Albums of the Year 2015: 50 – 1

The Albums of the Year list is always one of the hardest tasks we undertake here at Louder Than War. We hear so much good music in 12 months, across so many genres that it’s hard to pit them against each other. Add to this that we ask our contributors to tell us what would make their list so the final countdown is representative of not just one person’s view but many and coming up with a final 50 can take some time.

But this is a great problem to have – we’d much rather negotiate, discuss what we love about an album with each other in the hope of persuading than have to scratch around to find anything worthy.

The music industry has changed and continues to change apace but one thing is still very clear: new music, from emerging and established artists, is as strong as ever.

There are still artists pushing boundaries and merging genres, there are still fresh vital voices and new sounds to be heard. We’ll continue to bring you as much of it as we can – to champion diversity, new artists and established musicians alike as we head into another year.

Here then is this 2015’s pick. Fifty albums we think were not just good but great, exceptional in some way. If you haven’t already heard them then we suggest seeking them out – you might just fall in love with them like we did.

Heard all of these and looking for something new? Check out our long list – the albums we placed 100 – 51 on the Albums of the Year list are here. And there’s some honourable mentions for those that didn’t quite make the top 100 but could have done.

Let us know in the comments, on Twitter or Facebook what your pick would be and what we’ve missed from our list.

John, Sarah and all at Louder Than War 

 

Albums of the Year 2015 – 50-1

(albums of the year numbers 100 to 50 are here )

50. The Daintees – Haunted Highway (Barbaraville)

Paul Scott-Bates said: “The Daintees’ best album yet? Probably.”

LTW review

 49. Leaf Library – Daylight Version (WIAIYA)

Sarah Lay said: “Shimmering shoegaze and deep drone that evokes the changing seasons and the melancholy of England being washed slowly into the sea.”

48. Superhand – American Teeth (Malt Barn)

Paul Scott-Bates said simply: “Genius”

LTW review

47. Ezra Furman – Perpetual Motion People (Bella Union)

Anastasia Connor said: “All-American catchy smart pop with an attitude.”

LTW review

46. Girl Band – Holding Hands with Jamie (Rough Trade Records)

45. Carter Tutti Void – f (x) (Industrial Records Ltd)

LTW review

44. The Fall – Sub-Lingual Tablet (Cherry Red Records)

LTW review

43. Kamasi Washington – The Epic (Brainfeeder)

Simon Tucker said: “Three hours of the finest free-jazz you will ever hear.”

LTW review

42. Ryley Walker – Primrose Green (Dead Oceans)

An amazing blend of folk, Americana and blues that could have come straight outta the ’60s and yet manages to sound brand new.

41. Holly Hearndon – Platform (4AD)

Holly Herndon’s sophomore record is a dizzying combination of the avant-garde and the accessible, says Louder Than War’s Paul Margree.

LTW review

40. Slaves – Routine Breathing (Artery Recordings)

39. Jenny Hval – Apocolypse, Girl (Sacred Bones Records)

38. Follakzoid – III (Sacred Bones Records)

‘Föllakzoid began in Santiago, Chile from what they describe as the result of, “a product of a trance experience between friends, sort of a soul abduction in which they’ve been living since 2008.’

37. Paranoid Visions – Cryptic Cross Words (Overground Records)

Phil Newell said: “The stunningly multi-layered Cryptic Cross Words heralds a new chapter for these punk survivors.”

LTW review

36. Four Tet – Morning/Evening (Text Records)

Simon Tucker said: “The aural equivalent of Surya Namaskara.”

LTW review

35. Sam Forrest – Candlelightwater (Desert Mine)

LTW review

34. Public Enemy – Man Plans God Laughs (Enemy Records)

33. Kurt Vile – B’lieve I’m Goin Down (Matador Records)

32. Radkey – Dark Black Makeup

‘Radkey are today’s definition of punk rock power, giving us that raw passion and energy that at times, reminded me of The Clash and The Ramones and even Discharge in their punk rock prime.’

