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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'

Reissue of the Year 2015

Michael Head and The Strands - 'The Magical World of The Strands'

Michael Head and The Strands - 'The Magical World of The Strands'

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2.

Gwenno
Y Dydd Olaf

Welsh groove-pop from Gwenno on Peski. Y Dydd Olaf is an ode to story telling, the preservation of language and the modern sounds of the Welsh underground. The undeniable influence of krautrock giants Neu! and the psychedelic rock sounds of the 60's, are mixed with contemporary poppy grooves and production akin to bands...view item »
3.

Popol Vuh
Nosferatu The Vampyre

Nosferatu The Vampyre is a 1970’s Werner Herzog film, which naturally means that it comes with a soundtrack by Popol Vuh. As usual with the workings of Florian Fricke, the results are gorgeous, melodic guitar lines flowing over one another like sunlight: or maybe moonlight, given ...view item »
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4.

Peter Zinovieff
Electric Calendar / The EMS Tapes

'The Electronic Calendar/The EMS Tapes' is the first complete retrospective of the experimental electronic work of pioneering composer, instrument designer, and all out game changer in the world of electronic music Peter Zinovieff, documenting his work from his earliest experiments in 1965 through to the liquidation of his EMS synthesiser compan...view item »
5.

SWANS
White Light from the Mouth of Infinity / Love of Life

Swans are an American experimental rock who had their origins in the New York No Wave scene of the early ‘80s. They are fronted by multi-instrumentalist Michael Gira. White Light From The Mouth of Infinity and Love of Life are two of their classic albums from their early ‘90s period...view item »
6.

Daniele Ciullini
Domestic Exile : Collected Works 82-86

‘Domestic Exile Collected Works 82-86' is a collection of previously self released cassette recordings by Italian mail-artist and member of art and music collective Trax, Daniele Ciullini. It is the first reissue release for the Ecstatic records (label project of Alessio Natalizia and Sam Willis aka Walls). His music is ambient industriali...view item »
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7.

Ben Watt & Robert Wyatt
Summer Into Winter / North Marine Drive

Summer Into Winter/North Marine Drive is a collaboration between Ben Watt, formerly of Everything But The Girl and Robert Wyatt. Robert Wyatt was a huge influence on Ben Watt. This LP features a sublime cover of Bob Dylan’s Yo...view item »
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8.

Stars Of The Lid
And Their Refinement Of The Decline

Stars of the Lid's seventh studio album saw a slight hesitation in what appeared to be a progression further into orchestrated ambience. The previous LP's rich, stately tone does make up a lot of the character, but a return to the exploration of non-musical, abstract sonic nuance is where the magic is here, still wonderful in re...view item »
9.

David Borden
Music for Amplified Keyboard Instruments

American Minimalist composer and electronic music pioneer David Borden originally released ‘Music for Amplified Keyboard Instruments’ in 1981 on Dutch label Red Records. The album is made up of four compositions each played by three musicians, and six keyboard instruments making beautiful ambient patterns of melodic, shimmering progr...view item »
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10.

Built To Spill
There's Nothing Wrong With Love

Built To Spill’s second record here, first released in 1994. Their gorgeously slackerish indie sound is pretty much at its peak here, with favourites like ‘Distopian Dream Girl’ and ‘Car’ included. This reissue, on Up Records, is the very first time There’s Nothing Wrong With Love has...view item »
11.

Ata Kak
Obaa Sima

Awesome Tapes from Africa is doing great work by bringing Africa’s finest musicians to European ears. Ata Kak was the first post on their blog, and we are happy that Obaa Sima has finally made it onto vinyl as well. The album displays a soulful enthusiasm and musical prowess straight from 1994 Ghana....view item »
12.

Lnrdcroy
Much Less Normal

Available as 2x12” LP with screen print sleeve and insert, or CD. Every time I listen through the clips I expect David Byrne to start singing on a couple of the tracks. Leonard Campbell’s lush narrative-following electronica with some very slick 80’s grooves placed in jumps back and forth betwe...view item »
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13.

