Blanck Mass: Dumb Flesh

Alternately transcendental and crushing, Blanck Mass’ second album takes the abrasive ambience of his debut and marries them to stuttering glitch and punishing beats. Powerful, throbbing sound disorientates, blurring into high contrast synths and ravey stabs, walls of droning noise, exotic rhythms and twitchy samples. It’s aggressive, it’s blissed out, it’s incredible.

Dead Format

Best Coast: California Nights

No one saw this coming after the downbeat, rush-released The Only Place. It seems so clear now that Best Coast have always been aiming for power pop perfection rather than the slacker haze that their early production insisted on. There’s not a track here that wouldn’t sound out of place on, say, Free All Angels or Doolittle. Yeah, I know.

Feeling OK

Sauna Youth: Distractions

Sauna Youth are a brilliant, confusing, post-modern gem of a punk band. Distractions starts with the loop their previous album ended with, goes via a dream to “take your call from a transmitter embedded in my skull” and blasts through a cover version of ‘Monotony’ by the band Monotony, whose members consist of the band Sauna Youth. They’re an interesting bunch, and they’ve certainly got the tunes to match.

The Bridge

Haiku Salut: Etch and Etch Deep

Haiku Salut used to describe themselves as “Baroque-Pop-Folktronic-Neo-Classical-Something-Or-Other”. Second album Etch and Etch Deep sees them working away at those hyphens, inventively blending their influences to create something new, something bigger. Everything they have done so far feels like it’s been working up to this. It’s post-rock, post-folk, post-electronica, post-everything, but not in a nihilistic way, in a futuristic way. It’s a staggeringly accomplished record, innovative yet traditional like a wicker man with laser eyes.

Hearts No Parts

Kagoule: Urth

Urth is all controlled chaos, tightly wound guitar riffs, rhythmic feints and real power. ‘Glue’ is the perfect example. The anticipated explosion of energy you expect from the chorus doesn’t come immediately, stepping back from the edge and tricking you into thinking they’re unwilling to take the plunge. That anticipation pays off with the subsequent blast of guitar. There’s no question about it, Urth is a brilliant record and Kagoule are one of the most exciting new bands in the country.


Stealing Sheep: Not Real

Not Real takes the fuzzy electronics and pagan folk of their debut and pushes it into altogether more exciting experimental pop territory. ‘Apparition’ is a robotic, handclap-driven balancing act of glistening synths and three-part harmonies, ‘Greed’ is all droning vocals and layered percussion. This wonderful, oddball record combined with their innovative live shows and boundless enthusiasm has made them one of the most interesting and exciting bands around.

Not Real

Courtney Barnett: Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

It may come as no surprise, with a title like that, that Courtney Barnett is a big fan of words. Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit is nothing if not wordy, but combined with her breezy indie pop jangle and nasal Aussie tones it’s brilliantly accessible as well. ‘Elevator Operator’ is an indie disco smasher about not jumping off a roof; ‘Depreston’ is a heartbreaking anthem to moving house. Much has been made of the fact that she’s a huge Pavement fan and has released a single on Jack White’s label, but Courtney Barnett is not just funny, clever, sharp, she’s written an irresistible set that holds up to her heroes.

Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party

Charli XCX: Sucker

If True Romance was Charli XCX showing how cool her producer mates are, Sucker is her showing how cool her record collection is. The story goes that she wrote a punk album between these two records, and everyone knows she wrote some of the best songs of the previous year in ‘I Don’t Care’ and ‘Fancy’, but Sucker is so stuffed to the brim with bangers that there’s no room for these two collaborations. For some reason there is room for Rita bloody Ora, but don’t let that put you off: ‘Boom Clap’ has a chorus the size of a planet, and it’s not alone. If this had been released last year like it was supposed to have been it would have given Taylor Swift a run for her money in terms of the year’s best pop album.

Boom Clap

Sleater Kinney: No Cities To Love

Somehow, ten years on since their previous album and twenty years since their first, Sleater Kinney have made a vibrant, tight indie rock record that stands with the best of their catalogue. Single ‘A New Wave’ sums their attitude up perfectly: “It’s not a new wave it’s just you and me… Invent our own kind of obscurity” really sums up the way they’ve always worked, stubbornly DIY, fiercely political and completely essential.

A New Wave

Vessels: Dilate

After Helioscope’s brilliant, greyscale exercise in Slint-via-Radiohead post-rock, it’s fair to say that Dilate with its Four Tet and Moderat influences is something of a departure. They’re still using similar dynamics in terms of building layers to a dramatic climax, but this time it’s in glorious Technicolor. Glistening arpeggios layer with chirruping loops, giving way to fuzz bass and washes of synth noise, always building. It’s a carnival at the end of the world, it’s the BBC Radiophonic Workshop conducted by Jon Hopkins. It’s really, really good fun.




Public Service Broadcasting: Gagarin

Everything Everything: Distant Past

Pins: Molly

Kanye West, Rihanna and Paul Mccartney: Four Five Seconds

Laura Marling: False Hope

Beyonce: 7/11

Little Boots: Get Things Done

Purity Ring: Bodyache

The Weeknd: Can’t Feel My Face

Battles: Non-Violence



Haiku Salut: Halle St Peters Church, Manchester

East India Youth: Deaf Institute, Manchester

Kagoule: Soup Kitchen, Manchester (Carefully Planned festival)

Vessels: Soup Kitchen, Manchester

Laura Marling: Albert Hall, Manchester

Andy Vine

Like all cis-male atopic half Welshmen, I'm a big fan of shouty indie, noisy drone and the daytime Radio 1 playlist. Outside of punk rock my primary interests are tea (white no sugar please) and beer (brown no sugar please). When I'm not writing about stuff for Silent Radio I'm occasionally doing my own stuff which you can read about at if you want (you should).