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Albums of the Year 2014

After the usual careful deliberation, here are our Albums of the Year.

Top 50 Albums Top 50 Reissues Top 50 Bestsellers 'Near Misses'

'Near Misses'

Bubbling just under the Top 50, here's a bunch of records we definitely rate but didn't quite squeeze in. Presented in random order...

Habibi
Habibi

Cor, this is a real sweet platter. Habibi (apparently an Arabic term for “affection”) are four Brooklyn, NY-based lovelies making pure, simple stripped-back and delightfully harmonic gems in the vein of Frankie Rose, Grass Widow and like fellow NY-ers ...view item »
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Nope
Walker

One of the most thrilling and intense bands residing in our fair, bustling city of Leeds is NOPE. I can claim to have watched these lads progressing from their early ragged long single jam sets into the lean psycho-kraut machine that they are today, still specialising in their customary twin-drum assaults but with a finesse and power few can mat...view item »

Metronomy
Love Letters

There just aren’t enough people with curly hair these days so good on Metronomy main-man Joseph Mount for battling ahead and sticking one in the eye of the straight hairs. I had no idea of his potential hair handicap when a rollocking Northern Soul tune came on the wireless the other day. I hurtled into the kitchen like a whip to f...view item »

Thee Oh Sees
Drop

Hi. Below is some information regarding the new Oh Sees album - listen up. ‘Drop’ is a John Dwyer Oh Sees record, as with previous non-band outings like ‘Castlevania’ and such, yet it also sounds like a complete band outing which is reassuring. Sadly there’s no Brigid, no Petey (Dammit!) and no Mike whi...view item »

Mogwai
Rave Tapes

‘Rave Tapes’ is the eighth studio album from the Glasgow boys, pretty amazing really as personally I’ve watched them blossom from wee scamps back in the mid nineties to the stadium rock giants they are now (well almost!). From the opening track ‘Heard About You Last Night’ it’s truly evident that Mogwai have b...view item »
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Actress
Ghettoville

Perhaps Darren Cunningham should have reserved the title of his previous album (R.I.P) for his latest sprawling opus ‘Ghettoville’. The word on the streets of the information superhighway is that this is the final album from Actress. Whether that is in fact true, and whether it is just that particular ...view item »

Cheatahs
Cheatahs

Every once in a while a band comes along and you just instantly fall head over heels in love with them, for me Wichita’s latest signing Cheatahs were exactly that, love at first listen to put it bluntly, anyway enough about my feelings toward this band and on to the nitty gritty. Four fellas from completely different parts of the w...view item »
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Ibibio Sound Machine
Ibibio Sound Machine

Fronted by British/Nigerian vocalist Eno Williams, Ibibio Sound Machine combine, so says their press release, "elements of West African highlife, disco, & psychedelic electro soul". On this occasion my quote marks aren't sarcastic, that's a pretty good description of what they do. It sounds like quite a Londonised take on Highlife, if that m...view item »

Yong Yong
Greatest It's

I very much enjoyed Yong Yong's debut cassette (now available on LP on Night School), really trippy and minimal but thoroughly melodic with it. It's a pleasure, then, to have another long-player in the office from them. If anything this is even more minimal than the first tape, broadly evoking a cross between the dubbed-out fever drones of ...view item »

Mac DeMarco
Salad Days

Yes its the Return of the Mac. This is Mac De Marco’s third full length record and its safe to say that if you like the first two then you are going to find plenty to swoon over here.  He’s long discarded the pitched down croon he used on the first side of the corking ‘Rock and Roll Nightclub’ debut and has adopted a...view item »

HTRK
Psychic 9-5 Club

A few weeks ago I’d been playing HTRK’s 2011 album ‘Work, Work, Work’ and was thinking to myself “Shit this lot must be due for a new album soon” and then the following week what lands in my work folder of new releases to add to our site but ‘Psychic 9-5 Club’. It was pro...view item »
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The Young Sinclairs
This is The Young Sinclairs

We all like a bit of The Young Sinclairs here at the towers. Like Allah Las they have echewed the hard rockin' sounds of a lot of modern day garage bands for the jangly West Coast blueprint as purveyed by The Byrds, Love and assorted 60's folk-rock types. They form part of the Magic Twig Community, a group of like-minded musicians operating thei...view item »

