The Year Gone By (in music obviously)

LillyLily Allen – Sheezus:

The music she brought to the table with this piece of work was as surprising as the news she was making a comeback. It’s all a bit of everything and it’s wonderful. There are tracks about her becoming a mother and missing her old life, there are songs about her bitchin’ at the music industry and there are songs about her generally being a badass motha. So diverse from anything she’s ever done, yet she maintains the quirk and cheek that we fell for all those years ago. Totally addictive, need listening to again and again. Top work.

Picked by Ellie Greenfield

 

shy-glowShy Glow – Fishing:

We live in such a musically rich country that’s influenced so heavily by America its easy to forget quality music gets made in all the globe’s corners. Fishing have been some of Australia’s hottest property ever since dropping the cosmic ‘Choy Lin.’ Their intemperate dreamscapes bubble delightfully across this uplifting and positive record. With Shy Glow the duo have proved their talents at beat making and their ear for a guest vocal. They manage to capture Australia’s vastness with the immeasurable pleasure that this record brings forth with each listen.

Picked by Sam Briggs

 

LeonLeon Vynehall – Music For The Uninvited:

After a string of attention-grabbing house releases, Leon Vynehall’s Music For The Uninvited came as one of the warmest and most engaging surprises this year. Mesmerising not only to those fine-tuned to electronic music, Vynehall’s evident saturation in music of all genres manifests itself in luxurious layers of strings, with smooth samples blended perfectly to give the often unattainable impression that the music has been created acoustically. These intricacies float atop the release’s encapsulation of the highs and lows which form any critically acclaimed album, as gentle but engaging build ups meet several points through which Vynehall’s staple house sound pushes through to create an energising dance floor sound.

Picked by Stephanie Nicola-Miller

 

cubismSaytek – Live on Cubism Vol 3:

Saytek landed his “Live on Cubism Vol 3” in Oct 14 and it didn’t disappoint, well he wouldn’t have would he? As the 1st and 2nd   Volumes nailed it on with his own brand of rolling percussive building House/techno. I booked Joseph 7 years ago to play D.Q. so have watched his career grow and grow with a smug feeling of “told ya so”. His music has matured and developed into his own distinctive sound over the years and he has worked hard for the accolade he is now getting from the dance music world. Nice work Joseph, keep it coming man.

Picked by Si McLean

 

shessh-vicSession Victim – See You When You Get There:

Two years after their first EP release, Session Victim are back with their latest album See You When You Get There. Half produced in their Hamburg studio and half produced in the legendary Room G in San Francisco, the eleven track EP encompasses gloriously funky and atmospheric soul, disco and house sounds, but also manages to capture the duos darker side to music, all at the same time as being intricately produced, consistently textured and seamlessly blended. Listen to this album. You will love it whatever your taste in music.

Picked by Liam Taylor

 

DFADeath From Above 1979  – The Physical World:

Most bands struggle to write a successful follow up to a critically acclaimed debut album 2-3 years after it’s release. For DFA1979, 10 years on from their killer debut You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine, the pressure must have been overwhelming. Not that they showed it, and the release of Physical World felt natural, rather than a quick cash grab as a token of their renewed alliance. The raucous, tearing riffs and pounding drums that dominated their 2004 release remain, but this time showing more considered and intelligent song writing, as shown best on album highlight ‘White is Red’. Their legacy remains untouchable.

Picked by Jack Bendall

 

Royal-BloodRoyal Blood – Royal Blood:

In August this year Brighton duo royal blood released their eagerly  anticipated debut album. The self titled work is full of songs that ooze confidence. Kerrs bass guitar which he has strung with guitar strings makes for a remarkably distinct sound, so much so that it’s hard to believe the five note hook in ‘Ten Tonne Skeleton’ is from a bass guitar. The bass is complimented with Thatchers energetic drumming. An album that has a raw noisy sound mixed with some hook heavy blues and catchy lyrics, it leaves me excitement as to what’s next for the hard rocking duo.

