AOTY 2021

Favourite Releases of 2021

A non-ranked, alphabetical Top 100 list of my favourite releases from 2021.

'68 - Give One, Take One
75
His third band, now on their third full-length outing, Josh Scogins' '68 combine all the best and wildest rock 'n' roll attributes of his previous efforts to further reinforce this two-piece band are a heavy-hitting force to be reckoned with.
Amyl & The Sniffers - Comfort to Me
75
Aussie "Pub rock" darlings Amyl and The Sniffers are back and doing what they do best, smashing you over the head with the boisterous proto-punk sonic equivalent of a good ol' bottle of Victoria Bitter and telling you to stitch that, ya cunt!
Angel Du$t - "Yak": A Collection Of Truck Songs
80
Angel Du$t's gradual shift from aggressive hardcore punk outfit to modern-day equivalent of pop punk godfathers The Ramones provides for upbeat, colourful pleasantries.

Feel-good album of the year!
Boys Noize - +/-
60
Polarity is a tour de force of pulsating synths and blaring bass and off kilter collaborations with some of music's most distinctive singer-songwriters of today.

While every cut here may not tear up the dance floor, Boys Noize puts on a electronic masterclass.
Cannibal Corpse - Violence Unimagined
65
Can we talk about how this album artwork looks like Phoebe Bridgers if she was a Mortal Kombat character...?

Anyway, Cannibal Corpse are the undisputed champions of death metal and Violence Unimagined is savage. The end.
Carcass - Torn Arteries
80
To put it bluntly, Carcass are the finest musical export from Liverpool of all-time.

Lennon, McCartney, Starr and Harrison can suck it!
Chelsea Wolfe & Emma Ruth Rundle - Anhedonia
70
Finally, Chelsea Wolfe and Emma Ruth Rundle recorded a song together!

Their styles and haunting folky vocals are so similar and compliment each other gracefully on this collaborative effort.

The concoction is spellbinding.
Creeping Death - The Edge of Existence
70
It's pretty easy to see why fellow Texans Power Trip fully endorse Creeping Death. They rip...HARD!

An old school death metal sound with the swagger of a hardcore punk band. A recipe for repeated headbanging.
Dana Dentata - pantychrist
85
Visceral and uncompromising.

Dana Dentata's pantychrist lay bare her vexation and extreme resilience within her unfeigned lyrics, separating herself from the crowd of the monotonous trap metal arena, asserting herself as a voice that MUST be heard.
Dare - Against All Odds
65
Dare's grit and riffs have just enough buoyancy that you could well realign your entire spinal column in one playthrough just from all the bouncing around you're gonna do!

This one is for the two-steppers, skankers and slammers.
Dead Heat - World at War
70
Dead Heat's World at War is an atom bomb from beginning to end that'll have you windmilling the living shit out of the atmosphere until both of your arms drop off! Crossover thrash/thrashcore at its absolute finest. Like a modern-day D.R.I. or S.O.D.
Deafheaven - Infinite Granite
90
It was only a matter of time before Deafheaven completed the transition into full shoegazers. The end result is perfection!

If Infinite Granite came out in the 90s on Creation Records it'd be as iconic as Loveless. Yeah, I said what I said.
Deap Vally - Marriage
65
After a brief collab with The Flaming Lips, Deap Vally are back to their classic two-piece rowdy and unflinching garage rock ways with quaking drums from Julie Edwards, slick guitar riffs and tricks from Lindsey Troy with catchy pop choruses all-around.
Death From Above 1979 - Is 4 Lovers
60
Four albums into their career, Death from Above prove they're still the kings on the "dance-punk" stage. Nobody does it better, as fiery or as thunderous as Sebastien and Jesse. No other duo can get you frantically cutting shapes quite like they can.
Divide And Dissolve - Gas Lit
70
A near 35 minutes of continuous thick, meaty sludgy doom guitar riffs and eardrum-shattering, clamorous drums. Australian two-piece Divide and Dissolve wield enough horsepower to crack a hole in the Earth's crust.
Special Request - DJ​-​Kicks
65
World renowned producer Paul Woolford showcases his ability to cut up the dance floor with a DJ mix that takes you on a voyage through the best in breakbeat, techno, jungle to disco.

