1) Sun Kil Moon – Benji

Incredibly tender, rambling stories about cranky Mark Kozlek’s family and life set to incredibly tender finger picked guitars, absolutely stunning songwriting. This is not background music, it’s music that demands your attention and rewards you every time you go back to it.

(Best Track – Jim Wise)

2) Caribou – Our Love 

Could Dan Snaith top ‘Swim’? Yes, yes he could. Dance music for the feet and the heart (and sometimes the tear ducts, depending on how much I’ve had to drink), contains the song of the summer in ‘Can’t Do Without You’

(Best Track – Can’t Do Without You)

3) Grouper – Ruins 

Devastatingly minimal beauty from Liz Harris, mainly just her voice and a piano, the best thing she’s ever done. Listen in a dark room and be transported to a place so wonderful you might never want to return.

(Best Track – Holding)

4) Alvvays – Alvvays 

Love twee American indie in the vein of Pains Of Being Pure At Heart? Then you’ll love Alvvays. Makes you feel like your in the middle of an American college movie, you’ll want to drink from a plastic red cup and try and pull the shy indie girl in the corner.

(Best Track – Ones Who Love You)

5) How To Dress Well – What Is This Heart? 

Tom Krell’s best album to date, with songs that genuinely could have sat on Beyonce’s surprise album from last year (Precious Love in particular). His voice soars, his beats have matured, his fragility somehow increased.

(Best Track – Words I Don’t Remember)

6) Interpol – El Pintor 

Don’t call it a return to form! Interpol’s best set of songs since ‘Antics’, the first three could easily sit on that and not feel out of place. Great to have them back in this shape, Carlos or no Carlos.

(Best Track – My Desire)

7) Clark – Clark 

Extraordinary techno from Warp’s underrated son, takes all that was great about his last two albums and turns them into a mini masterpiece.

(Best Track – Treat)

8) Swans – To Be Kind

Equal parts funky, groovy, pummelling, terrifying, squealing and sublime, Swans follow up to the monumental ‘The Seer’ sees them on fine form. An album that demands to be listened to in its entirety (over it’s two hour running time), it’s music that absorbs into your very being.

(Best Track – Oxygen)

9) Perfume Genius – Too Bright 

Perfume Genius comes out of the shadows and from behind his piano to deliver a brilliant set of songs that, on the whole, sound nothing like he’s ever done before. He announced his new direction with the stunning ‘Queen’ and compounded it with screeching ‘Grid’ and ‘My Body’. And still makes room for the heartbreakers too. What a man.

(Best Track – Fool)

10) Hookworms – The Hum 

A very late addition to the party, The Hum cracks and fizzes with so much energy that it’s a surprise the band can contain it. There’s less fuzz on The Hum than on their debut Pearl Mystic, and it suits them. Who’d have thought you could almost (almost!) sing along to a Hookworms track?

(Best Track – Off Screen)



1) Royksopp & Robyn – Monument 

The first track from their collaborative EP ‘Do It Again’, ‘Monument’ is a 10 min slow burner with a sax solo that makes you fell bad ass if you walk down the street listening to it on headphones. If this is the last thing they do together, then it truly is a monument to both of them.

2) Future Islands – Seasons (Waiting On You)

Would be in here for that Letterman performance alone, but underneath the hilarious dance moves, this song is a brilliant lesson in build and release. Chest thumping stuff indeed.

3) Sia – Chandelier 

Chorus of the year. Nothing more to say.

4) Girl Band – Lawman

Absolutely filthy rock and roll from the new Dublin band, sounds like a chainsaw attacking a metal pole, in the best way possible. Haven’t been this excited by a new guitar band in ages.

5) Wild Beasts – Wanderlust

A welcome return for Wild Beasts who just missed out on my top 10 albums (blame Hookworms). ‘Don’t confuse me with someone who gives a fuck’ might be the best coda to a song all year.

6) St Vincent – Prince Johnny

Another album that just missed out on the top 10, Prince Johnny is the highlight from Annie Clark’s self titled effort. When she moves up a gear to the chorus, it’s absolutely sublime.

7) Todd Terje & Bryan Ferry – Johnny & Mary

On an album of wordless bangerz, it’s the lyric filled Robert Plant cover version that stands out. Ferry imbues the song with so much weight, sounding for all the world like an old man who doesn’t know his place in the world, set to tender, swirling synths. Wonderful stuff.

8) Father John Misty – Bored in the USA

A searing critique of modern American man and the culture that made him from an ex-Fleet Fox. Who’d have thought, huh?

9) Flesh War – Total Control

Sounds like all of the post-punk from the late 70’s/early 80’s, with a certain Joy Division/New Order vibe to it. So good I nearly bought an import version of the album based on it, lucky I didn’t as nothing on it gets close to this beauty.

10) Panda Bear – Mr Noah

Noah Lennox returns with a new album early next year, and if this stunner is anything to go by it’s going to be incredible. Halfway between the glorious fog of ‘Person Pitch’ and the crispness of ‘Tomboy’, it’s the best thing an Animal Collective has but their name to in years.


Best Gigs 

1) The Knife @ The Academy

The Knife’s final tour was a tour de force of bonkers dance routines and electrifying electro, with a vagina based monologue thrown in for good measure. Like nothing I’ve ever seen, or am likely to see ever again.


2) Wild Beasts @ Albert Hall

The perfect marriage of venue and band, Wild Beasts delivered a restrained set of incredible beauty in incredibly beautiful surroundings. A masterclass in holding the crowd in the palm of your hand.


3) St Vincent @ Albert Hall

Annie Clark is one of the best performers around at the moment, she’s absolutely mesmerising to watch on stage, with every move considered and thrilling. Seeing her tumble down the staircase on stage after a stunning ‘Prince Johnny’ will stay with me for a while. Plus points for climbing up the balcony at the end too.


4) Christopher Owens @ Deaf Institute

A criminally under-attended show, the former Girls front man was the only person to make me cry in 40+ gigs this year. When his country tinged solo material gave way to the scuzzy gospel tinged Girls songs, it went from ‘well this is pretty brilliant’ to ‘fuck me this is incredible’ in one easy step. Every band should tow along two gospel  backing singers, it would liven up most acts.


5) Darkside @ The Ritz

An unbelievable light show made this show one of the most memorable of the year. Swathed in darkness with brilliant beams of light and a circle of light resembling the sun itself, Dave Harrington and Nicolas Jaar built wonderful minimal dance music across an hour plus with barely a break that left the crowd wanting more and more.