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Music - Page 4

  • Best Albums 2015

    Here it comes, the big list that everyone is talking about, Ant D's top 10 albums of 2015. For me 2015 was a good year musically, it saw a lot of my favourite artists returning with albums some of which were expected, some were surprises and one was the most highly anticipated album of my adult life.. Of course there were some disappointments and some pleasant surprises thrown in, I mean Justin Bieber's album was a bit of a winner but unfortunately for him not quite list worthy, so jumping straight in.

    jack-u-album-cover1-560x560.jpg10. Jack Ü - Skrillex & Diplo Presents

    OK, so maybe some Bieber got in, but only one track on probably my most surprising entry in this years list. Where are Ü now probably is my favourite track on the album but there are a number of really great collaborations with the likes of AlunaGeorge and 2 Chainz. I was sceptical on first listen but I just kept going back to it and re-listening. A really good dance record, good enough to keep the likes of The Skints, Carl Barat and Grimes out of the top 10.

     afdb29105bdd965c238e8e79b86a4ba8.jpg9. Circa Waves - Young Chasers

    This album from the Liverpool four piece was one of my hot tips for the year and on the whole it did not disappoint. From Circa Waves you know what you will be getting, a two and a half minute guitar driven Indie rock song and luckily for them that is pretty much exactly what I like though this album can get a bit samey if played through in one session. Amazingly on this debut 8 of the 13 tracks were released as singles albeit over the last 2 years. Very solid.

    847591c45b02d623699d4336e97fc565.jpg8. FFS - FFS

    This year has been so strong musically that when this collaboration between Franz Ferdinand and Sparks (Hence FFS) came out in the early parts of this year I was convinced that it would be a top 3 album but here it is languishing at number 8. It is by no means a classic piece of musicianship but as you would expect with both bands that are part of the project it is quirky and fun. I can't claim to know much of Sparks' back catalogue but this is definitely a fine addition to that of the Franz boys. Particular favourites include Johnny Delusional and Piss Off. 

    a488562845ffe3375487cf9594a788f3.jpg7. Wolf Alice - My Love is Cool

    Wolf Alice are a band that I had been keeping a close eye on for the last 2-3 years from their initial releases Bros and Fluffy which both appear on the album. Though last year it appeared they had taken a far heavier approach and so when My Love is Cool was released I didn't expect to be overawed but it was clear from first listen that I would be proved wrong. The album encompasses both their heavier and lighter material and combines them well into a very listenable record which was rewarded by a nomination for the Mercury Music Prize which unfortunately it did not win despite being amongst the favourites.  

    7a6bc81b4c9bc5a3e69df89a2d06a6a8.jpg6. Drenge - Undertow

    Drenge were 2013's surprise package but this year I was ready for it, the two piece have expanded to a three but still manage to keep the intimate sound that made their debut one of my favourites that year. The Loveless brothers have produced another album that I just had to keep going back to over the course of the year with the track Favourite Son my personal stand out. Its weird and rocky and great!

    ee0d3e3cefb21f8fcc8bd48cdd6b621b.jpg5. Palma Violets - Danger in the Club

    This album despite going in at number 5 on my list unfortunately has to go down as a little bit of a disappointment after their debut which was easily my favourite release of 2013. Danger in the Club was an unexpected surprise this year and of course did have some very good tracks on it including the title track Danger in the Club and Gout! Gang! Go! but this recording just didn't match up to their live performances. When I saw the band live just after the release the tracks sounded great but the intensity of the bands stage performance again has not been caught. Obviously at number 5 on my list it is still very much worth a listen but I would advise you to see the band live to get the real experience.

    5da24e470c12ef1cd0aef12203eadff7.jpg4. Many Things - Burn Together 

    This debut from the relatively unknown 3 piece (formerly 4 piece) has a special place in my heart. Lead singer Michael Tomlinson formerly fronted Australian band Yves Klein Blue who were brilliant, go listen so when I heard he was in a new London based band I couldn't wait to see them but the first time I did, me and my mate were the only 2 people excluding band and venue staff in attendance. A couple of years down the road and I have seen them play to full venues  and being fully appreciated. The only downer on the album for me was that I knew all but one song on the record and that I recognised from the live performances but I love it nevertheless. Dear one and Alpha Romeo will always be my favourites.

