2021 Albums

Putting last year’s indecision behind, here’s a list of my favourite albums of 2021, with the usual disclaimer that the list is valid today and could be different tomorrow.

What won’t change is the number 1 album – ‘Hey What’ is a remarkable piece of work from a band going for as long as Low have been. I normally stress that this list is my favourite album rather than what I think is “best” (however you might want to define that) but I’m going to make an exception for ‘Hey What’ – it’s one of the best albums of the 21st Century – at least.

I confess that for most of the year I thought Arab Strap were going to take top spot and it says a lot about ‘As Days Get Dark’ that it took Low to overtake it.

Having said that, both the Broken Chanter and Liminanas/Garnier records, released later in the year, are just a smidgen behind ADGD and the Blue Orchids and Split Single records aren’t far away either.

So here’s MPT’s favourite albums of 2021 …

1 Low – Hey What (Sub Pop)

2 Arab Strap – As Days Get Darker (Rock Action)

3 Broken Chanter – Catastrophe Hits (Olive Grove/Last Night From Glasgow)

4 Liminanas / Garnier – De Pelicula (Because Music)

5 Blue Orchids – Speed The Day (Tiny Global Productions)

6 Split Single – Amplificado (Self released)

7 Wozniak – Bruises (MYT)

8 Randolph ‘s Leap – Spirit Level (Fika Recordings)

9 Hamish Hawk – Heavy Elevator (Assai Recordings)

10 Dry Cleaning – New Long Leg (4AD)

11 Public Service Broadcasting – Bright Magic (Play It Again Sam)

12 Mogwai – As The Love Continues (Rock Action)

13 Whitehorse – Modern Love (Six Shooter)

14 Penfriend – Exotic Monsters (Self Released)

15 Adam Stafford – Trophic Asynchrony (Song, By Toad)

16 Lomond Campbell – LŪP (One Little Independent)

17 Annie Booth – Lazybody (Last Night From Glasgow)

18 Callum Easter – System (Moshi Moshi)

19 Pip Blom – Welcome Break (Heavenly)

20 Audiobooks – Astro Tough (Heavenly)

21 Lonelady – Former Things (Warp)

22 Paul Research – Skate The Royal Mile (PreVS)

23 Cathal Coughlan – Song of Co-Aklan (Dimple Discs)

24 Jane Weaver – Flock (Fire)

25 Courtney Barnett – Things Take Time, Take Time (Milk!)

26 We Were Promised Jetpacks – Enjoy The View (Big Scary Monsters)

27 Desperate Journalist – Maximum Sorrow! (Fierce Panda)

28 The Chills – Scatterbrain (Fire)

29 A Ritual Sea – A Ritual Sea (Icy Cold)

30 Man of the Minch – The Tide Is At The Turn (Olive Grove)      

Unclassifiable – Fucked Up – Year of the Horse (Tankcrimes)

And here’s 10 reissues/archive releases:

1 Whipping Boy – Heartworm (Needle Mythology)

2 Wire – PS456 Deluxe / PS456 Redux (Pink Flag)

3 Opal – Happy Nightmare Baby / The Early Recordings (Sally Gardens)

4 Goodbye Mr MacKenzie – Glory Hole (Blokshok)

5 Spare Snare – The Complete BBC Radio Sessions – 1995-2018 (Chute)

6 Life Without Buildings – Any Other City (Tugboat)

7 R.E.M. – New Adventures in Hi-Fi (Craft Recordings)

8 Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band – Rare Dreams: Solar Live 2.27.18 (Algorithm Free)

9 Blue Aeroplanes – Live 1985 (Art Star)

10 The Dream Syndicate – Out of the Grey (Fire)


A playlist of album tracks (as far as is possible on Spotify):