So, it’s that time of year again, eh? There’s been a ton of great albums released over the last 12 months and I’ve been lucky enough to hear a bunch of ‘em. Like last year, Lanegan and Danny & The Chanpions of the World put in appearances. Anyhoo, here they are.
#1. Duke Garwood – Heavy Love
It was hard to pick a winner between this and the releases from Lanegan, Danny & The Champions of the World and Faith No More, but Heavy Love was hard to overlook. For me, this is Garwood’s finest moment (so far). It’s dusty and sun-bleached and you can almost feel the dust in your eyes and the buzzing of insects in your ears. It’s mixed by Garwood’s pal Lanegan and Alain Johannes and they’ve really thrown Garwood’s voice right up front, which is a nice change.
#2. Mark Lanegan – Houston: Publishing Demos 2002
This is a snapshot of where Lanegan was between the release of Field Songs and Bubblegum. Hanging around a studio in Houston. Laying down demos for songs he’d been working on. Aside from When It’s In You (a stripped back demo of what would become Methamphetamine Blues), none of the tracks here were developed any further. Some appeared in a gritty low budget drug movie, but they had essentially sat on a shelf until now. Which is a shame, as there are a couple of tracks that stand shoulder to shoulder with the best in Lanegan’s catalogue. I’m thinking of Two Horses, High Life (which really could have been a Sinatra song), and Blind.
#3. Danny & The Champions of the World – What Kind Of Love
Danny & Co. have been a favourite of mine for a while now and this is the third year they’ve featured in my top ten. Again, the song writing here is stellar and it’s matched by the musicianship. The vibe is similar to 2013’s Stay True, but it’s a bit more laid back and there’s perhaps a hint of 1970’s Laurel Canyon in there, too.
#4. Faith No More – Sol Invictus
I’ve never been the biggest Faith No More fan. My mate David made me up a C-60 cassette back in the day with a bunch of his favourite Faith No More tracks and that done me for a very long time (despite me picking up some studio albums). My interest in their comeback was the result of hearing Motherfucker and I figured I would give the album a listen at least. So, one night while playing FIFA with my buddy he put it on. Hooked. It’s got muscle and I could imagine Steven Seagal throwing folks through tables and glass windows. Ask me again in a few months and I’ll tell you this was my album of the year.
#5. Sacri Cuori – Delone
Sacri Cuori have been a favourite since I caught them open for, and back, Richard Buckner a few years ago. Their sound is pretty difficult to describe, but it’s a carnival of dusty technicolour. Or something like that. It twangs and swirls like a collaboration between David Lynch, Nino Rota and Ennio Morricone. An absolute delight.
#6. Scott Weiland & The Wildabouts – Blaster
It’s still hard to believe that Weiland is gone. Given how long I’ve been listening to his musical output and rooting for him, I guess it’s something that’ll seem strange for quite a while yet. While it wasn’t the swansong that he deserved, Blaster belongs on this list cause it’s a damn fine album. As I said back in April, “It’s loud and, when it’s at it’s best, it’s a genuinely infectious and solid blast of fuzzy and retro rock and roll. Sure there are some moments where songs feel more like sketches and Weiland has some lyrical missteps, but we can forgive them when he’s on this kind of form, right?”
#7. Christian Lee Hutson – Yeah Okay, I Know
Self-described king of bummercore, Christian Lee Hutson hits us with a pretty remarkable album. He’s a young guy, too. Not that that matters, but, y’know, if this is the kind of awesome release he’s hitting us with just now, he’s surely destined to be one of the very best. This is vibrant, funny, daring… he’s set the bar pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty high.
#8. Headless Kross – Volumes
Headless Kross’ latest release is a swaggering psychedelic monster of a set. There are plenty slow riffs (sometimes in the same song), droning bass and slow-motion drums. Like dinosaurs roaming scorched landscapes in search of, eh, things to destroy.
#9. Keith Richards – Crosseyed Heart
This is pretty much everything we could have hoped for in the absence of a new Rolling Stones album. Not that I needed convincing that this was worth at least checking out, but I was sold on Trouble. A great Rolling Stones-type number. For anyone who has ever listened to a Keef solo album, there’s the usual mix of flavours in this bag o’ chips.
#10. Dengue Fever – The Deepest Lake
This is a really pretty inspired album, fusing Cambodian pop with psychedelic, surf and desert rock. Seriosly, it’s chocka-blockwith groove, ambience, minor chords, and otherworldly tunes. Check out the hooky garage rock of Rom Say Sok and tell me there aint something special about it.
Anyhoo, that was my 10 of 2015. Next time I’ll be sharing my usual list of favourite new additions… which may, or may not, include a hat-full of the albums here. Hurrah!