40. Bad Moves – Untenable
The melodies maaaaan! Bad Moves have a dynamic balance of male/female vocals and Untenable feels like the epitome of indie rock. The surfing guitar riffs and driving bass are full of punchy and punk energy and nothing feels lackluster here. The album continues to keep you upbeat. They remind me of The Subways and their electric sounds give you everything you want from fast indie, and even a little taste of The Beatles.
39. Deerhoof – Future Teenage Cave Artists
Eerie distorted vocals and gritty guitars take hold of you throughout this record, but damn, does this weird album groove. It’s chaotic with lo:fi sounds and the consistency in the piano notes feel like something out of a distorted horror movie. Damaged Eyes Squinting Into The Beautiful Overhot Sun is a major highlight for me from this album with chugging alt rock guitars, wavy pianos and those vocals that send shivers down my spine. In the closing moments of the record, you’re finally given a break with the soothing sounds of a record that looks bizarre from its artwork alone.
38. Working Men’s Club – Working Men’s Club
The opener to this record gives you a taste for what’s in store with 80’s pop influence. The bass and drums groove so well with each other and the poppy piano leads with upbeat synths pulling at your nostalgia heartstrings. It’s a gritty and filthy album at times with Frankie Goes To Hollywood rhythms, Human League harmonies and Depeche Mode distortion. The bass has some aggressive moments and the synths get spacey. If you’ve been missing your 80’s music, then look no further than this exciting debut.
37. Brigid Dawson & The Mothers Network – Battle Of Apes
Here we have a resonating gospel voice with moving bass and entrancing guitars that ring out on every track. It’s an album with a lot of dramatic sound and elements of folk, jazz fusion and sonic guitar writing. The group experiment with music and send it off in different directions for a joyful journey into the weird and wonderful.
36. Freddie Gibbs, The Alchemist – Alfredo
Damn do these guys make some slick beats and tight rhythms. Even when the music is chill, Freddie doesn’t slow down. The smooth synths and sliding guitar are enchanting and there are moments where the guitar gets real bluesy. The guest features on this album fold nicely into the existing mix and it’s great to hear Tyler, The Creator laying down rhymes in his deep voice again. Frank Lucas is a song that goes hard, but there are moments to reflect with delightful piano notes. There’s even a nod to The Revolution Will Not Be Televised which has felt like a running theme all year. Freddie’s lyricism can be problematic at times in his word choice.
35. Crack Cloud – Pain Olympics
The Canadian experimental group mix together jazz fusion, punk, industrial, pop, hip-hop and art-rock, as they produce an album of addiction therapy. It’s an intense piece full of erratic instrumentation that sees the 7-piece group explore music with their hyper and progressive creativity. The album even has some deeply moving moments with ominous sounds that feel spiritual. It’s a group of friends working together to make something beautiful.
34. Keleketla! – Keleketla!
This British/South African project which includes electronic group Coldcut, kick off with a drum beat opener and tantalising electric guitar leads. The vocals are a warming call out and are soothing over the group’s eccentric music style. As Keleketla! progresses you delve into Afro beat with additional keyboards that sound like a vintage Moog. The whole album feels like it’s bursting with upbeat freedom and there’s moments of soulful jazz, erratic drumbeats and fiery vocal deliveries. You have a bit of everything from music that does what it wants to and International Love gets stuck in my head for weeks after hearing it.
33. Melt Yourself Down – 100% Yes
Here we have one of the most electrifying and bizarre openers of this year. Alt rock meets jazz with a rhythmic sax taking the lead and descriptive vocals get you pumped up. This Is The Squeeze has sonic Indian-esc guitars and a funky bass that keeps up the pace of the previous track, whilst Born In The Manor gets gritty with the drumming taking the lead on the album. Those are some hot cymbals. The album has its dancing moments with dirty bass riffs and scratchy sax notes that give the sound a sharp edge. Those two instruments caught my attention as the record progressed and the bass became more guttural. The sax’s deep wubbing sounds made 100% Yes feel so dirty.
32. Darren Hayman – Home Time
Simplicity in music goes a long way from the acoustics, drums, piano and additional vocals that contribute to Hayman’s work. There’s a mixture of cosy rhyming amidst lyrical themes of heartbreak throughout the record. With elements of indie rock and pop with a stripped back sound, everything sounds delightful as Hayman cries out over Home Time. He’s a storyteller and I’m hanging on to every word.
31. Sarah Mary Chadwick – Please Daddy
Please Daddy rushes in with an adrenaline-built opener of dramatic proportions, but I mean this in an emotional sense. The instrumentation is sombre in all of its contributions, with highlights coming from a damning piano and pain-stricken vocal deliveries from Chadwick. It’s one of the most emotional albums I’ve heard this year and the line “My Songs Never Achieve What They’re For” really stuck with me.