Best of 2021

My annual roundup of new music discovered throughout the year in the all familiar two-list fashion: one uptempo, and the other one leaning more to…well…let’s just call it ‘sad bastard’ music. I managed to whittle them down to 40 tracks each.

These are my personal choices and I have no allegiance to any band, artist, label or scene, except for maybe my favourite pairing of Mormons who can do no wrong except for that one album in 2012. Be warned though, some of this music is not for everyone.

Uptempo (Transmission) Spotify playlist HERE or Deezer playlist HERE

Sad Bastard (Atmosphere) Spotify playlist HERE or Deezer playlist HERE

If Spotify is not your choice of service, then you’re missing out on all my spectacular playlists from legendary 80s clubs to some equally legendary 00s clubs, previous annual lists, official compilations and other oddities. Fortunately, one can sign-up for free, although It does come with adverts if not a premium subscriber (but at least one can check out the music)

Here are tracks/videos from my 10 Favourite albums/EPs of 2021 in no particular order:

El Michels Affair with Piya Malik – Yeti Seaon.

Emma Ruth Rundle – Engine of hell

Desperate Journalist – Maximum sorrow!

Lingua Ignota – Sinner get ready / Epistolary grieving for Jimmy Swaggart (Bandcamp only)

Trentemoller – Dead or alive



Max Richter – Voices 2

Wet Leg – Too late now / Oh no

Olafur Arnalds – The invisible EP

The playlists feature many more songs that were either singles or really standout tracks on otherwise average albums. Some not on the top 10 include Ellis May – Addicted to Love, Chvrches – How not to drown, Aro Parks – Hurt, Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen – Like I used to, Bye Benico and Lucy Kruger – Red dress, and a whole bunch of bands I heard for the first time in 2021.

Two great cover version projects from 2021 worth checking out:

A. A. Williams – Songs from isolation

Angel Olsen – Aisles