There’s been loads of surprisingly incredible albums this year as well as a lot of shocks and disappointments along the way. There’s been plenty on offer as always and this is Peanut Mixtape’s top ten with some honourable mentions.
- Interpol Marauder
- Middle Kids Lost Friends
- Christine and the Queens Chris
- Tom Misch Geography
- MGMT Little Dark Age
10. Blossoms Cool Like You: This is massive, clean cut synth pop that has (rightfully) absolutely catapulted the band into superstardom. Clocking in at just 37 minutes the band pack in plenty of new and old sounds combined. Frontman Tom Ogden took the road less travelled and wrote the whole album on a synth, meaning that a lot of the 80s influence comes through from the outset. From the humble beginnings of ‘Charlemagne’ Blossoms have never felt like they could match their own trajectory, yet somehow Cool Like You has them sat amongst the stars.
9. Shame Songs of Praise: Shame’s agenda is no smoke and mirrors affair, with an album like Songs of Praise as a debut it’s clear they’re out to take to prisoners. Praised by Q Magazine as ‘one of Brexit-era rock’s most insurrectionary new voices’, they’ve already built up an audience of angry people who need an outlet that understands their hopes, fears and politics.
8. Mitski Be The Cowboy: This album has been highly regarded by most as one of the albums of the year easily and it’s clear why. There’s so much going on that it demands attention on several layers and is actually interesting enough to make people want to delve through these layers, which is rare. The only reason this isn’t higher on the list is that it lacks the emotional intensity of older tracks like ‘I Bet on Losing Dogs’.
7. Spring King A Better Life:It genuinely brings a tear to my eye to say that this is the final Spring King album. It’s an exceptional take on the world around them. There was a lot of talk this month about how The 1975 and specifically Matty Healy took on capturing modernity in an album but it lacks where A Better Life excels. A Brief Inquiry is too accepting of the failings of modern life whereas A Better Life takes issue with it, putting opinion into the facts.
6. Courtney Barnett Tell Me How You Really Feel: This album feels like an outsider’s guide to life. Courtney Barnett is the reigning monarch of grungey slacker rock. Channelling elements of Kurt Cobain and Kurt Vile in equal parts she opens up to be the most vulnerable she’s been yet on a record and it pays off.
5. The Blinders Columbia: Political activism truly is flavour of the year and The Blinders have gone by their name and played an absolute blinder this year with Columbia. Fast paced, action filled and fucking incredible for a debut.
4. IDLES Joy As An Act of Resistance: The only thing I dislike about this album is that when I listen to ‘June’ I’m forced to remember that fucking appalling Pitchfork review instead of being in the moment of the song. IDLES display expert penmanship in detailing the often unacknowledged difficulties in life with wit, tact and sarcasm.
3. Parquet Courts Wide Awake!: The New York based four piece band have been churning out music at a pace that even gets a nod of approval from King Gizzard and there’s been no decrease in quality over the years. Wide Awake! sees the end once and for all to their lo-fi sound, moving into several genres including psychedelia and the pseudo-punk often associated with bands like The Vaccines. Seven albums in six years and they’re still not running out of ideas? Incredible.
2. Tom Rosenthal Z-Sides: What a bloody beautiful man Tom Rosenthal is. Knowing the relaxing quality of his deep voice, Rosenthal set out to create an album of sleepy songs or Z-Sides which is a spectacular pun and even better idea. Z-Sides is clearly a labour of love and is incredibly well executed. Tom Rosenthal is a wizard with a guitar/piano just believe me.
1.LAUREL Dogviolet: It absolutely blows my mind to think this is Laurel’s debut album. The vocals are mature, emotive, her lyrics are stinging and the guitar is soaked in retro feel and reverb. Laurel’s vocals easily rival that of massive stars like Lana Del Ray but Laurel’s lyrics draw closer comparison to Jeff Buckley. The likes of ‘Adored’ and ‘Life Worth Living’ are raw, unashamed of the darkness that runs through them.
At times Dogviolet is vulnerable, others it’s all out confidence either way Laurel knows exactly when to give and take. This album is a remarkable. Laurel clearly has a lengthy career ahead if this is just her getting started. Listen to Laurel here.