Monday, 8 December 2014

Music Review of the Year and Top 10 Albums

My 2014 Top Artists Cloud - and
My 2014 Top Artists Cloud - and

As is by now entirely predictable, almost tediously so, it's time for a look back over the music releases of the year and for me to decide which were my favourites.

Let's get two things out of the way first, though: if you pay attention to me on or twitter you won't be surprised that a) Pink Floyd aren't in this list and b) Taylor Swift is. I'll say no more about either release and leave the comments to those of you who care to participate.


Still with me? Good!

There was a lot of good "rock" music released this year but I'm disappointed by the lack of electronica and dance in my list.

Opeth finally fulfilled their destiny and went for the full prog-jazz with Pale Communion. A ballsy release but, unfortunately, their live show in support of it didn't reflect that same brave attitude.

Anathema released a great album in Distant Satellites (making up for the disappointing Weather Systems) with some really "progressive" touches in the electronic elements introduced to their sound, then promptly disappeared up their own rear-ends by announcing a "cathedral tour". Really, get over yourselves guys.

Jane Weaver and Amplifier make a good showing for the consistently vibrant Manchester music scene. Speaking of Manchester: I'm really looking forward to hearing new material from Sara Lowes, Cyril Snear and whatever the new Mike Vennart/Steve Durose/Gambler/Denzel project gets called.

Big thanks to Bruce and Scott (the NZ massive) for introducing me to Jakob, James Blackshaw and Rhian Sheehan. Post Rock is alive and Mogwai aren't the only ones pushing boundaries and changing the sound.

Okay, onwards and in alphabetical order (because that's how iTunes lists them when I search for albums from 2014, no other reason):

  • Abel Ganz - Abel Ganz

  • Alcest - Shelter

  • Anathema - Distant Satellites

  • iamthemorning - Belighted

  • Jakob - Sines

  • Jane Weaver - The Silver Globe

  • Mogwai - Rave Tapes

  • Opeth - Pale Communion

  • Taylor Swift - 1989

  • The War On Drugs - Lost In The Dream

A Top 10 really isn't enough to summarise the year in music for me, so here are the also rans:

  • Jennie Abrahamson - Gemini Gemini
  • Lamb - Backspace Unwind
  • The Rentals - Lost In Alphaville
  • Se Delan - The Fall
  • The Dowling Poole - Bleak Strategies
  • Steve Rothery - The Ghost of Pripyat
  • Amplifier - Residue
  • Amplifier - Mystoria
  • Flying Colors - Second Nature
  • Steve Hackett - Genesis Revisited, Live At The Albert Hall
  • Aphex Twin - Syro
  • Devin Townsend Project - Z²
  • Matt Stevens - Lucid
  • Queen - Live At The Rainbow
  • James Blackshaw - Fantômas: Le Faux Magistrat