A lot of the albums I’ve loved this year have been loud and brash, firing first and asking questions never, but my favourite is the exact opposite. The Earth Is Flat is a subtler record, made up of delicate finger-picked guitars and ukuleles, warm electronics and loose rhythmic accompaniments. Although it came out near the beginning of 2013, I knew it would be nigh-on impossible to knock it off the top spot; each song is so soulful, the album as a whole brimming full of emotion. It’s just a wonderful collection of music from an immensely talented musician.
Holy Fire is an extraordinary album. Truly brilliant. In places it’s heavy, and at others it’s Foals at their most intricate best. Lead single Inhaler was a thunderous reintroduction to the band after 3 years out of the studio, and the album just builds upon it. Every track is a winner, with some really great hooks and soaring vocals throughout. The power and energy that seeps out of this album’s every pore is electrifying.
This might just be the ultimate summer soundtrack EP. Not just because of the song titles, which include Beachcomber and Ice Cream, but because Poor Things’ upbeat indie-garage exudes sunshine. Rarely is a release so much fun to listen to, with jangly guitars and belt-along choruses to while away the summer hours. Hurricane Poor Things shows a great deal of growth for the band in both their songwriting and musicianship and, with their debut full-length on the horizon, serves as a perfect appetiser for what’s to come.
Franz Ferdinand aren’t a band prone to rushing things. Always taking a few years off between albums, they invariably come back revitalised and ready to party. Stripping away most of the synthesisers that filled their last effort, album number 4 instead sees them return to their spiky, art-rock roots. It’s a triumphant move, each song as catchy and memorable as you’d expect. From the stomp-along happiness of the title track to the swaggering Love Illumination, this is a magnificent record.
The first time I heard Pond on the radio, I immediately left my desk, walked to the nearest record shop, and bought their album. They’re just that good. A real throwback to the psychedelic rock of the 70s, Hobo Rocket – apart from bearing an amazing name – is a rifftastic explosion of joyful rock. It’s not without its quieter moments, though, and Pond show that they are versatile and talented musicians: the enormous rock behemoth Xanman is balanced out nicely with gentler ballad O Dharma.
This is just great. Sparrow and the Workshop have long been one of my favourite bands, and this latest release sees them take a slightly darker path while still retaining the folky essence of their music. This is a heavier, brooding album that smoulders away beautifully.
Long before Les Revenants became one of my favourite TV series of the year, Mogwai's soundtrack had become a firm favourite album. Perfectly capturing the tone of the show, it's a delicate and fragile body of music, with an undercurrent of menace; it's sinister yet welcoming like a warm embrace. It's quite incredible.
8. Fat Goth – Stud
I remember going to see Fat Goth for the first time and being blown away by the power of their full frontal rock. Their second album Stud replicates that perfectly: the riffs are epic and the songs are genius. This is an album that has to be played loud.
I’ve been waiting for Marionettes’ debut album for a long time now, so when it was released at the end of the year it snuck its way onto my list. More than any of their previous EPs, this really captures the live energy of the band and showcases some of their finest songwriting to date.
You can always count on The Little Kicks to produce something magical. Mixing even more vintage synths into their cool indie rock, this is a tighter and more accomplished sound for a band who just seem to get better and better. The Little Kicks have really found their groove, and I can’t wait to hear what else is to come.
Black Market Serotonin – Something from Nothing
Cheatahs – Extended Plays
David Bowie – The Next Day
Everything Everything – Arc
Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse
Golden Grrrls – Golden Grrrls
Phoenix – Bankrupt!
The Physics House Band – Horizons/Rapture