    FT_psfnp_700.jpg3. Frank Turner - Positive Songs for Negative People

    Despite the awful album cover this is a great album, Winchester's finest is back to his best. PS4NP as it has been abbreviated is Turner's 6th Studio album and my favourite since his 2nd Love, Ire & Song. PS4NP does what it says on the tin and is filled with upbeat folk songs about life actually being pretty good and this is epitomised by my favourite track on the album Get Better. Mr Turner also released a compilation album this year to commemorate 10 years of his solo career and I can't see him stopping any time soon. His song writing isn't revolutionary in style (although occasionally in subject matter) but he continues to release great records. Long may it continue.

    44d12126c870e647d91e4b0d9ed2dcdc.jpg2. Everything Everything - Get To Heaven

    This is the London 4-piece's 3rd Album and in my opinion their strongest to date at least it is the one that I have found most listenable straight away. With the bands two previous releases it has taken me a little while to warm to them whereas this hit all the right spots straight away. This was in no doubt helped by their performance that I witnessed during the week of release, it was amongst the best live shows I saw this year. A mixture of Indie and electro with often bizarre lyrics gets you through all emotions, being both hilarious and heart wrenching in places. Live No Reptiles was the stand out track but on CD I prefer Regret but there is not a miss throughout the 11 tracks.

    828cade7c941aaac3a7efa6700c712db.jpg1. The Libertines - Anthems for Doomed Youth

    Was there every any doubt that this was going to be the number 1 on my list? Easily the most eagerly awaited album of the year and frankly the most eagerly awaited in my lifetime. The Libertines have been my favourite band since 2004s eponymous The Libertines album and after the break up of the band shortly after I thought I would never get another but 11 years down the road and along came Anthems for Doomed Youth. Its true my anticipation was about 50/50 fear and excitement as it really could have gone either way with addiction afflicted front men, a look back at Carl and Pete's releases since the last Libertines record show that it really can be hit and miss with these two. Luckily though from the first few chord of Gunga Din, the first single off the album I was hooked. It was brilliant, different from old but wonderful nevertheless. The quality didn't falter as singles were released in drips and drabs until September and the full release. Out of my 10 most listened to tracks of the year, 6 of them are from this album, a resounding success and the video for Heart of the Matter although hounding is art at its finest! If you haven't listened yet you are a fool.

     

    There you have it. Sorry that the number 1. was so predictable but The Libertines are just the best band ever! No discussions about that it is just fact. Maybe I am getting soft but I am not even going to award any wooden spoons this year, there was no album that I was expecting things from that I didn't enjoy at least partially. Don't get me wrong I am sure there were plenty of bad albums out there.. actually now thinking about it I did listen to VV Brown - Glitch and struggle to make it through to the end but I was hardly expecting that to be ground breaking as she's not done anything I've liked since 2008.

    Another year over another just beginning and already a few confirmed releases that I am looking forward to. See you next year for more of the same.

    END

     

     

     

  • Top 25 Tracks of 2015

    You know the deal by now, 25 tracks all released either as a single or on an album in 2015 and no more than one track by any one artist ALTHOUGH I am allowing tracks by the same person under two separate guises I.E. one as a solo artist and one as part of a band. That MAY or my not be relevant..

    OK so here goes the list for 2015

     

    25. Fetty Wap - Trap Queen

    24. Excision - Bring The Madness (Ft. Pegboard Nerds)

    23. The Skints - This Town (Ft. Tippa Irie & Horseman)

    22. Beans on Toast - I'm Home When You Hold Me

    21. The Wombats - Greek Tragedy

    20. The Maccabees - Something Like Happiness

    19. Frankie & The Heartstrings - Think Yourself Lucky

    18. Jack Ü - Where are Ü now (Ft. Justin Bieber)

    17. LA Priest - OINO

    16. Circa Waves - My Love

    15. Many Things - Burn Together

    14. RatBoy - Sign On

    13. Grimes - Flesh Without Blood

    12. Child Care - Omega Grey

    11. Wolf Alice - Freazy

    10. Laura Marling - Strange

    9. Carl Barat & The Jackals - A Storm is Coming

    8. Palma Violets - Danger in the Club

    7. Drenge - Favourite Son

    6. Peter Doherty - Flags of the Old Regime

    5. Everything Everything - Regret

    4. FFS - Johnny Delusional

    3. Bloc Party - The Love Within

    2. Frank Turner - Get Better

    1. The Libertines - Gunga Din

     

