It’s been another fantastic year for Bristol based label Invada Records with releases by Beak>, Geoff Barrow & Ben Salisbury, Brian Reitzell, and Sleaford Mods all being on many a discerning vinyl addict must-have lists. With ’16 already looking like it is going to be another bumper year, and with much anticipated releases by Thought Forms (the bands third album is one that many of us a particularly excited about) another score by Geoff and Ben, plus the scores for Bone Tomahawk, Nightcrawler and Couple In A Hole, it is safe to say Invada Records will once again prove themselves to be one of the finest independent labels out there.
With that, LTW are proud to publish Invada Records label manager Redg Weeks’ diverse and exhaustive ‘Top 25 Albums Of the Year’.
“More than any other year I’ve really struggled to get my list condensed to just a top 20 – so this year I’ve had to extend my picks to a top 25.
Record labels seem to be coming up with the goods more so than ever, and quality control is at an all time high.
1C418 : Minecraft Volume Alpha Original Game Music LP (Ghostly)I’ve been familiar with the music from the Minecraft video game for some time. My sons religiously play Minecraft on whatever console they can get their hands on. The organic nature of the game itself is perfectly complimented by the C418 (Daniel Rosenfeld) score. This LP is the first instalment of a two part soundtrack release Ghostly Records have the honour of releasing.The press have compared this sparse ambient and delicate piano score to Brian Eno and Erik Satie and it’s hard to disagree with that.2Bronson OST – Various Artists LP (Milan Records)The Bronson Soundtrack is basically a compilation of modern electronic pop and classical music. It features my favourite ever ‘New Order’ song ‘Your Silent Face’. L.A based Milan Records released this as a double LP and I’ve played this relentlessly throughout the year.3Blanck Mass : Dumb Flesh LP / The Great Confuso Digital EP (Sacred Bones)I’ve played the debut self-titled BM album to death over the past few years and couldn’t wait to hear new material once it had been announced it was on its way. I didn’t, however, expect 2015 to be the year of Blanck Mass with ‘Dumb Flesh’ released at the start of the year and ‘The Great Confuso EP’ released towards the end . Both the album and the EP are packed full of incredibly well written, highly intricate pieces of electronica, written not just for the dance-floor but for home listening.4Bjork : Vulnicura LP / Vulnicura Strings LP (One Little Indian)Vulnicura dropped out of nowhere digitally at the start of the year, due to piracy concerns. I had read Haxan Cloak had been involved in the recording / production on the album and I immediately purchased it. Certainly one of, if not Bjork’s darkest albums, and absolutely no real pop-sensibilities, which makes the listening experience a lot more rewarding for me. Vulnicura Strings is a companion album released at the end of the year and as the title suggests is as an acoustic take on the original. Both albums work individually and certainly both deserve the plaudits they quite rightly received.5Le Matos : Turbo Kid (Chronicles Of The Wasteland) OST LP (Death Waltz)My most recent purchase. Released just in time for this end-of-year chart, and I’m glad it was.Le Matos released their debut album ‘Join Us’ a couple of years ago and it pretty much sold out straight away. This follow up release has been the talk of underground cinema and soundtrack nerds for some time now. An excellent record that I’m sure will continue to sell for its own merits not just off the back of the film it appeared alongside.6Mad Max ‘Fury Road’ OST LP (Music On Vinyl)Probably my favourite film of 2015 – I actually saw this 3 times in the cinema and I picked up the Blu-Ray. The score in the theatre was loud noisy, vast and in-your-face much like the film; I had doubts it would work as a stand-alone piece of music – but I was massively wrong when I got the LP through the post. Not my favourite score of the year, but a close runner.7Metallica : No Life Til Leather Tape (RSD Cassette)The best ‘Record Store Day’ release ever in my opinion. Full respect to whoever gave the green light for this to happen. Early Metallica (the first 4 albums) are to this day some of the best records ever released. To get a cassette tape of demos from the ‘Kill ‘Em All’ era with original artwork is a joy for any 80’s Thrash fan like myself.8David Lynch & Marek Zebrowski : Polish Night Music LP (Sacred Bones)This collaboration between American filmaker David Lynch and Polish composer Marek Zebrowski has been floating around since 2007 on CD. I have to admit i knew nothing about it, until i heard a snippet played on a Soundtrack podcast I regularly listen to (https://soundcloud.com/
