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.
10. 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.
9. 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.
8. 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.
7. 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.
6. 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!
5. 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.
4. 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.
3. 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.
2. 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.
1. 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.