And so, the year ended with an unsatisfying pop in retail, as sales diminish and people return crap, at least there were some decent albums out this year though, right? Today, we’re going to talk about some of my favourite albums from this year – there are some well-known bands, there are some lesser known bands but one fact Is clear, in my opinion, they all deserve a mention. Most people number their albums of the year, but not me, I’m going to give you a list of albums that I thought were great this year, then I’ll drop a few lines and you can take it from there.
If I don’t mention an album you think needs to be on here, It’s because I didn’t listen to it (Run The Jewels) or didn’t like it (Swans – Sorry, I just can’t get into them!), so please don’t hate me.
Remember this is just an opinion of someone in front of a computer that you don’t know – enjoy whatever you want.
Grouper – Ruins
As delicate and subtle as ever Grouper’s Ruins is a serene album that begs to be listened to with over-ear headphones so you can be fully immersed in the depth of this ambiance. This album also saw an increase in vocal presence, with some vulnerable heart-broken lyrics.
Dean Blunt – Black Metal
Can I just say that Black Metal misled me with it’s title. Expecting heavy and furious, I was thrown off balance when I heard well-paced and melancholic. Another singer-songwriter album that strikes at the heart-strings with a spanner and lets it ring into something painful to your feels.
Handsome eric – nah i’m good
An underground that I found while skulking through 4chan. Handsome eric is the self-loathing genius, Stephen O’Dowd, and I think it’s a shame that more people have not picked up on this lofi pop album that can touch you in ways that are dreadfully close to the heart – nah I’m good is a relatable mess of an album that I loved.
Megadudes – Postcards From The Past
The Megadudes and their album Postcards From The Past had been circling my interests for awhile and to finally hear it in full was an absolute delight. Lots of accessible pop-rock anthems that are fun to listen to and even better to mash your head around to, do check this bad boy out.
USA Out Of Vietnam – Crashing Diseases And Incurable Airplanes
I loved every second of this Crashing Diseases And Incurable Airplanes – it felt like an incredibly adventurous debut that took no prisoners and just wanted to waltz around in its knickers, so you know what this band is all about. There’s lots of post-rock, post-metal and even some sludge influences in here to keep everyone on their toes – A really rewarding album.
Imogen Heap – Sparks
Sparks is a Beautiful and organic release from the queen of pop (in my opinion) Imogen Heap. Her latest album, Sparks, was in the works for some time, due to the concept of her collecting these samples from her fans of everyday objects and using them in her songs and then releasing them every three months! A long-winded, but ultimately worth it release.
FKA Twigs – LP1
Banging debut album that showcases what can be done with real experimentation, proper talent and an eye for detail. FKA Twigs’ LP1, was most likely one of the best releases of it’s year as it reveled in it’s own sultry and vulnerable source material. If you like trip-hop, or R&B or music, give this music a good, hard, listen.
Perfume Genius – Too Bright
Too Bright felt like a very retro sounding album that completely avoided some of the pointless clichés of retro sounding bands and instead took on a very powerful release with some killer, infectious tunes. ‘No Family is safe, when I sashay, OOM!’ This is some brilliantly done and moving singer-songwriter.
Moonlit Sailor – We Come From Exploding Stars
We Come From Exploding Stars is an album of uplifting post-rock that, despite sounding very typically post-rock, still manages to sound blissful and sublime with its stunning guitar tones and invigorating melodies. Worth every second of a listen, especially if you like your day to sound that little bit more epic.
Flying Lotus – You’re Dead!
Catch it if you can neo-jazz with elements of rap that just flattened me the first time I heard it. Although I did want more songs like Never Catch Me and Dead Man’s Tetris, it was still a solid and fun listen. So grab some hooch, some headphones and let the jazz vibes rain down.
St Vincent – St Vincent
This self-titled release is a brilliant poppy double-blade that mixes some glorious pop songs with some rather angular and threatening guitar play. That and it’s always a delight to hear St Vincent mastermind, Anne Clark, rattle off some hard-hitting lyrics as well as solos.