Alejandro Jodorowsky
The Holy Mountain

The soundtrack to Alejandro Jodorowsky’s masterpiece The Holy Mountain is suitably bizarre and amazing, almost as much so as the film itself. Jodorowsky put it together with the help of the legendary Don Cherry, and this issue of the music is a grand 2LP set with a beautiful sleev...view item »
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14.

Laraaji
Ambient 3: Day Of Radiance

People forget that the 3rd part of Brian Eno’s Ambient series wasn’t just another solo Eno outing: it was actually mostly the work of Laraaji, the spiritual zither experimentalist. Ambient 3: Day Of Radiance is a lush and gorgeous thing whose influence stretches far...view item »
15.

Ride
Nowhere

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of Ride’s debut, they are re-releasing Nowhere with loads of extra goodies. With an expanded 15-track version of the album, as well as live recordings from their concert at London's Town & Country Club in March 1991. As well as a photo booklet. All wrapped up in some pret...view item »
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16.

Nurse With Wound
Soliloquy For Lilith

Essential reissue of Nurse With Wound’s epic 3CD masterpiece. Quite possibly my all time favourite Nurse With Wound release. Apparently so popular with fans at the time of it’s vinyl release back in 1988 it funded his family’s move to a farm in Irelan...view item »
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17.

Giancarlo Toniutti
La Mutazione

This morning I woke up and the first thing that came into my head was that there was a reissue due of some old record on Broken Flag that I'd never heard and sounded right up my street. “...akin to Klaus Schulze, Cluster, ...view item »
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18.

Bernard Fevre
The Strange World of Bernard Fevre

1975 saw the release of this synthesizer masterwork by Bernard Fevre a.k.a Black Devil. Strands of Moroder’s analogue bounce and touches of Tangerine Dream’s bubbling arpeggios make for a compelling listen on The Strange World Of Bernard Fevre. Reissued in all its glory by DJ Kirk Degiorgio and Mark Melton. ...view item »
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19.

Dälek
From Filthy Tongue Of Gods and Griots

The best and most original hip hop album of the year comes from Dalek who have finally nailed their Public Enemy meets Flying Saucer Attack meets My Bloody Valentine crossbreed. There are about 3 or tracks here that are simply perfection. Storming,  wild shards of guitar feedback overlaid with hip hop vocals and...view item »
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20.

Laika
Silver Apples Of The Moon

By giving a big shout-out to Morton Subotnick with the title of this record, Laika set the tone for their brand of sonics, willing to experiment and move forward into new territory. Silver Apples Of The Moon must have been pretty thrilling when it landed in 1995: it remains pretty thrilling today to be ...view item »
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21.

Bing & Ruth
City Lake

The full length debut from avant-ambienters Bing & Ruth is treated to an expanded reissue. City Lake takes in the exquisite piano work of David Moore, nestling the reverb-drenched tones amidst clarinet, cello and vocals for a luxuriously engulfing piece of work. Out on CD and 2LP vinyl from RVNG Intl....view item »
22.

Ellen Fullman
The Long String Instrument

Ellen Fullman has been crafting long weaves of sound with her Long String Instrument for almost 35 years now, and this LP from 1985 was the first recorded document of her work. By long, we are talking in the region of 70 feet, so these string drones sound like little else. LP reissued by Superior Viaduct....view item »
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23.

Broadcast
The Noise Made By People

The wonderful wonderful sound of Broadcast, brought back onto vinyl again at last by Warp Records. The Noise Made By People slides into existence with ‘Long Was The Year’, a perfect example of their slinking mysterious sound. A clear melody, and Trish Keenan’s beautiful voice, but with an undertow of u...view item »
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24.

Happyness
Weird Little Birthday

'Weird Little Birthday' is the self produced follow up to the critically acclaimed eponymous debut EP released earlier this year from South London trio Happyness. Drawing of the influence of college rock bands such as Sparklehorse, Pavement, MGMT and Yo La Tengo, ‘Wierd Little Birthday’ is a record which plays on the difficult balanc...view item »
25.

