Friday, 8 December 2017

Top 20 Albums Of 2017

It's that time again! I'm sure by now you've come across at least one 'end of year' list by now and so what's the harm in reading one more right?

In case you haven't noticed, this year has been incredible for music. Some of the finest debuts dropped in 2017 and bands that were once languishing in obscurity rose like a phoenix with some of their best work in years.
My favourite album of 2016 (Simple Forms by The Naked and Famous) was easy to choose. It not only instantly grabbed my attention but also continues to hold it to this year. They're a great band and I urge you all to check that album out. As for 2017, it's been a lot harder. I had a consistent top five and outside of #1, ranking the rest was damn hard. The records outside of the five are no chumps either though. All in all in my opinion it's a great list and looking back perfectly soundtracks my 2017.

Disclaimer - this is of course my opinion and does not mean it's right (it does). Lets go!

20. Feist - Pleasure

Sounds like - that one girl in the club that doesn't need your shit.

Smells like - a freshly baked butterscotch muffin, presented on a silver tray and handed to you by a kitten.

Fun fact - Jarvis Cocker has a guest appearance on "Century".

19. Incubus - 8

Perfect playlist for - cold November mornings when your body has all the energy and oomph of a deflated bean bag.

Goes well with - a glass (pint) of pinot.

Fun fact - Skrillex co produced and mixed most of the album.

18. The Cribs - 24-7 Rock Star Shit

Sounds like - The Arctic Monkeys if they weren't so far up their own arse, or a male equivalent of Haim if they were from Yorkshire.

Hot snack of choice - Betty's hot pot.

Fun fact - All three members are brothers and two are twins. Worth knowing for a music pub quiz.

17. Una Healy - The Waiting Game

Sounds like - the early to mid 2000's when catchy pop rock was the soundtrack to our lives.

Amount of people I know called Una - None.

Fun fact - Una Healy began her career as a singer in girl band The Saturdays!

16. Nothing But Thieves - Broken Machine

Appeals to - people that need a new favourite band that kicks out at the world but is also not complete horse shit like post 2010 Green Day.

Lead singer looks like - a cross between all members of East 17.

Fun fact - Was somehow denied top spot in the UK charts by The National's Sleep Well Beast back in September.

15. Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie - Buckingham/McVie

Proof that - you can still make great music when you're pushing 70.

Perfect as - a Christmas gift for yer auld da since he loves the oldies and says new music is 'not what it used to be'.

Fun fact - Stevie Nicks is the only member of Fleetwood Mac that doesn't feature on the album.

14. AFI - AFI (The Blood Album)

For fans of - "Girl's Not Grey" era AFI.

Feels like - your girlfriend breaking up with you every day for the next three months.

Fun fact - The album release includes four limited vinyl colour variants matching the four blood types A, O, B and AB.

13. Haim - Something To Tell You

Sounds like - the undeniable sass generated from watching Mean Girls on a constant 24 hour loop.

Times I've watched the video for "Want You Back" - too many.

Fun fact - Aside from the three members being sisters, the drummer's surname is Batmanglij. 

12. The Killers - Wonderful Wonderful

For fans that - miss the personality that Sam's Town had which has been lacking in their releases since.

Perfect soundtrack for - Wearing your favourite gold tuxedo and winning a cool $14.26 on the fruit machines in a casino on the cheaper end of the Vegas strip.

Fun fact - went straight to #1 on the UK charts and as a result made The Killers the first international band to chart their first five albums at top spot.

11. K.Flay - Every Where Is Some Where

Feels like - a viewing of Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas under the influence of LSD.

Perfect if - your life is a train wreck but you don't really care.

Fun Fact - "Blood In The Cut" featured in season 4 of Bojack Horseman.

10. Aquilo - Silhouettes

Tastes like - a Starburst pack that is full to the brim with the red flavour ones.

Your completely heartless if - the video for "You Won't Know Where You Stand" doesn't completely kill you inside.

Fun fact - in Roman mythology, 'aquilo' was used to describe the north or north-east wind.

9. Glassjaw - Material Control

For fans of - Glassjaw! Who else honestly sounds like this?

Feels like - the urgency of needing a piss just as the band you're watching are about to play the three songs you most know the lyrics to.

