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Albums of the Year 2015

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

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

Bestseller of the Year 2015

Sleaford Mods - 'Key Markets'

Sleaford Mods - 'Key Markets'

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2.

Sleaford Mods
A Little Ditty / I'm Shit At It

Angry. Angry. Angry. Shouty. Angry. Angry. Shouty. Sweary. Shouty. Angry. Angry. Sweary. Sweary. Sweary. Angry. Shouty. Shouty. Shouty. Shouty. Angry. Punchy. Punchy. Punchy. Angry. Punchy. Punny. Angry. Sweary. Fighty. Angry. Fighty. Angry. Angry. Angry. Shouty. Angry. Angry. Shouty. Sweary. Shouty. Angry. Punky. Punky. Angry. Punky. Punky. Ang...view item »
3.

The Heads
Time In Space

The Heads is pretty much the purest possible distillation of a psych-rock band name isn’t it? Time In Space collects together tracks from three tour-only CDr releases: they span live recordings, studio outtakes and rehearsal tapes, forming a nice miscellany of the band’s heavy jams. Double LP (with each disc...view item »
4.

Thee Oh Sees
Mutilator Defeated At Last

A new year, a new album. That’s how it goes. Thee Oh Sees are back with more dirty, messy rock. Having strayed from their noisy ways on 2014's Drop, their new album Mutilator Defeated at Last is right back on our favorite track of unforgiving tracks packed with racks of distorting effects a...view item »
5.

Four Tet
Morning / Evening

On 12” vinyl or CD on Text. In perfect indemnible style, Four Tet releases his new album on his own imprint shrouded in mystery and intrigue. Only info in this is via his bareboned tweets, giving us the front cover and the fact that there are only two songs, each around 20 minute mark in length, one entitled Morning Si...view item »
6.

Ryley Walker
Primrose Green

Harking back to an era of technically proficient folk guitar, Ryley Walker brings a high level of craftsmanship to his work. Hailing from the Chicago scene that brought an exquisitely understated fusion of jazz and prog (Tortoise et al), Primrose Green brings a pastoral flavour to an area of rich musical heritage. Out o...view item »
7.

Concretism
Town Planning

A spooky little record with little information offered up about who left it lying about, 'Town Planning' lives up to its mystery, collating archived audio from the Cold War era with more traditional but still expressively experimental sounds -- synths, loops and all that good obscuring stuff. The sound is detached and disengaged, as if the Cold ...view item »
8.

Helen
The Original Faces

Check this one out Grouper fans! Liz Harris has formed a band, as in ‘an actual band’ band. Harris’ unmistakeable vocals can thus be heard over a sort of shoegaze/indie-pop backing. Helen still maintains an essentially mystic nature, but it is very welcome to h...view item »
9.

Beach House
Depression Cherry

Depression Cherry is Beach House’s fifth album and they return to a more simple, melodic feel while continuing to change their sound as they go. Subtracted down to fewer instruments, Beach House keep their dreamy, otherworldly, dream-pop feeling as they pick you up and gently carry you away. Availa...view item »
10.

Michael Head and The Strands
The Magical World of The Strands

Michael Head and The Strands produced The Magical World Of The Strands during the early 90s, first releasing the collection of work-in-progress material in 1997. Everybody loved it, so now it returns, on CD or 180g gatefold LP on Megaphone. Brand new liner notes from Mr Head himself round out the packag...view item »
11.

Joanna Newsom
Divers

Indies of the world delight! A new record from the unique Joanna Newsom! Five years on from Have One On Me, Divers continues her life-long mission of creating immaculately arranged songs, each seemingly containing a universe. Divers is available from Drag City on diverse formats: double LP, CD, or cass...view item »
12.

AFX (Aphex Twin)
orphaned deejay selek 2006-2008

Not content with throwing out a whole discography’s worth of tracks on soundcloud recently, Richard D. James is clearly on a mission to make 2015 as busy as possible. orphaned deejay selek 2006-2008 is the first Aphex Twin release under the AFX moniker since 2005, so hoover up the...view item »
13.

