Steve Reynolds - Albums of the Year 2015

by Steve Reynolds Rating: Release Date:

2015 has been an incredible year for music, a real return to form with very high levels of experimental electronica pushing the boundaries to another level of salivating pleasure. Coming from a guitar head, that is high praise indeed. Which is not to say that our six-string friends didn't warrant attention, but they just didn't have the craft to dislodge a plethora of electronic outfits that made my final list.

Here is my top 10 for 2015:

  1. Sauna Youth - Distractions 

Far and away my favourite album of the year. Weighing in at a mere half-hour, this is foot-to-the-floor irregular guitar abuse reminiscent of 70s Irish punks, Rudi. The album even contained my favourite single of the year, 'Transmitters'.

      2.   Teeth of the Sea - Highly Deadly Black Tarantula

An album with only six tracks on it has to be good to resonate and feature in an end of year top 10. This does it effortlessly.The pulsating dark slabs of electronica at times recall The Cure circa Pornography but its overarching gloom is simply wonderful.

       3.   Blanck Mass - Dumb Flesh

Benjamin John Power, the other half of Fuck Buttons, has followed up his debut with a monolithic masterpiece here. It's featured quite highly in a lot of polls and rightly so; its ability to drag you in and pummel you with its electronic power is spellbinding

        4.   Metz - Metz II

This malevolent three piece made an angry debut in 2012. This year they decided to make an even more belligerent one. Packed with Alex Edkins screams, shrieks and howls, Metz II continues to punish our ears with more than a show of hardcore and Albini-laced arrangements.

         5.   Ezra Furman - Perpetual Motion People

Furman is a tortured soul and Perpetual Motion People represents his current state of mind. The lyrics are downbeat and talk about depression, boozing and self-loathing, but the trick is he balances it perfectly against his love of 60s rock 'n' roll and doo woop.

          6.   Grand Blue Heron - Hatch 

Hailing from Belgium and released by the geniuses at Jezus Factory Records, this angry guitar three-piece have an uncanny knack for melding hardcore and dark indie effortlessly.

          7.   Hey Colossus - Radio Static High

These boys have been tagged with the psych thing a bit but I think they are better than that. They have a simple flow, blending hardcore with electronica and hard rock.  This album just gets better with every listen.

          8.   Leftfield - Alternative Light Source

This, Leftfield's third album, really took me by surprise. Controversially, I think it's better than their much lauded debut, Leftism. It's ripped to the hilt with hard electronica, dark techno and pounding beats. The mix is perfect and the carefully juxtapositioned vocals work seamlessly.

           9.   Carter Tutti Void - f (x)

Throbbing Gristle made terse acerbic electronic music in the 70s. Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti used to be part of that outfit and were part of the vanguard of the synth fraternity. Nik Colk Void is from Factory Floor and joined the duo to make brooding, layered, machine-like tracks. A joint venture in darkness.

            10.  Gnod - Infinity Machines

Hailing from Salford, these enigmatic noise polluters hit what they fucking like with a mix of Krautrock rhythms and unsettling sounds of dissonance. Some of it makes sense, some of it is visceral to another level.

Albums that nearly made the final 10:

Viet Cong - Viet Cong

Lightning Bolt - Fantasy Empire

Workin' Man Noise Unit - Play Loud

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