Considering the ferocity of the Mylets live experience and its organic unity, committing it all to tape flirts dangerously with dilution – gone is the visual nectar of frenzy, the awe placated – but fortunately, Arizona as a recorded work sheds none of the live show’s winsome factors, at the same time as significantly building on the firm foundations provided by 2013’s Retcon.

As you may have noticed before, Americans tend to be a bit obsessed with their country. Not in a political or patriotic sense, necessarily, but rather a mythological one: our culture and our history, truncated as they are, loom outsize in our minds, as if the whole human story from creation to perdition might reside somewhere within them. To a foreigner, this must be mystifying, and indeed the lack of American Nobel Prizes in the last several decades is generally attributed to this insularity, how American writers name-check others in the same small canon in a game that must seem horribly stultifying to those eminent Swedes.

There is a lot to Cracked Actor’s Iconoclast that might raise a few inquisitive brows, what with it being a deeply sensual and original piece of work that eggs you on as you take a stroll into your own conscience. To see if we could ascertain more about its source, we asked the band’s own Sebastian Field to tell us about five tracks that paved his way.

The lines between objectivity and subjectivity seem to be at their blurriest when discussing music, and the death knell of “well, you’re entitled to your opinion” has reared its ugly head far too often. Using the lauded film Whiplash as a pivot point, Isaac Powell attempts to run the terms through a sieve and create some distinction.

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.

Risk breeds the fluttering heart and tightening chest, and whether we face it boldly or meekly, by choice or on impulse, it’s the allure of the unknown that instils affirmation of life within us. Alfie Ryner’s Brain Surgery is uncharted territory, an untarnished mountain-top lake with unobserved ecosystems. I play the role of frightened discoverer, taken by the upheaval that loads every glance, rooted by curiosity.

If you’ve ever played the classic neo-noir crime thriller Max Payne, you’ll recall the ghostly platforms and graffiti-laced walls of the murky, menacing Roscoe Street Station, a place drenched in dystopian gloom and decorated by cracked mirrors and discarded, bloody needles.

A silk web has the fascinating property of great strength, able to bear much more weight than its appearance would have you believe, often as impervious to breaking as steel. I’m reminded of it – the fragility of its aesthetic in direct contrast against its form – by two sisters from Holland, their dainty voices pirouetting on the velvety cushion of equally delicate strums and notes, holding aloft their portly burdens in a display of quiet, staunch aptitude.

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.