After the universal critical acclaim that was bestowed upon Midnight Organ Fight for its achingly honest lyrical display and delicate musicianship, the Selkirk group somewhat stumbled with their follow up, The Winter of Mixed Drinks. Production felt too grandiose for the message, and the message seemed less sincere than before; the struggles of having a larger (and more expectant) fanbase had evidently taken their toll on song-writing mastermind Scott Hutchison.

Earlier this year, we were sent an EP by Dresden-based screamo outfit Continents. Not knowing what to expect, we were immediately drawn in by the complex lyrical themes and accomplished instrumentation. So, we hunted them down and questioned them on a variety of topics, from the German hardcore scene to their upcoming UK re-release.

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.