Top 20 albums of the year 2021

The year that live music returned also brought several long-awaited studio albums, and a few unexpected gems too. In time-honoured tradition, here are my top 20 albums of the year:

Best of 2021 Spotify playlist

1.) The Blue Stones – Hidden Gems

Canadian blues-rock duo effortlessly blend hard rock riffs with R&B grooves on their second record to create a truly irresistible sound.

2.) Press To Meco – Transmute

The most underrated band in the UK are going from strength to strength with the addition of a new drummer and an even broader palette of sounds on this, their third full-length album.

3.) Foxing – Draw Down The Moon

The most unpredictable record of the year, each shift of tone will keep you guessing where this enigmatic band will go next.

4.) Wolf Alice – Blue Weekend

Perpetual Mercury Prize nominees keep up their incredible run, even if this record doesn’t quite scale the heights of their past two.

5.) Biffy Clyro – The Myth Of The Happily Ever After

One of the best things to come out of lockdown – Biffy crank up the intensity and the experimentation on an album that seems brilliantly devoid of concern for commercial success.

6.) Lakes – Start Again

Quite possibly the cheeriest break-up album ever penned, you can’t help but smile at those optimistic harmonies.

7.) Manchester Orchestra – The Million Masks Of God

Although slightly underwhelming by their lofty standards, the latest Manchester Orchestra album is still a captivating listen packed with tender moments and delightful melodies.

8.) Weezer – Van Weezer

The long-delayed Van Halen tribute album is far less gimmicky than it sounds, as 80s hair metal influences have enlivened all of the best Weezer records over the years.

9.) Bicurious – (re)constructed

Deviously inventive and enthralling, this fascinating post-rock record is one worth listening to at full volume.

10.) Mogwai – As The Love Continues

Scottish post rock pioneers finally get the Mercury recognition they deserve on their 10th studio album.

11.) Codices – Vivid
12.) Arlo Parks – Collapsed In Sunbeams
13.) Lonely The Brave – The Hope List
14.) The Vaccines – Back In Love City
15.) The Go! Team – Get Up Sequences Part One
16.) Quicksand – Distant Populations
17.) Death From Above 1979 – Is 4 Lovers
18.) We Are Scientists – Huffy
19.) Black Pistol Fire – Look Alive
20.) Elbow – Flying Dream

So what have we got to look forward to in 2022? A full festival calendar would be a joyous thing, and there are exciting new releases on the horizon from Arctic Monkeys, Frank Turner, Placebo and Gang Of Youths.

For now, I’ll leave you with my video of the year, which comes from another band due to release a new album in 2022 – enjoy…