Getting to listen to and review and insane number of new releases is something of a double-edged sword. Time was when I’d have to go out and buy music if I wanted to hear it and I’d play it to death, and then play it some more. Now I’m exposed to more music than I can even begin to assimilate. Thankfully, I get the majority of albums I want to hear sent to me in the name of work, and better still, I discover incredible bands I would have never otherwise encountered. It does mean that I forget a lot of what I’ve heard, even when it’s really good.
So, what this list represents more than anything is the albums that stuck. That I played on throughout the year, and that I’ll be playing into 2015 and probably beyond. It could have been much longer, because despite what you’ve probably read each year for the last decade about the decline of music, there’s still an awful lot of fantastic and extremely exciting, moving music being released. You just need to know where to look, and won’t hear it in the charts or on mainstream radio.
Having penned some 450 reviews this year, I’ve kept the list down to 20 releases because any more would be daft. They’re not in rank order, but a vaguely chronological order of release, and yes, it’s entirely subjective. It’s my list . I make no apologies for it, for any bias towards Leeds bands or guitar-based music, and I’m not going to bicker over inclusions / exclusions because it’s my list. And here it is.
Brace/Choir – Turning On Your Double
Arrows of Love – Everything’s Fucked
Swans – To Be Kind
OFF! – Wasted Years
Post War Glamour Girls – Pink Fur
Her Name is Calla – Navigator
Xiu Xiu – Angel Guts: Red Classroom
Space Siren – If You Scream…
Astronauts – Hollow Ponds
VANIISH – Memory Work
Lawrence English – The Wilderness of Mirrors
DZ Deathrays – Black Rat
Esben & the Witch – A New Nature
Black Moth – Condemned to Hope
Earth – Primitive & Deadly
Amplifier – Mystoria
Godflesh – A World Lit Only by Fire
The Twilight Sad – Nobody Wants to be Here, Nobody Wants to Leave
Interpol – El Pintor
Scott Walker & Sunn O))) – Soused
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