Another one of those obligatory lists. We’ll have to call this “in no particular order” (though the number one spot is thoroughly deserved) …
50. Neneh Cherry & The Thing – Accordion
This jazz covers album wasn’t some vague grab for “credibility” by a worn-out has-been: Don Cherry’s daughter’s credentials run blood deep. Neneh has a warm, rich voice that lends itself well to the fuzzy double bass and scratchy violins.
49. 2econd Class Citizen – Change (What We’re Creating)
An unsolicited email with a download link led me down this particular rabbit warren, which was something that I would never have ordinarily sought out. I was very glad they brought me there. It doesn’t yell, “Look at me! I’m clever!”, but there is robust penmanship beneath the densely layered samples. The most satisfying electronic release I’d heard since Amon Tobin’s ISAM.
48. Liars – Octagon
It’s all been done before. By Carter Tutti Void, ferfuxsake, but that’s not to say it doesn’t still feel fresh and exciting.
47. Thinking Plague – The Gyre
They don’t have this up for streaming right now, so you can either stream this from the same album, or this much more accessible favourite from In Extremis. I’ve been quick to admit that I’ve found Decline and Fall VERY challenging, but I’ve fallen in love with The Gyre, which makes me keen to persevere. To the uninitiated: file under Henry Cow/Sleepytime Gorilla Museum.
46. Metric – Youth Without Youth
It’s always slightly distressing to read comments about how fabulously “preserved”a pop star is and then realise they’re about your age. Superficialities aside (and she does look gorgeous!), it’s one of the catchiest dance-rock tunes since Electric Six first bounded into our lives.
45. Alexander Tucker – Andromeon
His second astonishing drone-rock-folk-psychedelia release in two years, Third Mouth built on everything that Dorwytch established. It sounds like a mythical England, with the sort of faerie rings that formed medieval horror stories. It’s beautiful, but that’s not to say it lacks bite.
44. Laura Jurd – The Lady of Bruntal
I know nothing about jazz, but this contemporary classical/folk/experimental/jazz album just floored me. It’s obviously “serious” music, but has a warmth and bounce and charm that would reel in just about anybody. It jumps so unselfconsciously between genres that it will spellbind anyone who likes anything even vaguely like one of the things it touches on.
43. Death Grips – Artificial Death In The West
Death Grips were the story of 2012, from the buzz surrounding The Money Store to the record-company-baiting furore around No Love Deep Web. In the latter’s case, it would seem like a very stupid move on the part of the band: to saddle themselves with tens, even hundreds of thousands of pounds’ worth of debt to a label that dropped them seconds after they (illegally) released their sophomore album for free. How this will benefit the band long-term remains to be seen, but it certainly got them attention.
42. Graham Coxon – The Truth
Even though when Blur ventured into lo-fi soundalike territory it didn’t quite suit them, there were moments that it came together (such as the superlative Death of a Party). Graham Coxon’s a + e pulls together a sort of krautrocky racket with hard metallic clangs and simple distorted stabs.
41. of Montreal – We Will Commit Wolf Murder
They’re like Jellyfish on crack.