We Are The Physics have been one of my favourite bands since seeing them play early one morning at T in the Park in 2007. This, their second album, develops the sound of their debut and expands upon it: everything sounds bigger, fuller, more accomplished. Every song is a polished nuggest of sci-fi-infused punk, and the band have clearly progressed as songwriters and musicians. The sense of fun found on their debut is still there, though: song topics include the redundancy of male genitalia, cancer, and the web-based black hole that is Facebook. No, it really is fun... where are you going? Come back!
This one is a little bit of a cheat: technically, Prisoner was released in 2011 in The Jezabels’ native Australia, but since it didn’t make an appearance in the UK until early this year I feel it’s worthy of inclusion. Plus, I make the rules, so there. Building on their acclaimed trio of intricately interlinked EPs, The Jezabels have outdone themselves with the quality of this album. If you’ll excuse the cliché, it’s all killer no filler and every song is well balanced and well placed in the record. Although their sound is a bit of a throwback, they still manage to be extremely fresh and exciting.
3. Here We Go Magic – A Different Ship
I happened upon this album by accident while idly flicking through the pages of a well-known music magazine, and almost glossed over it. I’m glad I didn’t. Constructed from repeated layers and riffs and sounds, there’s something a bit different – a bit minimalist – to Here We Go Magic’s indie rock. It’s certainly inventive and strikes all the right chords, making it a sublime listen.
4. Rodrigo y Gabriela & C.U.B.A. – Area 52
I’ve loved Rodrigo y Gabriella for years, but when I heard they were recording a record with a Cuban dance band I was a little bit sceptical. I shouldn’t have been. Area 52 is a whole lot of fun bundled up on a shiny plastic disc, and listening to it never fails to make me smile. Although all the songs have been featured on the duo’s previous albums, they have been completely reworked and expanded and, in a number of cases, sound like completely new tracks. It really is an incredible project, and I hope there’s more to come like this in the future.
5. Stanley – Animals With Amazing Disguises
6. Kyla La Grange – Ashes
I discovered Kyla through a free sampler CD and was instantly mesmerised by her vocal style and songwriting prowess. Seeing her live earlier this year cemented my admiration, and listening to this album sums that all up perfectly: it's a goldmine of perfect pop.
Experiencing a line-up change is never easy for any band, but Katerwaul seem to have taken it in their stride. Recorded, I am led to believe, almost wholly live, this is a stunning album of post-rock riffs and heartfelt lyrics.
Another top band from around Aberdeen, Carson Wells have been impressing local gig-goers, me included, for a few years now. Having released their debut album this year, exclusively on vinyl, it was definitely worth the wait: it’s emo-tinged shouty punk rock of the highest order.
9. Be Like Pablo – The New Adventures
This is quite possibly the happiest album I own, with its synthy choruses and catchier-than-the-flu hooks. It never fails to cheer me up when I’m feeling blue, or keep me smiling when I’m at my happiest.
The Cellophane Flowers take indie and pop and everything in between, and combine them to create something astoundingly atmospheric. Rooted in 80s new wave and punk, their music instantly feels comfortably familiar and excitingly new all at the same time.
King Charles – LoveBlood
The Temper Trap – The Temper Trap