Fun fact - Glassjaw's first full length album since 2002! We've missed you guys.

8. Sundara Karma - Youth Is Ever Only In Retrospect

Perfect for - going out for Friday night drinks, in 1982. For people that like music similar to The 1975 but think (quite rightly) that Matt Healy is a cock.

How - the hell do bands make debut albums this damn good?

Fun fact - the band's name is derived from Sanskrit for 'beautiful karma'.

7. Linkin Park - One More Light
(Just putting this out now, the video for "One More Light" is one of the saddest things I've ever seen. R.I.P Chester)

For fans of - Linkin Park but also capable of accepting a band doesn't have to keep making the same album over and over and over.

Perfect soundtrack for - thinking about Chester Bennington and having a good cry.

Fun fact - reached #43 in the Greek music charts. Imagine what the other 42 albums could possibly have been.

6. SAINTE - Smile, and Wave

Smells like - a diabetes-inducing amount of sugar.

Perfect if - you're one of those people that doesn't let anything get you down, or you need an album to bring you back up.

Fun fact - SAINTE singer Taylor Jardine is also the singer for pop punk band We Are The In Crowd. I've also had a massive crush on her for years but don't tell anyone that.

5. Michelle Branch - Hopeless Romantic

For fans of - people that remember when Michelle Branch was the queen of country/rock/pop in the early 2000's.

Sounds like - the satisfaction of one of your favourite female vocalists living her best life and releasing her best work.

Fun fact - first full length since 2003!

4. Liam Gallagher - As You Were

Sounds like - the satisfaction of our kid finally releasing decent music post-Oasis.

Perfect soundtrack for - A few afternoon drinks in the sunshiiiiiine.

Fun fact - a special box set version of the album was released with among other things, a print by Klaus Voormann, the man behind the art for The Beatles' Revolver.

3. Deaf Havana - All These Countless Nights

Perfect soundtrack for - being both drunk and lonely.

Sounds like - both the happiest and saddest times of your life.

Fun fact - Deaf Havana's first ever single released in 2009 is called "Oh Howard, You Crack Me Up" which honestly cracks ME up.

2. Lorde - Melodrama

Sounds like - a teenager singing about experiences she should have no earthly knowledge of, but manages to describe it better than anyone else twice her age could even imagine.

Feels like - a drunken taxi ride with three complete strangers at 3am.

Fun fact - Lorde experiences chromesthesia, a phenomenon I wrote at length about HERE.

1. Paramore - After Laughter

In September this year, on the Sunday night of Riot Fest, Chicago, I grabbed a $30 bottle of wine from the festival bar and had one of the greatest live experiences of my life. Paramore played a very After Laughter heavy set and it was perfect. It was a warm autumn evening, I was wine drunk, surrounded by some of the loveliest people and I sang and danced myself into a stupor. Paramore really do not get enough credit for how good they are as a live band lately and if I happened to see them at their absolute best then I will forever feel truly blessed. Thank you Hayley Williams for making my weekend.

As for After Laughter, I can't help falling for the poppy goodness and the 80's goodness. "Hard Times" is the most fun track I've heard all year, while "Rose-Colored Boy" and "Fake Happy" have hooks bigger than your mum. There ain't a song on here I don't love and After Laughter fully deserves the crown for best album of 2017.

Thank you for reading!

Monday, 4 December 2017

Worst Chart Singles Of 2017

I am very much of the persuasion that if a song is terrible then you shouldn't listen to it. But sometimes we don't really have a choice. For many of us, including myself, our workplace tends to pump out a mainstream radio station during our shift and as a result you are forced to endure some of the worst music in existence.
I actually think this year has been one of the best for pop music. There's been a lot of fun, new tracks this year that have genuinely taken me by surprise. However, there's also been a few stinkers. I've taken great displeasure in compiling what I believe to be the ten worst chart singles this year. So, in no particular order:-

The Script - Rain

Believe it or not, I actually quite liked this band when they first broke with their debut in 2006. It had a real Songs About Jane feel to it. Sadly, they've really gone down the shitter since then and I honestly can't name a single song of theirs after that. "Rain" is a total dogs dinner of a track and should be avoided at all costs.

