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.
The opening track of Wolf’s Law begins with 45 seconds of beautiful, swelling strings that are both pretty and haunting. In this time, I started to think that, perhaps, The Joy Formidable had produced a cinematic, intricate, well-constructed album that would propel them to superstardom.
It’s true, …and silence anchored our feet in granite isn’t a brand new release. It’s some months ago that Dresden-based Continents. unleashed it, but since I was only introduced to it recently and it happens to be an EP of tremendous emotional weight, I’ve decided to write about it anyway.
Ah, Amenra, Belgium’s best export since the saxophone. For those that don’t know, they play an extremely unforgiving, crushing, bleak, riff-heavy, doom inspired form of post-metal, and they play it really, really well.
As the title might suggest, The Lovers is a wholly intimate record, but these lovers aren’t entwined underneath bed sheets or fused by a warm embrace. They have been driven apart, drained of their colour and resigned to the shadows.
It’s not long into Machinist!’s Black List EP that you start to feel a warm nostalgia wash over you, like when you’re shopping for food supplies and find a box of cereal you thought they’d stopped selling, or when you glimpse a dusty Street Fighter II Turbo cab in a cinema.
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.