2021 The Awards

Here we go my end of year run down best of list to round off this slightly less odd than 2020 but still a bit rubbish and strange of years.

DJ (Radio) – Ross Allen

First heard Ross sitting in for Gilles way back in the Radio 1 days and he’s just kept doing his thing. So many records I have been put onto thanks to his ear and with the new show on NTS he’s taking it on again.

Honorary mentions – Sarah Evans (Al Hara), Moxie (NTS), Tash LC (NTS), Love Injection (Paul & Barbie) (Lot).

DJ (Club) – Luke Una

Not really been out so slim pickings to be fair! Bit if I had to pick one, it’d be Luke. Had a hand in two of the events of the year, Homobloc (which I did get to) and the Electric Chair’s long awaited return (which despite some efforts I did not).

Honourable mentions – Jayda G and the mighty Derrick Carter.

Podcast – Football Weekly

I listen to music mostly but sometimes you need to hear some humans and something that’s not the news or too deep. Max and Barry have an easy camaraderie that with the revolving cast of journos keeps things interesting and mostly light.

Radio – Worldwide FM

Artform, Luke Una, Balearic Breakfast, Louie Vega’s lockdown, just consistent quality any time of the day.

Honourable mentions – Hamon, Loose FM and Vinyl Night Radio

Album – Emma Jean Thackray – Yellow

Can’t really go on about this one anymore than I already have. Just a great debut, kicking on from the 12s with ambition and confidence. Quite a decent year for albums (see below) so in good company.

Honourable mentions – Carwyn Ellis, Nightmares on Wax, Vels Trio, Hard Feelings, Dos Santos, System Olympia, Lady Blackbird, Little Simz, Cleo Soul, Sault, Joy Orbison, Rebecca Vasmant, Loraine James, Raheem de Vaughan & Apollo Brown, Greentea Peng, Georgia Anne Muldrew, Altin Gun, Raf Rundell, Emanative and Liz Elensky, Valerie June.

Single – musclecars (feat. Brandon Markell Holmes) – Shelter

Cost of vinyl this year and the ease of streaming has really eroded my ability and desire to buy that many singles on 12. A sad state of affairs, there are so many great old tunes that are still to be (re)discovered but the cost and hassle of putting out records must be a nightmare for young producers who want to do things in the old way. So, my selection is a stream, and it’s great, channeling old music in a new way.

Honourable mentions – Paula Tape, Gabriels, Ruf Dug.

Compilation – DeeWee Foundations

Just an amazing package of music, all a comp should be artwork, concept, breadth. Buy if you can find it.

Honourable mentions – Under the Influence vol.9, Country Funk Vol.3, Eccentric Disco, Small Axe OST, Guts:Straight from the Decks

Label – Rhythm Section

A super strong year for Bradley Zero, just nailing it with every release, I had to stop myself from getting too obsessive. Albums and 12s, the artwork and consistent quality made it hard to look beyond them this year.

Honourable mentions – Drum Chums/Talking Drums, Parkway, Trunk,

Documentary – The Beatles: Get Back

Well, confession time. I am a Beatles nut and this was probably the most excited I’ve been for a TV show for a long time. How was all this footage ‘lost’? Incredible insight into the process and relationships. Obviously it’s edited to tell the story and it’s ultimately a positive one which is not the previous historical version of this stage of their career, but it gives new life to the records from that period. I challenge anyone to listen to ‘Two of Us’ and not feel moved. Oh yeah, and Ringo is now the best Beatle.

Honourable mention – 1971

Night – Homobloc

Club nights are so few and far between these days and often limited to mega events to catch as many acts as possible or to make it ‘worthwhile’ but this was something else. Happy happy people being themselves to an amazing soundtrack.

Shop – Honest Jons

I can’t choose Piccadilly every year and it’s still up there obviously but Honest Jon’s is an institution and needs recognition for still selecting some great new stuff as well as killer comps from themselves and elsewhere. Ecuadorean folk? Yes please. It’s a bit of my history too, sadly miss those Saturdays in West London ending up there after mooching down Portobello Road. Maybe one day though for now it’s online only. Great selection, good prices and excellent service.

Mix of the year…..

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