Hello again! Time to re-awaken this blog from its almost-year-round slumber for my yearly round-up of all things musical.
I will start with the Honourable Mentions – albums I’ve enjoyed this year that haven’t quite made my top ten. When I looked back over the year there were rather a lot of albums that fell into this category: whilst there has been plenty of music that I’ve enjoyed, there perhaps haven’t been so many clear stand-outs as in previous years.
I will start with Susanne Sundfør‘s Ten Love Songs. Apparently something of a (super)star in her native Norway, I realised I did actually know her through appearances on a couple of Royksopp tracks. She has a pretty incredible voice, which soars above these varied and excellent songs, including icy Scandinavian pop, scary techno and a 10-minute near-orchestral suite.
In the electronic world, Walls (Urals), Dave DK (Val Maira), Steve Hauschildt (Where All Is Fled) and Mark Van Hoen (Nightvision) all produced high quality, immersive works in and around the ambient spectrum. Neon Indian‘s VEGA INTL. Dance School was a look back to squelchy, funky 80s party radio and Floating Points‘s Elaenia a jazz-inflected, carefully composed, thoughtful journey (that I need to spend more time with!).
A recent purchase, Wolf Alice‘s debut My Love Is Cool is at turns dreamy and (moderately) heavy, and there are some strong songs in there.
And finally, Beach House certainly deserve a mention for managing to release two full albums (Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars) within months of each other, both at their now-reliable high standard. They scaled back the (relative) bombast of 2012’s Bloom and added a little more fuzzy/gauzy guitar and drum machine. A condensed single album’s worth of highlights would definitely have made my top ten.