John Shuttleworth
The Yamaha Years

Fifty-something DIY enthusiast, John Shuttleworth lives in Sheffield with his wife and two kids. He writes perfect kitchen-sink pop songs with the help of his portable Yamaha synthesizer. Available for the first time on vinyl, The Yamaha Years contains such classics as Pigeons In Flight and My Wife Died In ...view item »
26.

Björk
Vespertine

At the time, just after the turn of a new century, Vespertine felt like a logical progression from Homogenic, released four years previously. The increased orchestral presence is rich and lush, backed with more considered, detailed beats and songs which travel from the dark and folkloric to movingly romantic. ...view item »
27.

Kreng
L'Autopsie Phénoménale De Dieu

Kreng offers enough discordance than you can shake an industrial-strength stick at, using a plethora of acoustic instruments and a dash of irreducible ambience to create soundscapes that are deceptively listenable. L'Autopsie Phénoménale De Dieu is a foreboding marriage of neo-classical and ...view item »
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28.

Red House Painters
Red House Painters / Bridge

Of the two sorta untitled Red House Painters records, Bridge is the perennial underachiever, a record that's more subtle in places and less focused in tone. It makes for something of RHP rock record: a strangely joyous cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "I Am A Rock" appears, as does a gloomy, pan...view item »
29.

Air
The Virgin Suicides - 15th Anniversary Edition

Here we have a highly luxurious reissue of Air’s seminal soundtrack to Sofia Copolla’s film The Virgin Suicides. The slinky French sounds (plus some unreleased live tracks) are pressed to red 180g vinyl and CD, as well as a very tasty picture disc, all served up in a big box-set. Also availa...view item »
30.

Egisto Macchi
Il Deserto

Egisto Macchi is an underrated (is their any other kind?) library music composer from Florence, Italy. Macchi was very busy in the 1970’s producing the kind of unusual sounds we hear on Il Deserto, which creeps along dramatically. Needless to say, incredibly rare in its original edition. Double ga...view item »
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31.

Singers & Players
War Of Words

1981 saw the release of Singers & Players’ debut record, War Of Words. This is a good-natured war however, the Singers & Players collective (comprising Prince Far I, Bim Sherman, Jah Woosh and more) competing lyrically. A great slice of cl...view item »
32.

The Fall
This Nation's Saving Grace

Beggar’s Banquet are launching the next phase of their Fall reissue campaign, hooray hooray! This Nation’s Saving Grace, an album by The Fall that almost everyone seems to agree is a classic slice of Fall: impressive, given how hard it is to get that fanbase to agree. Major ...view item »
33.

Aksak Maboul
Onze Dances pour Combattre la Migraine

Aksak Maboul is keeping busy at the moment (with a great collaboration with Veronique Vincent), so what better time to be reminded of earlier work? Onze Dances pour Combattre la Migraine is a glorious thing from 1977, and even if it doesn’t cure your headache, you will almost certainly dance. Reis...view item »
34.

Modest Mouse
The Lonesome Crowded West

Modest Mouse’s third LP, ‘The Lonesome Crowded West’, was originally released in 1997, and ultimately helped to mould the American indie rock sound that became synonymous with the Pacific Northwest. Its endemic, influential sound has been copied from both sides of the Atlantic, but its honest existentialism makes it a modern da...view item »
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35.

Om
Pilgrimage

I've just been to take the washing out of the tumble dryer and completely forgotten what I was supposed to be doing. All I could think of was the latest masterpiece from Om: 'Pilgrimage'. I'm now playing this CD for the 7th time. It's difficult to recall ever revisiting an album so frequently in such a small amount of time....view item »
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36.

Super Furry Animals
Mwng

It’s reissue time for the alt kings of Wales. The fourth album by Super Furry Animals is a lo-fi effort that’s packed with pop sensibilities. Notably their first release with lyrics entirely sung in Welsh, Mwng was described by Rhys as their ‘pop strike’ after failing to make chart headway in Eng...view item »
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37.

Harmonia
Complete Works

Sadly (and inadvertently) timed to coincide with the death of core member Dieter Moebius, we have here the Complete Works of Harmonia. That’s a whole five albums by the pioneering komische-electronicists, including a live album and Tracks And Traces, their collaboration with Brian...view item »
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38.

