Here are our fave albums of 2015. …. These are the albums that have sustained us here at the VPME through an absolute bastard of a year. You probably won’t agree, that’s fine, it’s ok to be wrong… he-he-he
20. Pale Honey – Pale Honey
There’s a controlled power to Pale Honey’s sound, which despite conveying a certain ‘cooler than thou’ sense of black leather and shades also has an undercurrent of knowing playfulness. Hailing from Gothenburg Sweden, Pale Youth are Tuva Lodmark (guitar / vocals) and Nelly Daltrey (drums) they’ve already released a wonderful EP ‘Fiction’ in 2014 and their self-titled debut built on their early promise.
19. Lusts – Illuminations
Whilst there are nods to the chiming, soaring melodies of bands like the Bunnymen, LUSTS take their influences and fashion them into something that is exhilaratingly and uniquely their own. Their debut album is awash with spirited indie/new wave guitar thrash, replete with subtle synth flourishes and a regret-tinged lovelorn vocal full of yearning.
18. Annalibera – Never Mind I Love You
Never Mind I Love You introduced us to the celestial voice of singer-songwriter and creative driving force, Anna Gebhardt. It’s a rare and beautiful thing when you discover a voice so pure, so uplifting, as Gebhardt’s which has that unique ability to touch you, to give your spirit wings, to make your heart soar, to transport you from the mundanity of the daily routine into another realm of infinite beauty and possibility.
17. Post War Glamour Girls – Feeling Strange
Album two sees PWWG’s sound evolve but it’s still as passionate, abrasive and conversely tender as it ever was. Once again front man James Smith’s compelling vocal resides somewhere between Mark E. Smith’s more lucid moments, John Cooper Clarke’s acerbic wordplay and who by turns can sound literate, angry, inventive and slightly demented. The album bubbles with a visceral kinetic energy that is hard to resist.
16. Anna Von Hausswolf – The Miraculous.
You may by of the opinion that music from an artist who once wrote a song entitled “Funeral For My Future Children“ performed on a massive big f*ck off pipe organ could be a slightly unsettling affair. And you’d be entirely correct, the music of Anna von Hausswolff can be eerie, disturbing and ominous but by the same token it is also imbued with a majestic, transcendental beauty. Indeed Sir Francis Bacon’s assertion that “In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present” could very well describe the atmosphere conveyed by Anna’s music. Her third album The Miraculous continues to blur genres and marks her out as one of the most innovative and intriguing performers of the last few years.
15. Best Coast – California Nights
The band expand their sound, the melodies are more evocative and uplifting and tighter than ever before, the noise is cranked up and although Bethany Cosentino lyrics remain rooted in introspection and musing on relationships, this is a huge sonic step forward for the band.
14. Bill Ryder Jones – West Kirby County Primary
Bill’s finest album to date, and a master class in how to write painfully honest vignettes about the struggles of everyday day life. These stories from the urban prairie are told with compassion and a wry wit which should finally cement Ryder-Jones reputation as one of the UK’s finest young songwriters.
13. Nadine Carina – Never Been To Heaven
Electronic pop artist Nadine Carina’s ‘Never Been To Heaven’ was released, with very little fanfare. So little in fact that it may have slipped under many people’s radars. Which would be a great shame because it’s an exceptional, sophisticated collection of songs. It clearly highlights her continuing growth as a songwriter and experimental pop artist.
We’ve described her new music recently as having “the cinematic widescreen grandeur of Sigur Rós, the pop hooks of Chrvches but underpinned with a fragile grace and glacial beauty.” And her willingness to experiment, whilst producing something cohesive, emotionally engaging and accessible, is one of the factors that make her such an interesting artist
12. Stealing Sheep – Not Real
On their second album Rebecca Hawley, Emily Lansley and Lucy Mercer seem far more focused and have dispensed with unnecessary distractions to engineer a collection of songs that whilst still hugely creative, sit together beautifully as a cohesive whole. Hopefully, it will also see them lose the tiresome ‘alt-folk’ tag, which seems to be a catch-all for any female musician who doesn’t aggressively thrash an electric guitar.
This new sense of cohesion is never at the expense of invention and the trio still retain their intrinsic off kilter ‘Stealing Sheep-ness’ and it’s this originality and willingness to experiment that shines brightly on an album that one can both admire and fall in love with. It’s pop Jim, but not as we know it.
11. Victories At Sea – Everything Forever
Soaring euphoric new wave synth pop at its best from Birmingham’s Victories At Sea Their debut album Everything Forever deals with Love, loss, loneliness and dreams of escape and it’s an album that grabs life by the lapels and embraces its beauty and urges us to seize the day, and not to give up. A glorious fusion of evocative, heartfelt indie/electro and dance from an incredibly accomplished debut which for some reason puts us in mind of this quote – “you can live your lives or your fears, and that it is always wiser to live your lives.”