Sufjan Stevens
Carrie & Lowell

Sufjan Stevens left behind the folk game a long time ago, declaring his plan to write fifty records for fifty states a mere joke -- a sentiment that failed to wash away the beauty of the ornately composed Michigan and the pantomimic Illinoise. In the years since, he's been writing song cycle...view item »
14.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress

We thought we'd lost them forever but here they are with their first single length album since their very earliest days. Recorded in late 2013/14 with Greg Norman (not the golfer but the Electrical Audio engineer), 'Asunder, Sweet and other Distress' is described as Godspeed's most focussed and best sounding record to date. Clocking in at an ana...view item »
15.

GNOD
Infinity Machines

When was the last time you saw a triple album that was named Volume 1? Well Gnod have never been too concerned with what is ordinary, and frankly the prospect of almost two straight hours of incantatory-heavy-psych-dub-electric-noise-rock-weirdo madness should excite you greatly. Welcome to Infinity Machines (Volume...view item »
16.

Low
Ones and Sixes

A bloke called Alan who’s a member of Low says of One and Sixes; “I'm not going to tell you what this record is about because I have too much respect for that moment when you come to know it for yourself”. He goes on to talk about “the moment” and all that. All I know is that they c...view item »
17.
18.

The Pop Group / Sleaford Mods
Nations / Face To Faces

Implausible / remarkable team up here from Norman favourites Sleaford Mods and The Pop Group: a split 7” giving us a track from each. The Sleaford selection is an (even) rougher version of a track from their forthcoming album, and Mark Stewart’s boys give us one from...view item »
19.

Joanna Gruesome
Peanut Butter 

‘Peanut Butter’ is twenty five minutes of hyperactive, violently melodic, aggressive, economic pop that’s packed full of tasty hooks and screams from highly acclaimed Cardiff based pop punk ensemble Joanna Gruesome. Recorded in Leeds at Hookworms frontman M.J’s Suburban Homes Studios, the album comes with the following wa...view item »
20.

Deerhunter
Fading Frontier

At last, new Deerhunter! With their seventh album, the band have taken a fairly accessible approach, crafting songs with a strong melodic thrust and clear production. Lovely stuff. But they can’t hide their inherent weirdnesses entirely: Fading Frontiers is full of the odd little touches that make this band so spe...view item »
21.

Flying Saucer Attack
Instrumentals 2015

The first release in fifteen years from Flying Saucer Attack sees David Pearce perform 15 new lo-fi tracks recorded at home. One to be listened to from beginning to end, this British space rock album resonates, drones and creates a stunning emotional arc from start to finish. Vinyl double LP or CD from Domino....view item »
22.

Olafur Arnalds & Nils Frahm
Life Story Love And Glory

Ólafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm are pretty much the dream team if you are a fan of the Erased Tapes aesthetic. Life Story Love And Glory is a 7” containing some casually improvised piano duets, inventive and intimate. The vinyl is exclusive to record stores like ourselves, and may hint toward...view item »
23.

Aphex Twin
Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2 EP

Available on 12” Vinyl and CD. After Syro, the first material from Richard D. James under his Aphex Twin moniker in 13 years, dropped near the end of 2014, I think most of us hoped that it wasn’t going to be an equally long wait. James says he’s been making computers play real instrume...view item »
24.

Ela Orleans
Upper Hell

Upper Hell is Ela Orleans’ much anticipated follow up to the magical Tumult in Clouds album from 2012. The noir pop wizardess teams up with uber-producer Howie B for her new music, and seductive, brilliantly evolved sounds are the inevitable result. On the man’s HB imprint on CD and vin...view item »
25.

Jim O'Rourke
Simple Songs

Let’s be clear, Jim O’Rourke has never stopped putting out records. But it’s been over a decade since he released an album of ‘proper music’ rather than noise/improv/jazz/electroacoustic/drone wonder. But now he’s back on Drag City with an album literally titled Simple Songs! Eight tr...view item »
26.

