Another year has zipped by so fast it almost feels premature to have an ‘end of 2015’ list; but looking back now so many old friends only seemed to make an appearance over these last twelve months. So here goes, in some mutant alphabetical sort of order:
Daniel Bachman – River. This album is pretty much the best thing Mr Bachman has produced to date – haunting, amazingly accomplished, recorded in single takes, yikes the boy done good (again).
Dawn of Midi – Dysnomia. Hypnotic and deviously inventive album; live the effect is astonishing and mesmerising. Quite a revelation and spellbinding at the Nils Frahm show.
Idlewild – Everything Ever Written. Just about by favourite band (ever) return with an album of maturity but with the energy of back in the day. Live its uplifting and better than ever, i couldn’t be happier – sigh!
Tom McRae and the Standing Band – Did I Sleep and Miss the Border. Building on his canon of wonderful songs delivered with his grit and no-compromise attitude, another great album from the foolishly under-valued (by some at least) Mr M.
Tom Mitchell – Stones. Bristol Tom’s latest EP contains his finest songs yet, played and sung with his usual aplomb and the care and attention to set the songs free.
Alice Sara Otto and Olafur Arnalds – Chopin Project. I had quite forgotten how much I enjoy Chopin and this wonderful re-imagining of some of the Nocturnes is quite the thing – all of the magic of the compositions plus a whiff of the contemporary that adds not detracts.
Max Richter – Sleep. I don’t think that any other piece of music has provide me such solace, calm and decompression. A staggering achievement and music that will be with me so regularly over the years to come.
Sufjan Stevens – Carrie and Lowell. I slipped away from Sufjan for a bit however Carrie and Lowell is a thing of real beauty and emotion, a warm sleeping bag of wonderfulness.
Sun Drift – Tied. An impeccable, elegant and amazingly accomplished first outing from Zac Barfoot. Gentle, uplifting and all sorts of sparkly – more soon please!
Tamu Massif – Alba. These tracks got me from the get go – an elegance and charm that doesn’t feel contrived, melodies that sneak their way into you head – quite, quite lovely.
Tesselators – Swimming. My unfailing admiration for these roister-bloister lads from the Smoke has been repaid with their most immediate and most assured album yet. Sparkling playing and fresh as a daisy toons.
Villagers – Darling Arithmetic. Snuck up on me this. A perfect show on launch day but the album only slyly crept up on me; but now it has, probably the most affecting of all the Villagers albums, all the better for the sparse and sensitive arrangements.