I did an awful lot of travel for work this year, and this shaped my listening habits. Train listening tends to be instrumental, or close to, and London Tube/walking music needs to be increasingly aggressive to get me through the commute. As a result there’s a definite bias towards the less-than-subtle, which means a few records (Cat Power, Marisa Nadler, Courtney Barnett, Totally Mild) didn’t get a great deal of attention.
Big shoegazey washes of guitar and reverb-drenched vocals cleverly disguise that this album has great pop songs. standout track, however, is the 10-minute ‘Clouds of Orion’
Aptly titled, this album of protest punk is as euphoric and uplifting as only a mob-vocal chorus can be. Astonishingly good live, too.
I know nothing about this guy, save that he makes proper hip-hop. There were a few decent rap records out this year, I think this is the best.
Incredible. Experimental doom-glitch-dronepop made up predominantly of heavily-processed samples of previous recordings. Brutally, terrifyingly catchy.
Brownout follow last year’s album of Sabbath covers by reclaiming the Public Enemy back catalogue in the name of funk. The arrangements come close to out-heavying the Bomb Squad originals in places.
Madison Washington’s first full-length channels J Dilla, The Bomb Squad and Rakim alongside the jazz/avant-garde influences that were front and centre on last year’s ‘Code Switchin’ EP.
Fugazi’s rhythm section lay the foundation for a noodly shredfest which manages to stay (just) the right side of proggish self-indulgence
Probably the least subtle record on the list. Humungous riffage, bellowing sandpaper vocals, absolutely brilliant.
This has snuck onto the list in the last 2 weeks. Queasy squelchy noise rock which gets under your skin. Needs further attention.
There were several additions to my ‘Make me feel like I’m in Bladerunner’ playlist this year — Ital Tek, Answer Code Request, Throwing Snow — but this is the one that stuck for me. The soundtrack to probably half my train journeys since its release.
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