2021 has been an unpredictable year for music in the pandemic. However, it has produced some of the most some truly sublime music. Here are our best albums and favourite EP’s of 2021 from the team at NE.  

The War on Drugs – I Don’t Live Here Anymore  

Ricky Atterby 

“My absolute go-to this year, especially whenever I’m feeling extra anxious – such a stunningly beautiful album.” 

Inhaler – It Won’t Always Be Like This 

Sara R Ochoa

“This album encapsulates a hard year of introspection and vital paradigm changes, as well as it roars with a coming-of-age edge. The Irish quartet has made a statement: they are a force to be reckon in the current rock scene.” 

Wolf Alice – Blue Weekend  


“100% Wolf Alice ‘Blue Weekend’ there’s zero skips on that album and I’m obsessed the whole 90’s grunge aesthetic they have going on, the whole promo campaign was amazing.” 

Sam Fender – Seventeen Going Under 

Lewis Ridley 

“The second album from Sam Fender has taken him to a new level. Where his debut faltered in parts, Seventeen Going Under is high quality throughout. It finds Fender angry and frustrated, the title track and Aye are especially visceral, whilst Spit of You and Last To Make It Home see Fender uncover a new, raw side. In this record he may well have gone from a flash in the pan to a genuinely top songwriter.”  

ZuZu – Queensway Tunnel 

Rachel Brown

“Starkly confessional and emotionally detailed, ZuZu delivered an album that was like a diary from my youth that I could have written myself. She takes the listener on a journey through love, heartbreak and hope. This is intensely personal music, there is not a song on this album that is not addictive, her lyrics are relevant to today’s generation of women both old and young.  It’s one album I can listen to from start to finish and not skip a track, superb song crafting that has the tracks embedded in your head for days. A ground-breaking album from a future queen of pop.” 

 The Skinner Brothers – Iconic

“Some bands just grab you immediately and that was certainly the case for me with The Skinner Brothers. The band have had a consistent presence in my Spotify playlist throughout 2021 and it’s not without good reason. Their EP ‘Iconic’ is an urban masterpiece, recorded on just £100 worth of equipment in Zach Skinners Brentford flat. After supporting The Streets and Kasabian in 2021, March 2022 sees the band go on their own headline tour around the UK, highly recommend grabbing tickets now before seeing the band in intimate venues like this becomes a distant memory!”

Black Honey – Written and Directed

Sophie Lidyard

“I remember the day that this album came out; I was instantly obsessed. I must have played it through 10 times back to back. Packed full of attitude with tracks that ooze old school rock and roll cool. This album earned Black Honey a number 7 spot in the Official Uk Chart, an incredible achievement for independent music.”

Easy Life – Life’s a Beach

“This release was a breath of fresh air in a year suffocated by Covid anxiety and the shadow of ever-impending restrictions. The album’s loose concept centres around a trip to the seaside… that ends up being a bit shit (can I swear?) and not how you imagined it. If that’s not a metaphor for the past year then I don’t know what is.”

The Rah’s – When Does it Become Real?

Shiner Sam

“I have to pick the band I manage The Rah’s and their debut album “When Does it Become Real?”. This album is a start to finish rock n roll dream, I’m so proud of them!”

The Lathums – “How Beautiful Life Can Be”

“I’ve been following The Lathums journey since the very beginning and it’s been incredible to watch them start from nothing to turn into superstars!. On 1 October 2021, the band landed their debut Number 1 on the Official Albums Chart with ‘How Beautiful Life Can Be’. It is a masterpiece and so beautifully written and produced.”

Pastel – Deeper Than Holy 

Vinyl Izzy 

“Out of all the new bands I have discovered this year Pastel are my favourite. Their EP Deeper Than Holy is full of pulsating basses, anthemic lyrics and guitar riffs. That hooks you from start to finish.” 


 ZUZU photo by @robinclewleyphotography








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