Picked by Hana Harrison

 

futureFuture Islands – Singles:

Since their remarkable appearance on Lettermen earlier this year, Future Islands have begun to attract deserved attention for this gem of a record. Released by talent spotters 4AD, Singles is predominantly a synth pop album but also carries plenty of hardcore hallmarks. I challenge anyone to listen to this album and not be moved by Herring’s delivery and the band’s sincerity. Away from the storming success of “Seasons (Waiting On You)” the record’s stand out track for me is “Fall From Grace.” Its slow-turning rhythm has an ache and a beauty that is the perfect microcosm of the band.

Picked by Sam Briggs

 

Mac-derMac Demarco – Salad Days:

Many would think the classic ‘one man and his guitar’ set-up must at some point exhaust itself, but Mac Demarco’s Salad Days assures us that that time is yet to come. Despite the dreamy sense of nostalgia perfected throughout Demarco’s discography, Salad Days moves at a merry pace with flowing melodies and irresistibly catchy hooks which help make it an album to suit every feeling. Charming and inoffensive yet carefully crafted and sincere; Demarco’s cheeky-chappy persona shines through loved-up lyrics and serves to make his live shows a must-experience for any fan, with Demarco’s ever-growing reputation for crowd-surfing and ability at making whole audiences grin.

Picked by Stephanie Nicola-Miller

 

scientistsWe Are Scientists – TV en Français:

A band I’ve been in love with since I was a wee 10 year old who only liked them because they had kittens on the album cover. As I got older, I started to realise that they were pretty good with music too and four albums later, they released this and I had it on repeat for about a month. Amazing, as always. Same style as in all their other albums, they don’t need to change to keep up with the times, they’re perfect just as they are. Plus, Keith Murrays voice makes my legs go wobbly all Beatle-mania style.

Picked by Ellie Greenfield

 

AmpAmp Live – Headphone Concerto:

I love this album and cained it through the summer in the car, I found it in a pile of promos and had no idea what I was putting on but the sleeve artwork looked dead cool with a 70’s feel to it. I love its total creativity and the way it freely explores sounds, samples, vocals and beats. Amp Live (of Zion I) pulls in influences from dance music, jazz hip hop and broken beats. Throws them in a pot, adds some orchestral strings and cooks up a concerto. Stand out tracks 100,00 Watts and Last Wall.

Picked by Si McLean

 

High-hazelsHigh Hazels – High Hazels:

High Hazels ignored every musical trend of 2014. They delivered a record that sounds so timeless it could pass as work from a decades-old band, rather than a debut by four 20-somethings from Handsworth.The self-titled album is full of classic old-fashioned charm. Recalling Morrissey and Richard Hawley it’s self-aware and measured. ‘Hearts Are Breaking’ is gently uplifting but cautious optimism gives way to melancholic lulls. Stand-out track ‘Hanging Moon’ is full of space, poise and simplicity that’s almost as charismatic on record as it is live. Released in late October, High Hazels has sound-tracked many wintery evening walks home through the city.

Picked by Lyndsay Warner

 

fugelRoman Flügel – Fishing:

For fans of Flügel’s music, his 2014 album Happiness is Happening had been highly anticipated for three years after how contemporary his previous album Fatty Folders was in 2011. As per his usual style; Flügel has produced another avant-garde, genre-defying, perfectly ordered series of tracks that can only be described as weird-ambient-synthy-techno. My favourite track is Tense Times, it’s dark bass yet melodic percussions and sharp snare. However, the whole album is a seriously amazing piece of work by a well established and respected artist, which certainly pushes the boat out for other producers and makes him stand out from the crowd. Brilliantly unique and well worth a listen.

Picked by Liam Taylor

 

kelisKelis – Food:

There are more absorbing listens that I could have selected as one of my albums of the year, yet none of those have given me as much joy as Kelis’ latest effort, which is definitely a sentence I never thought I’d be writing. An honest tribute to a bygone era, Kelis, paired with production maestro Dave Sitek delivers a modern classic that is rooted in funk and soul music. It’s insanely catchy, brilliantly danceable and beautifully crafted. Kelis steps into the role of soul diva perfectly and her delivery throughout suggests that she is suited to it far more than she ever was RnB princess.

Picked by Jack Bendall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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