Top Albums of 2021 + A Record (or two) You Discovered This Year

I’m curious what everyone’s favorite records of the year are? Plus, I’d love if you included something from the past that you discovered this year. I’ll kick things off:

Low - Hey What
I would go crazy if all records sounded like this but I am glad this ugly, beautiful, overwhelming record exists. Rightfully, you’ll see it near the top of a lot of year end lists. “More” is my favorite song of the year by a wide margin.
The Avalanches - We Will Always Love You
Okay, technically this is a 2020 release but it came out in December after most year end lists were made. Boy, is this record gorgeous. I have loved each of their records but I think this is my favorite. Can’t wait to see them on tour in March!
L’Rain - Fatique
I just discovered this one on the Pitchfork year end list and it is a stunner. I love the sonic landscape she conjures on this record and I’m really looking forward to exploring it more. She uses the warped vinyl/generation loss type warble effect really well. I am really favoring adventurous songwriting and production lately and this completely fits the bill.

Two older records I discovered this year:

GZA - Liquid Swords
I had heard about this record a gazillion times but finally got around to hearing it this year and the hype is real. Fantastic production throughout. This word is so overused when talking about Wu Tang but it is so gloriously “gritty”. I love all the little phrases that get stuck in my head. “That’s minimum, and feminine like sandals” makes me laugh every time I hear it for some reason.

Misha Panfilov Sound Combo - Days of Echoes
Such a beautiful record. Anything that reminds me of Mulata Astatke’s “Tezeta (Nostalgia)” will always rate highly for me. Plus, if you are a sample based musician this is an absolute goldmine.

So, whatcha got? What were the records that stuck with you this year?


Wow !!! ‘More’ is amazing !!!


Nice to see Low - Hey What up in this topic. Love the group and their new LP. Saw them live just a few years back here in Sweden.

Might be the coolest release 2021.

Also cool that Kid A finally was re released


Koreless - Agor
Utterly brilliant and truly innovative. Definitely my #1 record of the year.

Honourable mention to Joy O’s Still Slipping

Thing I’ve discovered from the past? Always been a fan of her classic stuff, but listened to Kate Bush’s Aerial for the first time the other day and thought it was brilliant.
Also, Drexciya’s Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller 1-4 is a goldmine of belters.


Loved Agor too, feels very fresh.

Quite obsessed with instupendo’s album


Lone “Always Inside Your head” is stunningly gorgeous.

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Yeah! Liquid Swords is sick! I thought I had heard some of it but went back to hear the rest when I read your comment. Some gems for sure.

This year I found Machinedrum: Vapor City and Skee Mask: Compro.
Busta Rhymes: Extinction Level Event 2 is dope if you like old school Busta.

I’ll check out your other recommendation too


I keep seeing references to Skee Mask. I’ll check it out. Thanks.

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First year all my AOTYs on are BC :metal:




This one arrived late 2020, and I have been obsessed with it all year. The way they use vocal-samples was very new and exiting to me, and the reverb (and sound quality in general) on this is spectacular IMO.


Masterful. Probably my favourite Pye Corner Audio to date.


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Big Kate fan too, saw her sing most of Ariel on the Before the dawn show in 2014, and when they carried her off stage as part of the performance she came right in front of me , as I was on an aisle seat by the exit door, I was gobsmacked !!! I was lucky to get tickets and she hadn’t performed live since 1979 !!!

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I don’t know if I really knew of or liked any records that came out this year, (there was some good pop stuff as usual, Wet Leg’s first single was good!) but I spent some serious time with Van Der Graaf Generator (specifically Pawn Hearts) and Faust (specifically Faust IV) and I’d been aware of these albums for years and they finally clicked and I listened to them probably a hundred times each.

I have no idea anymore which albums were released this year. I remember looking forward to the Amon Tobin album. But have only listened once to it so far.

Probably most heard albums:
RX101 - Dopamine
Bogdan Raczynski - Samurai Math Beats
Legowelt - Dark Days

I discovered them all this year.

The one album from this year that I keep getting stuck on is Arab Strap - As Days Get Dark.
Really great stuff by a couple of miserable Scottish gits, probably why I like it so much! :grin:


Crap! I totally forgot this one but definitely one of my favorites. Such an amazing and unexpected comeback.

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Thank you for reminding me of this artist, loved their older albums. This is a great new song!

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I’m massively out of the loop with music at the moment. But I love Skee Mask: Pool. Lovely record, excellent follow up to Compro, which is a bona fide masterpiece.

Edit: forgot Floating Points/Pharaoh Sanders/London Symphony Orchestra: Promises. That thing is bold and beautiful. Plus Jaga Jazzist: Pyramid, which is a simply gorgeous record with the classic Jaga sound. They’re the only band I’ve cried for while seeing them perform live.


I have to admit I didn’t know this record, was a big fan of the mills transmissions, the second volume in the series by robert hood was something to discover this year, don’t like all the tracks, more the approach and the sound design, it’s very raw, definitely not overproduced, especially in comparison to his latest monobox albums.

another discovery was the fixmer/ mccarthy collaboration, didn’t pay much attention when it was released, because I never really connected to nitzer ebb, but this track is on heavy rotation.

regarding new releases, the sound isn’t “new”, I love it

Jaga Jazzist was one of best live bands I have seen, so much energy.