2021 music preview

A quick a look the music that will be coming our way in 2021 and here’s hoping the industry can stay afloat with the revenue that can still be provided via services like BandCamp and hopefully the green shoots for tours and gigs start to appear in the Spring and summer.

There are some good previews out there, most notably SDE’s preview, The Guardian, Pitchfork. Also some good previews in Uncut and Mojo (print editions).

New albums

Sleaford Mods are already out of the blocks with one of the albums of 2021, before I had a chance to finish this blog post. Spare Rib is rightly winning plaudits for the unique take on Britain in 2021, primed by a punk and eletro backing that starkly tells us these stories. A political kick we all need to start the year.

I continue to look out for new sounds from Africa, as afrobeat continues its evolution in 2021 and some of the freshest music you can find. First up for me this year will be two albums from Made and Femi Kuti (grandson and son of the legendary Fela), who issue two albums together under the banner Legacy +. See more on BandCamp. Out February 5th. See Free Your Mind below.

Teenage Fanclub’s new album, Endless Arcade, promises a lot from the single Home, that came out last year. Founding member Gerry Love may have left, but we can still expect those harmonies and stories woven together. The band have also added Euros Childs of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci on keys and backing vocals. Out 5th March.

I’m also looking forward to Steven Wilson’s The Future Bites, delayed from last year. He continues to evolve his sound away from prog into a snyth pop sound that has a unique edge and brings out reflections on life in a different way. Single Happy Shopper Below.

Jane Weaver’s new album, Flock, promises a further evolution of her elegiac psych driven synth sound and look forward grabbing a listen when it comes out in March. More detail on her website. Single The Revolution Of Super Visions has a darn funky groove as well.

Cheval Sombre’s Time Waits for No One sounds intriguing – psych-folk, arranged by Sonic Boom. Being pushed by his Sonic Cathedral label as his most fully realised work yet. Comes in a great looking splatter vinyl as well. Out February. **update – vinyl now sold out**

Beautify Junkyards’ Cosmorama is getting some strong reviews and look forward to this heady mix of tropical and psych from Portugal. The Quietus are waxing lyrical here. Out now on Spotify.

Uncut also carries brief news of a new Michael Stipe album and we can still hope a new Cure album is on the way – they have two albums’ worth in the can but need to finally nail down what the final form is. Also great to hear from Pete Wilkinson that a new Aviator album is on the way, following last year’s All You Haters (See review). A new album from Paul Weller is also on the way, on the heels of last year’s On Sunset.

Reissues

2021 has plenty in store for Beatle fans – with the delayed Get Back film still to arrive (Peter Jackson posted a great teaser here) and we presume an accompanying box set of the music. There is also news coming of the re-issue of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono band albums – promising 159 new mixes, 6 CDs, bu rays and a hardback book. Hopefully some good coverage of Yoko Ono’s companion Plastic Ono band album as well – there are some brilliant proto krautrock tracks on there, unlike anything else around at the end of sixties, apart from perhaps the VU and Miles Davis – the tracks Why and Greenfield Morning for example – this is also the most raw guitar playing you hear from Lennon.

Mojo carried brief, but tantalising news, of a Julian Cope compiled Teardrop Explodes boxset coming soon. Can’t wait.

New Order plan the next in their excellent re-issue series, following Movement and Power, Corruption & Lies, with Low-Life coming in 2021.

Neil Young’s archives II boxset sold out in limited edition before Xmas, so many of us are waiting for the better priced standard edition coming in March. More here. Archives I was excellent in terms of sound quality and what NY exposed from his vaults and his wonderfully rich 70’s output looks to have some further gems in vol. II.

PJ Harvey’s re-issue series also continues with Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, this February. I’ve loved the depth and variety of PJ’s output since seeing her supporting the Family Cat in 1992, from the rawness of the debut, Dry, through to the visceral Steve Albini produced, Rid of Me. ‘Stories’ was a creative peak, and also commercially, which led to the Mercury Prize. Also contains one of my favourite duets, with Thom Yorke on This Mess We’re In. More details here – vinyl album comes in two editions – a remastered album, or the demo version.

Also look forward to the rerelease of 2018 album Serpentine Waltz from Tara Milton (ex 5:30). A dark, jazzy album, from London late at night it deserves a wider audience and great to see it coming out again. Has a feel of Elliott Smith, Shack and Love. Details will be on PlasticHead

Finally, there’s a new compilation from On U Sound covering the music of the New Age Steppers, featuring Ari Up from the Slits and Adrian Sherwood. Recording on and off between 1980 and 2012 this is prime dub and post punk, also featuring The Pop Group and The Raincoats. 5 CD box available to pre order from Bandcamp

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