Gigi Masin
Wind

Gigi Masin’s private press LP Wind gets a proper issuing thanks to The Bear On The Moon. Masin’s ambient songs drift on a bed of synths, in a way that plenty of obscurity-hunters have fallen for over the years. You could let it colour your room, or you could follow his songcraft: your choice...view item »
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39.

Secret Shine
Untouched

A slice of classic shoegaze gets the reissue treatment on Saint Marie. 1993’s Untouched saw Bristol’s Secret Shine in full swing, effects pedals blazing. Their first and last album originally out on the legendary Sarah Records boasts a crateful of pop hooks all lovingly wrapped up in MBV soundscapes. Ou...view item »
40.

Able Tasmans
A Cuppa Tea and a Lie Down

‘A Cup Of Tea and A Lie Down’ is a collaborative reissue on Flying Nun and Capture Tracks labels. Originally released in 1986, New Zealand’s Able Tasmans’ debut album is a pioneering exploration of keyboard driven, baroque indie pop intergrated with field recordings and crafty guitars. The release includes the bands first...view item »
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41.

Second Layer
World Of Rubber

Available on CD on Cherry Red. Second Layer featured Adrian Borland and Graham Bailey of The Sound fame. a definite for fans of The Sound World of Rubber has the same post-punk drive but with many of the human elements being replaced with synths and dru...view item »
42.

McCarthy
I Am A Wallet

McCarthy first picked up attention on that famed NME C86 cassette, where their shambling political indie shone brightly. I Am A Wallet, their debut full-length, came shortly after, and is now fondly loved. This 2LP comes generously adorned with posters, stickers, a booklet, press clippings, and a bonus 7” too! Ver...view item »
43.

William Onyeabor
Good Name

Plenty of people fell in love with the gorgeously bright music of Nigerian artist William Onyeabor after Luaka Bop released Who is…? two years ago. Now, they are reissuing his collected works! No need to resort to bootlegs any more. Good Name dates from 1983, and contains just two, side-long tracks of fu...view item »
44.

Sonic Youth
Evol

Sonic Youth’s Evol is their third album from 1986 and as the title may hint towards, Evol is the album which sees Sonic Youth evolve into a rockier sound which always reminds me a bit of The Doors, as the sound swells from crashing guitar into murky drums effortlessly. Available on...view item »
45.

Mohammad
Segondè Saleco

‘Segondè Saleco’ is the final installment of a trilogy exploring the sounds of the geographical area between 34°Ν - 42°Ν & 19°Ε – 29°Ε. Producing their sound through custom made instruments Mohammad weave together their dark atmospheric textures and low frequencies through the distant...view item »
46.

Coachwhips
Bangers Vs Fuckers

Due to the excellent title, new lo-fi punk blues stars Coachwhips are up first with the terrific racket that is presumably their debut, 'Bangers Vs Fuckers'. Fuckin' excellent is this. Sort of like a psychotic White Stripes being fed through a blender by Drive Like Jehu/Hot Snakes. Fuzzy, catchy &a...view item »
47.

Charles Mingus
The Black Saint and The Sinner Lady

Superior Viaduct are doing an admirable job bringing rarer slabs of the great Charles Mingus back into print with a set of new vinyl reissues. The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady is a composed piece spread over six parts, with occasional blasts of full-ensemble free improvisation. Sounding great too, after being remaste...view item »
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48.

Vito Ricci
I Was Crossing a Bridge

Vito Ricci, another under-appreciated cool-dude of the mid-80’s New York underground scene. Only a few releases ever put out by the guy in the first place, and you’d better believe they are hard to find. Thankfully, Music From Memory are bringing out this double LP compilation! I Was Crossing a Bridge shows ...view item »
49.

Rose McDowall
Cut With The Cake Knife

Rose McDowall was a member of much-loved indie darlings Strawberry Switchblade, and Cut With A Cake Knife compiles songs that were originally intended for that group's second album. Instead, McDowall recorded them herself over 1988 and 1989. Lovely and bright indie pop from a...view item »
50.

Lungfish
Pass & Stow

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