    And there you have it, surprise surprise, in a year when my favourite band released their first new material in 11 years they go straight in at number one. If I would have allowed more than one track per artist the top 10 would have made very dull reading for that very reason. Even bending the rules there are 2 Pete and 2 Carl songs in there. A good year for guitar based music on the whole this year, a lot of my previous loves came back with songs this year but there was still room for one or two newbies.

    Believe me though, I am as surprised as anyone that I have a Justin Bieber amongst my favourites but it is a tune!

    As with last year I will provide you lucky people with a link to the playlist;

    Here!

     

    Another year bites the dust, enjoy!

    END

     

     

     

     

  • Best Albums 2014

    So here I am nearly at the end of May 2015 and I have only just got around to doing my best of 2014 list. I managed to get my best of tracks before the New Year but the albums I struggled with. Maybe this was because I had such a busy year and didn't get to listen to as many albums as I would have liked or maybe as I unfortunately think it wasn't a wonderful year for music. Nevertheless I have produced my list, better late than never.

    619ff170567b613a77e673cc586d984c.jpg10. Tune-Yards - Nikki Nack

    Tune-Yards is the brain child of New England musician Merrill Garbus, she records much of her music in very minimalist ways looping a drum, playing a ukulele and singing but manages somehow to create a big sound. Nikki Nack is Garbus' 3rd release, I first heard of her after her second, Whokill and have not looked back since. 'Water Fountain' is my favourite track on the album but the whole thing is filled with quirky little gems, definitely worth a listen.

     

     

    aa66daf9592070dc1808f1ce2664379a.jpg9. Spring Offensive - Young Animal Hearts

    I can't remember how I came to hear from Spring Offensive but once I heard 'Speak' I knew I was onto a winner. Spring Offensive were an Oxford based five piece and when I first listened the vocals reminded me of early tracks by frYars who himself made a bit of a comeback this year. Along with 'Speak', other stand outs on the album include 'Bodylifting' and Hengelo, expect sombre lyrics and a gentle electronic sound, a band that only through writing this list I realise have already split up, alas I will never see them play.

     

    b59502fc530a97b27cf7e35a34965b59.jpg8. Conor Oberst - Upside Down Mountain 

    I have been following the career of Mr. Oberst since I first heard Bright Eyes' 'First Day of my Life' back in 2003. 'I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning' is one of my favourite all time albums and was therefore near impossible that anything Conor Oberst would release after to compete. Unfortunately with each Bright Eyes release the quality was decreasing but this solo effort from Conor Oberst is the best thing he has done in ages. There is no one stand out track on this album but it works nicely as a playthrough, whether giving it full attention or just having it on in the background it's a good'un

     

    edfd289e38642d84bca1a9d09597bb01.jpg7. Milky Chance - Sadnecessary  

    This band I found completely by accident, when watching music TV in my room in Venice with my newly married wife. 'Flashed Junk Mind' came on and it was one of those moments where we both just looked at each other and knew we liked it and in the end we used it for our wedding video. I bumped into the band again on the FIFA 15 soundtrack with the song 'Down By The River' which gave the band some mainstream fame. Milky Chance are a two-piece indie band from Germany who have produced a very listenable debut album. 

     

    25b726d89de20b396f328808caa4c615.jpg6. Azealia Banks - Broke with Expensive Taste

    Now this album should have been released about two years previous. Ms. Banks' single '212', you know that really filthy not too subtle rap came out in 2012 to mass praise from both critics and the general public, she was to be the next big thing but delays begot delays and publicised arguments with her production company meant that the album didn't come out until 2014. It was though worth the wait though with tracks like 'Nude Beach a-go go' she proves she still has a cheeky edge and 'Chasing Time' was an instant banger. Unfortunately for Azealia though not everyone shared my enthusiasm and it fell a bit flat in the public eye.