People's Temple
Musical Garden

The People's Temple are back already with album number three! The first two were superb and at this point they've established themselves as a safe set of hands if you're looking for authentic '60s-style psych, so it should be no surprise to hear that this new one is wonderful. 'Musical Garden' is the sound of a band are performing with such co...view item »
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Deerhoof
La Isla Bonita

Deerhoof have been going 20 years. 20 years! Crazy. Anyhow, this is their latest beast of a record and the general consensus is that it's a groove record, full of killer repeating riffs, the vocals adding a poppy edge that the band hopes will appeal to everyone on the planet not just Deerhoof fans. Bound to be interesting. 'Exit Only' (derived f...view item »
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Richard Dawson
Nothing Important

'Nothing Important' is the new record from Newcastle's great warped folkie, Richard Dawson. You never know what you're going to get with this maverick -- huge, boisterous vocal chanting or ornate guitar compositions -- but this record sees him stretch out into the long-form, offering a rare few tracks that document vignettes about life in sixtee...view item »
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Great Ytene
Great Ytene

This lot first came to my attention back in ‘13 with a great single on Marshall Teller which almost....almost made me smile. This debut 6 track album again has my mouth on its way into a general upward pattern. Its not the sort of thing that’s going to leap out at you, I don’t know what their name is all about and the s...view item »
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The Projects
Elektrichka's Favourite Party Record

I’m absolutely sure I saw The Projects live back in the midsts of time, thinking they were superb, then losing all track of their progress. This, their fourth album, is overshadowed by the death of leader Graeme Wilson from MS related complications aged 37. Its hard to be objective when reviewing a record on the back of such a tragedy, you...view item »

Luke Abbott
Wysing Forest

Border Community is a proper survivor of a label. To survive you need to adapt. Epic tech-house club bangers are all very well and good but you gotta keep things fresh and crispy innit. Label chief Holden surprised many with the relatively un-dancefloor friendly aspects of his brilliant kosmische-kissed 'Inheritors'....view item »
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Subtle Turnhips
Redhair With Some

If this had come out last month it would be in my half-year top five, simple as. I've not heard such a deliciously unhinged, scuzzy and exciting rock record from France in a long time. With releases on garage label Hozak and smaller, obscure imprints to their name, 'Redhair With Some' is forged from rumbling gutter-noise and soiled, psychotic po...view item »
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Zig Zags
Zig Zags

So far Zig Zags have done everything right. Their debut 7" was a stellar blast of stoner garage swagger that got their name instantly bookmarked in my mental filing system, then they teamed up with Iggy Pop for a sleaze-fuzz romp through Betty Davis's sex-funk classic 'If I'm In Luck I Might Get Picked Up' for a ...view item »
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Wolves in the Throne Room
Celestite

From the band themselves: “To make Celestite we delved into the subterranean sonics that are buried in the mix of Celestial Lineage. We isolated them, processed them and took this unearthed soundscape as our starting point. Upon this base we recorded an entirely new album. Some melodies from Celestial Lineage are recognizable, but these fa...view item »
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Shabazz Palaces
Lese Majesty

If there was something that I never expected Sub-Pop to start trading in, that thing was hip-hop. Now with them brandishing the second SB album, shaking it in my gormless face and the impressive Clipping. CD jammed in my back pocket, I'm now skipping down the road like a lunatic singing a stupid song about the dawn...view item »

Anjou
Anjou

Anjou is born from the ashes of Virginia's staple post-rock band Labradford, bringing together guitarist and singing man Mark Nelson with bassist Robert Donne for their first collaboration in a good minute. With Labradford all but disbanded, 'Anjou' is a good chance as any to recreate their magic, bringing together stunning ambient textures with...view item »

Melvins
Hold It In

Their first full-length as a quartet since 2010’s 'The Bride Screams Murder', ‘Hold It In’ marks yet another return for Washington’s ever-prolific Melvins, this time with the addition of guitar-proficient Paul Leary and JD Pinkus (Butthole Surfers), joining originals and sole constants Buzz Osbourne and Dale Crover. Recor...view item »
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Peaking Lights
Cosmic Logic

The lush dub pop of Peaking Lights returns for another round with the dutifully titled 'Cosmic Logic', offering up more squeaky electronics, flat-lining beats and eerie good times. They last appeared with 'Lucifer', but 'Entity' makes the synth pop more overt, keeping the minimalist approach but upping the playfulness. ...view item »
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