Louder Than War boasts a huge stable of writing talent, all of whom have different musical tastes and obsessions, so getting them all to vote for their top ten albums of the year and then collating all the list to one final version was always going to be problematic. Well, it’s been done and the collator has retreated with a large whiskey to hide behind his sofa, vowing never to look at a top ten ever again.
So this is it then, there will be no recounts and probably a good few arguments.
The Louder Than War Writers Top 10 Albums of the Year.
At number ten, based in Leeds, we have Hookworms excellent album The Hum. In his review Josh Nichol wrote ‘Having gained its audience already, the band’s style has managed to subvert and gain more personality in the process, leaving an album of exhilarating character and growth to add to their body of work so far.’
A musician that needs no introduction, Damon Albarn released his first solo album this year and this is how John Robb described it ‘it documents a fractured childhood from the heatwave summer of 1976 that birthed punk and saw the 8 year old Albarn running a round Leytonstone in the happiest summer of all time in the UK which is neatly vignetted in ‘Hollow Ponds’. There are the gathering clouds of the melancholia on “The Green Man Has Gone” which documents the loss of an old pub- a landmark that is now a roundabout- geographical markers to a lost youth and a musical documentary of a lost England and an autobiographical adventure it’s his first solo album that is Albarn bringing it all back hime after his adventures in pop that have seen his travel all over the world physically and musically.’
Eagulls have got the number 7 slot with their debut self titled disc, in his review Keith Goldhanger sums it all up as ‘Imagine the fast My Bloody Valentine songs but with Ian MacKaye from Minor Threat sticking his tuppence-worth in. Imagine those Siouxie and the Banshees tunes and imagine most of what you’ve heard over the past thirty five years all thrown together and sounding ace.
Actually, don’t – just get your hands on this and your ears wrapped around the speakers but don’t fret …..it doesn’t have anything about a hotel in California on it (that would just be plain daft).’
Taking nearly two years to make, indie-folk-rockers War On Drugs album Lost In The Dream is at number 7. Although Sun Kil Moon’s Mark Kozelek doesn’t appear to be a fan, describing them as the whitest band I’ve ever heard the Louder Than War writers obviously are, and who can blame them with this wonderful record.
Following on from Keith Goldhanger’s 9/10 review earlier in the year East India Youth have taken number 6 in our chart, Keith explains why he chose this record as his personal favourite of the year – ‘East India Youth gets my top vote as It’s the most played album in my ears this year and I’ve watched him (William Doyle) go from playing the same set in front of six people during summer 2013 and in front of about 2000 people during the summer of 2014. On a personal note I didn’t ever expect the rest of the world to appreciate this album as much as I was this time last year when all I had were the singles.’
Following on from a year when St. Vincent AKA Annie Clark has released this album and achieved a fair amount of success it seems fitting that she has achieved number 5 in the chart. All that and singing with Nirvana. Sean Smith sums up the album in his review – ‘If 2011’s incredible Strange Mercy was the sound of a maverick genius mastering the many weapons in her musical arsenal and honing an undeniable gift for off-kilter melodies, then Annie Clark’s eponymous St Vincent follow-up is the talented multi-instrumentalist at complete ease, a supremely confident artist doing whatever the hell she wants, and everything paying off.’
Hailed as a Masterpiece by John Robb in his 10 out of 10 review Swans album To Be Kind has deservedly stolen the number 4 slot in the chart, John summed it up with these words – ‘When bores tell you that rock has stopped moving guide them to this album – an album that draws a line in the sand and raises the stakes, an album that signposts where we are right now and mirrors not only one mans emotional sea storms but also the dark, seething and dangerous modern world with its unlikely beauty with its music, its meaning and its lyrics and its power.’
3. Jack White – Lazaretto (Third Man Records/ XL Recordings)
Third in the chart is the second solo album from Jack White, one of a few people this year that have made you want to buy vinyl this year. Lazaretto was described by Katie Clair in her review as – ‘so darn charismatic, while it lacks the painfully sweet darkness of Blunderbuss, it’s packed with richly diverse musical styles that sheer skill in arrangement and playing have created along with lyrics that run from introspective, playful and seductive via questioning, annoyed and curious. It’s an album that can be played again and again for you’ll be forever finding new charms. If Blunderbuss is the album you play when heartbroken – Lazaretto is the one you play when you’re done crying.’
2. Ty Segall – Manipulator (Drag City)
Prolific to say the least, Ty Segall’s Manipulator is his eighth solo album in nine years, and the quality is always high. Ben Tansey’s review sums up the record with ‘Manipulator is an exquisitely well written and well recorded album that manages to hark back to the sounds of days and decades gone by whilst retaining its originality and sense of self. We might be back here next week talking about the triple album Segall wrote and recorded during his lunch breaks whilst making this one, but for now it leaves me to say California’s busiest songwriter has done it again.’
1. Morrissey – World Peace Is None of your business (Capitol/Harvest)
Well in all honesty what else did you expect? The votes came back and with a pretty definitive majority Morrissey came in first. It just goes to show that even with all his detractors over the years he just keeps on making great albums that still mean an awful lot to many of us.Katie Clare sums up why she voted for this album as top of her list – ‘Dry humoured, operatically wistful and speckled with lyrics of twisted affectation and snarky sarcasm define a stylistic, satirical and divisive album that will continue to pay dividends for many years to come.’
So there it is, the Louder Than War Writers Top 10 albums of the year 2014. We welcome your thoughts and comments.
Read the Louder Than War Writers Highly Recommended albums of the year here.
Read the Louder Than War Writers 20 – 11 albums of the year 2014 here.
Compiled from the individual top tens, recounted, checked, redone due to computer failure, sworn over and generally worried about by Adrian Bloxham.