The Best Of 2021 – Halftime Report

68 personal favourites from the first six months of 2021

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First off, a gentle reminder that our excellent new issue of Uncut is in the shops now, featuring Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic on Nirvana, plus Sly Stone, Paul McCartney, Amy Winehouse, Altın Gün, Grateful Dead, The Jam, Will Sergeant, Rodney Crowell, Sparks, Rodrigo Amarante and more. Full details about the new Uncut are here, in case you missed them.

As is tradition abound now, I tried to round up my favourite albums from so far; specifically releases from January until the end of June. I’ve listed them here in (roughly) order of release – just to be painfully clear, this is very much my personal choice and is in no way representative of the Uncut writers in general.

UPDATE! Okay, a quick couple of amendments. Firstly, I’ve removed one of the duplicate entries for The Coral and also added two albums I can’t believe I forgot to include: Nick Cave & Warren Ellis’ Carnage (thanks for the spot, Robert Franks) and also Field Works’ Cedars.


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1. Black Country, New RoadFor The First Time (Ninja Tune)
2. The Weather StationIgnorance (Fat Possum)
3. Ryan DugreThree Rivers (11A)
4. Altın GünYol (Giltterbeat)
5. Sunburned Hand Of The ManPick A Day To Die (Three Lobed)
6. Ryley Walker + Kikagaku MoyoDeep Friend Grandeur (Husky Pants)
7. Cory HansonPale Horse Rider (Drag City)
8. Teenage FanclubEndless Arcade (PeMa)
9. SUSSPromise (Northern Spy)
10. Israel NashTopaz (Loose)
11. Jane WeaverFlock (Fire)
12. Julien BakerLittle Oblivions (Matador)
13. Natalie BergmanMercy (Third Man)
14. TindersticksDistractions (City Slang)
15. Lael NealeAcquainted With Night (Sub Pop)
16. Besnard LakesBesnard Lakes Are The Last Of The Great Thunderstorm Warnings (Full Time Hobby)
17. Elori SaxlThe Blue Of Distance (Western Vinyl)
18. Chuck JohnsonThe Cinder Grove (VDSQ)
19. Bobby LeeOrigin Myths (Natural Histories Records)
20. Mason LindahlKissing Rosy In The Rain (Tompkins Square)
21. Valerie JuneThe Moon And Stars: Prescriptions For Dreamers (Fantasy)
22. Renée ReedRenée Reed (Keeled Scales)
23. Hiss Golden MessengerQuietly Blowing It (Merge)
24. Janet SimpsonSafe Distance (Cornelius Chapel Records)
25. Julius EastmanFemenine performed by ensemble 0 (Sub Rosa)
26. Marianne Faithfull with Warren EllisShe Walks In Beauty (BMG)
27. Dinosaur Jr Sweep It Into Space (Jagjaguwar)
28. Rhiannon GiddensThey’re Calling Me Home (Nonesuch)
29. Jakob Bro, Arve Henriksen, Jorge RossyUma Elmo (ECM)
30. SatomimagaeHanazono (RVNG Intl/Guruguru Brain)
31. Ballaké SissokoDjouru (Nø Førmat!)
32. Whitney KMaryland (Maple Death Records)
33. Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & the London Symphony OrchestraPromises (Luaka Bop)
34. Four TetParallel (Text)
35. Pino Palladino & Blake MillsNotes With Attachments (New Deal / Impulse!)
36. Dean McPheeWitch’s Ladder (Hood Faire/Cargo)
37. The CoralCoral Island (Run On Records/Modern Sky UK)
38. Angel Bat Dawid & The BrotherhoodLive (International Anthem)
39. Matt Sweeney & Bonnie ‘Prince’ BillySuperwolves (Domino)
40. Rose City BandEarth Trip (Thrill Jockey)
41. Ryley WalkerCourse In Fable (Husky Pants)
42. Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel BandRare Dreams: Solar Live 2.27.18 (Cafe Oto)
43. Natural Information Society With Evan ParkerDescension (Out Of Our Constrictions (Aguirre Records)
44. Damon Locks Black Monument EnsembleNOW (International Anthem)
45. Sarah LouiseEarth Bow (Earth Bow)
46. Mdou MoctarAfrique Victime (Matador)
47. Lucy DacusHome Video (Matador)
48. LamchopShowtunes (City Slang)
49. Joana SerratHardcore From The Heart (Loose)
50. Andrew Tuttle & Padang Food TigersA Cassowary Apart (Bedroom Suck Records)
51. BLK JKSAbantu/Before Humans (Glitterbest)
52. Daniel BachmanAxacan (Three Lobed)
53. Six Organs Of AdmittanceThe Veiled Sea (Three Lobed)
54. Marisa Anderson/William TylerLost Futures (Thrill Jockey)
55. Dorothea PaasAnything Can’t Happen (Telephone Explosion)
56. Shabason, Krgovich & HarrisFlorence (idée fixe)
57. David Grubbs & Ryley WalkerFight Of Flight Simulator (Takuroku)
58. Chuck JohnsonAlpenglow (Bandcamp)
59. Faye WebsterI Know I’m Funny ha ha (Secretly Canadian)
60. Nick Cave & Warren EllisCarnage (Goliath)
61. MeltBlank Gloss (Kompakt)
62. Brooklyn Raga MassiveQuarantine Dreams (Bandcamp)
63. Arooj AftabVulture Prince (New Amsterdam Records)
64. Amaro FreitasSankofa (Far Out)
65. Birds Of MayaValdez (Drag City)
66. Marina AllenCandlepower (Fire)
67. SaultNine (Forever Living Originals)
68. Field WorksCedars (Temporary Residence)


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