31. Super Fast Girlie Show – Don’t Go Down Gentle (Antipop Records)

Phil Newell said: “Sort of like The Cramps, if they’d had two basses instead of two guitars…another short blow to the head.”

LTW review

30. Asian Dub Foundation – More Signal More Noise (ADF Communications/Believe Recordings)

Paul Scott-Bates said: “Loud, proud and jam-packed full of superbly arranged and produced tracks.”

LTW review

29. Reverend and The Makers – Mirrors (Cooking Vinyl)

‘An ambitious song cycle and work. Reverend And The Makers deliver their masterpiece.’

LTW review

28. Noveller – Fantastic Planet (Fire Records)

27. Grimes – Art Angels (4AD)

26. Rats on Rafts – Tape Hiss (Kurious Recordings)

LTW review

25. Datblygu – Porwr Trallod (Ankstmusik)

LTW review

24. GNOD – Infinity Machines (Rocket Recordings)

‘Gnod have produced a monolithic slab of unquantifiable proportions, with every track facilitating its own mini trip its an incredible collection of tracks. One of the finest things I’ve heard all year so far!’

LTW review

23. Gwenno – Y Dydd Olaf (Heavenly Recordings)

‘Y Dydd Olaf is an uncompromising album and Heavenly picked it up and were excited about it and happy to release it – an album based on the novel by Welsh nuclear scientist Owain Owain who is a fascinating man. He was a member of MENSA, a poet and novelist, very prominent in the Welsh Language Society and actually predicted the internet in 1969.’

22. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear (Sub Pop)

21. Oneohtrix – Garden of Delete (Warp Records)

20. Kagoule – Urth (Earache Records)

Stephen Murphy said: “All-in-all is something to be treasured, and should see Kagoule become big; monstrous big.

“The first two tracks on Urth – Gush and Adjust the Way – immediately clear away any fear and doubt about whether Kagoule’s debut will be anything other than a gorgeous, big bastard brick-shit-house of a record – an album that’ll deliciously box your ears by day, and soundtrack your sweaty fevered dreams by night.”

Read our review of Kagoule here.

19. The Nightingales – Mind Over Matter (Louder Than War Records)

Phil Newell said: “An absolutely thrilling barrage of machine-gun drum fills and slashing guitar savagery.”

In his review Glenn Airey said: “Mind Over Matter continues a startling run of records that marry the artfully discordant post-punk of ye olde ‘gales with the rather more swaggering and, in some respects, musically solid proposition they represent today.

“The Nightingales these days are happy to borrow the occasional trad-rock trope, a familiar-sounding riff or a glammy backing vocal, knowing that it won’t turn to cliché in their hands.”

Read our review of The Nightingales here.

18. East India Youth – Culture of Volume (XL)

Keith Goldhanger said: “Weird and wonderful electronic pop from William Doyle. Great songs, a voice that soothes and cuts through the racket and and some tunes that vary from the utmost wierd to the glorious anthems we’re already playing on repeat and still haven’t tired of.”

Read our review of East India Youth here.

 

17. Evil Blizzard – Everybody Come to Church (Louder Than War Records)

Phil Newell said: “Big bold bass riffs, tub-thumping drums, dark and menacing vocals.”

In his review Phillip Allen said: “Everybody Come To Church is their masterpiece of power. A cacophonous cathedral of an album that will certainly win them more followers than they know what to do with. Do yourself a favour and catch these guys live before they are filling those bigger venues. It will be an experience you won’t forget in a hurry.”

Read our review of Evil Blizzard here.

16. Kathryn Williams – Hypoxia (One Little Indian)

Gus Ironside said: “Williams hits a new career peak with a darkly beautiful album inspired by poet Sylvia Plath.”

Louder Than War Editor Sarah Lay was similarly taken with the album and said: “This is a stunning album from Williams, at once gentle of melody and abrasive of lyric, is it quite simply an astounding listen.”

