End of year awards ceremony

There’s no actual awards ceremony, I can’t afford the red carpet, but as a big music fan here are my top 10 favourite albums of the year. They might not be completely technical masterpieces (and I’m fully aware not everyone will agree, this is the internet after all) but they’re the albums I’ve enjoyed listening to the most over the last 12 months.

In reverse order, to build tension and the such like;

#10:  Kings of Leon – Walls

Been a big fan of Kings of Leon for a fair few years now and have loved seeing and listening to how the band has evolved throughout that time.
I was lucky enough to see them headline Leeds Festival back in ’09. I was what felt like a couple of miles away from the stage, right at the back of the arena, but they created such an unbelievable atmosphere that you could have been forgiven for thinking you were seeing them at a tiny intimate venue.
This is everything you’d expect from a Kings of Leon record, chock full of great hooks, top notch story telling and choruses that’ll be stuck in your head for days.

Favourite track: Walls

#9: Blink-182 – California

I spent a large part of my teenage years listening to Blink-182, as I imagine quite a few others did too, and when it was announced that Mark and Travis were moving forward without Tom on this record I was a bit concerned that it just wouldn’t be the same but when they confirmed he’d be replaced with Matt Skiba I was quite excited seen as I’m also quite a big Alkaline Trio.
I love the dynamic between Mark and Matt’s voices as well as their styles and when you mix that with Travis just being Travis you’ve got a recipe for success. They’ve managed to keep that fun classic Blink-182 vibe going as well as a few slightly darker undertones at times but the main thing is I think you can feel the band themselves actually had fun making this record (something I always felt was lacking in the last couple of Blink albums) and to me that’s an important factor in a great record.

Favourite track: San Diego

#8: Trashboat – Nothing I Write You Can Change What You’ve Been Through

If you’re gonna go full blown Fall Out Boy/Panic! At The Disco with your album title then you’re gonna have to be able to follow it up with the same amount of aplomb. Luckily for Trashboat they do exactly that.
I decided to give the whole album a listen after hearing “Strangers” on the tele box late one night and I was certainly not disappointed. Considering this is the band’s first full length release after a couple of shorter EPs it gives of the feel of seasoned veterans and everything you’d expect from a modern pop punk album – songs to start a circle pit to and songs to wave your lighter about to.

Favourite track: Eleven

#7: Taking Back Sunday – Tidal Wave

After hearing the singles that were released before the album I didn’t really know what to expect. They didn’t really sound like the band I know, love and grew up with but my apprehension was completely unfounded. Upon first listen to “Tidal Wave” the singles work perfectly in the context of the whole album.
Perfectly paced from start to finish, their sound may have differed here and there but without a doubt this is a classic Taking Back Sunday album. They have certainly kept up the trend of releasing great albums since their self titled comeback in 2011 and this just leaves me wanting more, in a very, very good way.

Favourite track: We Don’t Go In There

#6: Saosin – Along The Shadow

I’m not even gonna try and hide it, I have a massive man crush on Anthony Green’s voice. I’ve been hooked ever since “Translating The Name”, all through the Circa Survive back catalogue and into his solo work.  When I heard he was going back to Saosin for another album I couldn’t wait.
Musically, Saosin have always blown me away but since the first EP I’ve always felt they’ve just been missing that certain something and reuniting with Anthony has brought that back and reignited my love for the band.
There’s some extraordinary individual musicianship on display throughout this album but it’s all blended together so well it works perfectly.

Favourite track: The Silver String

#5: Bear’s Den – Red Earth and Pouring Rain

I was introduced to Bear’s Den earlier this year through a good friend of mine and I fell in love with their album “Islands” on my very first listen, “Red Earth and Pouring Rain” had the exact same effect. This album is full to the brim with feeling and you can’t help but feel something too.
The way the band layer each track on the album, introducing new elements as the songs progress, is great. It makes sure that as chilled out and mellow as the tracks are, you can’t fully switch off incase you miss something that will really make you think.

Favourite track: Love Can’t Stand Alone

#4: As It Is – Never Happy, Ever After (Deluxe Edition)

Yes, I know I’m including this on a technicality as the original album came out last year but with added tracks and acoustic versions, I’m allowing it. It’s my blog and I make up the rules as I go along.
By far my favourite thing about this album, after the catchy guitar hooks and the drums driving everything forward with great force, is the lyrical content. Embracing subjects that are sometimes extremely hard to talk about without sugar coating them. Kudos to the band for being so honest and not shying away from the subject of mental heath which is still taboo in many circles.

Favourite track: Winter’s Weather

#3: Jimmy Eat World – Integrity Blues

By far my favourite Jimmy Eat World album since Bleed American. That’s not to say I didn’t rate the others in between but Integrity Blues is just that step above; perfectly timed peaks and troughs throughout the record mean that has great feel and flow, almost the same feel as a live set just with studio polish.
For me this is everything a Jimmy Eat World album should be; great musicianship played so well it sounds simple, fantastic lyrical content and full to the brim with feeling.
There’s not much else I can say about this album, it’s just exactly as it should be.

Favourite track: The End is Beautiful

#2: Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes – Blossom

From the very first combination of guitar and drums on the intro to “Juggernaut” I was hooked. Once Carter’s vocals enter the fold you know full well you’re in for one hell of a ride with this album.
Full to overflowing with passion there’s no doubt this album will get your pulse racing. If I was still gigging I’m certain this would be the album I’d have on full whack through my buds before I went on stage. Even now, sat at my desk writing this while listening to the album again, it makes me feel as though I could get up and run through walls if I so desired.
This band are top of my must see/must shoot list for 2017 based entirely on this record. Bring it on.

Favourite track: Paradise

#1: Architects – All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us

Flawless.
Musicianship, lyrical content, intelligence; for me this record has it all.
This truly is an album the band should be incredibly proud of and will make sure that the memory and legacy of Tom Searle will live on for a very long time to come.
Exceptionally put together from the “Nihilist” intro to the “Memento Mori” outro this album just relentlessly punches you in the face making you sit up and take notice of everything the band has to offer.
Guitar riffs that’ll make you melt, drums and bass that will shake your roots and vocals that are impossible to ignore.

Favourite track: Gravity

A couple honourable mentions.
Albums that I found and loved this year but were released in previous years along with some albums from this year that didn’t quite make my top 10.

The Paper Kites – twelvefour
Bear’s Den – Islands
Thrice – To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere
Fireworks – Oh, Common Life
Crooks – We Are All the Same Distance Apart
Good Tiger – A Head Full Of Moonlight
Black Peaks – Statues
Issues – Headspace
Touché Amoré – Stage Four

Congratulations, if you’ve made it this far then you possess an attention span a lot longer than my own.

Those were my favourite albums of the year. I hope you enjoyed my little reviews of them all and I hope you’ll go out and listen to at least a couple of them if you haven’t already. If there are any albums you can recommend then whack them in the comments and I’ll definitely check them out at some point.

Peace
Mik.

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