Wednesday, 1 July 2015

12 Albums of 2015. Pt. 1 (01/07/15)

The first half of this years '12 Albums of...' blog posts is here, we collate 12 of our favourite albums of the year so far, there's been so many and it's already been a great year for music releases that it was hard and there are some that didn't quite make the list, still, let's get to it (albums are in release date order... and all download links can be found at the bottom of this blog post...)

The Mindsweep - Enter Shikari
Release Date: 19th January
Genre: Electronic (Hard) Rock
Tracks: 12
Chart Performance: #6 (UK Albums Chart)
Singles: The Last Garrison/Anaesthetist/Torn Apart 

This is a great album from start to finish, with their true heavy sound mixed with some chilled moments too. Brilliant for shouting along to and even though some supporters of their previous albums didn't like this one, I felt it pushed them closer to 'mainstream' and allowed more people to hear their music... 'The One True Colour', 'Torn Apart' and 'Dear Future Historians' are my favourites from this album. 



Unguarded - Rae Morris
Release Date: 26th January
Genre: Pop
Tracks: 12
Chart Performance: #9 (UK Albums Chart)
Singles: Don't Go/Do You Even Know?/Cold/Closer/Under The Shadows/Love Again

I think this is in my list of all time favourite albums, there isn't one song I have to skip and all the tracks are great for singing along to - making it a perfect pop album. There's a mixture of slower, sadder songs as well as upbeat catchy tracks and after seeing Rae perform the album live, I was sold even more. My most played songs from the album are 'Skin', 'Don't Go' and 'Morné Fortune'


Hope Is Just A State Of Mind - Little Comets
Release Date: 16th February
Genre: Indie Rock
Tracks: 12 | 20 (Deluxe)
Singles: Salt

We all knew Little Comets were good, but they topped even the highest of expectations with this album. Their trademark sound of catchy guitar riffs, head nodding and toe-tapping beats and upbeat songs you can't help but join in with. Their beautifully written lyrics are also to be credited on this album, with tracks like 'The Daily Grind', 'Salt' and 'The Blur, The Line and The Thickest of Onions' being highlights of the album. 


FM - The Skints
Release Date: 6th March
Genre: Reggae/Ska/Dub
Tracks: 15

FM may not be quite as good as their previous album 'Past & Parcel', but it is definitely one of the best albums, in my opinion, from this year. All the elements and layers true to 'The Skints' sound is there throughout and they've worked with some brilliant artists on this album, like Tippa Irie and Horseman featuring on 'This Town' and with Rival on 'Eyes In The Back Of My Head', one of my favourite tracks from the album however, is the closing song 'Tomorrow', with a positive message shadowing the chilled reggae vibe. 


Bright City - Bright City
Release Date: 16th March
Genre: Alternative/Gospel
Track: 13
Singles: Colour

This is the stunning debut self-titled album from British creative collective Bright City; based at St. Peter's, Brighton they have created a beautiful album, full of really wonderful songs. The music video for the single 'Colour' fits with the song so well and there's a mix of songwriters working on the project, meaning there's a mix of styles too, which is refreshing to hear. Two other highlights from the album for me would have to be 'We Believe' and 'Broken'. 


Chaos and The Calm - James Bay
Release Date: 23rd March
Genre: Indie Pop/Rock
Tracks: 12 | 15/16 (Deluxe)
Chart Performance: #1 (UK Albums Chart) | #15 (US Billboard 200)
Singles: Let It Go/Hold Back The River

I might be a little bias here; but I had the pleasure of doing a spotlight for James and reviewing this album and honestly I kept finding excuses to listen to it over and over again - I had to give up in the end and just say 'it's a bloody good album'. He brings something new to the 'typical' male solo musician group of music in the charts at the minute and even though 'Hold Back The River' has been overplayed now, I've had 'Let It Go', 'Scars' and 'Collide' on repeat and finally get to see him play live this weekend and I'm sure it's gonna be great! 