Niall Horan - Slow Hands

Robbie Williams and Ronan Keating have in the past proven how easy it is to leave an established boy band and pursue a successful solo career. The same cannot be said for Horan, however, as this track and in fact his entire solo album is about as appealing as a hot bath with your scabies-ridden uncle. In fact, it achieves an impressive feat of being both boring and bad. I wonder exactly how much of this was written by Horan though and not just thrust in front of him to perform like a dancing monkey. Wikipedia says he wrote every track on the album, I'm not so convinced though.

Harry Styles - Two Ghosts

Another One Directioner trying to go solo this year was Harry Styles. While his album wasn't as awful as Horan's, it is still pretty damn bland. I remember all the hype surrounding it with one publication branding him "the new Bowie". While this is laughable, I do think if he sticks at it he'll make a decent fist of a solo career. Although he could sprinkle cinnamon on a cat turd and his fans would pay a fortune for it.
On the subject of "Two Ghosts" the track is horrendously boring and could easily put a ward of insomnia patients into a coma.

Rudimental ft. James Arthur - Sun Comes Up

I have nothing against Rudimental, but James Arthur needs to give up and burrow back into the ground where he came from. His voice makes my skin itch and every play of this song on the airwaves makes me long for death's embrace.

Katy Perry - Chained To The Rhythm

Perry's latest record Witness is actually very good, which makes it rather surprising that this was chosen as the lead single. It almost put me off listening to the album altogether, but thankfully I gave it a chance. That being said, "Chained To The Rhythm" sounds very lazy and contrived. It isn't a track you'd associate with an artist with five studio albums to their name, that's for sure.

Taylor Swift - Look What You Made Me Do

Utter, utter shite.

Sam Smith - Too Good At Goodbyes

One of the most boring songs of the last 1000 years. Smith desperately misses the production value of Disclosure as his latest album is filled to the brim with crippling disappointment. Your idiot mum loves him though, so good for her.

Paloma Faith - Crybaby

Honestly if you've never heard this song before, I urge you to, just so you can experience the musical equivalent of eating nettles.

Ed Sheeran - Shape Of You & Galway Girl

Not content with just one terrible single, ol' Eddy needed two in constant, never-ending circulation. First of all, "Shape Of You" is quite possibly one of the worst songs I've ever heard. I DETEST it on a molecular level. I've spoke at length about how Sheeran sounds totally out of place singing on songs featuring electronic beats. It just doesn't come naturally for someone who is mostly associated with being your average white dude busker. As for the lyrics to "Shape Of You" it is a song about lust, with all the panache of your terminally ill family dog humping your leg during 'Netflix and chill' with your closet racist significant other. 
Song two, "Galway Girl" is equally as annoying, though for different reasons. The notion that very, very English Sheeran can get away with trying to sing an Irish jig is outrageous and inexcusable. The song is bad, the lyrics are terrible and Sheeran deserves to be exiled as a result.

Finally, for those wondering, I actually quite like "Despacito". Cheers. 

Friday, 2 October 2015

Shevils - One Thousand Years

Already with a two albums under their belt, Shevils are looking to cement their place as a hardcore frontrunner in what is already a fairly congested genre. What the Norwegian noise makers have fashioned though is an extremely modern take on what we all consider to be the hardcore status quo and this is typified perfectly with 'One Thousand Years', the second single to be taken from their up and coming third album The White Sea.

It's frantic, raucous and is a fine introduction to the eagerly awaited LP. The track is carried on by its bouncing, chugging guitar riff and it's frayed around the edges vocal delivery. Scandinavian bands always seem to possess far more energy than the rest of the world, however this track oozes influences from UK botherers Gallows and legendary hardcore outfit Every Time I Die.

'One Thousand Years' stands out from the pack with a little help from the snarling punk underbelly it carries, turning this into an entirely new hardcore beast.
Overall, it's a solid track and has definitely set the bar pretty high in terms of what to expect from the rest of The White Sea.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015


"The very word secrecy is repugnant, in a free and open society. And we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, secret oaths and to secret proceedings. 
We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. 
That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. We are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence. On Infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations. Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumour is printed, no secret is revealed."