     

    edcdd0774171a16059bc750bb49bf358.jpg5. Drowners - Drowners

    This was one of the first albums I listened to in 2014 being released in early 2014. I was awaiting this fairly eagerly having come across their single 'Luv, Hold me down' in the NME's On Repeat section in mid 2013. The band and that song especially have a very strong The Strokes vibe which can only be a good thing in my book. Hailing from the USA this is the bands 1st album and it is a very solid and listenable debut.

     

     

    09c922427b035866a311a2bd8e2298bc.jpg4. Jack White - Lazaretto

    The maestro returns with a superb album, although good I never really got into his first solo effort in the same way that I did The White Stripes but with this album I was reunited with a love of this man. Now more than just a musician, Jack is now the founder and head of Third Man Records who have a number of impressive bands under their guidance including the impressive Alabama Shakes. Lazaretto is as rawkus as anything that Jack White has done previously, the title track my particular highlight but from start to finish it is more than enjoyable.

     

    50404685da8b640ab34b96aedd0f1c76.jpg3. Bombay Bicycle Club - So Long, See You Tomorrow

    When I first heard BBC they were a bunch of 16 year olds about to undertake their GCSE's and played in a band at the weekends. The best part of 10 years later they are still recording and as this high entry shows, still making good music. The band's sound has changed a lot since those early days but this, their 4th album, retains all the elements that enticed me in the first place whilst keeping it fresh for a new audience. I wasn't a huge fan of their previous album, 2011's A Different Kind of Fix, that I felt was a step too far into a dancier sound but I think that they have now found the right balance.

     

    a4c43603d8f1cf5048613884b7d55fe7.jpg2. Beaty Heart - Mixed Blessings

    Every year there is an entry near the top of my list that appeared from nowhere and this year it is this, Beaty Heart's Mixed Blessings. Early in the year I heard Lekka Freakout and enjoyed it thoroughly but on first listen to the album it went straight over my head but when I saw the band supporting Catfish & The Bottlemen later in the year I really began to appreciate them and for about a month after I couldn't stop listening to the likes of Seafood and Banana Bread. An indie electro 3-piece their music has a surreal element as do their videos, which are made especially strange for me as the lead singer does have a striking resemblance to my cousin. Mixed Blessings is the bands first album although the band have been around for a few years, hopefully it won't be too long until their next.

    36bc554f9334254d7bf4001fdb1a25d6.jpg1. Jamie T - Carry on the Grudge

    No surprises at number one it is one of my favourite artists, Jamie T, with his 3rd album. The release itself was a bit of a surprise as nothing much had been heard of from the Wimbledon troubador in more than 5 years but when he released the single 'Don't You Find' from nowhere in the middle of the year, it was clear that he was back. This record sees Jamie taking a huge step from the style of music that originally brought him fame in the late 2000s, on the whole it has a fairly slow and lo-fi sound with a few faster paced snippets such as 'Zombie' thrown in for good measure. Unfortunately I missed out on the initial ticket release for his shows as they sold out in minutes but was lucky enough to see him play locally later in the year and although it wasn't my favourite live performance it is one performer I can cross off from my bucket list. The album though blew my mind and hence here it is as my number one album of 2014.

     

    Honourable mentions go to FKA Twigs whose LP1 was only just pipped out of the top 10 and Fuse ODG who would have made this list had it been based just on singles but his album tracks just weren't strong enough. The wooden spoon goes to my beloved Bellowhead, like Akala last year I think I was almost expecting too much from their latest album and it did not come up to scratch. Maybe if I was listening to the album objectively I would have enjoyed it more but unfortunately for them I can't and they do not make my list this time. 

    So there you have it, as I said on the whole not a tremendous year for music but the bonus of writing this half way through 2015 is that I have already heard a lot of what  has come out in 2015 and it has already proved to be a bit of a belter. Hopefully I will be able to get 2015's list out in a more punctual fashion!

     

    END.