There wasn’t much that could have justified that agonising journey, the monotony of the grey asphalt and the grey skies and the grey hills numbing my senses til I began to consider that the rest of my life might be in black and white, but I think it was that gloom, that impenetrable and classically British washout, which helped me gain a real appreciation for a band called The Longcut.

Arriving fashionably late as ever, we’re kicking in your New Year’s bash retrospectively with a list of 30 albums that affected us the most over the past twelve months. There’s a decent variety we reckon, and we’ve even gone to the trouble of penning a little diatribe at the start. Enjoy, relax, read and imbibe, and we’ll be back soon with an announcement that will knock your new socks off.

The truth is, even in Upstate New York you’re rarely too far from somewhere, and I would sometimes go to concerts in New York City, though this proved a tricky proposition always, as I had to find under-21 shows, and they couldn’t be on weeknights, and had overall to be agreeable for my parents, who accompanied me in my early teens. Culture always felt like an exertion, and because of this a triumph.

I’ve known myself to waste considerable amounts of time getting irrationally angry at the inconsequential. I wouldn’t say I’m a pessimist, but despite best intentions my internal monologue seems stricken by the Napoleon complex, and on a near-constant basis it seethes about stuff it needn’t. Dawdling walkers, uncooperative bowling balls, impenetrable packaging – all have fallen victim to the searing heat of my unexpressed vitriol.

For thousands of DIY musicians the world over, manning the mucky front-line of the musical ecosystem is as much a part of the job as picking up a knackered, sweat-covered Fender for a dimly-lit basement show in an unknown town. It’s a world where being able to use TweetDeck is as important as remembering your songs, and where anonymous Facebook fans can turn from unfamiliar avatars to willing hosts in the blink of a broken-down van. These bands and artists are the collective flag printers, the scrambling booking agents, the MailChimp press officers, the heavy lifters, the tape recorders and — buried beneath a buckling outbox — the creative forces.