15. Sauna Youth – Distractions (Upset the Rhythm)

Scoring a perfect 10/10 when Lee Hammond reviewed, he said: “This album has me completely beside myself with excitement, with so many bands saturating this genre Sauna Youth provide a real breath of fresh air and at the same time hysteria. It’s taken a lot to overpower me like this, but this album is truly phenomenal!”

Read our review of Sauna Youth here.

14. Soft Moon – Deeper (Captured Tracks)

John Robb said: “Soft Moon are like a hypnotic, dark pool or dark matter that you can sink into and allow their emotional fragility to wash over you, the fact that you can also dance to them and let your heart soar over their melodic touch is also a big, big plus.”

Read our review of Soft Moon live in Estonia here.

13. The Membranes – Dark Matter / Dark Energy (Cherry Red Records)

Phil Newell said: “A unique whole of beauty and noise.”

In his review Ged Babey said: “John Robb’s muscular playing and seismic basslines are at the heart of the album but the guitar playing is exceptional in terms of sounds and kinetic energy. The drums and percussion are deliriously primal.

“It is probably the pinnacle of his work as a musician and songwriter. It’s an epic, genre-straddling monster of ferocious noise and drones and whispers.”

Read our review of The Membranes here.

12. PINS – Wild Nights (Bella Union)

Phil Newell said: “Jarring post punk sound, but is impregnated with pop sensibility…the Supremes on Mogadon.

“What PINS have effortlessly done is defeat the difficult second album hurdle. Wild Nights is less abrasive than the Girls Like Us debut, its more about pop – however when pop is this good then don’t be afraid to embrace it.”

Read our review of PINS here.

11. The Charlatans – Modern Nature (BMG Chrysallis)

Sarah Lay said: “A beautiful, uplifting pop album, understated and slow-burning but undoubtedly one of The Charlatans strongest records.

“Modern Nature is a record of resilience, of survival and a brilliantly melodic statement of the band’s resolve to find a way continue following the death of drummer Jon Brookes in 2013.

“After such a loss the songs that would allow them to continue didn’t come easy. That struggle isn’t reflected in the sound – Modern Nature has a lightness about it, a pop breeziness to the melodies, a pretty surface underneath beneath which exploration of life, death, love and other such flows effortlessly.”

Read our review of The Charlatans here.

10. Bjork – Vulnicura (One Little Indian)

bjorkJohn Robb said: “An album of heartbreak and imagination, of stunning musical boundary breaking and raw emotional power.

“Musically the album is beautifully sparse and full of new sounds and landscapes created by Venezuelan dissonant rapper, Arca who was the co-producer for most of the album and the brilliant British electronic wizard Haxan Cloak who mixed the album and conjured up his swirling electronic mist of imagination.

“There are electronic bleeps and bloops, sweeping songs, sparse heartbeats of bit-sound and post electronic musics that create an adventurous new landscape for Bjork to fly free with her pain and melodies and still with that wonderful one off voice that can create a magic and emotion out of anything.

“This is a musical world to get lost in and the first major work of the year.”

Read our review of Bjork here.

 

9. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly (Top Dawg)

Kendrick LamarSimon Tucker said: “A stone cold masterpiece and the most political statement an artist has made in a long time.”

In fact several Louder Than War contributors said they could see this album taking the number one spot on the list.

In his review Simon Tucker said: “This is a seminal album and guaranteed to go down as one of the all time greats. It’s a movie laid out on vinyl and represents a high-watermark in US Hip-Hop culture.

“It’s a vital and necessary move away from the bling me me me culture that’s infected the genre for a decade now and proves that if you’ve got something to say and the talent to say it, then you WILL be listened to and you will stand head and shoulders above those that cower down afraid to make that bold step.”

Read our review of Kendrick Lamar here.

 

8. Lonelady – Hinterland (Warp)

Lonelady hinterlandKeith Goldhanger said: “A selection of tunes for the living room as well as the dance floor.”

