The Monolith Cocktail Team’s Favourite Albums (and some EPs) Of 2021/Dominic Valvona, Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea/Matt Oliver

Despite the nerve of the powers that be, the plague, climate change, the emergence once more of the death cult phenomenon, the full-out from the Brexit vote, inflation and the brave new worlds dystopia of a Meta universe to look forward to, there’s always been the music to fall back on. And during 2021 nothing could stop our beloved artists and bands from producing and releasing it: The only relief in yet another depressing annus horribilis.

It must be repeated, as it holds true this year as it did last, that this was yet another divisive turd of a year with hyperbolic indignities and the childish naïve persecution of nearly everything and everyone outside the virtue-card carrying trends of “black square” signalling. Whilst many of my peers were casting the aspirations, collecting bracken for the ritual burnings of the faithless, and delivering the most hypercritical of grandstanding statements on diversity, we were continuing as ever as the outsiders to carry on with a normal service of sharing the most eclectic music from artists across the globe: just getting on with the task of sharing great borderless music.

The obligatory end of year lists is now upon us. And so it is time to deliver the first part of our own ‘choice albums of the year’ list. Because we’ve never seen the point in arguing the toss over numerical orders the Monolith Cocktail’s lighter, less competitive and hierarchical ‘choice albums’ features have always listed all entrants in alphabetical order. We also hate separating genres and so everybody in these features, regardless of genre, location, age shares the same space.

Void of points systems and voting, the Monolith Cocktail team selection is pretty transparent: just favourites and albums we all feel you, our audience, should check out. Alongside my good self, Matt Oliver and Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea have made the selections this year. We’ve also compiled a two part playlist, with tracks from (where possible) every album (and the occasional EP).

Before I go, the Monolith Cocktail is always open to new collaborators – just email me at monolithcocktail@gmail.com

And so without further ado, we bring you part one (From A to K):

A

A Journey Of Giraffes ‘Spool’  (Somewherecold Records)
(Chosen by Dominic Valvona)  Review

Adult Books ‘Grecian Urn’  (Self-Release)
(DV)

Saba Alizadeh ‘I May Never See You Again’  (30M Records)
(DV) 

Obay Alsharani ‘Sandbox’  (Hive Mind Records)
(DV)  Review

Anaximander Fragment ‘Wagon Drawn Horse’  (Shimmy Disc)
(DV)  Review

Antonis Antoniou ‘Kkismettin’  (Ajabu! Records)
(DV)  Review

Tamar Aphek ‘All Bets Are Off’  (Self-Release)
(DV) 

The Armories ‘Incognito’  (Big Stir Records)
(Chosen By Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea)  Review

The August List ‘Wax Cat’  (All Will Be Well Records)
(DV)  Review

B..

Bagaski ‘Final’  (See Blue Audio)
(DV)  Review

Beach Boys ‘Feel Flows Box Set’  (Capitol/UME)
(DV) 

Belcirque ‘La Grand Fête’  (ARC Music)
(DV) 

Big Lukah ‘Why Look Up, God’s In The Mirror’  (FXCK RXP) 
(Matt Oliver) 

Black Temple Pyrämid ‘The Hierophant’  (Submarine Broadcasting Co.)
(DV)  Review

BLK/JKS ‘Abantu/Before Humans’  (Glitterbeat Records)
(DV)  Review

Boom.Diwan Ft. Nduduzo Makhathini ‘Minarets EP’ 
(DV)  Review

Bordello and Clark ‘Atlantic Crossing’  (Think Like A Key)
(BBS/DV)  Review

Luke Brennan ‘The Rush To The Sky’  (Submarine Broadcasting Co.)
(DV)  Review

C…

Cadence Weapon ‘Parallel World’  (eOne Music)
(MO) 

Camera ‘Prosthuman’  (Bureau B)
(DV)  Review

Can ‘Live In Brighton’  (Spoon/Mute)
(DV)  Review

Tom Caruana & Dr Syntax ‘Crumbs’  (Tea Sea Records) 
(MO) 

Liliane Chlela ‘Safala’  (Amygdala Records)
(DV) 

David Ornette Cherry’s Organic Nation Listening Club ‘The Continual’
(Spirtmuse Records)

(DV)  Review

Anansy Cissé ‘Anoura’  (Riverboat Records)
(DV)  Review

Alice Coltrane ‘Kirtan: Turiya Sings’  (Impulse!)
(DV) 

Liz Cooper ‘Hot Sass’  (Sleepyhead Records)
(DV) 

Corduroy Institute ‘Eight/Chance/Meetings’  (Self-Release)
(BBS)  Review

Graham Costello’s Strata ‘Second Lives’  (Gearbox)
(DV) 

D….