Old Man Gloom – The Ape Of God
Old Man Gloom sound nastier than ever on their two part album, The Ape Of God. Not only are they frighteningly on form with this most recent release, but they’ve also expanded on this form and have shown no fear in putting out some more ambitious material.
Frankie Cosmos – Zentropy
A cute album that was over before it had even begun. Zentropy plays with relatable themes of innocence and coming of age that are often overlooked in a world of super-edgy bands that are all fighting to be as loud as each other. Zentropy is modest, clever and dreary – Come one, come all and be dreary!
EMA – The Future’s Void
I didn’t really get along with EMA’s first album, but The Future’s Void really clicked with me with it’s bold and powerful arrangements of electronica and industrial. Overall, I think this album felt threatening and demanding, which is tip top.
Damien Rice – My Favourite Faded Fantasy
Wasn’t sure if this album was going to make it to the list after my first listen, but after a few repeat listens, My Favourite Faded Fantasy stuck me right in the heart. Damien still has his flare for showmanship, but personally, I still prefer the quieter moments of self-loathing on this album. Please take him back Lisa! He’s so sorry.
Britney – Britney
Another release that flew under the radar, could it have been because it was too girthy for the world? Or was it because it was only about ten minutes long? Who knows. This album is vicious, mean and will probably make you hate it in all the right ways.
Kerretta – Pirohia
Pirohia, houses some intense post-rock that soundtracked a lot of my visits to the gym back in August. Needless to say, it was hard to keep up with this album at times, but it remains a powerful release that is as strong as it is subtle (at points).
Aphex Twin – Syro
Long time no see Richard, oh, you’ve made some new tunes? They’re pretty good, yeah. Infinitely more grounded than a lot of the earlier work, Syro stays on its feet and manages to still have some of the better sounding techo/IDM tracks of the year on it.
Milo – A Toothpaste Suburb
I’ve previously enjoyed Milo’s previous work and this may not top I Wish My Brother Rob Was Here, but A Toothpaste Suburb is a delightful listen that still manages to create some simple and elegant atmospheres for him and his featuring artists to rap over.
Calf – Bastards anatomy use a unicorn go to apathy
Just listen and see what you think – it’s all rather loud and abrasive, but it’s cool.
Dopebody – Lifer
Kickass, psychedelic, trashy rock music that surprised everyone with the calms that they can produce in the middle of a storm of distortion and violence. Lifer surprised me, but that could be because I’d never given any of their previous releases a listen, it’s on my list of things to do though… I swear.
Tricky – Adrian Thaws
If you’re feeling rather naughty, chuck this album on and enjoy some engrossing trip-hop from one of the very best of. It might lack the sauciness and pacing of Massive Attack, but Adrian Thaws is worth every single second of smoke and lust atmosphere that it breathes into your lungs.
Daisy Victoria – Nobody Dies
After having released two EPs this year, I had to decide which one I preferred and it turned out to be the more ambitious and electronic release, Nobody Dies. After initially enjoying the rawness of the first EP, Heart Full Of Beef, more, I eventually got more turned on to the mixture of elements in Nobody Dies. Stellar singer-songwriter with a wonderful command of her instrumentation, check out Daisy Victoria.
Sia – 1000 Forms Of Fear
A vessel for my belief of pop not being dead, but rather, just having a little kip whilst some truely great artists emerge, one by one. Sia’s 1000 Forms Of Fear is bold and enchanting pop album that I’m more than happy to hear on the radio/at work numerous times. The revival of triumphant pop music that no is afraid of liking.
Röyksopp & Robyn – Do It Again
Brilliant and textured music from two big names that create something that sounds dark, while still mixing in some rather bright sounding synth work and beats. An interesting release, if a little short.
Those are probably my favourite albums of the year, I’m sure I’ve probably missed a few off that you like, so, why don’t you tell me what yours are?
Until then, I’ll see you on the other side.