Kamasi Washington
The Epic

If you enjoyed the corners of Flying Lotus’ music where he flirts with psychedelic jazz, now is a chance to get more, much more… The Epic, released on FlyLo’s own Brainfeeder label, is a three disc super-album orchestrated by Kamsai Washington and utilising orchestra, choir, and a ban...view item »
27.

Various
In A Moment... Ghost Box

Available on either double heavyweight vinyl, or a double digipak CD, In A Moment….Ghost Box is a collection from the label’s back catalogue to celebrate ten years of releases. Hand picked and remastered, artists include Pye Corner Audio, Belbury Poly, The Advisory Circle, ...view item »
28.

Broadcast
Tender Buttons

Broadcast released their third album to critical acclaim, presenting a refined sound that pushed the psychedelic elements out of the Pram-esque noir of previous outings. The core of stripped back rhythms, synths and robotic vocals remained, brought into fuller colour with a new approach to songwriting and produc...view item »
29.

The Advisory Circle
Other Channels

LP re-issue  - read Phil's striking words from 2008 below - now spellchecked. We can see why that job at The Wire always eluded him.  First up is The Advisory Circle on Ghost Box with their brand new CD called 'Other Channels'. This is some pretty cool analogue sounding electronics and the whole thing sounds like the i...view item »
30.

The Declining Winter
Home For Lost Souls

Following the success of our Album Of The Year winner 'Exist/Resist' by Bracken album, the other co-founder of that much-loved post rock/electronic group Hood (namely Richard Adams) unleashes a brand new album under his The Declining Winter moniker. Expect warmly produced, forward-thinking, ...view item »
31.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Multi-Love

Some twenty first century scorn from Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Multi-Love is the next instalment from the art-pop freaks. This one is full of Ruban Nielson's dreamy croon, swaying synthesisers and grooved out bass & drums. It sounds like Steely Dan, Tame Impala and Deerhunter somehow co...view item »
32.

Death And Vanilla
To Where the Wild Things Are

Recorded using a ten pound microphone they found at a flea market, Death and Vanilla have, on this their third album, really captured the sights, the sounds, the smells of all the best bits of late '60s/early '70s dreamy pop. Their sound is woozy, evocative and blatantly in thrall to the kaleidoscopic sounds of Broadcast, the BB...view item »
33.

Sleaford Mods
Mr. Jolly Fucker / Tweet Tweet Tweet

As you may know,  Nottingham’s finest Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn aka Sleaford Mods have been creating a bit of a stir here at Norman HQ recently, it’s safe to say that these lads are definitely Marmite. This is a double A-side of two tracks that don’t feature on their ‘Austerity Dogs’ album so if...view item »
34.

Jon Brooks
Music For Thomas Carnacki

Jon Brooks, although probably more 'famous' for his work as The Advisory Circle, has also released a series of records under his own name, most of which seem to sell out on release. Here we present on a limited LP run of an album which expands on a piece he made for the Resonance FM series Weird Tales For Winter. This i...view item »
35.

Sela
Anniversary

Following our policy of liking a record so much we bought the company, we've pressed up 200 vinyl copies of what we feel is one of the most unusual and innovative records of the past few years. 'Anniversary' by Sela was originally released on CD on the Japanese Flau imprint and sold out in a matter of days. Its disorientating blend of woozy hip-...view item »
36.

Jamie xx
In Colour

In Colour is the debut album by Jamie xx, from the Mercury Music Prize winning band, The xx. Over the past six years Jamie xx has worked with and re-worked the likes of Radiohead, Alicia Keys and Florence & The Machine but his crown...view item »
37.

Jon Brooks
52

Jon Brooks takes a step away from his Advisory Circle work with what promises to be a lovely new LP on the ever great Clay Pipe records. Inspired by hs grandma's house, this record consists of reflective synth laden evocations of the house he lived as a child. As with anything on Clay Pipe the artwork is sure to be absolutely stunning and the la...view item »
38.

The Lucid Dream
The Lucid Dream

The Lucid Dream? Must be a psychedelic band right? Correct. A psych band delivering their second LP, the self-titled, The Lucid Dream. Truly a band of the new psychedelic drive we find ourselves in, the group edge closer to the kraut inspired bands of TOY or the heavy-rockers of Bo Ninge...view item »
39.

