And just like that, 2021 started to draw to a close, which can only mean one thing... It's time to review our albums of the year at Signature Brew.
As you can imagine, being a brewery that specialises in beer and music, and as we saw our team grow in size throughout 2021, there's certainly some eclectic playlists, albums and artists that are put on the speakers around the building.
Not only that, but 2021 saw the triumphant return of live music, and we were even able to host some shows of our own, as well as go to musical festivals up and down the country.
So, without further ado, take a look at Signature Brew's top albums of 2021.
Tom Bott - Co-Founder: Field Music - Flat White Moon
Released back in April - the calm before the storm of the Euros, festivals, and live music being back in full force - Field Music’s ‘Flat White Moon’ came at what felt like just the right time. Packed from start to finish with delicious melodies and simplistic, yet comforting, vocals and lyrics - pop this album on for a guaranteed nice time.
Sam McGregor - Co-Founder: The JB Conspiracy - Beginnings
This long-awaited third full-length album from The JB Conspiracy dropped in 2021, with the launch party being held at Signature Brew Haggerston. From the early 2000s ska and punk scene, this band has been leading the genre for over 10 years, this record again pushes things in a new and fresh direction. Also, if their trombonist is ever on holiday / off sick / incarcerated, you might catch me on stage dropping some of their legendary horn riffs.
John Longbottom - Head of Marketing & Brand: Adam Baldych Quintet - Poetry
Immersive, expressive and vivid, this record by progressive Polish jazz violinist, Adam Baldych, and Italian trumpeter, Paolo Fresu, feels like the soundtrack to a Nordic noir series that doesn’t exist. Highbrow? Sure, but I’d be kidding if I said it wasn’t a toss up between this and Limp Bizkit Still Sucks. Shout out to Wes Borland’s fresh riffs.
Holly Faires - Head of People & Culture: Turnstile - Glow On
The singles had been on heavy rotation in the office as we eagerly anticipated the album dropping, and it did not disappoint! I don't think I’ve ever booked tickets to a show faster, and the memory of screaming “now it’s a holiday!” whilst driving around the Yorkshire dales was a highlight of the year. Reminds me of when I first heard (and fell in love with) Comeback Kid.
Dan Savage - Lead Drayman: Fu Manchu - DogTown & Z-Boy (A Look Back)
A classic example of SoCal stoner rock to vibe to whilst cracking open a cold can of backstage, before attempting to drop into a half pipe and taking a gnarly slam and breaking a hand. Best song is Mongoose. One of the ultimate feeling awesome songs.
Bobby Dennis - Brewer: Every Time I Die - Radical
Such a great mix of blisteringly heavy sounds with the catchiest choruses they've done yet.
Duaneo Kennedy - Packaging & Production Operative: Czarface & MF Doom - Super What?
MF Doom’s swan song, may he rest in peace.
Paul Human - Executive Chef, The Collab: Joy Orbison - Still Slipping Vol. 1
This album was worth the 12 year wait, genre bending, melodic and thoughtful, building to a righteous crescendo. A perfect album to pump through our mega sound system once the kitchen has closed!
Ben McKendry - Senior Accounts Assistant: Mogwai - As The Love Continues
The 10th studio album by post-rock band Mogwai, As The Love Continues, kept me chill and sane throughout studying for my accountancy qualification - so I owe a lot to this album. Mercury nominated too! Things we love to see.
Cianne Christensen - Events Co-Ordinator: Out Of Love - Funny Feeling EP
Noisy, grungy & melodic. This EP is back to back tunes! These guys have burst onto the live scene this year & are absolutely smashing it. I just can't wait to see what they do next.
Joe Mercer - General Manager, Haggerston: Fresh - The Summer I Got Good At Guitar
Fresh have become one of my favourite new bands. They are amazing live and just lovely people!
