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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'

'Near Misses'

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

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 »
LP (BELLA500VX, £20.49) is now sold out, sorry.
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Helvetia
Dromomania

Helvetia make a guitar-rock that sort of lopes along casually: not so much in a slacker way, more in the sense suggested by the name of the album. Dromomania is a sort of ‘dissociative fugue’, and the band sound somewhat dissociated from the world around them. Surprisingly, this is a big plus, giving the alb...view item »
CD (JNR173CD, £11.49) is now sold out, sorry.
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Sleater-Kinney
No Cities To Love

They called Carrie Brownstein home from Portlandia; they politely asked Corin Tucker to stop making her quite excellent solo albums; they pointed out that the Shins aren't cool to Janet Weiss. Sleater-Kinney, one of the most important punk rock bands of the modern era, are back, and ...view item »
Double LP (SP1100X, £22.99) is now sold out, sorry.
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Matana Roberts
Coin Coin Chapter Three: River Run Thee

River Run Thee is the third entry in Matana Roberts' so far incredible 12-part musical tapestry (as she called it for part two, "sound quilting") about civil rights and the history of creativity in America. Roberts' discipline is jazz, specifically avant compositions on saxophone, but, as implied with her invo...view item »


Dutch Uncles
O Shudder

The Dutch Uncles are from Marple in Greater Manchester. The five-piece indie-pop band first got together as The Dutch Uncles in 2008 after meeting at college. O Shudder is their fourth album. Taking their influences from bands such as Talking Heads and XTC, their comple...view item »
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H Hawkline
In The Pink Of Condition

Inspired by the early solo work of Paul Mccartney and taking his name from American author Richard Brautigan’s The Hawkline Monster, this stunning album from H Hawkline is his first full LP on Heavenly Recordings, and the third album from Huw Gwynfryn Evans. Clever wordplay and sharp smart guitars. Surreal, clever, melodic...view item »


Grooms
Comb The Feelings Through Your Hair

This ain’t your regular barbershop-quartet. In fact, these are not barbers nor are there four of them. But they’re still tight. With a new line-up, Grooms newest album has a new sound that should please the old fans as well. Comb The Feelings Through Your Hair is the product of change, both forced and volunt...view item »
CD (WEST127CD, £9.99) is now sold out, sorry.
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Blanck Mass
Dumb Flesh

A heavy album about genetic decay from one half of Fuck Buttons, Benjamin John Power. As Blanck Mass Power has been dealing in grandiosity since 2010, notably providing the soundtrack to the 2012 Olympic Games. Dumb Flesh is just as heavy, tribal and expansive as his work with Fuck Buttons. Out on CD and vinyl double LP...view item »
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Double LP (SBR136, £19.99) is now sold out, sorry.
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Colleen
Captain Of None

Loopy beauty from French multi-instrumentalist Cecile Schott a.k.a Colleen. Playing the baroque instrument, treble viola da gamba, and singing in a folky whisper, she brings to mind the loop-based works of Robert Fripp or more recently Dustin Wong but with a stronger leaning towards songcraft. Out on CD and vinyl LP from Thrill ...view item »


Nosaj Thing
Fated

Available on 12” Vinyl or CD on Innovative Leisure. Nosaj Thing’s debut album Drift was heralded as a landmark record, and quite rightly so, pushing texture and melody into the foreground. After leaving 4 years before his follow up Home Jason Chung seems more eager to refine his sou...view item »
CD (IL2028CD, £10.49) is now sold out, sorry.
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Kendrick Lamar
To Pimp a Butterfly

I'm not sure about pimping a butterfly but Kendrick Lamar certainly knows the smooth. Sampling and influenced by the '70s greats of Parliament, Clinton (George not me) and Marvin Gaye, he twists black anger into new and danceable shapes. Challenging at times but sounds like it's going to be a decent follow up.   ...view item »


Regis
Manbait

‘Manbait’ is the new double LP release from Regis aka Karl O’Connor (Downwards records, Sandwell District collective, British Murder Boys). The record features several new versions of three original tracks, remixes of Raime, Vatican Shadow, Ike Yard and Dalhous, an alternate mix of Tropic of Cancer’s ‘Plant Lilies A...view item »


