So we’ve come to that all important time of the year. The end of Quarter 3. While this period of time will pass most of your unawares, anyone who has ever worked in/for/or around a record label will tell you that this is usually when the heads of labels start to head toward finance, ask for spreadsheets showing P&L. On the back of this the label heads will either push a release date forward, or pull one back, because Quarter 4 is where the majority of the money comes from each year. Yes I know it sounds dappy, but it’s true.
So to commemorate and celebrate this moment of the year, everyone at GigSoup put our heads together and we hashed out our favourite albums of the year. Yes there was shouting, yes there were arguments, yes there were tears, but there was also a lot of love thrown about and in the end everyone felt better for the experience.
First in the count down at #13 are
The Maccabees-Marks to Prove It
What we said “Although previous Maccabees releases have been strong, ‘Marks to Prove It’ is the most accomplished, mature and complete”
#12 Kamasi Washington-The Epic
What we said “Every now and again an album comes out that blows you away. This is either because of the music, lyrics or subject matter, loosely based on an old warrior’s circle of life. Kamasi Washington’s one hundred and seventy two, yes one hundred and seventy two minute debut album for Brainfeeder, the Epic has all these things and more.”
What we said “That’s just the thing; this album is Bjork’s heart, on your stereo, in your ears, on your record player, on a plate. She is opening her heart and it has broken, she is letting the fragments bend and break for you as a listener to devour.”
#10 Dr. Dre-Compton
What we said “Compton is ultimately a legacy piece, it provides a platform for future talent, whilst also showcasing Dre’s illustrious career. The album is a brilliantly constructed masterpiece that will undoubtedly join the upper echelons of great hip-hop albums”
#9 Modest Mouse-Strangers to Ourselves
What we said “For an album that tackles both humanities naivety and darkness, ‘Strangers To Ourselves’ is fifteen tracks of unrelenting thought provocation that will make you question everything you’ve ever done or know.”
#8 Jamie xx-In Colour
What we said “In many ways, the debut album ‘In Colour’ by xx producer Jamie Smith is yet another retrospective record that purposefully rearranges the music of the past”
#7 Courtney Barnett-Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit
What we said “The aptly named, ‘Sometimes I sit and think and sometimes I just sit’, is an album that brilliantly de-constructs Barnett’s everyday jumble of thoughts and insecurities into witty and relatable lyrics. True to music as an art form, Barnett writes songs like Banksy paints! Each song is like the chapter of a book that you can really see unfolding before your eyes.”
#6 Sufjan Stevens-Carrie & Lowell
What we said “The concept albums of Steven’s back catalogue will forever take a back seat due to this stunning release. A finer epitaph to a lost mother you will not find.”
#5 Mac DeMarco-Another One
What we said “There is plenty of songwriting skill on show, with expressive execution. There is also plenty of charm, and as usual, convention is rarely adhered to”
#4 just missing out on Top 3 glory is
Father John Misty-I Love You, Honeybear
What we said “Father John Misty has created what can only be described as testament of love, not just to his wife but to himself. “I Love You Honeybear” is musically inspire and filled with luscious tones but the record’s greatest joy is listening to what Josh Tillerman has to say and deciphering the meanings for yourself.”
#3 and bagging that automatic qualification to the Champions League is
Wolf Alice-My Love is Cool
What we said “Wolf Alice might like living in the moment, but on this evidence they’ll be capturing the zeitgeist for a few more years yet”
#2 and runner up is
What we said “Thematically, “Currents” functions primarily as a Post Breakup album, where parker the protagonist; evolvement as an individual weighs down on his relationships”
And in at #1 it’s…
Kendrick Lamar-To Pimp a Butterfly
What we said “To Pimp A Butterfly is one of those career and genre-defining records that come around once a decade. As a societal narrative, it brings exposure to issues that are so often ignored and seldom tackled. This will be what crosses To Pimp A Butterfly into classic album territory and it will resonate and inspire scores of people who often feel ignored by institutional ineffectiveness.”
So there you have the thirteen best albums of the year as voted for by our crack squad of dedicate musical dilatants. There are two albums that should get special mention. First is FUCKUP RUSH by Bristol’s experiment savant Fairhorns. Yet again Matt Loveridge has produced an album of body, strength power and beauty that denies easy classification yet reward with every listen.
Secondly is Today is Today Is The Day That They Take Me Away by Dave Cloud and The Gospel of Power. Dave Cloud sadly passed away in February and this, his final offering, is not only fitting as it sums up his career as the premier garage rock lounge lizard, but it’s also chocked twenty seven songs that speak in honesty and compassion, like few others.