Datkid & Illinformed ‘WAKMO’  (High Focus) 
(MO) 

Jamael Dean ‘Primordial Soup’  (Stones Throw)
(DV)  Review

Dear Liaka ‘Pluperfect Mind’  (Memorials Of Distinction)
(DV)  Review

Graham Domain ‘Without The Darkness The Stars Could Not Shine’
(Metal Postcard Records)

(BBS)  Review

Matthew Donovan ‘Underwater Swimming’  (Self-Release)
(DV)  Review

Dwi ‘Mild Fantasy Violence’  (Light Organ Records)
(DV) 

E…..

Eboni Band ‘S/T’  (We Are Busy Bodies)
(DV) 

Electric Jalaba ‘El Hal/The Feeling’  (Strut)
(DV) 

Kahil El’Zabar ‘A Time For Healing’  (Spiritmuse)
(DV) 

Ensemble De Cadavres Exquis ‘The Warlock Tapes’  (SBC)
(DV)  Review

Evidence ‘Unlearning’  (Rhymesayers) 
(MO) 

Ex Norwegian and Friends ‘Sing Jimmy Campbell’
(Think Like A Key Records)

(BBS)  Review

F……

Marianne Faithful w/Warren Ellis ‘She Walks in Beauty’
(Panta Rei/BMG) 

Fat Francis ‘Breakfasts For Losers’  (Self-Release)
(BBS)  Review

Floating Points And Pharaoh Sanders ‘Promises’  (Luka Bop)
(DV) 

Flowertown ‘Flowertown’  (Paisley Shirt Records)
(BBS)  Review

Forest Robots ‘Amongst A landscape Of Spiritual Reckoning’
(Wormhole World)

(DV)  Review

DJ Format ‘The Devil’s Workshop’  (Project Blue Book) 
(MO) 

Nick Frater ‘Earworms’  (Big Stir Records)
(BBS)  Review

Fresh Daily ‘The Quiet Life 2’  (High Water Music) 
(MO) 

Conny Frischauf ‘Die Drift’  (Bureau B)
(DV)  Review

G…….

Giacomeli ‘Interplanetary Thoughts’  (Somewherecold Records)
(DV)  Review

Gift of Gab ‘Finding Inspiration Somehow’  (Nature Sounds) 
(MO) 

Catherine Graindorge ‘Eldorado’  (Glitterbeat Records)
(DV)  Review

Charlotte Greve w/Wood River & Cantus Domus ‘Sediments We Move’
(New Amsterdam)

(DV)  Review

H……..

Hackedepicciotto ‘The Silver Threshold’  (Mute)
(DV)  Review

The Hawks ‘Obviously Five Believers’  (Seventeen Records)
(BBS)  Review

Andrew Heath ‘New Eden’  (Disco Gecko)
(DV)  Review

Hellenica ‘Blood Meridian: An Imagined Soundtrack’  (Somewherecold)
(DV)  Review

Heyme ‘Moving On’  (Jezus Factory)
(DV)  Review

Hiatus Kaiyote ‘Mood Valiant’  (Brainfeeder)
(DV) 

Hits ‘Cielo Nublado’  (Paisley Shirt Records)
(BBS)  Review

Holiday Ghosts ‘North Street Air’  (FatCat Records)
(BBS)  Review

Andrew Hung ‘Devastations’  (LEX Records)
(DV)  Review

J……….

Brian Jackson ‘JID008’  (Jazz Is Dead)
(DV) 

Jane Inc. ‘Number One’  (Telephone Explosion)
(DV)  Review

Jazzmeia Horn And Her Noble Force ‘Dear Love’  (Empress Legacy)
(DV) 

Racquel Jones ‘IgnoRANT’  (Magnetic Moon Records)
(DV) 

Juga-Naut & Giallo Point ‘Smoke Filled Room’  (Tuff Kong) 
(MO) 

K………..

Kaukolampi ‘We Jazz Reworks Vol.1’  (We Jazz)
(DV)  Review

Khalab & M’ Berra Ensemble ‘M’ Berra’  (Real World Records)
(DV)  Review

King Champion Sounds ‘Between Two Worlds’  (Hive Mind Records)
(DV)  Review

Koma Saxo ‘Live’  (We Jazz)
(DV)  Review

Kuunatic ‘Gate Of Klüna’  (Glitterbeat)
(DV)  Review

Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog monolithcocktail.com For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/monolithcocktail to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

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