So, with 2015 fast approaching and many end-of-year lists published (our top 50 is here), we are pleased to publish Invada Records label manager Redg Weeks’ albums of the year. An all encompassing, diverse list which contains some of the most extraordinary music released this year.
Redg Weeks comments:
“I’ve held out til’ the bitter end of December to do this – I saw a lot of ‘best of 014’ charts submitted mid-November which i equate to putting your Christmas tree up too early.”
“I must admit to cheating slightly in the sense that I’ve snuck a couple of releases by the same group into one position (Sleaford Mods / Doctor & The Crippens / The Pop Group).”
“I don’t subscribe to the theory that an entry can only be an ‘artist’ album like most end-of-year polls – for some barmy reason a lot of lists fail to include soundtracks or reissues.”
“I haven’t included anything released on Invada Records for ‘non trumpet blowing’ reasons.”
1) Sinoia Caves – Beyond The Black Rainbow (Death Waltz).
Me & Geoff (Barrow – Portishead member and the man who, with “Fat Paul” started the label Invada – Ed.) wanted this for Invada so badly. We contacted Panos Cosmatos, the director of the film, and he informed us Death Waltz were releasing it. How can you argue with that!
The best Synth record and soundtrack released this year for me.
2) Mica Levi – Under The Skin (Milan).
Put simply – A Game Changer. A haunting & hypnotic score that quite rightly has earned plaudits from everyone. Was fortunate enough to see this performed live back in the summer.
3) Doctor & The Crippens – Rhanandosis / Fired From The Circus reissues (Boss Tuneage).
Late 80s hardcore punk band I saw countless times back in the day. Their two full length albums finally reissued by Ipswich’s finest label ‘Boss Tunage’ with tons of bonus material. Relentlessly fast but with subtle melodies, and lyrics full of satire. I first heard these guys on John Peel’s R1 radio show – The Peel Sessions are now featured on these reissues.
4) The Knick Original Soundtrack – Cliff Martinez (Milan).
A glitchy dark electronic score that wouldn’t sound out of place as a Mute Records release. Cliff has been so consistent for a long time now, but I think this is his best work since ‘Spring Breakers’.
5) The Pop Group – We Are Time / Cabinet Of Curiosities (Freaks R Us).
Two long-lost albums from arguably Bristol’s most influential band (as Mike Watt from Minutemen / fIREHOSE / Stooges would agree). Post-punk at its most direct.
6) Mogwai – Rave Tapes (Rock Action).
Massively enjoyed this. ‘Rave Tapes’ and ‘Hardcore Will Never Die’ albums have really taken Mogwai well above and beyond all their contemporaries. Still one of the best live bands to witness.
7) Eyehategod – Eyehategod (Housecore).
Total Crust. My surprise release of the year. Guitar feedback at the start of every track. No bullshit in-your-face sludge. Heaviest thing I’ve heard in 2014.
8) Sleaford Mods – Divide And Exit / Chubbed Up (Harbringer / Ipecac).
Nothing more to really say that hasn’t been said already about these guys (like by us on numerous occasions). Listen to the records / go see them live. Totally unique and the real deal.
9) Taang Records (Various Artists) – The First 10 Singles 7″ Box Set (Taang).
Picked this up on Record Store Day back in April. I previously had most of these tracks across various CD’s but never owned the Vinyl versions. As a collection they work so well together; my personal highlights are the ‘Last Rights’ & ‘Slapshot’ tracks.
10) Surf Nazi’s Must Die Original Soundtrack – Jon McCallum (Strange Disc).
The most played album in The Invada Offices this year. (On Cassette format of course).
11) Street Trash Original Soundtrack – Rick Ulfick (Lunaris).
I did an album trade with the guys from the Lunaris Records, and this was one of the records I got. Totally bonkers soundtrack, much like the film. Luckily I got sent a CD & tape so I didn’t have to wear out the ‘toilet blue’ vinyl edition I also received.
12) Brotherhood – Til’ Death (Southern Lord).
Seattle hardcore from 1988 gets a welcome re-release on the ever-evolving Southern Lord label. Brotherhood features SUNN O))) axeman Greg Anderson.
13) Aphex Twin – Syro (Warp).
I didn’t pay too much attention to all the hype leading up to release of this – but when it finally dropped was mightily impressed by what I heard- nothing particularly ground-breaking or different to previous AT work – but nonetheless an excellent album.
14) The KVB – Out Of Body (A records).
A band I’ve been following for a while now. Picked up this 10″ in HMV Westfield Centre London of all places! This mini-album has elements of early Death In June & early New Order but is contemporary enough to appeal beyond fans of the aforementioned bands.
15) Fugazi – First Demo (Discord).
The 1st two Fugazi EPs will go down in history as pivotal records, 25 odd years later to get demos & alternate versions has been incredible. A lot of bands drag out demos to celebrate a ‘retro release’ and get it badly wrong; this, however, gives a totally different slant and shows the makings of one of the most important bands in alternative rock history.
16) Vince Staples – Hell Can Wait (Def Jam).
Don’t know much about this guy apart from he’s previously collaborated with Odd Future who I’m a big fan of. Annoyingly, this doesn’t seem available on any physical format despite having the might of Def Jam behind it – so it’s my only record of the year that I solely own as a digital format.
17) Swans – To Be Kind (Young God).
John Robb from Louder Than War reviewed this earlier this year and gave it a 10/10.
Rarely are albums lorded so highly and it’s hard to argue with his description of it as a ‘Masterpiece’.
18) Slumber Party Massacre Original Soundtrack – Ralph Jones (Death Waltz).
Another Death Waltz release that had me foaming at the mouth. Total Synth madness from a b-movie 1882 slasher flick. Sounding amazing on vinyl over 30 years later.
19) Chopping Mall Original Soundtrack Chuck Cirino (Waxwork).
Much like the above-mentioned Slumber Party score – a soundtrack to an 80s film that totally works in 2014. Lots of records floating around from that era at the moment, but this is definitely not a token release and it is one to pick up for sure. Fantastic sleeve artwork by ‘We Buy your Kids’ as well.
20) Primus with The Fungi Ensemble – Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory (Prawn Song).
Not so much a soundtrack, more a ‘re-imagined score’. Primus have always done what they want & I have full respect for them. This is probably their most ambitious album to-date.
We also encourage you to visit their Big Cartel and buy some of the brilliant releases they’ve put out since they came to fruition over a decade ago: invadarecords.bigcartel.com.
All words by Redg Weeks.