Its the end of another great year and, as always, time to consider what has been another great year for music, so here are my favourite records of 2015 – attempted to be put in some sort of order of preference.
Before the juicy meat of Christmas time lets just get this years Christmas Turkey out of the way – Duran Duran’s Paper Planes, trust me it is awful, insipid, a disgrace and an embarrassment to one of the big names of the ’80s which is where, based on this, they should have stayed. Avoid at all costs.
As always let me know if there are any I should have added.
50 (only so I can review it) Coldplay – A Head Full of Dreams: Ok lets be clear, this isn’t as rubbish as their last record, its still not very interesting or good but it’ll sell loads and I am sure Coldplay fans will love it. I listened to it once, so I won’t have to again.
49 Mercury Rev – The Light in You: Joyous pop meets festival fillers in their first album in 7 years.
48 The Tallest Man on Earth – Dark Bird is Home: Influences from Dylan and Springsteen have created a beautiful sound from the Swede on his third release. A proper Sunday morning listen.
47 The Libertines – Anthem for Doomed Youth: The return from the ‘biggest band of the ’90s’ didn’t disappoint too much, perhaps this time around this will help keep them together. Time will tell.
46 Albert Hammond Jr – Momentary Masters: the drummer from The Strokes keeps himself busy while his band decide if they are finished or not, he even manages a half decent Dylan cover.
45 Paul Weller – Saturns Pattern: My musical relationship with Mr Weller is so up and down its remarkable, this is more up than down for me. One of his better solo efforts.
44 Florence & The Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful: Flo does it again but this time with a reduced Harp! Coupled with a headline at Glastonbury, it is safe to say that Florence Welch is not going away any time soon.
43 Swim Deep – Mothers: Their debut was pretty brilliant, this wasn’t as good but still worth a listen. Whilst Peace’s second album was disappointing this certainly was not.
42 Ash – Kablammo!: First Ash album in 8 years and very good it was too, certainly a reminder of their past, lets hope its less than 8 years for the next one.
41 Hooten Tennis Club – Highest Point in Cliff Town: Elements of the Stone Roses alongside some really catchy tunes hints at what may come out as they move onto success after success.
40 To Kill a King – To Kill a King: Great collection of indie rock tracks from Frank Turner stablemates, like pretty much all of Xtramile’ stuff well worthy of a listen.
39 Adele – 25: Biggest record of the year, not the best, but certainly one that is worth a listen. The opener really is a powerfully sung ballad, the rest has a little too much similarity but there is little point in being too critical, this will sell in its billions!
38 Will Butler – Policy: The non-singing Butler brother from Arcade Fire comes out of his siblings shadow and produces a really great album that is as removed from his day job as possible.
37 Laura Marling – Short Movie: Comfortably the easiest Laura Marling record to listen to and well worth a repeat visit.
36 Sweater Kinney – No Cities To Love: Full of crunching guitars and powerful vocals, this return from 2005 certainly has to be set to loud.
35 Wilco – Star Wars: Fro grand delivery to a more gentle approach, Wilco have managed it all on this record. Best of all it was free to those who moved quickly enough to get it.
34 The Cribs – For All My Sisters: The sound of a band having fun and taking us all along for the journey, naturally it also fits in perfectly with their excellent live outings.
33 The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy: Arguably their best record since The Fat of the Land, clever use of cameos alongside Keith means that this remains interesting after several listens.
32 Foals – What Went Down: Latest album from the Oxford 5 piece, a record where they head off in different directions with every track but the overall package is still very good indeed.
31 Noel Gallagher – Chasing Yesterday: In a year where an Oasis reunion becomes increasingly likely, this was Noel’s second solo effort and its pretty polished stuff all round.
30 Destroyer – Poison Season: Heavily influenced by the likes of Springsteen – especially on Dream Lover – there are also elements of Cat Stevens and even Van Morrison. Well worth a listen.
29 Drenge – Undertow: With all the deserved fuss over Royal Blood, it was great to hear the second outing from my favourite two piece and just like on their debut they did not disappoint at all.
28 El Vy – Return to the Moon: National frontman Matt works in collaboration with Brett Knopf from Ramona Falls and produces an album that is worth a second and third listen, whilst the title track is immediate the remainder takes a while to grow but your patience is rewarded.
27 Father John Misty – I Love You Honeybear: Former Fleet Foxes drummer mixes Psychedelia, blues and country to great effect. Well worth a listen.
26 Alabama Shakes – Sound & Colour: second album from the current kings and queen of the blues sound. With elements of early (when they were good) Kings of Leon thrown in for good measure.
25 Chvrches – Every Open Eye: Whilst it may not have carried the individual greats as their debut what the second album from Glaswegian Chvrches did manage was to be a better overall record.
