The countdown of the year's greatest LPs continues
Gigwise
07:00 19th December 2015

When you've nurtured as sacred a reputation as Sleater-Kinney did during their almost decade-long hiatus, it seems almost foolish to risk it all by coming back with new music. But Sleater-Kinney had more to say - and thank goodness they did. No Cities To Love is somehow their most accessible, and most inventive album to date. The jagged, challenging dissonance is still there, but it's packaged in something more melodious. (Alexandra Pollard)

Cardiff’s H Hawkline has been around for a while and even supported Gruff Rhys on tour in 2010. However, this year feels like his biggest breakthrough. He released the album on Heavenly to critical acclaim and made his most grabbing album to date. In particular his single ‘Moons In My Mirror’ pops out on the radio like a sore thumb because it’s so much more brilliant and strange than most things that get played. (Cai Trefor)

Oozing with lush and electronic melancholy, Beach House’s first major release this year is far superior to their second, Thank Your Lucky Stars. Victoria Legrand’s vocals are as sharp and slick as ever, and there’s a consistency and all encompassing atmosphere throughout the track-listing that swallows you whole. Press play and drift into another world. (James Moore)

Straight from the off with 'Go Out', there's a momentum at work - this is a band with one foot very much in the present, rather than leaning entirely on the past. 'Lonesome Street', 'Ong Ong' and "a couple of songs for the moshers" in the form of 'I Broadcast' and 'Trouble In The Message Centre', you can see that thread of Blur energy that runs through the newer numbers - albeit with a newfound sense of adventure. This is not 'Blur by numbers' - this is a highly evolved Blur. One can only hope that the good will and compulsion behind The Magic Whip and these shows feeds Blur's momentum to stay on such fine form and not go back into the wilderness for too long. May they always be familiar, they deserve to last. (Andrew Trendell)

Their most daring, adventurous and all-encompassing record to date - album No.4. They've always been on everyone's lips as potential festival headliners and an arena act of the future, but it never seemed all that likely until they dropped this intense mini-oddyssey that takes rock over all kinds of dangerous terrain - from the tender to the terrifying, with an inimitable energy. This album will be the making of Foals, and now there will no stopping them. (Andrew Trendell)

The first half of the album's opening track is a beautiful, restrained ballad, which aches with quivering vulnerability. The second half of that same track is a screeching, thumping rock song. And the rest of the album continues in this brilliantly contradictory vein, layering Mitski's emotive, scale-leaping vocals over squelchy rock riffs and a sea of noise. Its lyrics, too, are astoundingly beautiful. (Alexandra Pollard)

Light years ahead of Flowers’ solo debut Flamingo, and it could be said the best thing he's recorded since Sam's Town. Shimmering with pure pop perfection met with a calibre of songcraftsmanship that borders on the classic, Flowers truly proves he's more than capable of living up to his own hyperbole.

Showbiz runs through his veins, and he's a superstar by DNA. The Desired Effect is an immaculate listen and an utter joy. (Andrew Trendell)


Drugs, infighting, the law and vicious tabloid headlines may have torn them apart, but it was brotherhood and a sheer love of the music that brought them back together after a decade. You can hear their utter joy at just being a band again throughout Anthems For Doomed Youth - let alone the fact that they've finally reclaimed the punk poetry and energy of their debut, albeit with a matured grounding that shows them utterly at ease with their place in the now. The Good Ship Albion sails on, and it's a beauty to behold. (Andrew Trendell)

The winner of The Welsh Music Prize made an absolutely beautiful album through combining various influences within pop, Krautrock, and psych rock. Gwenno Saunders’ vocals are a hazy delight next to the refreshingly experimental soundscapes. Sung entirely in Welsh, the album covers media manipulation, patriarchy, and the decline of minority languages. Despite the heavy political angle, Y Dydd Olaf is so soothing it's like giving your ears a long bath with scented candles on a Sunday. (Cai Trefor)

Action Bronson, AKA Bronsolinion, AKA Bam Bam and a million other titles has steadily taken over the hip hop world with an outlandish concoction of charisma, sheer rapping skill and endless cooking references. With his major label debut, Bronson builds on the tone established throughout his impressive collection of projects and cranks everything up to 100. Featuring zany interludes, bursts of brass and epic production, Mr Wonderful has solidified Action Bronson as a heavyweight. (James Moore)

Read the rest of our albums of the year below

 

 


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