As the end of the year rapidly approaches, here is the only End-of-Year-List that you need to read!
So 2014 is over, well almost. Will this year be considered a great vintage like 1994, 2000 and 2004, or will it be considered a no go area like 1999. Only time will tell. All that remains is for this list to get going and for us to try and work out the quality of 2014’s vintage.
The first award is for Independent Album of the Year
Oliver Wilde-Red Tide Opal in the Loose Womb
Compilation of the Year
Speedy Wunderground Year 1
Re-Issue of the Year
Brainiac 5-When Silence Was Sound 1977-1980
Soundtrack of the Year
Tyler Bates & Lorn-Killzone
Live Album of the Year
Nucleus with Leon Thomas: Live 1970
Dance Album of the Year
Hip-Hop Album of the Year
Death Grips-Niggas on the Moon
Metal Album of the Year
Mastodon-Once More ‘Round the Sun
Top 10 Songs of the Year
Now we get to the main course, the Top 10 Albums of the Year…
Hailing from Bournemouth, Yoofs have come along way since their debut album in 2011. Channelling the sounds, and spirit of the late 1960’s and 1970, with their effortless wordplay they have crafted an album of songs that once you start, is hard to stop listening to.
- Can Can Heads-Butter Life
Jazz Shronk never sounded so good as it does on Butter Life. While this isn’t easy listening in any way shape, or form, it is still a beguiling album that requires many visits to understand its skewed 48 minutes.
- Malachai-Beyond Ugly
Skewing Hip-Hop, Psychedelica and indie rock is never an easy thing, but Bristol’s Malachai does it with ease and panache. It’s been rumoured that Beyond Ugly will be their last album. Ultimately this will be a sad thing, if it happens, but if this is the last album they make together, at least they’ve ended on a massive high!
- Tyrannosaurus Dead-Flying Ant Day
Flying Any Day is one of the few albums on this list where the lyrics are more important than the music. I’m not taking anything away from the instrumentation of these 10 tracks, but the way Billy Lowe tells a story on every track is flawless. Some of the lyrics are straight, you know immediately what he’s getting at, whereas others take a while to understand. For the best listening experience, make sure you have the lyric sheet out while listening to the album. Outstanding stuff!
- Kate Tempest-Everybody Down
The favourite for this year’s Mercury Music Prize, is an album that doesn’t just need a lyric sheet, it needs a novel (which luckily is coming out next year). Everybody Down is a story about living in London, but it could easily be set in your town, and how that environment effects the main characters. It’s chocked full of mental nights out, drug deals, come downs and ultimately love. Also it’s very funny in places and chocked full of pathos. This is an album you need to live, not just listen to.
- Miguel Baptista Benedict-meek(ch)o
Last year Miguel Baptista Benedict released Super(b)-Child-Ran. It was a Lo-Fi masterpiece which filled your head with scratchy guitars, haunting pianos and a sense of hope for the future. This year he’s done it again with meek(ch)o. While it isn’t as immediate as Super(b)-Child-Ran, it is just as good. Clocking in at 24 minutes it’s one of the shortest albums on the list, but at times it packs more a punch than the longest! This is something that should not be missed!
- Hollie Poetry-Versus
Spoken Word has come a long way this year. I credit a lot of it to this artist. Hollie McNish AKA Hollie Poetry doesn’t write about how blue the sky is, or how much in love she is, she tackles BIG issues, and taboo topics. On opening track Embarassed is about how women are made to feel bad for breastfeeding in public, yet it’s acceptable to have adverts for bras and billboards. Bungalows and Biscuit Tins is about how old people shouldn’t be stuffed in homes, they should be embraced and their knowledge gleaned from them. Mathematics is about immigration, and these aren’t even the best poems on the album! As an added bonus, there is a second album which adds music to McNish’s poems. This added musicality adds something to the words and creates something new. This isn’t Hip-Hop/Grime by numbers though, oh no, as much thought has gone into the glitches and beats as the words and commas in the poems!
- of Arrowe Hill-A Conspiracy of Clocks
Liverpool’s finest are back with their best album in years. Returning to what they do best, blues psych rockers. Topics discussed are the supernatural, nights out, laments about love and the old favourite dying. While this might sound on paper, or screen, like a bit of a bleakfest, the way Adam Easterbrook plays with words and melodies means, by the end you feel uplifted and elated.
- Pere Ubu-Carnival of Souls
Ohio’s Avant-Garage’s Pere Ubu return with second album in two years. Carnival of Souls with their most immediate and enjoyable album since 1991. Each listen throws up a difference experience, either their David Thomas’ less-is-more lyrical approach, or the bands faux Chinese whispers recording style. On Carnival of Souls, Pere Ubu have made the album they’ve always hinted at, while never giving up any of their creative control. It looks like we’re at the dawn of another Golden Age of Ubu, and as Thomas once said Long Live Pere Ubu!
1. Kate Tempest-Brand New Ancients
On Brand New Ancients Kate Tempest has basically written history. It’s the history of three families in South London. It shows where they came from, where then went and where they ended. It shows their interaction with family and how they made, and kept friends. It shows that there is hope, no matter how bad things seem to get. It shows there is always love, and that love might be just round the corner, or in the next pub you go to. It shows a mirror to the world, all it’s good and bad. But what it really shows is talent. It shows talent and scope. Instead of writing a piece about herself Tempest has pushed herself and created a whole world. She has taken Dylan Thomas’ idea of community from Under Milk Wood and re-imagined it in the UK. Every character contained in its 78 minutes is as real as anyone I’ve ever met. This is possibly the greatest debut album that has ever been released, and a worthy Number 1 album this year!
So there you have it. Another year wrapped up. All that is left is to count down to Midnight with my nearest and dearest and have a well-earned pint of Guinness, alright two as its New Years.
HAPPY NEW YEARS YEAH?!?