Each year (well, 2012 and 2013 for sure) I listen to loads of new music, some of which will be brand new to my ears from all new artists, and other albums will be brilliant new albums from artists that I have been in love with for a long time. This year, 2014, has been a strange and different year to almost all other years. I have essentially had to listening lives - one of my music that I listen to... recreationally, I guess, and the other one where I am listening to music for the Monday Graveyard. Yes, these two do bleed across each other, but most of the time they are distinct.
I have done a best-of for the radio show (two part show broadcast on the 29th of December and 5th of January) and it'll be written up too. But this, on my normal blog, is my true favourite albums of the year.
1. The Phantom Band - Strange Friend
I waited around four years for them to follow up my favourite album of 2010. The release of The Wants was when I was in Texas and now I'm a dad and married in Glasow. Time changes. I love everything about the Phantom Band, and their third album took a little longer to click it was all the better for it. I reviewed it for Scottish Fiction over here , so have a read, but this bit is what I think about the album:
"While it might not graft new converts to The Phantom Band ranks, it will please the band’s pals and fans for sure, whilst adding nine new tracks to the band’s catalogue. Strange Friend feels just like that - a friend you’ve not seen in years that you remember being a little eccentric, but as loyal as you’ll find."
And guess what - I won't have to wait another four years for their next album. They've announced Frears Trending for next year - in January! Excellent.
2. Loscil - Sea Island
I have been listening to Loscil for years and when his last full album Sketches from New Brighton came out I devoured it like a big chocolate cake all in one sitting. In fact, earlier this year it was the only antidote to getting Joni to fall asleep in the dead of the morning when she was brand new. I love a lot of his back catalogue too, my favourite probably being Plume or Endless Falls, but this years massive and sprawling Sea Island continues his run of high quality albums. It is long, yes, and dense, yes, but by goodness it's brilllaint. Sturgeon Bank and In Threes are proper stand outs. And this is one of the few times the two lists merge - this made the Monday Graveyear list too.
3. The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream
I wasn't expecting much from this album at all - in fact, I hadn't even realised it was coming out. I picked up the previous War on Drugs album (I really dislike that band name) on a whim based on the recomendation from a friend's brother and it was... okay. I don't remember Slave Ambient making much of an impression on me at the time, but I heard good things about this album and listened to the stream once and bought it. I love everything about it - the dreamy vocals, the Springsteen galloping guitar, and the shimmer reverb effect across the whole album. It's a wonderful record and I've been pushing it onto all my friends at every oppruntinuty.
4. Cloud Nothings - Here and No Where Else
This will be short and sweet like the album - this is the funnest gig I had all year, the loudest album I've lsitened too all year, and the most addictive album in this list.
5. A Sunny Day in Glasgow - Sea When Absent
I had for the longest time Scribble Mural Comic Journal, the debut album from ASDIG, and couldn't get into it. Albums like that sometimes sit for years on my desk so to speak before they click. In this case it took a dead battery on my iPhone and a powercut in my flat in Aberdeen to get me to listen to it fully - I was in one night and decided to listen to my library and there they were, right at the top, and I thought... sure, why not.
Fast forward to this year, and Sea When Absent comes out and it's like a bolt of lightning. From the first opening notes of Bye Big Ocean they had me, and it's stayed on heavy rotation all year.
Rounding out the top ten...
6. Ought - More Than Any Other Day
7. Mogwai - Rave Tapes
8. The Hotelier - Home, Like Noplace There Is
9. Future Islands - Singles
10. Dalhous - Will to be Well
Get it all in the Wednesday Graveyear 2014: Top Ten Tracks Spotify playlist