Easily one of the greatest out here to do it!
Dog Date - Child’s Play
80
You know that scene in Jackass 3 were they all lob bottles of Mentos-aggravated Coke at each other? Child's Play is the musical equal of that. The riffs and drums are pummelled at you at breakneck speeds and are as fuzzy and ticklish as a feather duster.
Domingæ - Æ
75
Follakzoid guitarist and multitalented Domingæ takes the more hypnotic minimal techno leanings of the Chilean band to create a rich, deeply textured and seductive troupe of electronic compositions.

The perfect soundtrack for dwellers of the techno bunker.
Don Broco - Amazing Things
60
On Amazing Things, Don Broco find the perfect balance of sounding like a boy band who can fashion both heavy banger after banger as well as put out catchy, anthemic pop songs, all while covering contemporary social issues in all the calamity.
Dry Cleaning - New Long Leg
60
Dry Cleaning are unequivocally different among the crowded post-punk arena.

Florence Shaw's nonconformist John Cooper Clarke-esque lyricism paints quite the picture, whereas the music echoes shades and shadows of all the vanguards from yesteryear.
Dusky - JOY
65
There's not many better than Dusky when it comes to creating and curating anthemic, euphoric piano house-driven numbers.

JOY is a gift for those who love to frequent clubs and warehouses, dancing their worries away.
Dying Wish - Fragments of a Bitter Memory
85
Remember the heyday of metalcore in the early 2000s - Killswitch, Hatebreed, ETID, Atreyu etc? Dying Wish's Fragments of a Bitter Memory is that like a time capsule from that era with modern-day hardcore touches.

It's hard as fuck!
Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou - The Helm of Sorrow
80
I sincerely hope that Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou never stop recording music together. Their respective styles perfectly amalgamate to generate the most hellacious sludge/doom metal.
Every Time I Die - Youth Overried (Cave In Cover)
75
Guns N' Roses, Nirvana and most recently, Cave In.

So, when are we getting a full records worth of Every Time I Die covering other artists...?
Every Time I Die - Radical
95
Remember when Every Time I Die released career-best Low Teens? Well, they set a new career-best with Radical! Showing no signs of peaking because for them there is no creative peak, ETID like a fine wine only getting better and more creative with age.
Film School - We Weren't Here
60
Veteran LA and San Francisco-based shoegazers Film School make their return by gracefully sweeping in another stellar and gorgeous entry in their catalogue of ethereal, spacey rock tunes.

A record that elevates your mood into the next constellation.
Full of Hell - Garden of Burning Apparitions
85
There's rarely a moment if at all for respite on Full of Hell's latest sonic assault. It's a near-constant churn of foul and unsavoury nastiness led by Dylan Walker's monstrous screams. Vicious on the ears from start to finish.

I adore it.
Fuzz - Levitation Sessions
85
I'm going to go out on a limb and say this may be one of my favourite live albums ever recorded...

50 minutes of a nonstop onslaught of rifftastic, brain-melting psychedelic rock from Segall, Moothart and Ubovich.
Gatecreeper - An Unexpected Reality
65
Seven minutes of hardcore punk-flavoured death metal followed by a mammoth 11-minute doom track. What's not to love!? Both ends of the tempo spectrum are explored, masterfully. Gatecreeper can do it all.
Gazelle Twin & NYX - Deep England
80
Never will I ever confidently go for a walk in a heavily-wooded area or large open plot of greenery ever again thanks to Gazelle Twin and NYX's Deep England. It's the sonic embodiment of pure folk horror/eco-horror.
Gulch / ​Sunami - Split
75
If this really is Gulch's swansong, what a way to go out!

Two devastatingly violent tracks on this split EP. Music for maniacs.

This band and their barbarity will be sorely missed.
Hania Rani - Music for Film and Theatre
70
An utterly beautiful collection of piano and string-based compositions from Warsaw's Hania Rani. Pieces you could have in the background and still enjoy or in the foreground and fully lose yourself within.
Hania Rani & Dobrawa Czocher - Inner Symphonies
70
World-beating composer-pianist-singer, Hania Rani recruits fellow Pole and cellist, Dobrawa Czocher to compose a collection of pieces that capable of elevating your mood to the utmost.

Downright dazzling from start to finish.
Helm - Axis
75
Luke Younger's skill to unpredictably intertwine both hair-raisingly beautiful ambient textures and electricfyingly frightening industrial noise together at once is exemplary.

