The 8 best albums from January 2021

Start the year with some exceptional sounds

We knew it’d be different. A whole month into the light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel year and all we have to show for it are these eight albums, better than sourdough and ready for you to sink your teeth into.

Artist: Anna B Savage
Title: A Common Turn
Label: City Slang
What is it? The debut album from London-based singer-songwriter tackling some big questions with an even bigger voice, somewhere between Leonard Cohen and The Spice Girls.
L&Q says: “Despite the ambitious sonic twists and turns – a driving force in the record’s foundation – it’s the impenetrable air of solitude in her performances which are most effective in captivating the listener.”

Read Zara Hedderman’s full review here and Ian Roebuck’s interview with Anna.

Artist: James Yorkston and the Second Hand Orchestra
Title: Wide, Wide River
Label: Domino
What is it? A collaborative improvisation on parenthood, mental health and friendship between the ever prolific Scotsman and a Swedish orchestra.
L&Q says: “It’s a testament to the connective power of music – people who otherwise would be nations away bonding over a love of creation.”

Read Sam Reid’s full review here.

Artist: Urban Village
Title: Udondolo
Label: Nø Format
What is it? Music found in a South African cab, blending folk and soul music with Zulu rock, Xhosa funk, mbaqanga and maskandi.
L&Q says:Udondolo transports us through all the colours of Soweto, inviting us to walk together towards a united world.”

Read Georgina Quach’s full review here.

Artist: Divide and Dissolve
Title: Gas Lit
Label: Invada
What is it? Instrumental doom, drone and sludge metal with the social agenda to dismantle white supremacy in all its forms.
L&Q says: “Divide and Dissolve are the coolest thing to happen to metal since Deafheaven.”

Read Dafydd Jenkins’s full review here.

Artist: Goat Girl
Title: On All Fours
Label: Rough Trade
What is it? A playful sophomore from the South London post-punk band who never saw themselves as a post-punk band, now with songs longer than two minutes.
L&Q says:On All Fours feels like a transitional record, but in the best sense of that term. This band’s possibilities remain wide open.”

Read Fergal Kinney’s full review here and Tristan Gatward’s interview with the band.

Artist: The Body
Title: I’ve Seen All I Need To See
Label: Thrill Jockey
What is it? The terrifying and heavy sounds of oblivion from a duo returning to their roots in monolithic, sludgy noise.
L&Q says: “a naked display of raw power that makes everything else feel insignificant in its wake.”

Read Dominic Haley’s full review here.

Artist: Daniel Knox
Title: Won’t You Take Me With You
Label: H.P. Johnson Presents
What is it? A moreish fifth studio album from the well-travelled Chicago-based crooner with darkly comic stories, dejected characters and decadent soundscapes.
L&Q says: “like returning to a favourite TV series reprised for another season, it feels as though we never left, with characters, storylines and relationships ready to be recommenced.”

Read Tom Critten’s full review here.

Artist: Sleaford Mods
Title: Spare Ribs
Label: Rough Trade
What is it? A masterclass in comedy and confrontation, taking on the privileged political classes, musical deadweights and poseurs with some of their sharpest songwriting to date.
L&Q says: “Sleaford Mods present Spare Ribs, a testament to the entirely contradictory facts that they’ve grown a lot, and yet changed so little.”

Read Jo Higgs’s full review here and Fergal Kinney’s cover feature with the band.

Loud And Quiet could do with your help

We love making Loud And Quiet – our magazines, this website, our podcasts and more – but it’s become increasingly difficult for us to balance the books.

If you’re a reader who’d like to help us keep the show on the road, please consider becoming a Loud And Quiet member. There are options to receive our physical magazines and lots of other extras that are exclusive to our supporters.