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
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Jam of the Week: The Skints – This Town (ft. Tippa Irie & Horseman)

Skints, The - FM (640x360)It’s a stirring rallying call to hear music representing your town or your neighbourhood especially. Unlike the US, however, we tend to be reserved when it comes to bigging up our roots, humble or not, here in the UK. It’s often dissenting voices – be it the rebellious words of The Clash’s Joe Strummer or Lewisham grime artist Stormzy – who are the first to shout about their home turf, why they love it and why others should respect it.

Yet this is nothing new to punk-ska group The Skints, whose roots lie amid the bustle of the multicultural marketplaces and marshlands of London’s east end. ‘This Town’, the lead single from their forthcoming third album, FM, is a stupendous celebration of London’s vibrancy and people, and of the suburban neighbourhoods at opposite ends of the Victoria line. Continue reading