Tuesday, 19 May 2015


I've been writing a lot of lyrics recently, something I haven't had to do for years. I'm finding it a lot harder this time around though because I'm just not that surrounded by drama anymore. Without having anything like that to draw experience from I'm had to dig deep into myself and tap into a certain level of darkness to find something to write about. It was then that I found a large portion of my lyrics related to how I feel about religion.
Religion is something I've encountered fully just once in my life. For around 6 months when I was 22, I was severely depressed. It feels like such an easy way out to call it that but I guess some of the 'symptoms' were the same. I'd wake up and not want to get up. I hated just about everyone I had to see and talk to on a daily basis and I had no real passion or motivation to do anything. I never stretched as far as physical self harm though but my mental state was extremely fragile. I won't go into detail of the events that led to this but I will talk about the outcome.
Because I'm such a proud and stubborn person I refused to accept help from anyone. I certainly didn't want to see a professional about it and I didn't want to talk about it for the sake of getting it off my chest. I've personally never felt any great benefit from talking about my problems, as far as I'm concerned that only makes it feel more real. I just felt utterly useless, vulnerable and alone. Let me just say that feeling like you're backed into a corner with no sign of a positive outcome is truly soul destroying and it's not something I ever want to feel again.
At some point in my vulnerable mental state I must have made a semi-conscious decision to explore the possibility of using religion in a positive way. Now, I'm a scientist first and a fantasist later so the idea of garnering positivity from this book of fiction would have felt alien to me. But by this point I was just desperate enough to try anything. So i invested about 3 months of my time in the Bible, flicking to random pages as opposed to reading cover to cover. Now I'm not saying I became full on Bible-basher but it did throw up some interesting feelings. I won't go into too much depths regarding what i'd found but I will share possibly my favourite verse and one that still sticks with me, from Proverbs 24:14 - Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off. - That one immediately jumped out at me, because it spoke about hope and wisdom in a way I'd not realised before. It talked about a future, something which is completely unknown to someone feeling any sort of depression. The ability to see the big picture and not just the miserable day to day that you're stuck in.
I'm nowhere near naive enough to think this little encounter with religion helped turn my life. Over time I found my happiness again and eventually learned to embrace a level of self esteem and self confidence that has served me pretty well up to now. I rarely let things get me down now and I'm able to keep my problems at arms length. My current views on religion haven't changed though. I don't fully understand the logic of a room full of people singing hymns and essentially being brainwashed but if this is how they find their happiness and purpose in life then who am I to judge. Maybe I'm too wrapped up in material things to fully comprehend accepting something into my life that I can't see. 

Monday, 29 December 2014

The Outfield - Play Deep (1985)

 Originally formed in Manchester under the monikers Sirius. B in the late 1970's, The Outfield spent many of their early years in conflict with the surging popularity of punk rock amongst the mainstream music scene in the UK. The Outfield originally adopted a more pop-rock sound and as such struggled to break through. The band disbanded although they returned a few years later under the name 'The Baseball Boys', played shows around London and recorded a demo that would eventually get them signed to an American label. Stateside record companies were impressed with the band's American style of sound and probably because their name contained the word 'baseball'. Following a final change of band name and thus becoming The Outfield, the band released their debut album Play Deep in 1985.

The album achieved incredible commercial success, reaching #9 on the Billboard 200 in early 1986 and going on to reach triple platinum status. This was partly due to the band championing a sound that the Americans just couldn't get enough of. Bands such as Van Halen, Bon Jovi, Boston and Dire Straits all enjoyed #1 albums between 1985 and 1986 and The Outfield's debut impressed most because of how honed their music style already style sounded. Little did the American public know though is that the band had been playing this kind of music for years already, albeit in small UK venues and as such away from the mainstream. 