Tom Dudley - Head of Retail: IDLES - CRAWLER
Just when you thought IDLES had given us everything releasing 3 albums back to back across 4 years, they just went and dropped another one anyway, and rest assured it’s still filled with the same great crunch you’d find in their back catalogue. Their most introspective - but most fun album to date. New Sensation is the dancefloor banger of 2022.
Anne Berensten - Supervisor, Haggerston: Viagra Boys - Welfare Jazz
Coming across a post-punk band producing an album you can comfortably listen to at home and see live in a sweaty venue getting elbowed in the face repeatedly is a rare one, but Viagra Boys managed it again with Welfare Jazz. Loving their ever so raunchy vibe and added sax for maximum chaos. RIP Benjamin Valle.
Jimmy Wright - General Manager, Blackhorse Road: St. Vincent - Daddy's Home
Annie Clark oozing 70s glam and channelling her inner bowie. Absolutely top record.
Braden Fletcher - Venue Supervisor, Haggerston: Wolf Alice - Blue Weekend
Some bands can lose their edge with success; with Wolf Alice though that edge has only sharpened. At times, their third record sounds as intimate and as when their shows were, whilst some tracks are as grandiose and anthemic as they've proven time and time again to be. Both of these elements can be found in the first 150 seconds of The Beach as Wolf Alice set out their stall for world domination once again and when they hit the road in 2022, they'll inevitably reach that goal with their balance of huge riffs fighting constantly against their romanticism and personal story-telling.
Hannah McDermott - Sales Operations & Customer Service Assistant: Doja Cat - Planet Her
I listen to this album at least once a day, in it’s entirety, from start to finish, and have yet to find a song that I don’t enjoy. The production is brilliant and discovering something new in each track, whether it be small nuances in the music itself or new meaning to words you’ve listened to over an over, ensures the album never gets boring! Doja Cat managed to get huge exposure through some of her tracks going viral on TikTok, but this hasn’t stopped the album becoming enormously successful in its own right. A lot of people argue that Doja Cat's music reflects the things that people think but rarely say out loud, and I really believe this is true with this album, and only goes to make you feel closer to the artist herself. It’s definitely album of the year for me and I can’t wait to see what she does next!
Lauren Bevan - Office Manager: Little Simz - Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is music for the soul. Its vulnerability, passion and poetry has been the perfect combination to end 2021 and encourage artistic growth.
Joe Hardie - E-Commerce Manager: Dave - We're All Alone In This Together
I love the realness & vulnerabilities of so many of Dave’s lines mixing in with tunes like ‘System’. The features go hard - love how well James Blake and Dave complement each other, and Fredo, Meekz, Giggs, Ghetts all kill it on ‘In The Fire’.
Rob Heath - Logistics: Gojira - Fortitude
Mario Duplantier is one of my favourite drummers and they’ve been nominated for many awards this year. They are activists for protesting whale killing, global warming and other such political things. Their vocalist Joe has insane energy on stage, and their bassist reminds me of a metal version of Flea from RHCP with his energy. Their pick scrapes and galloping strumming patterns give them their unique sound. Live performances seen on youtube are studio quality both vocally and instrumentally.
Steve Barrett - Sales: Bob Vylan - We Live Here
One of the fiercest albums to come out of 2021 and one of my favourite discoveries of the year, I’ll never forget Bob Vylan absolutely killing it on our stage at Bigfoot Festival after a long, long time without live music. Simply put, this album fucking slaps, and so does the band.
Will Smith - Assistant Bar Manager, Blackhorse Road: Grand Collapse - Empty Plinths
Chris Hambling - Marketing Assistant: Black Country, New Road - For The First Time
One of my most-anticipated albums of the year was finally released and it didn’t disappoint. At just 6 tracks short, this album is nothing but Black Country’s best, with all the excess of a regular album trimmed off. Tune in for iconic lyrics such as ‘Welcome to the best new 6-part Danish crime drama’ and ‘It's a one size fits all hardcore cyber fetish early noughties zine / She sells matcha shots to pay for printing costs and a PR team’, Klezmer-inspired dance tracks, and more!