Björk
Vulnicura

Back from Iceland, Björk is bringing another piece of her wild and crazy pop history to us. Vulnicura is released on double vinyl, in a deluxe digipack or a classic CD, but as far as we know none of the editions includes any fancy Björk swanmade dresses. We tried to make it happen, we really did....view item »
40.

Follakzoid
III

With music that is more stretched out than the country they come from, Föllakzoid are now back with their third LP. On III, the band tries to focus on creating long and minimal soundscapes, combined with their musical ancestors, which yields a haunting and hypnotizing endresult. Now that's föllaked up....view item »
41.

Julia Holter
Have You In My Wilderness

‘Have You In My Wilderness’ is a collection of dreamy, atmospheric, intimate ballads textured with the imagery inspired by various literary references, exploring familiar themes such as love and human relationships in a way that is enigmatic and slightly unnerving. The record seems to be drawn from a more personal source than her fir...view item »
42.

Mogwai
Central Belters

Something of a motherload here for Mogwai fans: the noisy Scottish group are celebrating their 20th anniversary with a grand, box-set compilation, equal parts favourites and rarities. If you’ve never heard their ‘My Father My King’ before for instance, now’s your chance! Three CDs or a whole six vinyl rec...view item »
43.

Pye Corner Audio
Stars Shine Like Eyes / Quasar ll

Death Waltz and Pye Corner Audio. Flourescent Orange Vinyl and beautifully designed sleeve art. And you still haven't ordered it yet? This is essential for fans of John Carpenter, sci-fi soundtracks, dystopian fantasies and just good electronic music. Two tracks of future, past and present inspired cosmic music from the ever excellent Head Techn...view item »
44.

Ian William Craig
Cradle for the Wanting

Ian William Craig's previous release 'A Turn of Breath' was not only a favourite with us but with the New York Times. So there. The Wire have also featured this Canadian sound collagist of late so there is high anticipation of this new record. This time round Craig has recorded very quickly (months rather than years) and has used only his voice ...view item »
45.

Sleaford Mods
Talk Bollocks / No One's Bothered

Now that we have a Conservative party in full power and therefore five years of austerity and cuts ahead of us we'll be needing Sleaford Mods more than ever. An initial spin of 'No One's Bothered' from their forthcoming 'Key Markets' album reveals a band pretty close to the top of their game. This pulsating track appears here alongside the typic...view item »
46.

Jon Brooks
Walberswick

Limited to 300 copies on the Canadian More Than Human label this is the latest instalment in the Advisory Circle man's solo endeavours. Here he uses modular synths to create calm and icy soundscapes and shows him in more reflective mood than in the recent sold out ''Music For Thomas Carnacki'. All Brooks releases sell out with a few days and we ...view item »
47.

Goat
It's Time For Fun

Rejoice! A brand new single from Goat and the first new material since the much-loved 'Commune' album. Goat keep up the pretence of being some kind of hedonistic commune dwelling trolls by disappearing to the village of Korpilombolo in Sweden to record new material which will appear on an upcoming third album. This 7" however wa...view item »
48.

SEXWITCH
SEXWITCH

It has been a good long while since we heard from Bat For Lashes’ lead performer Natasha Khan, so she’s decided to make a big return splash with a new group named Sexwitch. For this self-titled debut (which also features the band TOY), Khan takes on ...view item »
49.

The Declining Winter / Isnaj Dui
Split

Absolutely gorgeous looking hand numbered split 12" on Rural Colours with screen printed sleeves and additional postcards. The Declining Winter side consists of seven stripped back pop songs recorded in a remote cabin producing a raw, evocative sound that reflects the environment it was made. Overleaf Katie English aka Isnaj Dui puts away her fl...view item »
50.

Levitation
Meanwhile Gardens

Much to the band’s evident dismay (see the press release), Levitation’s second record Meanwhile Gardens was never released in 1993 when it was recorded. It has taken until now for the album to receive the full, proper release it was meant to: now, we can all hear the alt-guitar sound the band crafted back th...view item »