In his review for Louder Than War when Hinterland was released in March Clive Hammond said: “Although it contains undying nods towards the music that inspired her post-punk principles, ‘Hinterland’ is the most organic album of 2015 so far.

“It’s powered by a love of her geographical roots and is quintessentially Northern. There is one thing that you will be listening to this summer as you begin your own Utopian desires to escape the humdrum of a dull work related existence. And it will be this.”

Read our review of Lonelady here.

7. Anna Von Hausswolff – The Miraculous (City Slang)

Anna Von HausswolffUsing a 9000 pipe organ and creating haunting but dense atmospherics this album from Swedish singer and musician Anna Von Hausswolff needs to be on your ‘must hear’ list for 2015.

Named for a place her parents used to tell her stories about – a place of folk history, of beauty but the blood of civil uprising – the huge organ gives what Hausswolff describes as a ‘screaming bird sound’ to the album.

Part drone, part orchestral swell, part opera, part folk – The Miraculous defies musical boundaries and sounds exactly like the myth and legend referenced in the songs.

By turns savage and seducing, always unflinching in its approach, Hausswolff is committed to her creative vision saying of the album: “I can’t afford to care about the market’s approval. I would lose too much artistic energy, and that would only ruin me.”

 

6. Killing Joke – Pylon (Spinefarm)

Killing Joke PylonJohn Robb said: “The gods of relentless are back and here they are at their most relentless.

“This is an album of madness, paranoia and personal pain but it is also an album of beauty in the maelstrom as the perfcetly sculptured noise somehow matches the singer’s curiously pure choirboy vocals.

“Jaz can still deliver the bug eyed sermons with that choirister from hell voice but there are also plenty of moments on this album when his voice shifts into that plaintive mode that sounds like its echoing around some huge cathedral.

“This is the key to Killing Joke – they can do heavy and they can do brutal but they also can do beauty and find salvation in the darkness.”

Read our review of Killing Joke here.

 

5. Haiku Salut – Etch and Etch Deep (How Does It Feel To Be Loved?)

Haiku Salut album coverSarah Lay said: “Delicately balanced between whimsical lightness and intricate shade, becoming a complex listen that reveals new delights with each repeat play.”

Scoring a nearly-perfect 9.5/10 the second album from Derbyshire’s Haiku Salut heard them take their mostly instrumental electronica from the nostalgic bleeps of 16-bit toward a warmer, mellower sound. This is a band that are still experimenting but also maturing.

Louder Than War editor Sarah Lay said: “There is a modest, unassuming nature about the tones of Haiku Salut that at once make their albums familiar and surprising. Mostly unencumbered by the distraction of voice, the instrumental electro-pop (‘Baroque-pop-folktronic-neo-classical-something-or-other’ if you’re looking to corner them) sounds are sinuous and organic in feel, shimmering on the periphery as the friendliest ghost in the machine.”

Read our review of Haiku Salut here.

 

4. The Smoking Trees – TST (Ample Play)

The Smoking TreesSarah Lay said: “Woozy psychedelia that will spin round your head for days, a beautiful chill in frantic times.”

Dropping at the start of summer the debut from The Smoking Trees could have been straight from the late ’60s instead of 2015 LA. It captured that swirling, hazy, psychedelia and mixed in samples that made it sound at once out of time and timeless.

Louder Than War Editor Sarah Lay said: “One of my albums of the year, stuck in my head from the very first play and months later is seeps back in and spins me out all over again.

“There’s a whole load of bands plundering the psych sound right now but The Smoking Trees have shown themselves to be best in class with TST.”

 

3. Chelsea Wolfe – Abyss (Sargent House)

Chelsea Wolfe Abyss album coverJohn Robb said: “This is music for a every interesting, introspective, dark clad misfit in every town in the world looking for a soundtrack and a major and impressive work of beauty and violence.”

Hitting a peak on her latest offering in his review LTW’s Editor in Chief described Chelsea Wolfe as “the leader in the industrial / dark music / goth whatever you want to term it scene. Where others once led, Chelsea Wolfe is the new boss.

