Best albums of 2016: 20 to 11

In my penultimate 2016 albums post we have David Bowie’s final album, crisp hip hop from Kano and Common, Bat for Lashes’s latest art piece, Kate Tempest’s thunderous spoken word epic, plus we two of best hidden gems in the form of Tall Black Guy’s second LP and the debut album from London jazz-hip hop collective, Fur.

20. David Bowie – Blackstar
19. Corinne Bailey Rae – The Heart Speaks in Whispers
18. Common – Black America Again
17. Fur – Soon at the Latest
16. Tall Black Guy – Let’s Take a Trip
15. Bat for Lashes – The Bride
14. Kano – Made in the Manor
13. Kate Tempest – Let Them Eat Chaos
12. White Denim – Stiff
11. BadBadNotGood – IV
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Bat for Lashes – The Bride review

Bat for Lashes press shot, 2016, 01 (1500x844)Natasha Khan revels in the unusual and the antiquated. The Bride, her fourth full-length in her guise of Bat for Lashes, is a tale of macabre beauty and tragedy. Continue reading

Jam of the Week: Bat for Lashes – In God’s House

Bat for Lashes, July 27, 2012, press photo by Eliot Lee Hazel, 01 (1920x1080)God bless Natasha Khan. Whether its dancing in Shoreditch nightclubs dressed in flower-pattern pyjamas (trust me) or making surreal musical concoctions of electronics and acoustics, she does her thing with innocence self-assurance. Continue reading

Best albums of 2015: honourable mentions

AOTY 2015 - Hon college: Shareefa Energy, Masayoshi Fujita, Wondaland, Tara Busch (1448x815)Where did 2015 go, ay? It seems like only yesterday that I was writing about my lofty ambitions to hear 150-plus albums this year, and pointing out the absurdity of that goal. Well, I managed to listen to a fair number of the albums on my original preview list, and I’ve soaked up an even greater number than last year. But still, with an ever-growing to-listen-to-list, I’ve been in a state of never-ending improbability to hear all of the records that have come into my orbit this year.

Still, here we are once again, after a year of trials and tribulations, hurt and pain, success stories and retirements, sorrows and separations, fading dreams and whispers of hope, quiet triumphs and steady commitments – and that’s just the news.

In the world of music, things have been as turbulent and trying as ever, while still being encouraged and unimaginably fruitful. They’ve been new streaming services, new business models, new artists and, of course, new albums. Once again, I’m here to offer my thoughts on latter, with the hope that you’ll discover a piece of music that makes your life that much brighter.

Saturday begins my annual albums of the year round-up in earnest, where I run down 50 albums I’ve heard this year and deem to be among the year’s best. But, starting this year, I’ve decided to precede my main list with a selection of honourable mentions.

This unranked appetiser, which includes albums, EPs, mixtapes and even a spoken word poetry piece, is a chance to recommend a shade more 2015 releases that are worth listening to. Continue reading

Best albums of 2012: the forgotten 15

Frank Ocean - press photo 01 (1448x815)September has arrived. Which means the autumn album releases are upon us, and what a cracking bunch there are this year. Haim, Chvrches, London Grammar, the Rizzle Kicks, Eliza Doolittle, Deltron 3030, Fatima, Anna Calvi and, the one I’m most excited for, Janelle Monàe, with her sophomore record The Electric Lady. Continue reading