thedamnfinecast). The good folks at Sacred Bones did the honourable thing and released an LP of this and I wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone that has an interest in minimal music.https://soundcloud.com/ sacredbones/david-lynch-marek- zebrowski-night-a-landscape- with-factory-1/s-p86XD9A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night OST – Various Artists LP (Death Waltz)A brilliant film and an even better soundtrack. Some really obscure music on here that I had no idea even existed. This is Spencer from Death Waltz Recordings wearing his A&R hat and really delivering the goods. Nothing obvious whatsoever here – pure education time.10SUNN O))) : Kannon LP (Southern Lord)This is the reason why I never do my end-of-year charts before Christmas. This release only came out a couple of weeks ago and is as you would expect a monster. Three insanely heavy tracks that pay homage to the metal titans of yesteryear whilst retaining the O))) forward-thinking attitude that has made them one of the most important bands of the past 15 years.11Prurient : Frozen Niagara Falls LP (Profound Lore)I’ve been buying Prurient music for years now and I’ve made no secret to anyone that will listen that Dominic Fernow is (in my opinion) the best ‘noise’ artist around. This Prurient album is Dominic’s most accomplished work to-date & pretty much sums up why he stands head & shoulders above all his contemporaries.12John Carpenter : Lost Themes LP (Sacred Bones)I don’t know whether this project had been in the works for years , but to me it was a surprise release. As a bit of Carpenter completist I not only ordered this on Vinyl straight away, but downloaded from iTunes as I couldn’t wait for the Wax to turn up at my door. There was a remix album also pressed onto Vinyl which I wouldn’t say is anywhere near as essential as this – but worth picking up for the Prurient mix alone.13Coil : Backwards LP (Cold Spring)Backwards is the ‘lost’ Coil album recorded at Trent Reznor’s ‘Nothing Studios’ in New Orleans. This album is the bridge between 1990’s ‘Love’s Secret Domain’ album and the later ‘Musik To Play In the Dark’ series.Backwards contains the original versions of Coil’s much-loved tracks ‘A Cold Cell’ and ‘Fire Of The Mind’ which have appeared on various compilations over the years, and are now presented as originally intended.14Lost River OST – Various Artists LP (Italians Do It Better)The Ryan Gosling directorial debut that a lot of people didn’t rate was, actually, a half decent film in my opinion. The soundtrack was pretty much perfection, and had everyone climbing up the walls to pick up a vinyl copy. For whatever reason the wax still hasn’t been released (despite nearly an 8 month pre-sell).I am however lucky enough to own the CD box set which features the compact disc and bizarrely 7 flexi discs of all the music.Johnny Jewel, Chromatics , Desire, and Glass Candy all feature, and the obvious comparison would be the Drive OST which it isn’t a million miles away from. Much like Drive the music plays more than a bit part in the movie’s importance.15Disasterpeace : It Follow’s OST LP (Milan Records) / FEZ Original Game Music LP (Polytron)The prolific Disasterpeace provides two superb scores – one for a horror film and the other for a video game.It Follows was the best Horror film I’ve seen in years , it kept my interest from start to finish and wasn’t a let down like most modern horrors. The score as anyone would tell you worked in perfect symmetry with the movie itself – and much like Mica Levi’s Under The Skin score it really engages the listener with its haunting repetition. Fez is a platform video game I know absolutely nothing about and won’t pretend to, as I don’t play VGs. However, what I will say is if you rated ‘It Follows’ the Fez score is an absolute must-buy. It’s been available digitally from Disasterpeace’s bandcamp for some time and its just been released by Polytron as a limited Vinyl LP.16Shenmue Original Game Music LP (Data Discs)Data Discs is the label everyone is going nuts over at the moment and rightly so! Set up this year to solely release Video game scores, I have the labels first 4 releases in my collection already and Shenmue is my absolute favourite. I don’t have the nostalgia of playing any of these games, so when I’m listening to a Data Disc LP – it’s all brand new music for me. Packaging-wise, I don’t think there’s another label putting as much attention to detail and effort in. Even as non-gamer, I’m nerding-out at the original artwork they’ve managed to license and utilise.17Sleaford Mods : Key Markets LP (Harbringer Sound)We wanted this on Invada – badly !! These guys have been grafting non-stop, gigging everywhere and writing music in the limited time they have away from the road. This record came out to great reviews and rightly so – It’s their most developed record so far and all the radio play and coverage the band are getting couldn’t be more deserved.18C.H.U.D OST LP (Waxwork Records)Waxwork Records released a few belters this year, Nosferatu and Tourist Trap were close runners for me. But C.H.U.D was the clear winner from the WW catalogue in 2015. A true 80’s synth style workout – not too dissimilar from the ‘Warning Sign’ score we released in 2014. Have to confess to have never seen the film itself – whether that’s a sin or a good omen, I don’t know.19Cats Eyes : Duke Of Burgundy OST LP (Caroline)