“She does loud and quiet perfectly and she takes chances but has ultimately created a record that gives her a real chance to break out from cult status to the mainstream. When it is given the opportunity listening to the dark, enveloping clouds of musical genius makes us falls in love with them time and time again.”

Read our review of Chelsea Wolfe here.

 

2. Sunn O))) – Kannon (Southern Lord)

Sunn 0))) KannonScoring a perfect 10/10 in Phillip Allen’s review the highly anticipated new album from drone metal overlords Sunn O))) clearly lived up to the hype.

Phillip Allen said: “On record, the band have always struggled to achieve what they achieve with their live shows. To actually being present in the moment, feeling the vibrations with every bit of your being is a different experience to listening to the records. That is not to say the records don’t achieve something of their own, and none more so than their new release.

“This album, like all their albums, feels meditative and esoteric without subscribing to any denomination. Not god-less but god-full in the existential way that we are our own creators. You need to hear it and feel it is what am trying to say here.”

Read our review of Sunn 0))) here.


1. Sleaford Mods – Key Markets (Harbinger Sound)
Sleaford Mods Key Markets cover

A popular pick for album of the year amongst Louder Than War writers there was little question of whether Sleaford Mods would be our record of 2015.

Simon Tucker: “The sound of now. A vital slice of angry life.”

Dave Beech said: “Seminal work from one of the most important bands around. Abrasive, pissed off and dangerous.”

Ged Babey said: “Key Markets is simply the latest great Sleaford Mods album. It has moments of desolate contemplation as well as the usual profanity and abuse. Their are big truths and profundity side by side with trivial asides that clutter the memory. It reflects how fucked up our brains get as we get to middle age and how completely bollocksed and divided the UK is.”

Read our review of Sleaford Mods here.

~
Tell us what your choice of Album of the Year would be in the comments, on Twitter or on Facebook.

 

(albums of the year numbers 100 to 50 are here )

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11 comments on “Albums of the Year 2015: 50 – 1”

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  1. Your list demonstrates the inherent problem with this site and its always-postive attitude toward the music it covers. On 8th October, Ged Babey reviewd Penetration’s “Resolution”, and gave a 10/10 review. On that day the LTW twitter account tweeted “Review of Penetration​’s new album Resolution. “It’s the album of the year, no question.””

    At the time I replied “until the next one your site reviews….”, and lo and behold, there it is at No 56 in your year end list. I know you will say that was only the opinion of one reviewer, but if your reviewer is so out-of-synch, even with his colleagues, it suggests that his reviews don’t exactly chime with popular opinion.

    Your gushing reviews of almost everything do nobody any favours. It’s pointless to follow any of your recommendations of either music or live shows due to your absolute refusal to criticise. I can understand you’re all music lovers, and want to promote it, but I’m a music lover too, and your site lets me down. Despite a lot of good writing on the site, your lack of a critical edge rather neuters the point of much of that writing.

    I haven’t seen your physical magazine, so I can’t comment on whether if it suffers from the same problem, but other sites, and other magazines review some releases unfavourably. You don’t need to review everything; I understand your readers wouldn’t be interested in Justin Bieber for example, but where are the reviews expressing disappointment at releases from artists which your readers would be interested in; or warning potential purchasers away from inferior product or industry hype?

    I have used the term “fanboyism” in comments on your site before, and been derided for doing so by one or two of your writers. But that’s still the over-riding impression given by your site.

    • For me the best thing about a website like this is the conflicting tastes of all the writers. People bring stuff they like to the site and try and make a case for the readers to listen to it. Good writing doesn’t have to be slating stuff and it also doesn’t have to be following media party lines like a lot of bigger music sites. As an editor I’m always finding new stuff to listen to from reading my own site and that makes it all worth it for me. Penetration is a great album. maybe for Ged it could be the album of the year. On music we don’t speak with a collective voice and we don’t want to. Each writer has their opinion and they write positively with a critical edge. ‘Fanboysim’ is a compliment apart from the fact that the word is a bit out of date and should be fan-person -ism !