5AM - Amber Run
Release Date: 17th April
Genre: Indie/Alternative Rock
Tracks: 12 | 17 (Deluxe)
Chart Performance: #38 (UK Singles Chart)
Singles: Just My Soul Responding

I fell in love with Amber Run just over a year ago and loved their trilogy of EPs throughout 2014 so when they announced the release of their debut album this year I couldn't wait. They didn't disappoint. Everything is brilliant. Guitars, keys, drums, bass, harmonies, oh the harmonies and their lyrics are on point too. 'Spark' I have really liked since the EP, '5AM' has made me cry on many occasions, especially when I saw it performed live and 'See You Soon' is a brilliantly fitting track to finish their album off on, hopefully we'll be seeing them soon for their second album... 


Never Happy, Ever After - As It Is
Release Date: 20th April
Genre: Pop Punk
Tracks: 11
Singles: Dial Tones/Concrete/Cheap Shots & Setbacks

It's good to see there are still brilliant new 'pop punk' bands, I feel like there was almost a shortage of them and now As It Is are leading the pack; 11 brilliant tracks and a mix within the genre, there's the heavier, upbeat, shouty tracks like 'Dial Tones', with a few slower, melodic guitar led songs like 'My Oceans Were Lakes' (which is a really beautiful, stunning and honest track) as well as a good balance between the two, 'Can't Save Myself'


We Are - Lucy Spraggan
Release Date: 4th May
Genre: Folk/Pop
Tracks: 12
Chart Performance: #17 (UK Singles Chart)
Singles: Unsinkable

Another brilliant album I featured recently, there's a good mix of stripped back, honest acoustic songs and some that are built up and more upbeat and catchy. My favourite three tracks from the album were hard to choose as I've sat many evenings and listened to the album all the way through; but they're her forthcoming single 'London Bound', 'The Postman' (which is a brilliant story-telling style song and another that catches you emotionally) and 'I Don't Know' for the perfect balance of honest lyrics with a catchy melody and instrumentation throughout. 


Before We Forgot How To Dream - SOAK
Release Date: 29th May
Genre: Dream Pop
Tracks: 14
Chart Performance: #19 (Irish Albums) | #37 (UK Albums Chart)
Singles: Blud/B a noBody/Sea Creatures

I've been following SOAK for the past couple of years and it's been a long wait for her to release an album and now it's here I can't get enough of it. All 14 tracks are great and unique to other music that's around at the minute. 'Sea Creatures' has been one of my favourites since the 2012 version and it's just got even better for the album version. '24 Windowed House' is another highlight for me, from the Blud EP last year and - although it was hard to choose between them - I think 'Hailstones Don't Hurt' is my stand out new song. 


How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful - Florence + The Machine
Release Date: 29th May
Genre: Indie Pop/Rock
Tracks: 11 | 16 (Deluxe)
Chart Performance: #1 (UK Albums Chart) | #1 (US Billboard 200)
Singles: What Kind Of Man/Ship To Wreck

How could I not include this album in this list? Even though it doesn't have as many 'live gig crowd pleasers', it is definitely a collection of beautiful songs. Highlights for me are the latest single 'Ship To Wreck', the title track 'How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful' and a lesser heard track 'Hiding'. (Also if you haven't already, make sure you book yourself 3 hours to listen and watch her Glastonbury Festival set from this year, it's really worth it, she stepped up to the stage and went for it). 


Fall Awake - Mia and the Moon
Release Date: 30th May
Genre: Acoustic Pop/Gospel Harmony
Tracks: 11

One of my favourite albums I've had the pleasure of reviewing this year, it's a beautiful album that is so easy to listen to from the first note to the last. A collection of stunning songs with incredible harmonies and vocals as well as wonderful piano, guitar, strings and much more. Three songs that stand out to me are 'Fall Awake', 'Midnight In London' and 'Beautiful Burden'. This has become the soundtrack to many chilled evenings recently, especially with this heatwave in England, I really would encourage you to get yourself a copy! 


Album Links:
Hope Is Just A State Of Mind - Little Comets: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/hope-is-just-state-mind-deluxe
Never Happy, Ever After - As It Is: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/never-happy-ever-after
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful - Florence + The Machine: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/how-big-how-blue-how-beautiful
Fall Awake - Mia and The Moon: http://www.miaandthemoon.com/shop/4584126061

Thanks for reading!

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