Random Ramblings; books, music, films, other stuff…
So here it is my top 16 albums of the year. Why 16 you ask?
It made a neat and tidy little album artwork collage, that’s why! Those of you who know me will know I’m pretty eclectic in my tastes and this probably shows in my choices. I’ve not ranked them in any particular order as it’s too hard to call.
I’ve made a gorgeous little Spotify playlist of these musical delights here, please have a listen and let me know where we agree or disagree in the comments.
Django Django Django Django
I first heard “Default” on 6Music and was instantly obsessed with finding out more about this band. This is a stonking debut which will make you pull shapes like you’ve never pulled shapes before. If you ever pop round to mine and I’m dancing around, alone, like a lunatic this will be the cause. This is a band that sound like no other. Fresh, funky, awesome.
Alt-J An Awesome Wave
Layered, beautiful music at its best. A few standout tracks on this album; “Tesselate”, “Breezeblocks”, “Something Good” but the more you listen the more you’ll grow to appreciate every single one. Bonus point for the strip show from Gwil at the Cockpit gig.
The XX Coexist
Was a bit on the fence with this one to begin with and wasn’t sure it lived up to the precedent set by their debut. I was wrong. I’ve grown to like it. A lot. Lush, chilled-out tunes. Pour some wine, light some candles, listen.
Paloma Faith Fall To Grace
Bit mainstream but I love this woman. This album is sublime. Great vocals, heartfelt lyrics that rip my heart out of my chest in places. Cannot wait to see her live in January. I fully expect to well up during at least one track.
Hot Chip In Our Heads
I’ve never failed to adore any of Hot Chip’s albums and this is no exception. Quirky, dance tunes made by geeks. What’s not to love. See these guys live and dance like a total loon.
Richard Hawley Standing At The Sky’s Edge
Sheffield’s finest. One of the greatest singer-songwriters this country has and so under-known. This album is a masterpiece from start to finish. Quite a few of these tracks take on a new instruments-blasting feel than the typical Hawley work but this album is a tour-de-force.
Michael Kiwanuka Home Again
Dreamy vocals in an old school soul style. Had the pleasure of seeing him at the best gig venue in Leeds (Brudenell, need you ask?) in February. Simply awesome.
Alabama Shakes Boys & Girls
Loved them since I first heard “Hold On” and after getting over my initial shock of discovering that the lead vocal is a woman whilst watching Later with Jools I gave the album a listen. A rock band with a retro soul sound.
Martin Rossiter The Defenestration of St Martin
Heart-breaking, soul-wrenching songs from the former Gene frontman. I was a massive fan of Gene’s output as a slightly melancholic teenager and Rossiter’s vocals remain as touching and emotive as ever. Sheer class.
Grouplove Never Trust a Happy Song
Indie popsters debut album. What I love about this album is the variety in the tracks. After a few listens you realise there’s actually quite a bit of melancholy here in tracks that at first glance appear upbeat.
Emeli Sande Our Version of Events
Mainstream again but I make no apologies here. I know she’s hyped and over-promoted but that doesn’t detract from what this is: a great album. Excellent tunes from start to finish backed up by amazing vocals (which for the record sound even better live – no auto tuning here).
Jake Bugg Jake Bugg
Awesome debut from this young British talent. Superb lyrics and catchy tunes. Very Dylan-esque.
Jake White Blunderbuss
I love Jack White’s vocals. I was a little nervous of what I’d think of his first solo offering but shouldn’t have worried. Some genius (if a little bitter) lyrics make this an excellent achievement.
Mala Mala in Cuba
Here goes the story: Gilles Peterson (if you don’t tune into his 6Music show, 3pm, Saturdays you’re missing out!) challenges dubstep star to mix his genre with the traditional music of Cuba. This is the result. And it works. Great.
The Lumineers The Lumineers
A late entry and a recent discovery of mine. Judging by what I’ve seen on Twitter I’m about 15 years outside their typical fan base but I love this album. “Ho Hey” is one of the finest indie/ pop tracks I’ve ever heard and I particularly love “Dead Sea” which features in the Spotify playlist (see link above).
Of Monsters And Men My Head is an Animal
Shiny, jangly, indie pop. “Little Talks” is one of my favourite tracks of the year. The album is similarly rewarding. Lots of chants and drums make this sound like a jolly-merry Icelandic sing-along. Catchy and delicious.
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History teacher at Stephen Perse Foundation, Cambridge. Always learning, and eager to connect.
Pythagorus 572 - 497 b.c.
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