Here are my favourite albums of 2015 in no particular order.
1 Richard Hawley Hollow Meadows
A confident collection of beautiful tracks, Hawley’s voice at its most sublimely expressive. My favourite track is the non-ballad Which Way shall I go?, sexy with a touch of menace. Hawley’s performance at The Roundhouse a few weeks’ ago was one of my gigs of the year too.
2 Jane Weaver The Silver Globe
Weaver ‘comes of age’ on The Silver Globe. A collection of shimmering psychedelic space-rock numbers with the beautiful Hawkwind-riffed The Electric Mountain ladling on the atmosphere.
3 Parastatic Recall Fade Return
Those yearning for some powerful Neu-tinged ambient rock should check out the latest album from North-east trio. Parastatic. Includes the hauntingly beautiful single St Mary.
4 Django Django Born under Saturn
A self-assured, addictive album. Django Django have honed their synthy sound and feel-good, Beach-Boy flavoured harmonies. Not easy to pick a favourite, as of today it’s Reflections, but final track Life we Know wins points for doing that Django thing whereby an ordinary song suddenly erupts into something utterly lovely.
5 Kurt Vile Pretty Pimpin’
Vile’s latest album features more soul-searching (check out Vile’s accompanying video) … the final few tracks are a bit harder to get into but this is an inspired collection. That’s Life Tho (almost hate to say) is a powerful and at times Dylanesque hard look at life and riding out depression.
6 LoneLady Hinterland
An inspiring collection of material from Mancunian Julie Campbell. The title track with its tribal feel is a standout track. LoneLady will perform at The Trades Hebden Bridge in January as part of Caught by the River.
7 Floating Points Elaenia
My electronic album of the year, a cohesive, subtle and sensual collection with two high points, the multilayered Silhouettes and final number, Peroration Six.
8 O’Connell & Love Minesweeping
If you can’t get enough of Alabama 3 and gravel-voiced Larry Love, check out this elegantly-produced duel project by Larry and Brendan O’Connell (it’s their second album together). Plaintive country and blues best sung at the bar just before closing time. Fave track: It was the sweetest thing.
The female quartet have produced a beautiful collection of pop-classical numbers – lush compositions befitting film soundtracks.
The Battles of Winter Standing at the Floodgates
A driving urgency, a wall of guitar-power and a hint of menace in the vocal delivery. Let’s hope they do some live performances in 2016. If you like Echo and the Bunnymen and Editors, these are your guys.
9 Elephant Stone The Devil’s Shelter
Another beautiful song heavy on the psychedelia from the Canadian foursome, who played The Lexington and The Bull & Gate back in 2012. If you haven’t heard them before, check out their self-titled album Elephant Stone (2013).
10 Dr Trippy Punjabi Swamp Music
What were your favourite albums this year? Any recommendations?