Best albums of 2015: top 10

AOTY 2015 10-1 college: Ghostpoet, Andreya Triana, Little Boots, Blur (1448x815)Here we are: after 40 albums, we’ve reached 2015’s top 10. Before we get to the albums themselves, allow me to briefly reflect on the year that was and what it meant for music.

In more ways than one, 2015 has been a year of conservatism: UK voters elected the Conservative party for its second consecutive term; acts of terror have caused many to adopt conservative, even prejudicial, attitudes towards those that do not share their skin colour, beliefs or culture; and, in the world of music, known quantities continue to attract the most marketing dollars, media attention and consumer sales. On the surface, it would seem that the nonconformists, the mavericks, the idealists and those that would dare to dream have all been ignored.

Accept they haven’t. From the millions of artists and creators honing their talents and sharing them with the world via the numerous online avenues, to musicians and technologists combining their expertise to change the business of music royalties, and perhaps make it easier for people to make a living off of their creativity in future, 2015 has been a year of perseverance.

Hopefully these final 10 albums will express what I mean by that, each in their own way.

10. Ibeyi – Ibeyi
9. Benjamin Clementine – At Least for Now
8. Little Boots – Working Girl
7. Blur – The Magic Whip
6. BadBadNotGood & Ghostface Killah – Sour Soul
5. The Skints – FM
4. Ghostpoet – Shedding Skin
3. Denai Moore – Elsewhere
2. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly
1. Andreya Triana – Giants
Continue reading

MOBO Awards 2015: uniting with one hand, dividing with the other

MOBO Awards 2015, Section Boyz, by MOBO/PR( 900x506)It’s got moxie, that’s for sure. Because even after 20 years of handing out awards for music of black origin, and taking flak left, right and centre for it, the MOBO Awards are still with us. The MOBOs shouldn’t, and never will, be all things to all people. But, even as it unites its award-winners in celebration, it continues to divide its audience. Continue reading

Andreya Triana – Giants review

Andreya Triana, Giants press photo, 01 (800x450)The debut album from soul-stirring London songstress, Andreya Triana, was a beautiful encouragement to explore the forgotten streets of your town, if a little too solemn in places to appeal to a mainstream infatuated with the Adeles and Emeli Sandés of the world. By contrast, Giants is a luminous, pictorial, thoroughly uplifting journey, and it deserves your fullest attention. Continue reading

Bonobo review – climatic and inclusive

Alexandra Palace, LondonBonobo, Alexandra Palace, London, 28.11.2014, by Aaron Lee, 01 (1448x815)Thousands of punters. Walls of pulsating shapes flying at you like an insane, multicoloured Rorschach inkblots. And enough electronic breakbeats to propel beer into the face of anyone who’s still drinking when the mayhem starts. That was the scene at Alexandra Palace, London, on Friday night for the finale of Bonobo’s North Borders Tour. And unlike the dismal displays of disinterest or detachment that concerts of this kinds generate from some artists (Calvin Harris comes to mind), this was two hours of welcoming, crowd-pleasing inclusiveness. Continue reading

Andreya Triana

Recommended to me by listening to Huey Morgan interview her on BBC 6 Music (Sep 5, 2010), Andreya Triana is an experimental soul artist.
I’ve heard a sample of her music on MySpace, and I’m already feeling her drift. ‘A Town Called Obsolete’ has a brilliant sense of forgotten days gone by about it.
Andreya grow up in South East London, and though my memory of the interview is a little fuzz, she came across as a really enchanting lady.  What I can recall as clear as day is that she was totally speaking my language when she said she’d like to collaborate with the likes of Nina Simone, De La Soul and Gnarls Barkley – artists she adores.
During the course of writing this post I discovered that she has already released a debut solo album. One more album couldn’t hurt, right? Beside, I’ll need all the help I can get if I’m to get through this 10,000 word dissertation – which I’m still to start!