Rhys Buchanan (Rough Trade Bristol)
1. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - Hope Downs
Rolling Blackouts debut album pulled together all the glorious summer sounds I lapped up on their first two releases. Seeing them live a few times this year only reaffirmed my love of the band. No beating around the bush, they just know how to write a great song. It was also quite surreal seeing them play at my hotel while on holiday in Portland!
2. Ural Thomas and The Pain - At The Right Time
Ural Thomas is a badass. He’s opened for James Brown, Stevie Wonder, The Rolling Stones and played the Apollo Theater in NYC over forty times. All this was before he turned his back on the cruel industry in the seventies. Ural finally dropped his debut album through Tender Loving Empire this year at nearly eighty years of age. It was well worth the wait and above all it’s heartwarming to see him get a slice of the recognition he deserves.
3. Nothing - Dance On The Blacktop
This record really gripped me and was one of those that seemed to age immensely well. It borrows so neatly from all of our old favourites like MBV, Slowdive etc and floats dreamily in that shoegaze territory for the duration. I think why I love it the most though is that there’s such an obvious angst and yearning behind the vocals and instrumentation.
4. Forth Wanderers - Forth Wonderers
Wade through the murky mire of bands who have tried and failed the nineties slacker rock approach and in the end you’ll be rewarded with Forth Wanderers - few have nailed it as neatly as these guys. It’s an absolutely great listen and just had to make my top ten!
5. Snail Mail - Lush
An effortless and beautiful debut full-length from Lindsey Jordan. I interviewed her when she sold out The Louisiana in Bristol earlier in the year and it became very clear just how vulnerable this music is. A sincere and honest approach to heartbroken guitar pop.
6. Moaning - Moaning
A gritty and paranoid debut from the abrasive Sub Pop LA trio. There’s so many harsh emotions bubbling away under the surface of this post-punk monster - yet it maintains a sense of melody and poise throughout. Was such a treat having them in the store!
7. J Mascis - Elastic Days
This record literally feels like J Mascis just sat in a room with his guitar and let all his thoughts and feelings just roll on out. It’s a beautiful listen and it’s nice to have a reclined alternative to Dinosaur Jr to whack on. The title track is particularly stunning.
8. IDLES - Joy As An Act Of Resistance
Another silly year for hometown heroes IDLES - it’s funny to think that there’s that saying around a ‘difficult second album’ because they’ve made it look like a walk in the park. The band deserve everything they’ve worked for and nobody knows it better than us.
9. Hot Snakes - Jericho Sirens
Whenever I whack this album on it brings back memories of their immense show at Thekla earlier in the year. It wasn’t just their great return but the flood of manic reissues that came in the run up to the album. Absolute fire and thunder!
10. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Sparkle Hard
This record initially passed me by but really hit home in the live environment. It was pretty much the soundtrack to my autumn in fact! Such an ease about the songwriting here and it packs all that lyrical wit that we’ve come to expect from the man.