Yeah, it’s another list, but we thought you might be vaguely interested to see what’s pushing our buttons this year.
In the event, it wasn’t that tricky to write this list, nor to keep it manageable at 10. That, of course, is not to say the list could not have been longer, nor that there are only 10 decent tracks released this year. That would be ridiculous and, we’d like to think … well, you can be the judge. But these are the ones that hit the spot the hardest.
This is deliberately bite sized and may keep you occupied over a beer or two. If you want something a bit more heavyweight, then you can do no better than head over to Sun 13’s top 50 albums of the year piece, which will keep you going for a month or so. We’re not sure we can compete with that behemoth, so we won’t even try.
We have been indebted over this past year to the various PR, bands and venues who have allowed this journey to continue. To the people who have given up their time to talk to us over Zoom, or answer our 13 Questions (time for a re-vamp, perhaps), send us press releases and, of course, passes for gigs.
A website like this doesn’t work without help and to all those people, we send best wishes and thanks.
2021 was, of course, a very weird year. Perhaps, even more weird than 2020. But what it did offer was riches in terms of new releases on the music front, as we hope this list shows.
So, here goes :-
An Allergy to an Analogy – Unstoppable Sweeties Show
12 minutes of pure anarchic punk / jazz / rock, we don’t know and neither do they. When we spoke to them earlier in the year, they hadn’t even really worked it out for themselves. What we do know is, they’re one of the most interesting and innovative bands kicking around in Liverpool at the moment. And this track shows them off at their best.
Million $ Man – Bobhowla
We’ll confess to something of a vested interest in this one as we get a fleeting cameo in the video. Having said that, it was super fun to do and it’s a boss bit of country infused rock. Bobhowla have been around in one form or another for a few years now, but it was only this year they managed to release their debut album, Everything’s Wrong, But It’s Alright, a tight piece of work and worthy of being in the list, even if the lead singer is a mate.
Barbed Wire Church – Lonesaw
Lonesaw go from strength to strength and this release proves it. There is literally no other band who can get anywhere near what they do. Noise, electronics, saxaphones, bass and Lisa’s amazing drumming. Lonesaw push boundaries and we hope they will continue to keep pushing in 2022. Easily right up there among the best live acts we have seen.
Mackerel’s Funky Mission – Ġenn
First coming to our attention on a compilation issued by Rebellion Festival for the cancelled 2020 event, we have been sold by Ġenn ever since. A remarkable gig in Birkenhead’s Future Yard was a highlight of the latter part of 2021 and this fantastic piece of pop punk just shows what they can do when they let their imaginations run wild. Superb.
Scratchcard Lanyard – Dry Cleaning
Poetry set to music. More people should do this. Selected as Rough Trade’s album of the year, their stock is running high and likely to continue to do so.
Agnes of Rome – Dynamite For Partisans
The punk side of Simon Waldram, who has a thing about Guiness and penguins, apparently (so he told us) this is a rough edged, political, ideological stormer. One of the best things he’s written (his words, not ours, but we wouldn’t disagree).
“And Agnes’ Sainthood was just to mask the horror Just like stroking baby lambs and killing them at Easter But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from all of this She was just a young girl who wouldn’t put up with your shit ‘Cos when someone says no they fucking well mean it.”
Managed Decline – Ali Horn
Ali Horn released his album, Balcony Boys this year and it’s immense. Anyone from Liverpool will get the reference in the song straight away. It’s got an Americana / Route 66 kind of feel about it and it deserves your time. Apart from the fact any right minded person should be shouting this one from the balcony.
Maclient – Walt Disco
We saw Walt Disco at the first of the EVOL all dayer gigs in the Invisible Wind Factory during the summer. Their glam and swagger had us grabbed from the off. This most recent single really shows off their development and is a fine example of where they’re heading.
Back of the Bar – Black Honey
It’s clearly their Blondie moment, but that’s A Good Thing. Another highlight from the EVOL all dayer at the Wind Factory. It’s perfect pop.
I Don’t Live Here Anymore – The War On Drugs
We knew when we heard this for the first time, it was going to take this particular prize. It has everything. Lazy guitars and vocals, superb backing singing from Lucius and, just flawless songwriting. It swirls in and out, digging at your emotions, getting them high and then dropping them down again. It’s impossible from where we’re sitting to think of a better soundtrack to this year.