Axis has the dexterity to put you in a sultry trance, to immediately face purgatory.
Hide - Interior Terror
100
Quite simply, never have I ever had an experience with a complete product of music as profoundly as I have with HIDE's Interior Terror. It is intense and capable of unlocking an overabundance of forbidding emotions.

Listen to it immediately.
Hiro Kone - Silvercoat the throng
70
Dissimilar to precursors, Hiro Kone's latest body of work is more complex than being a straightforward experimental ambient techno record. In replacement are intricate entanglements of neoclassical and spoken word.

A thought-provoking listen.
Jarhead Fertilizer - Product Of My Environment
65
Primarily a powerviolence band, Product of My Environment rears its ugly head into the sulky corners of death metal territory and the outcome is wondrously barbaric.

Like, who gave Jarhead Fertilizer to sound this oppressive!?
Jessie Ware - What's Your Pleasure? (The Platinum Pleasure Edition)
85
How do you make an already perfect album better? Add seven brand new tracks obviously!

Long may the disco incarnation of Jessie Ware live because the resulting product is incredibly irresistible and danceable.
King Woman - Celestial Blues
75
The multitalented, multifaceted Kris Esfandiari returns to the gloomy abyss of her doom metal-fronted band and brings all the mannerisms and sophistication from various prior projects to produce her most heavyweight, quintessential record to date
Knocked Loose - A Tear in the Fabric of Life
85
I'll not lie, I was anxious if Knocked Loose could trump A Different Shade of Blue.

I'm glad to admit they diminished my doubt.

A Tear in the Fabric of Life is downright beastial. Their heaviest and most intricate work to date.
Knoll - Interstice
70
Part mind-shredding, limb-ripping grindcore and mangling industrial soundscapes, Knoll showcase a diversity that can is rarely exhibited in extreme metal.

And coolest of all, these dudes are still super young! Ones to help evolve the genre, no doubt.
Kontravoid - Faceless
60
I once saw Kontravoid play in the cold, black-and-white sodden basement of a Manchester bar. And that's the spiritual home of Kontravoid's music.

Rivetheads rejoice! This is for us that like to flail carelessly to pulverising basslines and thumping drums.
Kurupt FM - The Greatest Hits (Part 1)
80
Considering this crew started out as parody act on YouTube before their leap to BBC, Kurupt FM have indisputably put out the best shelling to be released from the British Isles in 2021.

It's daft, fun and loaded with bangers to skank to.
L'impératrice - Tako Tsubo
75
In the great lineage of French music, L'impératrice could and should take over as a front-runner now that Daft Punk are out of the equation.

Their intergalactic sound voyages through disco, funk, R&B and pop with heavenly vocals from Flore Benguigui.
Lana Del Rey - Chemtrails Over the Country Club
70
We simply do not deserve two albums in the same year from Lana Del Rey, especially two that are thematically and audibly different from each other.

Grant's voice and penmanship is banquet for the ears and soul.
Lana Del Rey - Blue Banisters
70
We simply do not deserve two albums in the same year from Lana Del Rey, especially two that are thematically and audibly different from each other.

Grant's voice and penmanship is banquet for the ears and soul.
Loathe - The Things They Believe
70
Liverpudlian trailblazers Loathe continue to push the boundaries of their genre by producing a highly cinematic, ambient instrumental offering.

The vision is courageous and the delivery is something other metal bands should take notice of.
Aaron Dilloway & Lucrecia Dalt - Lucy & Aaron
85
The startling insanity of Aaron Dilloway's tape loop music mastery stamps on you repeatedly whilst Lucrecia Dalt's lucid echoes and eerie hums glide over for a transfixing sci-fi cartoonishness that's both humorous and unnerving.
LURK - Around the Sun
85
LURK sound like the spawn of The Cramps (the Lux Interior-esque vocals) and The Ramones wish a dash early Queens of the Stone Age. They're a riot and make punk playful again!

And they're from Chicago so that makes them icons in their own right!
Mainline Magic Orchestra - Tettsui
65
Beneath the eccentricity of Barcelona's Mainline Magic Orchestra lay genuinely well-crafted, groovy and irresistible tunes that command toe-tapping, head-bopping and laughter. Similarly to Confidence Man, MMO are toying with the uniform of dance music.
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