  2. Stuart,
    I am one of the writers here on Louder Than War and for the most part my reviews are pretty positive, though I hope I am always honest about my opinion both here and on my own site.

    The reality is that the writers here tend to review music that they connect with. Without being flippant I doubt that I am likely to dive in to review the latest release by Alvin and the Chipmunks.

    As this post shows I try to give an honest overview of anything I listen to as I think this post demonstrates.

    http://louderthanwar.com/dan-deacon-gliss-riffer-album-review/

    I’m sure all of the writers give their honest impression of what they are reviewing. Here at Louder Than War we welcome all sorts of music and it is the nature of the beast that people plumb for things they think they will like.

    Please understand I speak only for myself here but I would rather see overwhelmingly positive reviews than overwhelmingly negative ones. I guess that reflects my personal preference. If I am buying new music on the basis of a review then I will read more than one and probably have a listen on apple Music before I buy.

    Music is a subjective business. Fortunately there is room for all.

    PS. For what its worth I hated the Seaford Mods Album

  3. ( I’m speaking for myself here, not LTW)

    I’ve never been in sync with anyone mate! I’m 51 and have met three of my fellow unpaid writers and chat to another 3 or 4 online. The age range of LTW Contributors I imagine is 16 to 60 consequently you’ll never get a concensus or party-line for us to tow.

    I often think about who my reviews are aimed at, and decide that basically its fans of that band, similar bands, that genre, usually ‘punk’-inspired people and not the general public or even regular readers of the music press. I try and be informative and entertaining but like you say its just my opinion and yours or anyones is just as valid.

    I could have canvassed other writers and tried to convince them to vote Penetration but that isn’t the point. I want to know what THEIR favourites were.

    Did you buy the Penetration album by the way? What did you think of it. I haven’t met anyone who hasn’t liked it.

    I agree with your point in the third paragraph to some extent and I no longer take ‘fanboy’ as an insult.

    Have a good Christmas – and keep reading LTW online – its free and you can make your own mind up about music by listening to streams, spotify, you-tube and other try-before-you-buy media

  4. I enjoyed the list :) I enjoy being exposed to new music. I like Junksista, Izzy Lindqwister, Anjimile is stoming! Swoons are pretty good, Lillies on Mars I enjoy :), Faerground Accidents & Skinny Girl Diet xx

  5. No Vukovar? What is the world coming to…

  6. Thanks to the three writers, John, Alan and Ged, who engaged with my earlier post. I know I’ve had “a chat” with at least one of you on here before. I enjoy your site; much of the writing is good, and you have introduced me to some new music, some good, and some bad.

    But I don’t trust your site. I have posted earlier regarding gig reviews which bore no relation to the gigs as they actually happened; some of your writers to tend to write what they think you’ll publish. If they wrote a critical review of a gig, you probably wouldn’t publish it, as it would go against the ethos of your site, so they write a positive review, to make sure you publish.

    Your album reviews at least are checkable; it’s easy enough these days to listen before you buy, as Alan and Ged both suggest, but I still feel the majority of reviews are over-complimentary, to say the least. Again, why would you slate something if it means your review won’t go up on the site?

    Surely you must have sat down to listen to an eagerly-anticipated new album, only to be let down when you hear it? Conveying that disappointment is providing a better service to the readers than either writing a positive review, or failing to write one at all.

    The never-ending stream of wildly positive reviews juvenilises your site. Many of the live reviews appear to have written by inexperienced gig-goers, allowing their excitement at seeing music performed live to over-ride their critical faculties. I remember the first dozen gigs I went to were all great. I’m sure that’s quite common, but most people outgrow that.

    And Ged, I did listen to a few tracks from the Penetration album – I didn’t feel it offered anything new. Pleasant enough, just a little bland.

