Tuesday, 22 December 2015

10 AWESOME ALBUMS OF 2015

DISCLAIMER:  1. This list is in no particular order. 2. I am not a music critic, I am a music fan. 3. If you do not agree with my opinions, good.


FRANK TURNER - POSITIVE SONGS FOR NEGATIVE PEOPLE

I'll just get this one out of the way straight off the bat. Anyone who follows this blog or knows me at all will know I am a big fan of Mr. Turner. I have seen the bloke live eight times in the last three years and that figure will probably double in the next three. As for the new album, I wasn't as instantaneously enamoured with it as I was his last two (England Keep My Bones and Tape Deck Heart), but it has definitely grown on me. The sound feels much bigger than anything he has done before and a little too polished for my taste. There are songs on it that I absolutely love and a couple that I just can't get into at all. That said, even given my mixed feelings, I would still listen to this over 99% of all other music released this year.

Favourite songs: Get Better, Out of Breath, Love Forty Down


DUCKING PUNCHES - FIZZY BRAIN

Another cracking album from Dan Allen and Ducking Punches. Their last album Dance Before You Sleep is one that I still listen to regularly and Fizzy Brain feels like a seamless and natural progression of their sound. They have recently been signed by Xtra Mile Records, which is a great achievement for a British DIY folk punk band and I am over the moon for them. There is not a harder working band out there, they tour non-stop and Dan is a lovely bloke (and also a sick illustrator - he does all their album covers and also did the cover for PAPER AND INK Issue #3 last year). Frustratingly I am still yet to see them live and if I have one music related goal for 2016 it is to rectify that as soon as possible!

Favourite songs: Greedy Bones, JFH, God Damn Coward

SAM RUSSO - GREYHOUND DREAMS

I must admit, I am a little bit late to the Sam Russo party. I had heard his name banded around a bit over the last few years but never actually listened to any of his stuff until this album came out. What a fool I was. After listening to just two tracks from this album I was firmly aboard the Sam Russo bandwagon and immediately went about tracking down his debut 2012 album Storm. Storm is a classic heart break record; raw and emotional and fucking brilliant. Greyhound Dreams has the same raw edge to it, but is a little more hopeful. Russo packs so much emotion into every song and delivers lines that hit you like a sledgehammer.

Favourite songs: Sometimes, Crayfish Tales, Runaways


GREAT CYNICS - I FEEL WEIRD

Another confession I have to make is that, again, I had never listened to Great Cynics until this album came out. I just have this tendency to avoid things that everyone raves about. Like, If some singer or band are labelled hot shit then my immediate thought is "Pfft I bet they suck" and I won't bother checking them out. I don't know, I'm weird man. Which brings me nicely to this album! Again, I was a fool to avoid Great Cynics and I can only apologise to them but mainly to my ears for depriving them of this super good DIY pop punk awesomeness. This is such a fun album packed full of sing-a-long anthems for weirdos!

Favourite songs: From The Creators Of Love Actually, Everyone's A Little Bit Weird, Lost In You

DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE - KINTSUGI

For a long many years I considered Death Cab to be my favourite band. From first hearing their album Transatlanticism in 2003 (which is still one of all my times favourites) through to their terrific 2005 album Plans, and Narrow Stairs in 2008, I was hooked. By the time their 2011 album Codes & Keys came out my music tastes had changed slightly that album did very little for me. Singer Ben Gibbard's 2012 solo album Former Lives didn't really inspire me either, so I had very low expectations for Kintsugi. The fact that it is in this list tells you that I was pleasantly surprised by it. It will never be up there with my favourite DCFC albums but it is a solid album with some great songs on it.

Favourite songs: The Ghosts of Beverley Drive, Little Wanderer, Good Help (Is So Hard To Find)

EFA SUPERTRAMP - RHYDDID YW Y FREUDDWYD

Efa Supertramp is a Welsh folk punk singer songwriter with a kick ass raspy voice and songs full of piss and vinegar. I have been following Efa for a few years now, after discovering her via the joys of punk zines, and I have been waiting for this album with very high expectations. Needless to say I was not disappointed. Even though half of the songs are in Welsh and I have no idea what they are about, that just tells you how highly I rate this album! There is 1000% more passion and honesty in these songs than in any of the commercial trite money grabbing bullshit that pollutes our televisions and radios these days, and I can't wait to hear what Efa does next. 

Favourite songs: Do Anything For Money, All My Friends Are Freedom Fighters, Candle Light

LAURA MARDON - ONE WEEK RECORD

This album, as the title suggests, was recorded in one week and released on Joey Cape's One Week Records. Laura Mardon is a singer songwriter from Australia, and not only does she have an absolutely beautiful voice, but she is a damn fine songwriter (and as an aside, also a very talented artist). This album just totally mesmerised me from the first song to the last. Normally I can put an album on for background noise and do other things, but not this one. Whenever I put this on in the background I end up just sitting and listening to it, and if that isn't a sign of quality, I don't know what is.

Favourite songs: Hail Hail The Dead Can Dance, Falling Fallen, Apologies Apologies     


MISCHIEF BREW - THIS IS NOT FOR CHILDREN


Mischief Brew are just a fucking fun band to listen to and I am so so happy that they are playing Rebellion Festival next year, as I have never seen them live and as fun as their recordings are, I imagine their live shows would be fucking killer. As for this album, it is rad! Their last LP, The Stone Operation, I fell in love with immediately and this, to me, just feels like an extension of that album. They don't change their style up very much, but like that old saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Mischief Brew definitely don't need to fix anything, except maybe getting in the studio more often: I don't want to wait another four years for the next album!

Favourite songs: Bad Heart, Squatter Envy, Slow Death Hymn

LEFTOVER CRACK - CONSTRUCTS OF THE STATE

If waiting four years for a new Mischief Brew album was bad, then imagine waiting eleven years for a new Leftover Crack album! Alas, all I can do is imagine as I didn't get into Leftover Crack until after I got into Star Fucking Hipsters which is kind of arse about face, but whatevs. I love their 2004 album Fuck World Trade and I love this album too, but it actually reminds me more of Star Fucking Hipsters than it does Leftover Crack, which is kind of weird. Regardless, it is a great album that gets my lefty anarcho punky blood pumping!

Favourite songs: Don't Shoot, System Fucked, The Lie Of Luck



WAR ON WOMEN - SELF-TITLED

I. FUCKING. LOVE. THIS. ALBUM. As far as I am concerned there are not enough feminist hardcore bands out there at the moment. Maybe there are and I just haven't heard them, I don't know. I am pretty excited about British hardcore band Petrol Girls and hopefully they will release a full length next year, but anyway, I digress. This album is just a complete fucking punch in the throat, in the best possible way, and for a large chunk of this year was my go to album to listen to when I had to walk to work at 7am on a Saturday morning.

Favourite songs: Say It, Swagger, Jordan

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