24 The Charlatans – Modern Nature: An excellent return from one of the long stays of the Manchester baggy era, especially as it was put together in tragedy for the band.
23 Nathaniel Rateliff – Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats: Classic sounding old school soul and an utter joy to listen to, proof that some of the lesser bands on Later… are worth listening to.
22 The Maccabees – Marks to Prove It: Slightly disappointing after the brilliant Given To the Wild, however on further listening it became clear that this still is tremendous fun.
21 Guy Garvey – Courting the Squall: Solo effort from the, always brilliant, elbow front man. On this occasion there is enough to make it feel a little different but when he slips back into that elbow sound this record really shines, now get back to the day job please.
20 Django Django – Born Under Saturn: Second album and easier to get into than their debut, and once in its well worth the time spent. A real sound of summer if there ever was one.
19 Everything Everything – Get to Heaven: Full of sing along choruses and a soundtrack that could have resulted in a Radiohead album. Just great all round.
18 John Grant – Grey Tickles, Black Pressure: Distinctive voice, excellent song craft and a duet with Tracey Thorn, not much not to like here then as a result.
17 Public Service Broadcasting – The Race for Space: Utterly magnificent album celebrating the battle between Russia and America to be the first in space, cleverly placing historic footage to a modern sounding soundtrack.
16 Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi Love: Psychedelia, synths, disco, trumpets and thats just track 1. The remainder of the album is pretty superb too. This may be their third album but I was so glad that Radd at Pie and Vinyl introduced me to them.
15 Julie Holter – Have You in My Wilderness: A beautiful collection of music that is just worth listening to again and again.
14 Dave Gahan – Angels & Ghosts: My favourite record from a lead singer going solo, the Depeche Mode man gets it spot on, think of it as Depeche Mode sings the blues and you won’t go wrong.
13 Tobias Jesso Jr – Goon:First time I heard from Mr Jesso Jr was one sunday morning listening to 6 Music, it immediately made me think it was a beatles song I didn’t know, it wasn’t and it was enough to make me listen more. If you have not tried him then give him a go, you’ll be rewarded.
12 Jamie XX – In Colour: Solo effort from the main man from the XX, this was the soundtrack for an ambient, chilled summer for me. Perfect for sunset on Cornish Beaches.
11 Wolf Alice – My Love is Cool: Excellent debut album that moves between genres seamlessly, one that does not stay still. It’ll be interesting to see if they settle on a sound as they move forwards.
10 Frank Turner – Positive Songs for Negative People: Hampshire’s finest did it again, better than Tape Deck Heart and full of what Frank does best, simple great music that is made to enjoy no more so than on opener Get Better. On Song for Josh though, the pain of losing someone who means so much is clearly felt. May not have been my record of the year but he certainly gave me my gig of the year when he tore the roof off the Falmouth Pavilions.
9 F.F.S. – F.F.S.: A collaboration between Sparks and Franz Ferdinand what could possibly go wrong? Well lots but thankfully it didn’t, this is a brilliant record that fuses the unique sound of Sparks with the Scottish Indie Rockers adding something, proof that collaborations do, in fact, work.
8 Villagers – Darling Arithmetic: Easily the most beautiful record of 2015 for me, a very intimate collection of tracks from Conor O’Brien, who deserves to be an awful lot bigger than he is.
7 New Order – Music Complete: The first record after the acrimonious split from Peter Hook and they nailed it, a truly excellent record that may not quite be Music Complete but certainly is a musical triumph.
6 British Sea Power – Sea of Brass: British Sea Power tracks now with added Brass Band music, what is there not to like? This really is something special indeed.
5 Tame Impala – Current: Third and best record from the Aussies that is stunningly crafted, produced and soundscaped. A real feel of the 1980’s throughout, just about perfect in fact.
4 Richard Hawley – Hollow Meadows: After his move away from the classic ‘Hawley Sound’ on his last outing, this was a return to the Richard Hawley we all love, opening with the really beautiful I Still Want You it really made me feel like slipping on my favourite jumper and just loving life.
3 Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit: Utterly brilliant debut album from Aussie singer, from grunge to ballad, this record has it all and surely a talent that will only get bigger.
2 Kurt Vile – B’lieve I’m Going Down: Twisting and turning perfectly from the excellent opener Pretty Pimpin the quality never relents at any stage. Perfect music for a winters evening.
1 Blur – The Magic Whip: Comfortably the best record 2015 for me, just simply brilliant from the opener right through with no weak points. Blur were always a great band with great songs but, for me, their albums always left me a little short. On Magic Whip they finally brought it all together into something very special indeed. Just superb.
There you go, another good year and some really great stuff out there. Go and try some of them.