2021

in no particular order

though, if pushed, i'd probably put mirror II at the top of the list


Mirror II               The Goon Sax

The Obvious I        Ed Dowie

Heavy Elevator      Hamish Hawk

Magic Mirror          Pearl Charles

FDWOW                Farmer Dave & the Wizards of the West

Candlepower         Marina Allen

Until We Fossilize   Marta Del Grandi

Island Of Noise      Modern Nature

Earth Trip              Rose City Band

I Would Not Live Always     John Frances Flynn

The Avalanche        Liz Lawrence

From Dreams To Dust    The Felice Brothers

3                           Mapache

Audit                     The Attendant (Pete Astor & friends)

Baxter's Bliss         Papercuts


so go on then - tell me what i should really have been listening to

I'll have to have a think but also love the Hamish Hawk and watched John Frances Flynn at EOTR who was excellent and totally shocked by a standing ovation which went on and on and on.Arab Strap would be on my list.

For what it's worth, here's my 15

1.The Pink Stones-Introducing...

2.Esther Rose-How Many Times

3.Gruff Rhys-Seeking New God's

4.Aaron Frazer- Introducing...

5.Big Red Machine-How Long Do You Think It's Gonna Last?

6.Parquet Courts-Sympathy For Life

7.The Goon Sax- Mirror 11

8.Friends Of Our Youth- That Was Then

9.Painted Shrines-Heaven And Holy

10.Rose City Band-Earth Trip

11.Vincent Neil Emerson- Vincent Neil Emerson

12.Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and Matt Sweeney-Super Wolves

13.Dean Wareham-I Have Nothing To Say To The Mayor Of L.A.

14.Courtney Barnett-Things Take Time,Take Time


a few things for me to check out there - thanks!

the dean wareham and painted shrine records were on my longlist - both are great

the courtney barnett i'm finding weirdly underwhelming

after that first record, the last two have struggled to compete

and, whisper it, but i just haven't really got on with the superwolves LP

there are great things on it - but i think my expectations were just so high, it couldn't live up to them

i still play 'superwolf' incessantly

but the new one is a bit meh

(unlike last year's BPB record - which was a massive return to form after the endless covers records)

I hear what you are saying about The Superwolves LP and strangely it was The Godsin Brothers cover-There Must Be a Someone that drew us in and now i'm hooked, but like you said, probably not as good as BPB last effort.

I think you'll enjoy The Pink Stones LP , well hopefully as it was something i just stumbled across and it totally hit home.

Hope you have a great Christmas, all the best. 


Thanks both for the lists, lots for me to check out. I have some practical questions though, as to how you go about discovering and listening to enough new music to have fifteen (fifteen!) favourite albums of the year.

Do you listen to radio shows? Read newsletters? Follow hundreds of bands on Bandcamp? Attend 3 gigs per week? And do you write off an album after listening to a couple of tracks or do you stick with it for half a dozen full listens before deciding whether or not you like it? And after all that, do you still have time to listen to old music and possibly do some other activities such as eating or sleeping?

I'm genuinely interested to know how you manage it, because I only really listen to 6 Music and get email alerts from Bandcamp, and I feel like there's so much good music just passing me by.

Most of my discoveries come through listening to Adam Walton's brilliant Saturday evening programme on Radio Wales, the pages of Shindig magazine and Marc Riley and Gid Coe's 6 Music shows. 



Ha ha , my wife will tell you that i listen to music every waking hour and sometimes i might appreciate a little silence, in fairness i probably do, i probably get my bulk of my recommendations from Uncut Magazine, six music, Paste and Stereogum online, Picadilly Records(Manchester) ,Normans Records(Leeds), friends and of course this very forum here.

My top 20

1. The Wide, Wide River: James Yorkston and the Second Hand Orchestra

2. Henki: Richard Dawson and Circle

3. Badgers of Wymeswold: The Surfing Magazines

4. Birling Gap: Catenary Wires

5. Flat White Moon: Field Music

6. The Obvious: Ed Dowie

7. Quietly Blowing It: Hiss Golden Messenger

8. Dost 1: Derya Yildirim & Grup Imsek

9. Mas: Carwyn Ellis and Rio 18

10. If Words Were Flowers: Curtis Harding

11. Spare Ribs: Sleaford Mods

12. Melodi: Kit Sebastian

13. Wyndow: Wyndow

14. In the Shadow of the Common Place: Jim Ghedi

15. Seeking New Gods: Gruff Rhys

16. The Eternal Rocks Beneath: Katherine Priddy

17. Spencer Cullum’s Coin Collection

18. Superwolves: Matt Sweeney and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy

19. Winter of Discontent: Knomad Spock

20. Ignorance: The Weather Station