'Say It Isn't So' was the album's opener and the first single released by the band. The video featured a young woman wandering through the hustle and bustle of northern English night life and four heavily-mulleted gentlemen (with white Stevie Wonder on keyboards) who very clearly looked like they knew what they were doing. They had the drumstick twirling, the fist pumping, the baleful staring and pointing directly at the camera; they had it all. The lyrics were quintessentially 80's, from the opening line of "you got me all screwed up so much I can't turn 'round/and I've been running about with some funny girls, I'm not so tough" to the lovelorn chorus of "say it isn't so, tell me I'm the only one". 
Second track "Your Love" was the one that nailed it for The Outfield and the one that essentially pushed the album so highly in the Billboard charts. The single hit #6 on the US singles charts and up to yet has reached over 17 million views on YouTube (incidentally the single reached #83 in the UK charts, highlighting the stark contrast in popularity from one side of the Atlantic to the other). Bassist and lead-vocalist Tony Lewis's singing style is just perfect for the kind of music The Outfield were playing. Play Deep was full of emotionally charged, heart on your sleeve moments and Lewis could convey that as well as anyone else around that time. The bombastic, gang-vocals on the chorus lyric "I don't wanna lose your love tonight" sounded like Van Halen in their peak, not an English band fresh from their first album. 

The Duran Duran-esque "I don't Need Her" kicks up the tempo and adds a little more bite to precedings. It's worth noting that while Tony Lewis was lead vocalist, all the songwriting was done by guitarist John Spinks, a man that very clearly looks like he belongs in an 1980's rock band. His mullet was like a gigantic, blonde peacock and his fashion sense was something Freddie Mercury would have been very proud of. A talented songwriter and eccentric musician, Spinks sadly passed away earlier this year.
If you want to see just how popular The Outfield became in their first year as a mainstream band, go check out the video to "Everytime You Cry". The video was shot at a live concert, with a backdrop of an endless sea of hands and lighters. This is followed by the excellent, power-pop double header of "61 Seconds" and "Mystery Man".

One of the things I most enjoy about the band is that they play their music with a smile. If other British bands such as U2 and Depeche Mode are a little bit too serious for you then The Outfield are a fine substitute. Even in videos for their most emotional, loveless-themed songs, frontman Tony Lewis can be seen beaming from ear to ear. The rest of the band carry a swagger and a good time vibe that very little modern British bands seem to want to harness. 

The next few tracks of Play Deep consist of the ten tonne ballad "All The Love", Mr Mister influenced "Talk To Me" and "Taking My Chances" which featured additional vocals from Spinks. The album is rounded off with "Nervous Alibi" which is a brooding ballad that gives Lewis a chance to really stretch his vocal chords.

Sadly, The Outfield's success was short lived. Follow up album Bangin' was a top 20 hit and was certified gold but popularity waned with each subsequent release. The band eventually announced a lengthy hiatus in the 90's but returned to play a couple of shows back in the UK. One of my favourite tales surrounding their reformation was that many of their shows were played in a small pub in the East End with many of the crowd unaware the band had sold millions of records in the US. Such was the polar opposite levels of popularity the band achieved stateside and back in their homeland. Following this was a complete disbandment of the band until in 2009 the original lineup reunited to record their 9th album Replay which was received with extremely favourable reviews.

The Outfield are still active today and I would love to catch them live someday. However with the recent death of Spinks the band's future is uncertain, though with modern popularity of bygone-era bands such as Fleetwood Mac, The Who and Black Sabbath then I guess anything is possible. One thing's for sure though if you like big hair and big tunes then grab a copy of Play Deep and relive one of the most playful, catchy and downright beautiful albums the 1980's had to offer.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Top 20 albums of 2014

2014 has sure been an eventful year and yet again it's a year that has given us so much great music. Over the course of the last 12 months I've sat down and attempted to rank the twenty albums that have left the biggest mark on me, whether it be through musical endeavour, talent, quality or just downright guilty pleasure.
As always, this ranking is based solely on my viewpoints and opinions and in no way is it definitive, therefore I'm not asking you to agree with me. It's just a bit of fun, innit?
One thing I will say though is that none of these decisions have been swayed by chart positions, album sales or how many times they've got naked to sell records. Go and listen to Capital FM if that's what you're after. This is pure and simply the music I've most enjoyed this year.

20. Taylor Swift - 1989

I'll admit, I've previously been very critical of Swift and her music. Her cack-handed attempt to revive country pop (Michelle Branch did it much, much better) and her never ending list of disgruntled ex-fellas have all led up to this, her fifth album, which for a 24 year old is impressive in itself. I'm a sucker for synthpop and this has it by the bucketload, while obviously being very well produced. This is one of many albums that have surprised me in 2014. Maybe I'll grow to like her one day, maybe even take her seriously. Who knows?

