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30 December 2015

Favourite Albums 2015

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These albums are the ones that I have genuinely spent the most time listening to for various reasons, the main one being that I adored them. That is how it should be. Nothing more, nothing less.

Miaoux MiaouxSchool Of Velocity (Chemikal Underground)
(Buy)

My favourite album of 2015, Miaoux Miaoux, aka Julian Corrie has produced one of the finest electronic dance albums to come out of Scotland. Packed full of spin-tingling moments, it’s brimming with energy, ideas and showcases one of the most talented producers of my generation.

Admiral FallowTiny Rewards (Nettwerk)
(Buy)

In my opinion, the best album of their career so far. This album is in every sense a complete body of work and its intimate whispers are as affecting as its mammoth crescendos. Tiny Rewards is a true representation of a band who are now masterfully in control of their craft.

LeftfieldAlternative Light Source (BMG)
(Buy)

Having resurrected Leftfield as a solo project, Neil Barnes has surpassed previous releases and made an audacious statement to his peers. Showing no signs of fatigue, this is an explosive dance record.

Kill The WavesThe One That Could Have Been (Bloc+Music)
(Buy)

There are a multitude of strengths to this record. For a band so young, it carries them way beyond their years and sounds like their 2nd or 3rd output as opposed to their debut. Moving from gravity and excellence to pointing, at times, to darker territories, this is fantastic.

Young FathersWhite Men Are Black Men Too (Big Dadda)
(Buy)

There is often this selfish fear that an artist you love will not match what you deem previously as unsurpassable excellence, but Young Fathers did just that. Staying true to their roots, this is compositional innovation packed with thunderous thump-beats.

Hudson MohawkeLantern (Warp Records)
(Buy)

I didn’t think that Hudmo could develop more as an artist, but this album has gone beyond that. A tremendously varied album ranging from the downtempo to the more frenetic tracks, Lantern is a masterpiece.

A Mote Of DustA Mote Of Dust (Babi Yaga Records)
(Buy)

The welcome return of Aereogramme’s Craig B, A Mote Of Dust goes beyond being a standard acoustic album. With its fluctuating compositions and shifts in mood, it glistens with ambience whilst delivering the difficult task of conveying pure human intimacy.

Best Girl AthleteCarve Every Word (Fitlike Records)
(Buy)

16-year-old Katie Buchan and her father Charlie have produced a record that explodes with song after song of endlessly replayable, perfect acoustic pop. A beautifully optimistic record, Carve Every Word lets you forget the chaos of life and leaves you floating.

TurtleIt’s A Good Thing (Self Release)
(Buy)

An incredible electronic journey, Jon Cooper’s self-release is a combination of interweaved rhythms, seamless progressions and dark textures.

Kathryn Josephbones you have thrown me and blood i’ve spilled  (Hits The Fan)
(Buy)

The power and message of the record is undeniable, this is without a doubt the most emotionally affecting album of 2015. Joseph weaves her echo-coated, orphic story and nothing will prepare you for what you are about to hear and feel.

Garden Of ElksA Distorted Sigh (Song, By Toad)
(Buy)

One of the most criminally underrated records of 2015, A Distorted Sigh seems to find a balance between melody and discord. This glides through an effortless set of muscular songs taking you from skulled-out rock to pop punk and back again.

ErrorsLease Of Life (Rock Action)
(Buy)

A trailblazing record for Errors, Lease Of Life pulses with pure imagination. They pull off being complex and poppy at the same time. This is a wonderful expedition of kaleidoscopic sound.

Black internationalA Lesson In Repression (Good Grief)
(Buy)

A magnificent rock opus from the Edinburgh duo that faithfully represents their live sound. Crackling with instant energy, Black International sound completely at ease and have produced a thoroughly engaging album.

LizzoBig Girl Small World (BGSW)
(Buy)

A thousand times more exciting than a lot of people on her playing field right now, Lizzo is a pioneer, an influencer and a true artist. Her unique mix of hip hop, R&B and soul is amplified by her fierce attitude and kinetic artistry. This is a revelation.

VasaColours (Black Sheep Records)
(Buy)

This was definitely a highlight of 2015 and as a collaborative force, Vasa established themselves as the most exciting post-rock band in Scotland. Rampant with ideas, they produced merciless hooks and riffs. A technically stupefying album.

Pure Bathing CulturePray For Rain (Memphis Industries)
(Buy)

The Portland duo hit hard with an album jammed with clever electronic and lyrical trinkets whilst maintaining a very organic songwriting approach. A staggeringly consistent album.

And So I Watch You From AfarHeirs (Sargent House)
(Buy)

Having put on the best live show of 2015, ASIWYFA produced an album of atmospheric melodies, beatific choral vocals and a throbbing, omnipresent kick in the gut. They never fail to put the biggest smile on my face.

PinactStand Still And Rot (Kanine Records)
(Buy)

With a stirring strength, this record is charismatic, expressive and shakes with a poignant power. This is a righteous album and one that has forecast a very successful road ahead for this trio.

C DuncanArchitect (Fat Cat Records)
(Buy)

Chris Duncan hikes through utopian landscapes evoked by his uniquely soothing voice, casting intricate instrumentation in impressive arrangements to captivate your imagination.

Hector BizerkThe Waltz Of Modern Psychiatry (Self Release)
(Buy)

The duo’s original score for Nicola McCartney’s play Crazy Jane is uniquely riveting. An individual evocation of life delivering the band’s most vivid imagery to date. This is a mesmerising listen.

Sufjan StevensCarrie & Lowell  (Asthmatic Kitty)
(Buy)

This is as open a record as you are going to listen to. A perfect diary of heartfelt raw emotion. It’s life documented – the good, the bad and the unthinkable. There are so many precise subliminal moments that dictate your own emotions, yet Stevens does so in the most eloquent way.

Little SimzA Curious Tale Of Trials + Persons (Age 101 Music)
(Buy)

With flights of experimentation dropped into commercial R&B, this lures listeners into challenging fields. This is simply her own sound and manifests itself into something deeply engaging.

The Deadline ShakesZealots (Flowers In The Dustbin)
(Buy)

Striking a balance between ambition and pop instinct, this is a wonderfully poetic record threaded with classic indie snippets. A fascinating and addictive album.

BjörkVulnicura (One Little Indian)
(Buy)

An album packed full of love, this is a magical journey and another door to the untouchable world of one of the greatest artists on earth. She continues to test listeners, but also create the most timeless and bewitching moments you are likely to hear. This is electronic-pop exploration of classic themes, but on a level that is otherworldly.

Hop AlongPainted Shut (Saddle Creek)
(Buy)

Swinging from ear-blistering riffs to charming sprawls, Frances Quinlan’s vocals are a central part of this record for me. In savage bursts, her raspy delivery goes for the jugular, but still manages to bring a tear to my eye.

Numbers Are FutileSunlight On Black Horizon (Song, By Toad)
(Buy)

Originally from Lisbon and Athens, this duo are now based in Scotland. This is an achingly brutal and intense record. Rich with imagination and a strong showcase of the duo’s cultural roots, it is fresh, mysterious and completely honest.

CocoRosieHeartache City (Self Release)
(Buy)

An idiosyncratic, glorious, and sometimes mischievous album, Heartache City is irresistible. They return to their sinister, yet delicate storytelling with theatrical grandeur.

Playlist:

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