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Top Ten Albums of 2016 So far…

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Top Ten Albums of 2016 So far…

Posted on 20 June 2016 by Joe

With 2016 at the half way mark we thought we’d present our list of the ten albums that have impressed us the most so far. All within our broad focus on indie and alternative music, we’ve some old stagers, new bands and plenty of rage. We’ve also got an act at number one who probably never would have thought they’d be acclaimed as the best indie act of the year in 2016 back. In addition to the ten below we also wanted to mention new albums by Shearwater, Pete Astor, The Wave Pictures, Steven James Adams, Picture Box and Rapid Results College, which are all in contention for a place in our end of year extended best albums list.

10. Robert Pollard – Of Course You Are

Robert-Pollard-Of-Course-You-Are

Incredibly, this is now the 22nd solo album from the hardest working man in music and proves another high point in an illustrious career. Read the full review here.

9. Bob Mould – Patch the Sky

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Third album from the former Sugar and Husker Du man’s most settled line up for years. The key to its success is its ability to tackle the tough issues of life in the most fun way possible, as Mould’s rage and melody once again combine perfectly.  Read the full review here.

8. Dressy Bessy – King Sized

Dressy Bessy Kingsized

Fabulous return from a six-year break for the US act. This works particularly well by merging their beefier pre- hiatus sound with the pop nous that made their early work so infectious. Read the full review here.

7. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Nonagon Infinity

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Like an extended rock jam, taking in science fiction, monsters and, naturally, some awesome guitar riffs this is another stellar release from the Australian psych rockers, with a little help from some robots and a gigantic wasp. Read the full review here.

6. Woodpigeon – TROUBLE

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Heartbreak, loss and a globe trotting meander prove the powerful inspiration for Mark Andrew Hamilton’s latest album. Beautiful and inspiring. Read the full review here.

5. Evans the Death – Vanilla

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On album number three London act Evans the Death have upped, shredded, beaten up and garrotted the ante. It’s full of rage, the guitars are heavier than before, the vocals fiercer and the ambition turned to stadium sized proportions, with a brass section and even a funky bass added to the mix. Incendiary album from what very well be Britain’s best rock band. Read the full review here.

4. Papernut Cambridge – Love the Things Your Lover Loves

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Former Death in Vegas man Ian Button and crew have created their very own 1970s pop band. Full of fuzzed up guitar riffs and stomping rhythms there would have been plenty to satisfy the charts back in the day, especially the album’s title song, and its best pop tune, Radio. Read the full review here.

3. Darren Hayman – Thankful Villages – Vol 1

ThankfulWeb

One of Hayman’s best pieces of work and possibly his most important, preserving the oral history of the relatives of those who survived the horrors of the Great War as well as paying tribute to the village life these soldiers left and thankfully returned to. Read the full review here.

2. Emma Pollock – In Search of Harperfield

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Childhood memories and the toils of adulthood mix wonderfully on the former Delgados singer’s latest album. With the track Parks and Recreation she has also created one of the best songs of recent years. Read the full review here.

1. The Monkees – Good Times

The Monkees - Good Times

The comeback to beat all comebacks. Originally planned as merely something to sell on their 50th anniversary tour this album has ended up grabbing the headlines in its own right. With Fountains of Wayne man Adam Schlesinger at the helm, a stack of lost demos to dust off and new tracks from talented Monkees fans such as Andy Partridge and Ben Gibbard, Good Times both pays tribute to their place in 1960s pop history and creates a great, modern day indie and alternative pop album in its own right. A well deserved number one slot. Read our full review here.

Top Ten Albums of 2016 So far was compiled by Joe Lepper and Dorian Rogers

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Evans the Death – Vanilla

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Evans the Death – Vanilla

Posted on 09 June 2016 by Joe

On album number three London act Evans the Death have upped, shredded, beaten up and garrotted the ante. It’s incendiary and full of rage, like their previous album Expect Delays, but while that focused on the anger of twenty somethings in Tory Britain this latest release is packed full of rage about just about everything.

The guitars are heavier, the vocals more fierce and the ambition turned to stadium sized proportions, with a brass section and even a funky bass added to the mix.

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The press release lists a raft of eclectic  influences. I can see some, such as Wilko Johnson’s choppy guitar. But what is not mentioned is the overwhelming sense that this is a long lost post punk album from 1978, dusted off and launched into 2016 like a rocket. There’s a hint of early Siouxsie & the Banshees  on Katherine Whitaker’s vocals, Mission of Burma in the nihilistic punks rhythms and X-Ray Spex and Theatre of Hate with the brass section. There’s even a potential hit single, on Hey Buddy.

The live production feel helps, as does a deliberate move by the band to book very little studio time to make it “full of chaos and restlessness”, according to guitarist and vocalist Dan Moss.

As well as Hey Buddy, other standouts include the pub rock plus No Imitations and Suitcase Jimmy, the chaotic opener Haunted Wheelchair and Hot Sauce, the one with the funky bass. By the end we can’t help but feel excited by the work of what could very well be Britain’s best current rock band.

9/10

by Joe Lepper

Evans the Death – Vanilla is released by Fortuna Pop on 10 June, 2016. More details here.

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Evans the Death – Expect Delays

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Evans the Death – Expect Delays

Posted on 05 March 2015 by Joe

The term “Cameron’s Britain”, with all its echoes of “Thatcher’s Britain” is not used nearly enough to describe the inequality and greed that has been seeping out of government since 2010. Step forward Evans the Death to put that right, with the term proudly used on their press release for their latest album Expect Delays.

Its used  here to describe the band’s last three years “eking out an existence on the poverty line” through a succession of minimum wage jobs and benefits interviews. Its a grim existence that thousands of young people can sadly associate with.

As if tackling poverty line Britain wasn’t enough for this London four piece there has been further upheaval over the last few years. Chief among those was the departure of Alanna McArdle to Joanna Gruesome. Now with a slightly rejigged line up, that includes new recruit James Burkitt on drums, they are back to make 2015 hopefully a far better year both musically and politically.

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Sometimes adversity can bring out the best in musicians and that’s certainly the case here with the backdrop of upheaval and despair creating a powerful album, full of frustration and anger. Lead singer Katherine Whitaker’s folk punk vocals are on particular top form, whether on one of the album’s low key acoustic moments, such as on Intrinsic Grey, or epic punk numbers like Enabler, she sounds like she means every word and is living every emotion. Enabler in particular is a fearsomely good track, with more than a nod to Swervedriver as it motors across its three minutes.

There are echoes of the similar C86 path that their contemporaries continue to tread, but there’s a raw power to the production here that gives it a far more attacking feel. Even the jangly guitars and Blondie-esque feel of Sledgehammer sound angry and menacing.

It’s this edge that will possibly prevent Evans the Death from garnering too much radio airplay. I hope I’m wrong there because as well as attitude this has some great tunes. Sledgehammer and Enabler have a timeless classic indie single feel to them, emerging here as modern alternative pop anthems for ‘Cameron’s Britain.’

9/10

by Joe Lepper

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