Top 40 albums for 2021

It has been a very busy year music wise and whittling this list down to 40 has been extremely difficult. There are no German Shepherd Records releases in this list as I am directly responsible for the marketing and promotion of those and I would be engaging in rank nepotism if I included any of them. Suffice to say all of the German Shepherd Releases are good enough, from my perspective, to join this list.

The top 24 of these releases will be featured in Aural Delights 474 on December 30th.

Looking at other peoples top lists for 2021 I am pleased that I’ve not gone for the obvious with this selection demonstrating that this is all about “Different Noises”.

The Australian/Victoria/Melbourne contingent here is high and dominates the top slots – rightly so, the standards/quality are exceptional and the resistance to embrace what might be perceived as popular is strong.

All of these albums have been featured on the shows during the year.

I’ve not been to a gig for a year and a bit and things don’t look as though they are getting any better soon so thanks to those musicians who have shared pre-recorded videos and actual live shows through the magic of the interweb, with a special nod to Dave and Clare for making it real.

I was considering doing a separate Jazz top 40 but time and the sheer amount of new jazz music coming in made it impossible to do. The three jazz artists in this list would have been the top three in that list if I had ever managed to finish it.

Thanks also to all of the musicians , promotion companies, and SD, Monty and The Great Gibbo for being sources for new music throughout the year. I hope you find something here that you have not heard before and that you like.

40 The Speed of Sound – Museum of Tomorrow


39 Fatherfigures – Any Time Now… And High Time Too/Lockdown Sessions

The two releases straddle last year and this so i’ve included them as one item on the list


38 Elli De Mon – Countin’ The Blues


37 Godspeed You! Black Emperor – G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END!


36 Damn Vandals – You Me The Devil And The Sunshine


35 BIG | BRAVE – Vital


34 Lightman Jarvis Ecstatic Band – Ancient Chain


33 Fly Pan Am – Frontera


32 Melvins – Five Legged Dog


31 Hareitis Harper – Draft


30 Kammahav – Distans


29 Lignua Ignota – Sinner Get Ready


28 Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys – Transit Tapes


27 Melvins – Working With God


26 Sarah McQuaid – The St Buryan Sessions


25 Struggles WIth Syntax – Perichor


24 The Antikaroshi – Extract.Transform.Debase


23 Various – The Magnolia Sessions – Series Two

This ones another cheat as it covers a series of albums releases by Anti-Corp. All recorded live below a magnolia tree in Nashville. I can’t separate any of the albums so i’ve lumped them all together under this heading. The second series started this year and has proved to be consistently excellent. Proper country music without all the usual flummery that Nashville exudes.


22 The Nearlys – Someone I Used To Know


21 Charlie Nieland – Divisions


20 Agent Starling – European Howl


19 Harry Stafford and Marco Butcher – Bone Architecture


18 Bunny and The Invalid Singers – The Flight of the Certainty Kids


17 Eamon The Destroyer – A Small Blue Car


16 Divide and Dissolve – Gas Lit


15 Dead Sea Apes Black Tempest Adam Stone – Dataland


14 Cathal Coughlan – Song of Co-Aklan


13 Léanie Kaleido – How To Weigh A Whale Without A Scale

12 Playfield – Volume 1 – 3

Another cheat with this – three great albums from an amazing collection of musicians from New York including the great Daniel Carter who co-owns the label, Orbit 577, which the music was released on. Orbit 577 has proved to be a consistently excellent label throughout 2021 with some truly remarkable releases. Playfield is an improvising collective who create amazing soundscapes.


11 The Gorstey Lea Street Choir – from Prince’s Park to Farsley – Volume I


10 Ben Monder, Tony Malaby, Tom Rainey – Live at 55 Bar


9 Shannon and the Clams – Year of The Spider


8 Scientists – Negativity


7 Inca Babies – Swamp Street Soul


6 Ron S Peno and The Superstitions – Do The Understanding


5 John Coltrane – A Love Supreme Live in Seattle


4 Tropical Fuck Storm – Deep States


3 Springtime – Springtime


1= Dave Graney and Clare Moore – Everything Was Funny


1= Dave Graney and the Mistly – Live At Byrds

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