Now is the winter of ace disc content!
Despite the weather this winter being a wet wash-out, the winter months of 2014 have brought a flurry of great albums to warm to cockles of any music-lover’s heart.
In not discernible order, here are the nine I reckon are the most essential listening –
St Vincent – St Vincent
Holy hell, has multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Annie Clark – better known as St Vincent – hit new peaks with this release. A pulsating record that explodes with alt-pop brilliance. Fans of the likes of Lady Gaga should be worshipping at her altar.
Beck – Morning Phase
Where it’s at, if you want some of the most mellow Beck tracks heard ever. A work of slow-burning genius. Light a candle and lay back.
Nostalgia 77 – A Journey Too Far
A soulful, funky collection, yet ramshackle in sound – an album that feels earthy rather than ethereal.
Junius – Days of the Fallen Sun
This is post-rock and metal that mixes the full-on and ferocious with lighter ambient sections, but never gets let down by the trappings of the genre, such as throat-stripping vocal screams.
Nathaniel Rateliff – Falling Faster Than You Can Run
A singer-songwriter possessed of the grizzled voice of a singer-songwriter that’s seen too much, Nathaniel Rateliff sounds like a grown-up Willy Mason singing the sings of Bon Iver. It’s an affecting combination.
Neneh Cherry – Blank Project
Do not approach this album with the likes of ’80s pop classic Buffalo Stance in your mind – Cherry’s stripped-back 2014 sound is more like Skunk Anansie’s acerbic singer Skin, singing acoustic tracks produced by Kanye West. An unexpected gem.
Get The Blessing – Lope And Antilope
Award-winning brass-based post-jazz band Get The Blessing have taken their punk jazz sax appeal and warped it beyond recognition with computer trickery. Essential listening for fans of both jazz and electronica.
Gramatik – SB1
Producer Gramatik released a full LP this winter, The Age Of Reason, which is a worthwhile listen – but what really we should be thanking him for is his release of four collections of hip hop street beats of the highest order. That’s right, four. I’ve picked SB1 for this list, but there’s 84 tracks of beat-based brilliance to lose yourself in across the four LPs
Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow
With their first number one album, this London band shook off the unfair perception of them being just another run-of-the-mill indie band with a collection packed with subtle invention. A grower, So Long, See You Tomorrow is the kind of album that gets better each and every day you throw it on.
Mentions must also go to the LPs by Wild Beasts, Keziah Jones, Ed Harcourt, Brad Mehldau, Elaquent, James Vincent McMorrow, Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang, Mogwai, and The Souljazz Orchestra – they all deserved a place on this listicle, but for no reason whatsoever the number nine just felt right.
Any albums of 2014 you think I missed? Let me know in the comments below, or shoot me a Tweet @isaacashe.