There isn’t really an order, but some are better than others. Its in rough order of preference. If you think someone should be on here and they aren’t, well I probably didn’t enjoy it or its in the Notable Mentions bit at the end.
10) Steve Mason: Monkey Minds in the Devils Time.
I initially brushed aside Steve Mason as a one man one guitar shrug-a-thon, but this album can be cut a hundred different times and you’ll get something new each time. It experiments with Dub, hip-hop, acoustic guitar and more rockier numbers, all bundled together with a nice anti-establishment sentiment. A surprise I thought.
9) Haim: Days are Gone
So, Jamie Finn of No Wave Magazine asked me this question when I told him I liked Haim:
How can you run with the wolves at night if you play with Puppies in the day?
He’s right, kind of, as right as you can be when you are an Arch-Duke of Hipsterism, because Haim are a pop group. But they are a GOOD pop group. I like the funk of this album. I like the lyrics, the harmonies. Its fun, its not going to change the world, its no Fever Ray, but its good. Its been on the stereo almost daily since its release and I ENJOY LISTENING TO IT!
YOU HEAR THAT JAMIE! It might not challenge music, or the genre, but its a good girl group doing good things with pop music that might act as a gate way drug for a new generation to get into Patti Smith. Which is all that you want, innit?
8) Jagwar Ma: Howling
This was my album of the summer, any opportunity to give it a listen in the sun because its a hot chunk of psychedelia. Its great for parties, and Jagwar Ma have this immense lust for making music that you can hear in the depth and punch of each song. Its the sort of album you can do a racially-indelicate Native American dance around a fire in your garden to.
7) Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip: Repent, Replenish, Repeat.
I’ve just noticed that there’s sort of a trend this year for Album titles that are just three words.
The duo’s third album is much darker, much heavier and arguably much more lead by Dan Le Sac this time around. Its been 5 years since their last one and they’ve learnt a thing or two doing their own thing. It lacks the punchy singles of the first two, but still has a few stand out songs like Stunner and Gold Teeth that you can humm for hours. Its a more mature album and the lyrics are far keener and less gimmicky and I love it. Its a bit short though, but you can’t just churn out genius I suppose.
6) The Uncluded: Hokey Fright
I’ve been a die-hard Moldy Peaches fan for a long time now, and that anarchic madness they used to peddle just appeals to me. Kimya Dawson’s solo stuff was alright but was a bit twee and a bit alternative-for-its-own-sake disappointing. So when I heard the Uncluded on Scroobius Pip’s XFM BEAT DOWN, I was over joyed to hear that Kimya’s latest project has that dark streak running through it, accompanied by the soulful hip hop stylings of Aesop Rock. This album is funny, heart wrenching, weird and importantly, sounds fantastic.
5) Palma Violets: 180
This year, I have listened to a shite tonne of new Rock and Roll. Sort of garage recording room stuff that brings back the elements of blues, skiffle and just fun old Rock and Roll. One of the best of these bands is the Palma Violets who have this raw energy, pure talent that sounds rough and ready and polished all at the same time. Their Debut album is a joy to listen to, and if it doesn’t make you tap your foot, randomly kick the air or sing along, I don’t know if we can be friends.
4) Filthy Boy: Smile That Won’t Go Down.
I like their black sense of humor and fun song construction. This is a powerful debut and every track is a smile inducing bit of rock and roll. I like listening to it in public places, makes me feel a bit rude.
3) Arctic Monkeys: AM
Its not every day that I can say someone’s fifth album is there best, but the fifth album by the Arctic Monkeys is their best. The writing has reached new highs, stylistically its polished to a mirror sheen and everything is so crisp and clear, they’ve found their stride, they’ve got their groove. Every track is a keen song, and there isn’t anything more to say about it really. Its just so good, sort of like My Favorite Worst Nightmare without the bad bits and the repetition. Brian Storm the album.
2) Public Service Broadcasting: Inform, Educate, Entertain
Public Service Broadcasting are sort of like socially acceptable Post-Rock. They push boundaries with what they can do with music, and their visual performances are superb. Both of the members are skilled musicians and their ear for a good sample and a keen combination of sounds is unmatched at the moment. Their album would be number 1 on this list if numbers actually meant anything, but they don’t, and John Grant is better.
1) John Grant: Pale Green Ghosts
Hear GMF on This is My Jam, and instantly decided that this would be played at my funeral. This album is a pure work of art, not a wasted second. Its got a faux eighties style with heart-felt lyrics, Johns voice is a perfect rock hard slice of rich Mahogany, and it chops and changes swinging about from jiggy electro to guitar based slim-line songs, and Chris Pemberton’s piano throughout is… it can bring a tear to the eye. Buy it, I don’t care who you are, get a copy, get two or three and give them to friends, this album is a blue print for how all music and poetry should be made until the end of time, now and forever, done, thats it, turn off Pitchfork, we’re done here guys, thanks. Good job guys.
Atoms for Peace: Amok was a great album, but a bit samey. It didn’t have the same longevity that Thom Yorke’s Eraser had. But Default is a killer tune. It suffered from a similar flaw to British Sea Power: Machinaries of Joy in that there are songs that just stick out and aren’t as good as the rest. Arcade Fire: Reflektor could have been a perfect album, but over 2 discs was long winded. Vessels: Epilleptic Ep; is amazing, but not actually an album, but an EP. Everything Everything‘s second album ARC was bumped from this list by the Palma Violets, so they were good, but not so super-cool original awesome. Sort of a more of the same but better release. So I couldn’t bring myself to put it on the list. Here are some albums who I enjoyed but did not have the time to give proper listens too;
Foals: Holy Fire
The National: Trouble Will Find Me.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Mosquito
And So I Watch You From Afar: All Hail Bright Futures
I did not in anyway enjoy James Blake and Daft Punk’s releases.