Lots of records I thought might, haven’t made this list (Richard Hawley, The Gaslight Anthem, Steve Earle, Monsters of Folk, Dylan, The Lemonheads, Drive-by Truckers, Iron & Wine, The XX, Wilco, Lisa Hannigan), so although the industry’s f***ed, by all accounts, it’s been a good year for music in my book…
1. Richmond Fontaine - We Used to think the Freeway Sounded Like a River
They just get better, and the songs here sounded phenomenal live, at the Garage in September (best record sleeve of the year too).
2. The Duke & The King - Nothing Gold Can Stay
Brilliant debut, sounds like a '70s country-soul classic, but with lyrics about growing up in the 80s. Also very good live.
3. Mariachi El Bronx
Hardcore white LA punks do straight mariachi album, shouldn't work but does, discovery of the year (although worst record sleeve of this list, by a long way). Turn it up!
4. The Low Anthem - Oh my God, Charlie Darwin
Came late to this, warily, but it's fantastic and a real grower, a superb one-sitting-listen kind of album.
5. Vetiver - Tight Knit
You need to play this loud on a good stereo to get it's full effect - gorgeous songs, fantastic band, still haven't seen them live.
6. AA Bondy - When the Devil's Loose
Maybe not quite as great as his debut, but still a brilliant winter record. Again, one to listen to in a single sitting, probably late at night
7. Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit
Rock and soul, recorded at FAME studios no less, and a step-up from his first post-DBT record.
8. The Felice Brothers - Yonder is the ClockStrangest of their albums yet, moodier and more diverse than the previous two, but still with its barnstorming moments. missed them live in October sadly (with support from AA Bondy).
9. M. Ward - Hold TimeAlways great - has the cover of the year on it, his version of 'Rave On', and some nice duets with Zooey Deschanel (sigh) and Lucinda Williams.
10. Backspacer - Pearl Jam
First album i've bought of theirs since Vitalogy – won’t claim it’s a classic, but it’s really pretty good and it sent me back to those first three albums.