Rock Sins 2021 End Of Year Awards – Chris Ball

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Having kicked off the annual Rock Sins End Of Year Awards for 2021 before Christmas with our acting news editor Kyle Dimond (check out Kyle’s choices here), it’s now the turn of one of our stoner rock / psychadelic specialists Chris Ball to have his turn. Over to you Chris!

Album Of The Year – Green Lung – Black Harvest

I’ll be honest, there are other less heavy candidates, but as far as Rock Sins-type-bands is concerned it has to be Black Harvest. Rarely has a British metal band seemed so fully formed and destined for greatness as Green Lung. I’ve written previously about how I wish more rock bands were fun and for me the sheer joie de vivre Green Lung exudes is intoxicating. They clearly love what they, do – from the totally on-point cover art, that goat mascot and the revamping of the classic Olde Wyrd England themes in their songs, there is no element that doesn’t seem to be a labour of love and a bloody hoot to boot. Of course image and attitude isn’t enough, but Green Lung have from their very first E.P. proved to masters of catchy, melodic metal and the fuller, grander keyboard sounds on their new lp just elevate everything to arena-sized potential. A proper heavy metal album, which will stand the test of time.

Honourable mentions:

Comfort to Me – Amyl & The Sniffers
From Dreams to Dust – The Felice Brothers
Celestial Blues – King Woman

Single Of The Year – Amyl & The Sniffers – Security

No one sings about going to the pub better than the Aussie’s and this might be the best pub anthem of the lot. Mixed in with Amy’s new-found social commentary lyrics, Security is the full package – smart, rocking as hell and that word again FUN! If you don’t have a grin on your face as you belt out the chorus “Let me in your hard heart/Let me in your pub!” you are dead inside or in the Taliban.

Honourable mentions:

Graveyard Sun – Green Lung
Robber – The Weather Station
The Revolution of Supervisions – Jane Weaver

Gig Of The Year – Amyl & The Sniffers @ Electric Ballroom, 24th November

Just before Omnicron hit and really screwed things up again I went to a gig that, Covid passports aside, felt like a proper night out – loud rock ‘n’ roll, beers, sweat and mates. By the time this show went ahead the band had already announced a night at Brixton Academy and so with the bands star on the rise here was a last chance to see the punk sensations up close and personal. Amy is a star, her mix of easy, working class charm and pixie-like vulnerability is off-set on the night by her latex clad warrior queen image and a laugh so dirty it would make Sid James blush. The band, honed by a thousand nights playing dive bars, are incredibly tight, an non-stop riff machine upon which Amy stands, commanding our attention with her songs of struggle and self-discovery.

Honourable mentions:

Slift – WideAwake Fest
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – The Electric Ballroom

Festival Of The Year  – WideAwake @ Brockley Park, 3rd September

Not a hard decision, as it was the only festival I went to, but it was a great day, none-the-less. With a line-up featuring the cream of U.K. indie rock (plus a few European surprises) WideAwake was a delight from beginning to end – how could it not be when the opening act is Idles, hitting the stage as the sun began to shine in earnest, first ciders were bought and mates were located. If you missed it, look at this for snapshot of the bill, alongside Idles – Squid, Self Esteem, Dry Cleaning, Slift, Black Country, New Road, Snapped Ankles, Goat Girl.

The atmosphere, as you can imagine, was fantastic, with so many people desperate to get out and enjoy live music, but there really was no need for forced jollity as this festival would have been a triumph any year. There were so many great performances from Self Esteem’s pop master-class, to Dry Cleaning’s weird, heavy psych ramblings to Slift’s sci-fi punk metal explosion in what was basically an overcrowded gazebo. So good, and I’m really hoping to be at 2022’s version.

Music Video Of The Year – King Woman – Psychic Wound

Yes, it features Kristina Esfandiari and other young women rolling around in black leather fetish wear, and of course that makes it memorable, but seldom has a music video been such a strong representation of the songs from the album it’s taken from. Dark, twisted, passionate and so, so bloody, the visuals to ‘Psychic Wound’ leave you in no doubt as to where King Woman is coming from and what to expect from the masterpiece that is Celestial Blues.

Honourable mentions:

Employed to Serve – Mark of the Grave
Wet Leg – Chaise Longue
Little Simz – Introvert

Most Disappointing Album Of The Year – Iron Maiden – Senjutsu

Look, I thought Book of Souls was patchy and over-long, and now you’re telling me there’s another double album of rambling, prog epics? Nah, I’m out. What I would like is a 45 minute album of concise, swashbuckling metal, preferably produced by Andy Sneap to give it some of the crunch and spark of recent Judas Priest and Exodus albums.

Band Of The Year – Amyl & The Sniffers

Amy Taylor is a genuine star, unaffected but growing into her role as punk rock icon for the ages. With two albums packed with timeless bangers, the second of which, this year’s Comfort To Me displaying a newfound lyrical maturity, Amyl & The Sniffers are the ray of hope and the kick up the arse we all need.

Honourable mentions:

Gojira
Green Lung
The Weather Station

Hero Of The Year – NHS, care home & RNLI workers

Do I really need to say more?

Be sure to keep checking back with us as more of the team reveal their highlights and occasional lowlights from 2021 in the Rock Sins End Of Year Awards!

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