19. TV On The Radio - Seeds

For those that don't know, TV On The Radio are an art rock band from America and Seeds is their fifth album. Of all the things I enjoyed about Seeds, the sheer eclectic range of styles is my favourite. Very few bands get the balance between electronic and rock as perfect as this. As reflective, euphoric, gentle and poppy as any album released this year. 

18. Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright In The End

Now I don't know about you, but I fucking love Weezer. I could listen to Rivers Cuomo's eternally teenage outlook on life and love all day. Everything Will Be Alright.. marks an upturn following a couple of suspect albums. Weezer will always appear on any drunk playlist I make and I found plenty of tracks from this album that would make great additions. I already wrote extensively about this album and you can read all about that HEREEEEEEE.

17. Royal Blood - Royal Blood

Most people heralded the release of Royal Blood's debut as 2014's rock revival and while there have been much better rock albums this year, it's still an impressive album in itself from the Brighton duo. The dirty wails and drones of the bass guitar is something I've never really heard before in a mainstream album and I love the garage/blues rock feel of the whole thing. Whether Royal Blood become just another flash in the pan remains to be seen, but for now its good to just get down and dirty with the debut.

16. Gaslight Anthem - Get Hurt

It's literally impossible for these guys to make a bad album. I've been entranced with The Gaslight Anthem since The '59 Sound and my obsession is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Their blend of classic rock, punk and an endless supply of clever, lovelorn wordplay is a formula that never has to change because it's been perfect with every album, topped off by Brian Fallon's scratchy howl-like vocals.

15. St. Vincent - St. Vincent

Probably the only time I've ever agreed with NME's end of year best album list (AM was not the best album of 2013 guys, give it a rest) St. Vincent is a damn fine album. I've been a fan of Annie Clark's work for a few years, including 2012's project with seminal filmmaker David Byrne, but none of it has grabbed me as much as this album. Some albums manage to capture the sound of a musician at their absolute peak, none more so than this. 

14. Future Islands - Singles

Over the years, there have been more and more bands that manage to capture the sound of the 80's and turn it into success. Future Islands are definitely one of them. I didn't know much about them until 2014, but with their fourth album Singles I've become quite a fan. There's all sorts of influences going on here, from Pet Shop Boys' knack for a tune to Human League's avant garde style of storytelling. I love an album that's good enough to make you want to check out the rest of the back catalogue.

13. The War On Drugs - Lost In The Dream

It's been a long long time since I've heard a band champion the atmospheric, 'spacey' rock sound made so popular by U2, as much as The War On Drugs. So many bands try it and ultimately fall by the wayside, unable to tell the whole story and getting lost in the sound they're trying to create. Lost In The Dream is the best U2 album to be released in 2014 and yes I'm including the one made by the Irish botherers themselves in the equation. 

 12. First Aid Kit - Stay Gold

The second album from 'Swedmerican' duo First Aid Kit builds on the success of the debut, without any need to change anything. The new dynamics and shift towards a more orchestral sound is a bold one but it results in Stay Gold becoming THE folk album of 2014. A lot of people who don't like folk such as myself can easily find something to love about Stay Gold, whether its the warm, soaring vocals or the big, heart-on-sleeve choruses. It's so easy to fall in love with First Aid Kit.

11. Ariana Grande - My Everything

I'm deadly serious. If you're not familiar, Ariana Grande played the eternally pre-pubescent Kat on Nickelodeon's fanny fest Victorius. She's certainly grown up now though and although i've probably lost about 400 man points from liking My Everything, its a damn fine album with a starstudded guest vocal cast. It's also been produced to within an inch of its life. Her acting might be shite but her music career is sky high. My Everything is just fire. Or maybe I'm just going soft.

10. Foo Fighters - Sonic Highways

The hype surrounding this album was enough to swallow a man, but rest assured it was (for the most part) totally worth it. Sure, Dave Grohl's lyrics sound like an infant wrote them but fuck that, this is rock and roll at its finest. It's imperative to point out that eighth album Sonic Highways is a concept album and one must watch the accompanying documentary to truly understand it, but it's very rewarding once you do. Grohl has said the next 'proper' album will be heavier and that is definitely worth getting excited about.