Ekoplekz
Reflekzionz

Murky Bristolian master Nick Edwards aka Ekoplekz returns to Planet Mu for his third full length album with them. Reflekzionz pulls the music of Edwards’ early 90’s life into his cassette-dub vortex, pushing out tracks that are recognisably Ekoplekz but via ...view item »


The Fear Ratio
Refuge of a Twisted Soul

The Fear Ratio is a collaborative project between London techno DJ/producer Mark Broom and Croydon born techno producer James Ruskin. ‘Refuge Of A Twisted Soul’ is their latest release on Manchester based, independent, electro label Skam records. Combining the Balearic/Chicago and acid house influences of Broom with the hip hop/late ...view item »
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Hidden Rivers
Where Moss Grows

As both artist name (Hidden Rivers) and album name (Where Moss Grows) indicate heavily, this is music deeply rooted in the natural landscape. Refreshingly however, Huw Roberts (the man behind the project) understands that that doesn’t have to mean an acoustic folk-fest: instead he deploys mellow e...view item »
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Anna von Hausswolff
The Miraculous

Miraculous is what swedish singer/songwriter Anna Von Hausswolff calls a place her family used to tell her about when she was small. The mysterious place has had a complicated history. It is home to Swedish traditional folk music and the landscape is beautiful but it was also the scene of an uprising in her country that led to m...view item »
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Gnoomes
Ngan!

Gnoomes hail from far Russia, in a region previously used as a place of exile. Isolation can be a bad thing, but it can also bring people closer (and allow them to make loud noises without complaints). Hence, Gnoomes, who are a close-knit space-rock band devoted to transcending through gorgeous musical sprawl. D...view item »
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Teeth of The Sea
Highly Deadly Black Tarantula

Following on from their third album, 2014’s Master, Teeth Of The Sea return with Highly Deadly Black Tarantula - a pummelling workout that’s as aggressive as it is groovy. Equal parts post-rock scope and heavy metal ferocity, it’s the kind of album at which Teeth Of The Sea excel. Out on CD and vinyl L...view item »
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Shopping
Why Choose

Shopping follow up their self-released debut album with Why Choose, on FatCat. The band’s sound comes from a rich lineage of angular post-punk, which is not to say they don’t sound fresh. You can alternately thrash and dance to their business, good stuff. If you get hold of the limited first pressing of the ...view item »
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J Dilla
Dillatronic

More high-quality beat action from the archives of the beloved J Dilla, this time with totally new-to-the-public material! Dillatronic’s 41 tracks are particularly heavy on electronic synth lines, supported by breaks that have that perennially funky Dilla quality. A total treat for Dilla...view item »
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Lumisokea
Mnemosyne

Drone time baby! Not just any old drones though: Lumisokea have been working with recordings of such resonant acoustic instruments as gamelan and cello, and have processed and re-engineered them into the pieces you hear on Mnemosyne. Detailed electroacoustic sound caverns, pressed to vinyl on the Alter label....view item »


Gold Celeste
The Glow

Gold Celeste, from Norway, have a sweepingly sunny sound. They start tracks off with near hip-hop grade beats, and then add a lovely glaze of synths, guitars and vocals. The whole thing is delicate, and subtly psychedelic. A very strong, interesting debut. The Glow is released as an LP on the Riot Factory label....view item »
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Girls Pissing on Girls Pissing
Scrying in Infirmary Architecture

For a band named Girls Pissing On Girls Pissing, this group actually have quite a mellow sound to them. Scrying In Infirmary Architecture joins My Bloody Valentine-esque harmony vocals to a sort of avant-indie-folk-pop and some sideways screamo. Gatefold 12” vinyl packaged with an art book, on MUZ...view item »
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Christina Vantzou
No. 3

Classic Kranky material here from Chistina Vantzou’s third record, for which she enlisted a 15-part micro-orchestra. Formerly involved with The Dead Texan, Vantzou here pulls those classical instruments (and several synths) through layer-upon-layer of processing, ending up with a smooth an...view item »