To Die By Your Side

Every album I listened to in 2016

December 31st, 2016

Just in case you were intrigued as to which records didn’t quite make the cut in my end of year favourites list, I thought I’d do a quick post to show you every new album and EP that I listened to in 2016. Not as many as in previous years but then I have less time, less money and more children than previous years. I also haven’t included any of the special edition re-releases that I got my hands on because, having being originally released in other years, I don’t think they really count.
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My Favourite Albums of 2016

December 29th, 2016

So here we are then. The end of December. Another year under our belts. Another 12 months of new music listened to. Which means it’s time to compile and post the obligatory end of year list. And as ever, I’m going to repeat what I’ve said every year since I’ve been doing this. Which is that I make no claims for these being the best, most artistic, boundary pushing, genre busting records of the year. These are merely the albums released in 2016 that I’ve enjoyed listening to the most. The records that have moved me in some way, that have meant something to me, that I have found myself returning to again and again. And as ever, they are presented in alphabetical order because music isn’t a competition and I’d probably spend far too long agonising over the order, only to change my mind the very next day.
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In November I was mostly listening to…

December 4th, 2016


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My Favourite Albums of 2015

December 31st, 2015

So… it’s that time of year where I remember that I used to write a regular blog and then put a post together where I’ve compiled my favourite albums of the year.

To break from tradition though, I’m not going to start this one with any excuses, justification or explanation of why I haven’t posted here for the last year. Instead, I’m just gonna launch straight into it. So here we go…

In order to compile this list properly, I’ve spent the last 6 weeks or so listening back to all the 2015 releases I’d heard. Surprisingly, I’d actually listened to more than I thought and the majority of them offered something to enjoy. Though not all stood up to or really enticed me enough to garner repeated listens. Those that survived the cull certainly deserve their place on the final list. What’s also good to see is, as well as some reliable old favourites, I’m still finding new music that excites me. And, while I hate to use the phrase ‘return to form’, there’s a couple of artists on there who I really wouldn’t have expected to have made the grade at the beginning of the year. All in all, I think 2015 has been a pretty good year for music and frankly, I could have easily left another 3 or 4 on there.

As ever, this list comes with the usual disclaimer. I make no attempt to suggest that these are the best, most creative or cutting edge albums. These are simply the 16 albums I’ve enjoyed and returned to the most this year. All are worthy of your time and money, so go buy them from your local record store, listen to them on your favourite streaming sites or get out and see them live if you can.

Now, without further ado or unnecessary waffle, I present to you my favourite albums of 2015.

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My Favourite Albums of 2014

December 31st, 2014

I fear I may sound like a broken record.

A needle trapped in a scratched groove, doomed to endlessly repeat the same cracked phrase over and over.

It’s been a long time since I posted here.
It’s been a long time since I posted here.
It’s been a long time since I posted here.

All I can do is offer my apologies. If this reads like a carbon copy of my post from the same time last year, then it’s for the same reason as last year. While I have on several occasions thought about resurrecting this blog with more regular posting, the reality is that life keeps bumping it down the list of things I need to do.

This is neither an excuse nor a grumble, it just is what it is.

It also means that for one reason or another, I’ve listened to less new music than previous years. Which may explain why I don’t feel like it’s been a golden year for album releases. Though I think that could itself be an excuse. In truth, I genuinely don’t think it has been a great year. As will soon become apparent, there are a number of albums that I’ve really enjoyed, I just don’t think any of them have grabbed me the way a truly great album does. Were I to make a list of my top 10, 20, 30 or 40 favourite albums of all time, I’m not convinced any of this year’s records would vie for a position. Maybe one or two, I’m not sure.

Either way, 2014 has definitely been a mixed bag. There have been several underwhelming releases from some of my favourite artists. Not bad records per se. More just albums that are simply unremarkable. Filled with the sound of musicians treading water, paddling in the tide of familiarity and lacking in anything distinctive or remarkable. Too many have felt like a collection of forgettable songs that simply fade from memory the moment the next track begins. Records that will never ever be the first one you go to when thinking you want to listen to that artist.

Which leads me neatly on to another pattern that emerged this year. Maybe it’s my age that’s doing it but this year I’ve found myself on some kind of weird yearning nostalgia trip. There’s been a lot of revisiting of classic albums and artists from my youth in the last 12 months. That, or discovering records from the 90s that I’d previously overlooked. I’m not sure if the lack of amazing new music this year inspired it, or if listening to older music has made me think this year’s been disappointing. Either way, I can’t deny that there’s something about the alt-rock sound of the 90s that I just never tire of. Though conversely, I do seem to have tired of going to gigs. Well no, that’s not strictly true. Though it is odd to think that this is the first year I haven’t seen any live music since 1991.

All of which probably sounds way more negative than I meant it to. Indeed, when revisiting all of the year’s releases to put this list together, I surprised myself with how many albums actually made the grade. Don’t be under any illusion, all of the records on this list are more than worthy of your time and money. So if there are any you haven’t heard, I urge you take a listen. Though before we go any further, it’s probably best that I repeat what I say every year. That this is merely a list of my personal favourite albums of the year. I make no claims that they’re the ‘best’ or that they offer any hitherto undiscovered insights into the human condition. These are merely the new albums I’ve enjoyed the most over the last 12 months. The records I’ve returned to again and again. As ever, the list is presented in alphabetical order because, as my end of year disclaimer always pronounces, music isn’t a competition.

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