Geoff (Barrow) and I watched this film at Invada studios and after hearing the score (within the film), we both agreed straight away that we wanted to sign it to our label. For whatever reason it didn’t materialise – but I was really happy it did get released by Caroline Records and I picked up an LP. Cats Eyes are Faris Badwan (The Horrors) and Rachel Zeffira , they previously released a self titled album in 2011 that I was equally impressed with.20The The : Hyena OST LP (Death Waltz)I’m a huge The The fan – so had major envy when I heard Death Waltz were releasing the Hyena score as an LP. I picked up the deluxe CD / book of the album on another label so was already familiar with the electronic score. Musically, parts of the soundtrack reminded me of Cliff Martinez’ more recent work but you can still hear Matt Johnson’s unique production and writing technique.21Wicked City OST LP (Tiger Lab)Alongside the sublime Data Discs label – Tiger Lab is another record label that has taken the soundtrack world by storm in 2015. Set up solely to release Anime scores. Wicked City was an album i played digitally non-stop until i was kindly sent the LP. To quote the label themselves, “Wicked City is an electronic score filled with goth-esque pads, lounge piano line, 80s bass grooves and classic drum samples composed, performed , arranged and written by Shoji”It doesn’t disappoint and I can’t wait to get my paws on Tiger Lab’s latest LP release ‘Devilman‘. A label I look forward to watching develop in 201622Pinkshinyultrablast : Everything Else Matters LP (Club AC30)You can always rely on the chaps at Club AC30 to come up trumps with their signings. Pinkshinyultrablast are a shoegaze / dream-pop band from Russia. Their sound in places isn’t a million miles away from our very own The Fauns, and they certainly have a strong leaning to the late 80s early 90s UK indie scene. What interests me most about this band aren’t the melodies or guitar effects normally associated with the shoe gaze movement, but the fact that 90% of the songs on this album could pretty much be radio singles. For a debut album it’s incredibly well focused and I was very surprised it was their 1st proper long player.23Shogun Assassin OST Cassette (One Way Static / Light In The Attic)My good friend and owner of ‘One Way Static’ Seb, kindly sends me everything on his label and we regularly spin all of his beautifully designed horror soundtrack LPs in the office. This release was pressed onto cassette and is my favourite OWS release of 2015. If this is still available its 100% a must to track down and pick up.https://soundcloud.com/onewaystatic/daigoros-theme-shogun-assassin?in=onewaystatic/sets/shogun-assassin-original-1980-motion-picture-soundtrack24Death Grips – The Powers That B LP (Harvest Records)A fourth (and final?) studio album from the mighty DG – A double LP that compromises of ‘Niggas On The Moon’ and ‘Jenny Death’ both of which were released digitally prior to this getting a full physical release. Whilst not my favourite DG record – the aggression and energy is predominant throughout and the record never gets stale despite its length.25Sisters Of Mercy – First and Last and Always / Floodland Deluxe Box Set LPs (Warners)Being a ‘Metal kid’ in the early to mid 80s was like swearing your allegiance to a football team – once you’ve made your decision there’s no going back. There’s no way you can appreciate other forms of music, nor associate yourself with ‘the other lot’ – GOTHS.Goth is a misused word nowadays, and at the risk of sounding like a Grandad the younger generations have hijacked the term and now use it ‘willy-nilly’ to describe someone if they simply wear black. The simple truth is If you’ve never listened or appreciated the 1st two Sisters Of Mercy albums you are simply not allowed to be called a Goth.My point blank refusal to give S.O.M a chance because I was too busy listening to Venom, Metallica and Metal Church was my own downfall. Luckily by 1990 (and an enrollment on a BTEC course at Bath College) my eyes & ears had been opened- I had met some of the ‘other mob’ and realised they weren’t all bad. These two albums were played non-stop by all those around me and I couldn’t avoid them.I previously owned these albums on cassette and once in a while played them on my battered tape player . This year however both albums have been re-presented as anniversary deluxe box-set LP’s also containing all the 12″ singles surrounding each full length release. Not only is the packaging utterly beautiful (obviously all black) – but there are a lot of tracks / re-mixes I had never heard that really cement why these are included in my best of the year.~
All words by Redg Weeks.