Gareth Campesinos!, Los Campesinos!
10. HEALTH: Get Color
I've spent a lot of time this year, sitting in vans, falling asleep listening to this, and then waking with a start and thinking I'd just died. Up until this I'd loved HEALTH live but never got on with them on record. This is just incredible though.
9. Wild Beasts: Two Dancers
You ever get this: For whatever silly reason, you have the wrong impression of a band, then something causes you to go back and listen to everything they've recorded, and then you realize they've always been amazing and you've always been a moron? And then you realize you've missed so many opportunities to watch them play and even speak to them because you've played festivals next to them for the past two years? Yeah, this. Also: best light show I have seen in a long time.
8. Johnny Foreigner: Grace and the Bigger Picture
Nobody can really say that our bands sound alike any more. There's this one song on here called "More Heart, Less Tongue", which as far as I can tell is about how impossible it is to maintain any sort of normal relationship whilst in a touring band. You go away and your friends make new friends, and the person you liked gets further away and the stolen moments weigh too hard on your conscience, and you return home to nothing, starting again, if you can.
7. Slow Club: Yeah So
I am desperate to play shows with Slow Club. Rebecca [Taylor] has my favorite voice of the year, and their live shows are life affirming. Lyrically as well, I don't think they get anywhere near the credit they deserve. Really beautiful, touching stuff.
6. Telepathe: Dance Mother
I hope the fact this came out so early in the year doesn't mean too many people forget this in their year-end lists. I spent a lot of time in the early part of this year, gardening in a gray, rainy graveyard, and listening to this album pretty much on repeat. It was oddly appropriate.
5. Sparky Deathcap: Tear Jerky EP
Rob supports Newcastle United, and when we're allowed he plays as the eighth member of our band. One day when we're rich and famous he'll join the band full-time. He toured with us recently, and we played as his backing band on some songs. I find it horribly awkward when I really love a friend's music. In the past a blossoming friendship has caused me to like the person's music less, or at least to listen to it less, but there's no sign of that happening with Rob's songs. He tells the most heartbreaking stories, but always with a glint in his eye. Best songwriter in the UK today, as far as I'm concerned.
4. Cold Cave: Love Comes Close
But yet so far. This, along with Cremations, has made for an incredible year for Cold Cave.
3. Zola Jesus: The Spoils
I might have to take back what I said about Rebecca up there. I don't even know what to say about this. Nika Roza is an incredible talent. I am dying to see what she comes up with next.
2. Nosferatu D2: We're Gonna Walk Around This City With Our Headphones on to Block Out the Noise
Finally released a couple of years after the band's break up (their last ever show was actually supporting us, which fills me with a mixture of pride and guilt). I think this record perfectly depicts disillusionment with the place you live or the relationship you're in, but are completely unable to bring yourself to get away from. Brothers Adam and Ben Parker-- Adam whose drumming is up there with any drummer I've ever heard, and Ben whose lyrics are perfect in their hopelessness. This has finally seen release as a fan, Audio Antihero, took it upon himself to put up the money to release the record. A noble pursuit and one that, if it's successful, will see us as the winners.
1. Former Ghosts: Fleurs
I've followed Freddy since he was This Song Is a Mess But So Am I. When we were getting together contributions for the We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed 'zine in 2008, I got in touch with him through an email on his blog, asking if he'd be able to contribute something. It never worked out. I think Freddy was happy, and kind of lacking a creative outlet at the time, but a couple of months later he got back in touch with a message: "Maybe you would be interested in this or not. I'm doing a new synthpop project. Hope you are into it." That was November 2008, and those initial demos were amazing. What's come since has been mindblowing for me. Freddy's made an album centered around one crippling relationship, with bare bones honesty and emotion. It must have near killed him to write, but I'm hopeful that what he's created will make times easier for many, many others. Album of the year, hands down.