I know, it’s already January 2017 – but better late than never…
Having spent a large chunk of 2016 pretty much immobile, I haven’t managed to pay my favourite record stores the usual regular visits over the last eight months or so – which means I have been very grateful to the good friends (they know who they are) who have helped out by providing my fix of new music, especially during the latter part of the year. None of them will be surprised that a high proportion of their selections appear on this list!
As usual, this is a very personal and fairly eclectic list, and consists solely of the albums I enjoyed the most in 2016 – I tend to ignore media end of year lists, and focus instead on the music I actually like instead of the bands and albums the music press tell me I should be into. Inevitably, they occasionally get it right and there is some crossover with my list, but compiling these choices is all so subjective anyway…
After all those Christmas blog posts, it’s time for another seasonal tradition on Another Kind Of Mind – my albums of the year list. As usual, I’ve ignored all the end of year ‘best of’ lists in every newspaper and music publication: these are the albums that I’ve personally loved most or found particularly interesting in 2015 (and yes, it’s been a good year for metal!). They’re listed alphabetically, since we’d all be waiting here until next Christmas if I tried to put them in any sort of order…
- Deafheaven – New Bermuda
- Death Cab For Cutie – Kintsugi
- Faith No More – Sol Invictus
- FFS – FFS
- Four Tet – Morning/Evening
- Iron Maiden – Book of Souls
- Kylesa – Exhausting Fire
- Leftfield – Alternative Light Source
- Lianne La Havas – Blood
- Little Boots – Working Girl
- Napalm Death – Apex Predator-Easy Meat
- Paradise Lost – The Plague Within
- PiL – What The World Needs Now…
- Run The Jewels – Meow The Jewels
- Slayer – Repentless
- Sleater-Kinney – No Cities To Love
- The Charlatans – Modern Nature
- The Chemical Brothers – Born In The Echoes
- The Selecter – Subculture
- Teeth of the Sea – Highly Deadly Black Tarantula
- Therapy? – Disquiet
I did, however, manage to put my Top 5 songs of the year in some kind of order for the Festive 50, and you can find them here.
These are not the ‘best’ albums of 2014, because that is nigh on impossible to judge objectively – and everyone’s taste is different. Instead, this is a list (arranged alphabetically rather than in any specific order or rank) of the albums that I particularly enjoyed or was particularly struck by over the last year. I’ve ignored all the magazine/blog/website ‘best of’ lists and gone for the albums I actually like, not the ones that are considered especially hip or cool (because, let’s face it, I’m neither of those things!). Feel free to let me know what you think….
Antemasque – Antemasque
Aphex Twin – Syro
Behemoth – The Satanist
Earth – Primitive & Deadly
Electric Wizard – Time To Die
First Aid Kit – Stay Gold
Goat – Commune
Hookworms – The Hum
Inspiral Carpets – Inspiral Carpets
Wilko Johnson & Roger Daltrey – Going Back Home
Killer Be Killed – Killer Be Killed
King Creosote – From Scotland With Love
Johnny Marr – Playland
Mogwai – Rave Tapes
Thurston Moore – The Best Day
Bob Mould – Beauty & Ruin
Grant Nicholas – Yorktown Heights
Pharmakon – Bestial Burden
Royal Blood – Royal Blood
St. Vincent – St. Vincent
The Juan McLean – In A Dream
The Wytches – Annabel Dream Reader
Sharon Van Etten – Are We There
Wo Fat – The Conjuring
Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes
Other interesting things released in 2014 that are also worth a mention:
Pantera – Far Beyond Bootleg: Live From Donington 1994
Pixies – Doolittle 25
Soundgarden – Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path
Teeth of the Sea – A Field in England: Re-Imagined [EP]
Since 2013 has finally drawn to a close (and since so many people asked me to), I’ve compiled the now-traditional end-of-year list of my favourite albums. As far as I’m concerned, 2013 has been a very interesting year for music. I’ve certainly been listening to more new albums over the last twelve months than I have done for a very long time – particular thanks must go to the #twitterindiecrew for all their excellent suggestions and recommendations (you know who you are!) – although this has also been a year for (re)discovering many old favourites too, which is perhaps reflected in the choice of artists and albums below…
10) MARK LANEGAN – IMITATIONS:
I confess that I find it pretty difficult to resist almost anything Lanegan does; I could listen that wonderful, world-weary voice of his sing the phone book and still love it. One of the joys of his voice is the sheer range of styles he can sing – everything from the blistering rock roar of his work with Screaming Trees to his delicate take on some of the well-known standards and more obscure tracks that appear here. Highlights include a lovely version of Nick Cave’s ‘Brompton Oratory’ (and I am not a Nick Cave fan), an astonishing reworking of the Bond theme ‘You Only Live Twice’, a gorgeous, heartbreaking take on Neil Sedaka’s ‘Solitaire’ and, to my delight, a deliciously melancholy version of Brecht and Weill’s classic ‘Mack The Knife’. This album is a fascinating treat for the music lover.
Happy new year to you all! This post may be a little belated, but I’m blaming the dreaded lurgy which has had me coughing and spluttering since the week before Christmas (and a very public bah humbug to whoever it was that gave me their nasty germs!).
Anyway, back to the music. This list is in no particular order and was compiled after a thoroughly unscientific study involving a rather enjoyable examination of which albums spent the most time glued to my CD player/laptop during 2010. I don’t care about trends or genre fashions – this is just music I’ve loved over the last twelve months.
Akala – ‘Doublethink’:
Fresh, fierce, passionate, intelligent, eclectic and with a whole lot to say, this is easily my album of the year. One of the most talented and interesting MCs I have encountered in a long while, Akala mixes his clever and politically conscious lyrics and spoken word with a fiery combination of hip hop, electro, breakbeats, grime and heavy guitar riffs to attention-grabbing effect.
Unlike some politically conscious MCs and bands, both the music and the lyrics are clearly of equal importance to Akala, and the production on Doublethink has been closely constructed with great care to meld these two factors to create a (mostly) satisfying whole. It’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into this album, but it still manages to sound fresh and raw.