9. Temples - Sun Structures

I was absolutely blown away by Sun Structures from my first listen. How a bunch of twenty-something British upstarts could seamlessly transcend back to the 60's was completely beyond me. It's refreshing too that some bands don't feel like lyrics always have to be fully comprehended, because not many in Sun Structures even half make sense. Temples are definitely one to watch for the future. Of course, you can read my more expansive review of Sun Structures here - LINKY

8. SomethingALaMode - Endless Stairs

Simply put, Endless Stairs is the slickest electronic album of 2014. From when I first heard their collab with L.A indie band DWNTWN I instantly knew they were something special. The added orchestral elements push this beyond being just another electronic album, as well as its unwillingness to pigeonhole itself to just one genre. SALM definitely deserve more acclaim than they are receiving, so here's hoping 2015 is their year.

7. Sleeper Agent - About Last Night

About Last Night is an album full to the brim of good time, warm, fuzzy garage rock. There's absolutely no pretence here, It's the kind of music you can't help but smile about. It's the kind of album that if it was your first time seeing Sleeper Agent live, within minutes you'd have your drink raised while singing the words at the top of your lungs. Sometimes music tried to be too clever for its own good, and then sometimes it just wants you to throw caution to the wind and have a good time.

6. Pink Floyd - The Endless River

We have a lot to be thankful for in 2014. Out of all those things, the one we should be most gracious for is some higher power deeming this year worthy of The Endless River, Pink Floyd's fifteenth and final album, as well as their first release in twenty years. Created as a tribute to late keyboardist Richard Wright, The Endless river is a sporadic collection of guitar tinged ambient soundscapes. It's absolutely beautiful and I'd encourage anybody to listen all the way through, to give yourself up and to lose yourself in it's current.

5. Lights - Little Machines

No doubt about it, Little Machines is the best out and out pop album of 2014. Canadian singer-songwriter Lights has taken stock from recently becoming a wife and mother to create what I consider her strongest release to date. She's added a newer simplicity to her usual blend of abstract art style of songwriting and it just works on so many levels. Its only a matter of time before the inner mainstream circle invite her in, because Lights deserves big things. Read my extensive 5/5 review of Little Machines HERE.

4. Tinashe - Aquarius

I was as surprised as anyone with how much I liked this album. I'd heard about Tinashe a few months before its release and after hearing a few tracks I instantly got the feeling that this album would be something special. Despite being advertised as a RnB album, its so much more than that, carrying elements of trip hop, dubstep and electronica. Tinashe can sing, rap, probably even cure the common cold, who knows? One thing's for sure though, Aquarius has left a huge mark on me and it deserves all the acclaim it gets.

3. The Colourist - The Colourist

I've been a long time fan of American indie band The Colourist and the handful of tracks I'd owned previous to this album's release were listened to a hell of a lot. Thankfully, their self-titled debut was better than anything I could ever expected. It was the main soundtrack of my summer. The male/female shared vocal chemistry is what carries this album along. I've listened to this album to death since I bought it and I can see it continuing that way long into the future.

2. Lonely The Brave - The Day's War

Hands down the best rock album of 2014, although most surprising of all is that it's by a British band. Lonely The Brave are a band that are just as powerful on CD as they are live, as their set at Truck Festival was one of my live highlights this year. The lyrics carry a dark, atmospheric feel to them and the music is often fast, frantic and anthemic. While 2014 has not quite been the 'rock revival' that people anticipated, Lonely The Brave have proven that rock is not dead at all and it's a lot closer to home than we think.

1. Broods - Evergreen

So the best album of 2014 as voted for by myself, comes from New Zealand duo Broods. I fell in love with them around the release of their self-titled E.P, yet Evergreen completely took me over. As far as I'm concerned it's the perfect mix of trip hop, electronica and synthpop released this year. Broods have yet to break in the UK despite already being hugely popular in NZ as well as taking the U.S by storm, so I can only hope that changes in the near future. Evergreen is the perfect example of an album that doesn't have to try too hard to be considered a masterpiece.