The last couple of weeks have seen a couple of significant events in the year’s music calendar:
Number 1: We have had the Mercury music prize celebrating new music – this is one of Coleshed’s favourite awards and much anticipated. The Mercurys are about fabulous musicianship and songwriting – and present artists that we might never otherwise consider… however….. this may be contentious, but they don’t seem to have a ‘dull filter’ … and so it has to be said that all sorts of self indulgent noodling does get through.
Number 2: We have just witnessed the Adele effect! She has just released her third album, and cannily did not make it available for streaming. What she did manage to do is sell more copies of this album than the next best selling 86 albums! and she shifted more than 3 million copies in a single week. The new Adele album is a safe option – its not about pushing boundaries and it will be bought in droves by people who watch Strictly (and think that’s pretty edgy too!)
So now seems a perfect time to pause for reflection, and ask; what of the listening year at Coleshed?
It means that it is time for the inaugural (i.e. first, but possibly also last) COLESHED MUSIC AWARDS – woop woop. These are the records that have created listening pleasure in 2015. A couple of these albums were released in 2014, but most are this year’s releases. Where to start you cry? Well these awards kick-off where the Mercury Awards 2014 left-off:
1. Jungle by Jungle (July 2014)
A 2014 Mercury nominee and something the Coleshed collective has listened to non-stop ever since. Joyous dance music equally at home over Sunday lunch as on Saturday night.
Listen to: Busy Earnin’
2. My Love Is Cool by Wolf Alice (June 2015)
Coleshed’s ALBUM OF THE YEAR! Sensational. You will find yourself walking through Tescos and singing “1,2,3,4,5,6,7 you ain’t going to heaven ” etc etc . Glorious guitars and attitude and sing along tunes.
Listen to: Fluffy
3. What Went Down by Foals (August 2015)
These guys do intense! and they howl! The whole album is awesome from start to finish. Stick it on repeat. Marvellous
Listen to: A Knife In The Ocean
4. How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful by Florence & The Machine (May 2015)
Coleshed loved there first two albums so this was almost certain to be a shoo-in. Oh, but haven’t they raised their game. Florence’s vocals continue to swoop, but the songs are bigger and more adventurous. Get in the car, stick this on and drive to the beach. You know it makes sense.
Listen to: Delilah / What Kind Of Man
5. Marks To Prove It by The Maccabees (May 2015)
… and finally they have followed up Given To the Wild ! This new record is triumphant. Unlike some of the more ‘immediate’ albums in this list, this album has the depth to stand repeated listening and to grow on you. Their intelligence, humour and understated ways – shines through. (so much better than Mumford & Sons!)
Listen to: Spit It Out
6. Futurology by The Manic Street Preachers (July 2014)
Their fan base is no doubt ageing with them – and they don’t trouble the radio playlists so much, but they have totally still got it. The track Europa Geht Durch Mich (featuring vocals from the German film star Nina Hoss) is the runaway favourite TRACK OF THE YEAR!
Listen to: Europa Geht Durch Mich
7. Are You Satisfied by Slaves (June 2015)
They put a smile on your face! Fabulous, humorous, raucous but intelligent and well-observed. Somehow reminiscent of Peter & The Test Tube Babies (from 1982)
Listen to: The Hunter
8. Beauty Behind The Madness by Weeknd (August 2015)
Canadian virtuouso Weeknd has been described as Dark R&B – and not a bad description – but don’t worry he’s infinitely better the the R.Kelly-esqe dross that still gets pumped out by some R&B acts. Give it a listen – you’ll find lots of familiar tracks – you just didn’t ever know who sang them!
Listen to: The Hills
9. The Balcony by Catfish & The Bottlemen (September 2014)
This album is so easy to listen to its no wonder that they’ve gone mainstream. It’s indie-lite for the masses and has made them festival faves. They are not from the American mid-west, they come from Llandudno.
Listen to: Homesick
10. Man It Feels Like Space Again by Pond (January 2015)
It’s the turn of the Aussies! Much feted (along with Tame Impala), this is their first album which kind-of carries on where the Flaming Lips left off – swirling and qwirky!
Listen to: Holding Out For You
So make yourself a playlist and give them a listen. Who knows you may find something you don’t know – and even like!
…..but it’s not over yet.. here are the the next ten that almost made it….
- In Colour – Jamie XX, May 2015 (sounds pretty much just like The XX!)
- Undertow – Drenge, April 2015 (they’ve developed since Bloodsports. Listen to: We Can Do What We Want)
- To Pimp A Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar, March 2015
- Sound And Colour – Alabama Shakes, April 2015
- Another One – Mac Demarco, August 2015
- Currents – Tame Impala, July 2015 (Laid back Sunday afternoon music. Listen to: ‘Cause I’m A Man)
- A Dream Outside – Gengahr, June 2015 (Listen to: Dizzy Ghosts)
- Wilder – Mumford & Sons, May 2015 (Now with guitars! Their last album was hateful – but now we can be honest enough to quite like this)
- Honeymoon – Lana Del Rey, September 2015 (Listen to: High By The Beach)
- Angels & Ghosts – Dave Gahan and Soulsavers, October 2015 (The lead track is Depeche-Mode-goes-gospel and ends up sounding like Spiritualised. Fab. Listen to: Shine)