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Albums of the Year 2021

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Barrington Boots:
It's been another crap year but another one where working from home means I've been able to listen to and then buy loads of great records. I don't think it's been as good as last year musically when we saw a big upsurge in creativity: I think in 2021 a chunk of drive and creativity has been replaced with fatigue, but still some great records coming out.

The downside is I have been to exactly ONE gig in 2021 and I miss live music so much.

Anyway, here's my favourite albums from 2021, what were yours, squaxx?

Auspicious Atavism - Anahata
Into the Maw of Death - Grand Cadaver
Fell Sorcery Abounds - Morgul Blade
Rise of the Witch - Greywitch
Neapolitan Power Violence - Napoli Violenta
The Age of the Saucers - Hollywood Burns
Night at the Grindhouse Part II - STRNGR and Destryur
Second Winter: Live & Raw in Chicago - Throne of Iron*
The Final Feast - Send More Paramedics
Thunder Over London - Gama Bomb**

I'm torn over the new Maiden, which is techically really good and enjoyable whilst listening to it but I just can't keep any of the songs in my head once it's gone off and is waaaay too long, so it doesn't get on here.

* cheating because it's a live album, but it captures a lot of what I miss about gigs
** cheating also because it's an EP but what the hell

Colin YNWA:
My Spotify Family Subscription... I know, I know. But my music listening and discovery has dwindled on the vine for all sorts of reasons, since  parenthood. So I don't think I've bought a physical (or indeed virtual) record this year. I have however used my Spotify sub to listen to more new music (both from this year and beyond - mainly beyond if I'm honest) than I have done in years.

I still listen to albums as I still think that is the way to approach an artists work, its just I don't buy actual records anymore...

The Wildhearts - 21st Love Songs for me. Still living it three months later.
Agree on the Maiden album with Boots - the vinyl is a thing of beauty, but when I try and listen to it in its entirety, I keep falling asleep. Side 1 is mint, though

I've been thinking far too hard about this question. I think it's made me realise just how disconnected from any kind of music scene I've become. Which was something that was happening anyway due to life getting in the way but has been massively exacerbated by Covid. Initially I struggled to even think what had come out this year. When I checked what I'd actually bought I realised loads of great stuff had I just hadn't connected them to anything in my head. Anyway enough navel gazing and onto some sounds:

The Lovercraft Sextet - In Memoriam:
A melancholic cinematic jazz album with a lovercraftian theme and tracks inspired by Mayhem's black metal classic De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. I was always going to love this. Great gaming music.

Ambassador 21 - Art Off.Destroy:
I've been following this pair of digital hardcore rabble rousers since their early 2000s CDr releases. This is probably their most accomplished effort yet although maybe loosing something of the rawness of the early releases.

G36 vs JK Flesh - Disintegration Dubs:
Another pair of artists whose work I always look forwards to. Both Kevin Martin and Justin Broadrick have been around since the 90s but have only recently started working together again. This is reminiscent of their Sidewinder techno project from the 90s but with a beefed up 2020 production. Wish I had a dirty basement with a strobe light and a massive soundsystem to appreicate this one properly.

Red Meat - Homo Vulgaris:
Ok so it's an EP not an album. But it's nice to hear some new EBM that reminds me why I used to like the genre. (full disclosure I've known the guy behind this project for many years).

Aphexia - Interdependence:
Beautiful skittering IDM meets industrial.

Gazelle Twin & NYX - Deep England
If any record has managed to capture the current state of the country in 2021 it's this one. With it's perfectly chosen covers (Jerusalem and Fire Leap from The Wicker Man) and chants of "better in my day" it really captures Brexit britain perfectly. Perfect to accompany a reread of Thistlebone.

EVA|3 - A World Within
Another talented friend. This time an album of beautiful ambient composed on his Buchla. One for the synth nerds or those who love to get lost in simple repetitions. Great music to code to.

Drumcorps - Better Days
Another EP this time the return of Aaron Spectre to his Drumcorps project. 80s hardcore punk meets 2000s breakcore. Fast and brutal just the way I like it. Hope this leads to a new album at some point.

The Bug - Fire
Kevin Martin again this time with his main project The Bug. Absolutely stonking follow up to London Zoo and Angel's and Devils. Weapons grade dancehall.

Special mention goes to the Sick And Twisted Live album series Spent many a sweaty evening at that club and it's great to hear some of these sets again (and hear some of the ones I missed).

Barrington Boots:

--- Quote from: sintec on 16 December, 2021, 03:09:38 PM ---I've been thinking far too hard about this question. I think it's made me realise just how disconnected from any kind of music scene I've become. Which was something that was happening anyway due to life getting in the way but has been massively exacerbated by Covid.
--- End quote ---

I might be able to relate to this. For me the musical scene implies a sense of community, and that's something I've found on the drift in 2021. The lack of live shows has been a massive factor, but also just the time spent sitting around with friends listening to new records, old records and rambling about music in general has been something I've really missed and hasn't been something to replicate online. I feel like the 'scene' is something edging away from me somewhat (this could just be because I'm getting older however)

Another thing that hasn't helped is that over these last 20 months or so time itself has felt very unstructured: in one way it's lasted forever but also individual chunks of it (like months) speed by very fast with few 'events' to define them and things have started to feel a bit nebulous.

Anyway - that Deep England record was well worth hearing, a very good listen indeed.


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