So the last post gave you the groups that didn’t make the list. So let’s start with the Top 11.
The Wombats are at Number 11. Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life is a great pop indie blend of music that can make moods swing from black to white in the course of a few tracks. Cheetah Tongue, Turn and the awesome I Don’t Know Why I Love You, But I Do are my favourite tracks in an album that’s a joy to listen to.
Island came in at number 10. Until this year I’d never heard them. Since I discovered them though they’re rarely off any of my playlists. There’s something haunting, in a good way, about Feels Like Air. Maybe it was those hot summer days I first heard them. Although the album is a joy to listen in its entirety, The Day I Die is just sublime. A great vocal with lovely instrumental to complement the lyrics. Something Perfect is just that a perfect track, can’t praise it highly enough. Can’t wait to catch them live.
Number 9 is the latest Let’s Eat Grandma album. I’m All Ears is the follow up from their debut album, and boy does it deliver the promise of the first. This is slicker and more robust than their first, which was a delightful mix of experimentation. The vocals are still as strong as ever but they’ve grown up a little since then. Hot Pink is a track of the highest order. A fantastic album that I’d recommend to anyone who thinks that music has gone stale. Hope to catch their act in 2019.
Kino, at number 8 are one of my new finds of the year. Not as young as Let’s Eat Grandma, but with a style equally as good. This is modern prog rock at it’s best. Radio Voltaire is a wonderful journey through pop ready tracks delivered with great musicianship. The title track and Temple Tudor being for me the standout tracks.
North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) are at number 7. An album that appeared at the tail end of the year but is a superb mix of prog rock and electronica, with some great lyrics to tie it together. I’ve liked this band for a few years and their albums are always quirky and different. This latest one is outstanding in it’s creativity. Have a listen if you’re vaguely into prog, art rock or even dance.
Number 6 goes to a band I can find little about online, Arrows and Bullets. The title track of this album, Big Idea, played the soundtrack of my summer. It was made for hot days, smiling and writing. The album stands up really well to a full play.
Number 5 is another late year release album. The Fernweh was another recommendation from Spotify and this one was brilliant. I find it hard to pinhole the bands style. They range from folkish, to indian inspired psychedelia. A timeless style of music that could have stood up in any decade from the sixties onwards. Yet it sounds fresh and bright. An absolute treat and I hope it appears in vinyl in my christmas stocking. It says a lot about this year that this album only rated five in my list, but such was the talent out there this year.
Number 4 is another new band for me. A very musical inspired band whose tracks of this album make it a real joy, almost cleansing of the palette sense of feeling. The Vryll Society are sophisticated and grown up in their style. I find them great to listen to when writing. The vocals lovely created and harmonised at times. It’s another album on my Christmas list, a strong contender for great things.
Number 3 is from Sheffield. The latest album from the Arctic Monkeys was waited with anticipation, yet when it first appeared I didn’t like it. It was no Mardy Bum, but yet in the bowiesque style Alex Turner has produced a masterpiece. with every listening I find out new bits I like. The voice style is great and the tracks laid back yet lush with a background washed with sound it’s almost perfect.
Number 2 was The Slow Readers Club. Their album Build a Tower is a real tour-de-force. From the opening track, Lunatic, the album rocks the world. I’m not sure how to describe them. They are a great electro pop outfit that have strains of Jimmy Somerville at times. I guess there’s more than a little eighties style to their music and in a good way. Highly recommend you listen to this album.
And my favourite album is She Makes War with Brace For Impact. This album by Laura Kidd is the real highlight of my year. Devastate Me is just a perfect start to an album that rises and falls in it’s moods, friven along by the excellent vocals from Laura. A album full of highs, you put it on and you’re reluctant to pull away from it. Powerful when it needs to be yet quiet and sensitive at just the right parts. Brace For Impact is the best album of the year by miles, a rare honour considering the list above me. Buy it, you won’t be disappointed. Hoping to get to see Laura next year.