    • Hi Stuart – only just caught up with these comments. I’m glad you enjoy Louder Than War and we’re happy to hear about the bits you don’t like so much. Hopefully my comments won’t come across as defensive but I’d like to clarify a couple of points – and nudge you to have a look at our manifesto if you’ve not read it before – it’s on our About page.

      We would absolutely publish negative reviews and I would hope that no-one that writes for Louder Than War or wants to would feel they had to write a certain way to be included. Our approach is very much one of inclusivity and this means we have some established and experienced writers but we also have a lot of new, young writers and those who wouldn’t consider themselves a music critic but a music enthusiast. We believe there is room for all of them and the traditional music press has been too strict a gatekeeper on who can write about music. Because everyone who writes for Louder Than War (and indeed edits LTW) does so on a volunteer basis it is natural that they veer toward spending their time writing about bands and music they have enjoyed. Perhaps this means that overall our reviews are more positive than other sites but another way of looking at it is that often our silence on a particular band or release is in itself a comment – that they have not moved anyone enough for time to be given to reviewing. As we rarely reject a review (in the four years I’ve been with the site I can count a handful of times – so few because of our inclusive policy) I feel it’s highly unlikely writers are only writing what they think will get published given we stuck so strongly to allowing them the freedom to express their opinions in their own style.

      Writing, like music, is subjective so of course what one person falls deeply and forever in love with will leave another completely cold. I don’t think disagreeing with a writer, or feeling disappointed you didn’t share their feelings for a record or gig, is unique to LTW. I’ve certainly had that on many occasions over the years when being initially enthused by words in any number of publications.

      Like I say I absolutely don’t want to come across as defensive and we’re completely open to feedback. We’re also completely open to new writers joining the LTW team – I’m not sure it’s where you were going with your feedback but if you feel you’d like to write something for us and redress the imbalance you see then drop me a line.

      Hope you find some writers on the site you feel you can trust and keep enjoying the bits you do enjoy. And keep sending us feedback – we all do this for fun but we like to hear what those reading think.
      Sarah

  7. Personally as an occasional writer on here I would like to thank Stuart for providing this feedback, it is valuable. No-one is above criticism and if I’ve been responsible for hyperbole in the past I will try and add a bit more rigour into what I’m doing. I haven’t knowingly over-praised anything on here I think, but I do tend to let the excitement get a hold of me!

    I suppose the problem with gig reviews is that as we all pay to go to these out of our own pocket, in these “tight” (to say the least) financial times we’re far more likely to go to something we “know” we’ll like (which sure I’ll concede that the artists can be off form, taking a direction you may not like etc when you get to the gig, but anyway) than take a risk. So that can result in what would seem a lot of positive reviews. For CDs and records also reviews have always been hit and miss (even in the days of the NME and Sounds at their height) as they’re the view of one person who might have wildly different tastes to oneself, or just a different take on the actual record. Again though more rigour can be applied so it’s a challenge to be better!

    Lastly, I’ve been going to watch bands live since the late 70s and still get that thrill of seeing a live gig – I think I would stop writing about them if I didn’t – and reading young writers find their way and show their excitement is a big positive about the site.

    But anyway, fair criticism and constructive too I think.

  8. Stuart has some extremely valid points. I agree that LTW occasionally has reviews that are so excitable as to be juvenile. The site encourages young or inexperienced writers which is good but I’ve long said that we need a filter as some of the posts leave LTW open to ridicule. Personally, I’ve ripped the arse out of several things I’ve reviewed over the years- the threats and insults in my inbox can testify to this! Nowadays, if I think something (particularly new or local artists) is rubbish, I just don’t review it. I suppose this is counter-productive; I believe that if you’ve put your “art” in the public forum, you should expect that not everyone is gonna like it. However, given we all do this for free, it’s just not worth the hassle to A. review something you don’t care about, and B. take the inevitable flak.
    Just my thoughts.

  9. A good list but no space for Gavin Clark/Toydrum and The Evangelist album?

    You gave it a cracking review so surprised it’s not in the top 100.

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