I first have to say that this list is by no means a ‘Best of’ list…I haven't listened to enough records this year! I spent the first half writing, recording, and mixing my own record, and so I missed quite a lot. I’m still catching up. Of the albums I listened to, these are the ones I liked enough to listen to a few times over.
Kendrick Lamar, untitled unmastered: He manages to say more on this spontaneous drop than most do in their whole discography.
Kanye West, The Life Of Pablo: This record is full of some real gems. I think you can hear the real Kanye on this record… it gets personal. "Real Friends" in particular gives you a glimpse into a side of Kanye’s life that I’m sure no one really thinks about, and a glimpse into a side of all of our own lives we don’t think about enough.
Sam Gellaitry, Escapism II: Young producer of the year?
David Bowie, Blackstar: What an elegant way to leave the world. It’s haunting and moving and clever and witty all at once.
Rihanna, Anti: So many hits on this, it's quite overwhelming.
SONGS OF THE YEAR...
Radiohead, "Burn the Witch": I love the story behind this song. It was mentioned by Thom Yorke back in 2005 and the words "burn the witch" appear on the artwork for their 2003 record Hail to the Thief, and they’ve only just gotten around to finishing it! The way it was released, with the lyric postcards being sent out to fans first alongside little video clips is also very clever and thoughtful, you don't get that kind of depth behind a release too often these days. But more than anything, it’s just a beautiful song with a brilliant arrangement and production that manages to sound totally fresh yet totally Radiohead. Well done, boys…again.
Bon Iver, "715 CREEKS": All vocoder! Definitely a huge step forwards from his campfire folk on album one.
Whitney, "No Woman": Beautifully written and well arranged song… nifty little guitar riff.
Anohni, "4 Degrees": Strong, powerful and experimental…. Hudson Mohawke on the production. V. cool.
Young Thug, "Guwop": I love the way Young Thug always tries to find new ways to use his voice. He’s always pushing that side of rap forward, and he does it well here and in "Harambe."
SHOWS OF THE YEAR...
I haven’t seen TOO many shows this year, as we missed most of festival season to finish the album, but I caught a few great ones…
LCD Soundsystem: One of my favorite live bands of all time. I saw them first when I was about 14, and it is still my favorite show of all time. It's that show where me and Joe (our drummer) hung out for the first time. A decade later and they’re still totally brilliant.
Beck: I forgot how many hits he had until I saw him live at a festival… hit after hit, and a brilliant backing band.
Blink 182. Haha... this one was just fun, brought me back to being 12. Ed, our bassist, actually pushed me into a giant mosh pit at the show and I ended up with a ripped shirt. He ended up falling into the mosh pit himself accidentally and got crushed on the floor!! Scary.
So much to look forward to. We’ve got some amazing shows to announce, playing with some of our favorite artists. We’re always developing the live show and the set design so I cant wait for people to see what we’ve been up to there. we’re always developing our artwork and website too -- it's becoming this big interactive network of sites and we’ve got lots of ideas for that to make it even crazier. We’re going to Asia and South America for the first time.
Also... watching American politics unfold. Also... getting Ed back for throwing me into a mosh pit.