By Jack Holmes
It’s the end to another year of music, some good, some bad and some, even great. Here’s my top 10 albums of the year, happy hunting music lovers.
10. Ryan Adams – 1989
It’s not every year that a cover album makes it into one of my lists, but Ryan Adams cover of 1989 is something perfectly unique. Covering the hugely popular Taylor Swift album is a brave move for any artist, can anyone really top a sound so soon after its release? The trick, it seems, is not to try, Adams takes Swifts songs and breathes new life into them. The effect doesn’t come purely from the songs themselves either, but in their comparison to their originals, each a testament to what Adams has managed to create.
9. Sleater Kinney – No Cities To Love
One of key bands in the 90’s Riot Grrrl movement, Sleater Kinney retired back in 2007. Reforming in 2014, they’ve been yet another of 2015’s surprise comebacks. With an interesting sound merging indie rock with their classic Riot Grrrl punk sound, Sleater Kinney have reinvented themselves for a modern audience, and offer up a brilliantly catchy album to entice new fans, and return Sleater Kinney to the world of modern music.
8. METZ -II
Metz’s unique style is captured once again on their follow up to their 2012 self-titled debut. An indie grunge album brought to us by the infamous Sub Pop Records, it doesn’t quite hit the heights of their debut, but the unforgiving blitz of riffs are well worth a listen alone.
7. Father John Misty – I love You, Honeybear
One of the weirder entries here. You might not have heard of Joshua Tillman, but with his band history including Saxon Shore, Fleet Foxes and Demon Hunter, you may have heard his work. Also releasing his album on Sub Pop (the same label as Metz), Misty offers up a very different soul searching sound. Like Springsteen’s dark, tormented and far more honest shadow, it’s not easy listening, but give him a chance and he might just convert you.
6. Mini Mansions – The Great Pretenders
Featuring Queens of the Stone Ages bass player, Michael Shuman, Mini Mansions were expected to sound in the same stoner rock vein. Never has this been less the case than on their second album. Full of dance inciting indie pop psychedelia, and even Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys, The Great Pretender is a perfect pick me up for those long Uni days.
5. Wolf Alice – MY Love is Cool
Wolf Alice quickly become the talk of the music industry in 2015, with a stand out performance at Leeds Festival, as well as placing second in the UK charts. Their debut is an eclectic collection of indie alt rock with something for pretty much everyone, check it out.
4. Du Blonde – Welcome Back to Milk
Newcastle upon thyme singer Beth Houghton’s new persona of Du Blonde came to her at the Bowie exhibition in London. Add some inspiration from punk and some 70’s psychedelia, and you get a pretty good idea of what to expect from “Welcome Back to Milk”. Big, Loud and unapologetically out there.
3. Drenge – Undertow
Named after the “noise we would be playing on stage”, Drenge stay true to their name and offer an oddly haunting punk grunge hybrid that perfectly recreates the eerie Peak District forests the album is inspired by.
2. Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes– Blossom
By far the best punk album to come out of 2015. The ex Gallows and Pure Love singer returns to his vocal routes for an angry, often politically charged onslaught that reminds us all that British punk scene is far from dying.
1. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit
Topping the list is the Australian singer songwriter and her unique blend of indie rock and poetry style lyrics. Her brutal honesty and focus on the everyday give us one of the most grounded albums, not just of the year, but in living memory.
Other notable releases: Frank Turner – Positive Songs for Negative People, 50 Shades of Grey Soundtrack, Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly, Chvrches – Every Eye Open, Jamie XX – In Colour, Laura Marling – Short Movies and Viet Cong – Viet Cong