1. The Wytches – Annabel Dream Reader

I first heard The Wytches on Silent Radio’s FAB FM show – no other debut album had gotten me so excited, this year. I bought Royal Blood’s at the same time and it hasn’t had a look in. Apparently, this is ‘Surf Doom’ – another reason to love it. The quiet bits are stunning and the loud bits are awesome. Can’t wait to see them live at Deaf Institute.

Song – Burn Out The Bruise

  1. She Keeps Bees – Eight Horses

I was already a big fan, and their 3rd album doesn’t disappoint. This list is partly put together using play count, and I can’t get enough of this band. They were great live at Gullivers, where I briefly got to meet lead singer Jessica Larrabee. They really strike a chord with me… I can’t put my finger on it. Rock/blues similar to Cat Power and Jack White.

Song – Both Sides

  1. Clark – Clark

It’s not all about guitars – Clark’s last album Iradelphic was a favourite of mine a couple of years ago, with the vocal performances providing the highlights. This time around there are hardly any vocals, but it maintains the standard. It sounds a little like Jon Hopkins, but is more geared towards the club with some real anthemic moments. A great listen from start to finish.

Song – Winter Linn

  1. Jozef Van Wissem & Sqürl – Only Lovers Left Alive soundtrack

This is the soundtrack to my film of the year. Sqürl is director Jim Jarmusch’s band – they’ve created a great mood for the movie, where music plays a huge part, and so I guess it was important to get it right. I can’t find anything else like it, so I just play this over and again.

Song – Our Hearts Condemn Us

  1. Foxygen – …and Star Power

I’ll have what he’s having. Foxygen are an intriguing band, to say the least. In the studio they produce a largely chilled psychedelic 60’s/70’s sound with sporadic moments of energy, but the live show is complete chaos from start to finish. I discovered their previous album early this year and then grew to love this one, after seeing them at The Ruby Lounge. Talented nutters.

Song – Can’t Contextualise My Mind

  1. Soft Walls – No Time

I discovered these due to the involvement of Cold Pumas Dan Reeves. Their tags on Bandcamp describe them best: alternative indie ambient krautrock lo-fi psychedelic folk punk, from Brighton. The little city by the sea has had a great year. Definitely an album experience – no fillers.

Song – Foot of The Stairs

  1. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – Give The People What They Want

A little leftfield compared to my other choices; I also bought this for my Mum. I think Bill and Ted went back to the 60’s and brought her here. Pure soul. Uplifting and heartbreaking in equal measures. Must be witnessed live.

Song – Retreat!

  1. Warpaint – Warpaint 

I’ve been a big fan since their early EP’s and have seen then live a few times. This second album surpasses the first with a more mature and accomplished sound. I’m addicted to the mood that they create.

Tune: Keep It Healthy

  1. Gulp – Season Sun

“Fuzzed-up bass, dream-folk vocals, acoustic and electronic drums and synths…”. Discovered recently due to their impending performance at Manchester Psychfest II, at Night & Day – they offer a perfect tonic from all the dirty guitars that I’ve been listening to. There’s a Super Furry Animal, and one of the Race Horses. The 60’s has been thoroughly pillaged this year, with impressive results.

Song – Vast Space

10. Tricky – Adrian Thaws

It seemed the immense talent that produced sublime 1995 album Maxinquaye had slowly eroded over the years. I still faithfully bought all his albums, though. After a bizarre cameo with Beyonce at Glastonbury and a largely unsuccessful live tour of that classic debut album, he looks to have returned to form. Word is, he’s currently working with Massive Attack, again. Welcome back, Adrian.

Song – Keep Me In Your Shake (feat. Nneka)



Guitars – it’s largely been a psychedelic year, with a hint of blues and garage. The Only Lovers Left Alive soundtrack really caught my imagination, and The Wytches turned out to be exactly what I was looking for. If I’d made this mix a little later, The Watchmakers ’To Be Part Of You’ would be on it. I put a jazzy tune at the end to annoy our accidental editor.

  1. She Keeps Bees – Feather Lighter
  2. Ty Segall – The Feels
  3. Jack White – Lazaretto
  4. Parquet Courts – Black and White (7-inch version)
  5. Sex Hands – Gay Marriage
  6. Soft Walls – Guided Through
  7. The Wytches – Summer Again
  8. Jozef Van Wissem & Sqürl – The Taste of Blood
  9. Warpaint – Go In
  10. Fatima – Do Better

Electro Mix

The electro mix draws from Jon Hopkin’s sleepy remix EP of tracks from his superb album ‘Immunity’, a great new danceable album from Clark, a long overdue Aphex Twin album, and a return to form for Tricky. The only new artist for me here is Shield Patterns, who appeared on the Silent Radio show and Piccadilly Records number 2 album of the year producer, Be (Garth Be).

  1. Jon Hopkins: Breathe This Air (Asleep Version)
  2. Clark: Winter Linn
  3. Aphex Twin: minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix]
  4. Machinedrum: Boxoff
  5. Be (Garth Be): Nocturnal Jam (Original Mix)
  6. Lapalux: Movement I, II & III
  7. Shield Patterns: Dust Hung Heavy
  8. Floating Points: Nuits Sonores
  9. Thom Yorke: The Mother Lode
  10. Tricky: I Had A Dream (feat. Francesca Belmonte)

Manchester Gigs of the Year

  1. Cate Le Bon at Gorilla, 12/09

My experience at this gig was pretty perfect, so it wins. I reviewed it, so it’s probably best to just read that if you want to? *link*

  1. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings at Albert Hall, 23/10

She’s attempting to bring back the authentic soul experience, and is doing a great job. Lee Fields set the tone, and then she strolled out – almost 60, with a full band including brass section behind her, kicking off her high-heels and dancing about the stage in her sunday best. It was incredibly emotional – she talked openly about her fight with cancer and then strut about the stage in defiance. Not many gigs make the audience dance and cry at the same time. Catch her if you can.

  1. She Keeps Bees at Gullivers, 13/11

Would’ve been ranked higher had some people in the audience not spoilt it with erratic inappropriate drunken dancing and unwanted backing vocals. Reviewed.

4. The Wytches at Deaf Institute, 28/11.

They made my number 1 album of the year and they’re superb live. It’s been a while since I saw such a hectic moshpit – the teens were literally bouncing off the walls. The band marched off after 50 minutes with no encore, before heading to Scotland and coming back to The Ruby Lounge for their 2nd sellout show in the city, within 4 days. It seems nothing can stop them.

  1. Foxygen at The Ruby Lounge, 30/10

reviewed it. Otherwise, speechless.

Peter Rea

I like to go see fresh new music at Manchester's superb selection of smaller venues, and then share my enthusiasm.