We are told over and over that rock and roll, and indeed popular culture, is a giant youth cult, slathering its constant message of here today gone tomorrow on the bodies of the barely-post-pubescent, imploring them to die young just like their heroes. This is echoed in the fear of metal-inspired suicide pacts, the fact that few pop stars beyond the legacy circuit crack 30, many not even 20. From this springs the constant generational urge to rip it up and start again.

Lux Interna’s latest release, There is Light in the Body, There is Blood in the Sun, was certainly ambitious in scope, presenting the idea that humans and stars are bound by mutual qualities, all products of the same universe. Combined with the religious studies of member Joshua Ian Levy, and the musical journey of Kathryn Mary, questions of inspiration are elicited. Graciously, the two have gone to great lengths to talk about five songs that have so heavily impacted their lives and careers.

Talking with Dimitris of KU earlier in the year, we discovered his bilingual upbringing and subsequent inundation of music. “All this music has changed my life and my sound in a natural, subconscious way,” he told us, and with his debut album being such a patchwork of influences and tweaks on the notion of pop, it was clear that inside him was an inherent love for music that is unique and soulful.

Ever since the idea to create a music site was batted about in the latter half of last year, the ultimate aim of Noted was quite clear: to promote and provide exposure for the best new and lesser-known bands. We knew that there was an untold amount of music out there, begging to be listened to, and we wanted to tap into it as much as we could. It’s why we’re proud to allow user submissions – we’ve received some really great stuff and formed a number of friendships. However, whether it was malicious or not, this service got taken advantage of. We were tricked, an artist robbed, and we never want it to happen again.

Despite a grueling, messy war of attrition between labels, governments, software companies and the ‘pirates’ themselves, these shoots of recovery are not the natural consequence of all the money spent on anti-piracy campaigns, lawsuits and P2P embargoes, but as a direct result of the music industry finally beginning to harness digital technology rather than continuously vilify it. However, do these stats really tell us the whole story?

The Second Spin series aims to convince you to give music a chance. You should never listen to an album just once, and we’ve learned that the hard way. There is probably a whole host of albums that should, by rights, be my absolute favourite – I’ve just either never listened to them or not given them the time of day. Albums are for life, you dig?

The opener is perhaps the most important part of an album. It has to excite listeners, set the tone and sell the artist. A lot of people, whether they mean to or not, will make a judgment call based on the first track alone. The track itself may be loud and punchy, seeking to shake the foundations right from the word go, or it may be calm and collected. It can be indicative of what is to come, or or an early curveball to keep the listener guessing. Regardless of the way the opener is presented, many artists understand that it is key to the overall narrative; a consideration which separates the experience of the ‘album’ from a mere set of songs. These are some of our favourites.

Welcome to a humble rundown of our favourite releases this year. This list features 25 fantastic artists, some of which are already well-established, others which have very promising careers ahead of them. The ordering isn’t completely strict – each and every album on the list is highly recommended, and the ordering could change on any given day, so give them a spin if you’ve not heard them. They’re really good.