Black Up (Sub Pop)
Although I said 'in no particular order', this is probably my favourite LP this year. OK maybe Tune-Yards too. From the astonishing mind of former Digable Planets MC Butterfly, now known as 'Palaceer Lazaro'. Amazing beats, amazing lyrics, amazing everything.
When I first heard Tune-Yards stuff, it sounded interesting but somewhat unfinished. With her second LP, she KILLED IT. Undeniable Dirty Projectors influences aside, Merrill Garbus's songwriting is all her own. Check out this if you're unconvinced.
The English Riviera (Because Music)
Marketing, tis a funny thing. As soon as Metronomy, always Joe Mount's hard-to-categorise solo/remixer project, added a visual identity to their music (i.e band members), it all took off for them. Still, this is a great album with lots of lovely songs on it.
Instrumentals Mixtape (Self-Release)
Clams beats aren't anything necessarily that new technically, but there's a dark musicality to them. He's completely unconcerned with crate-digging; his sounds instead coming from youtube rips and random audio searches on torrent sites
King Of Limbs (Self-Release/XL)
Radiohead. Nigel Godrich. It's a no brainer.
Satin Panthers EP (Warp)
Banger, after banger, after banger. It's ridiculous really. He really reined in the unlistenable jazz-fusion wank elements of his 'Butter' LP and just. made. bangers. Listen on the bassiest sound system you can find.
Can't believe how much this got ignored, maybe because they're completely ungoogleable. These guys RULE. Basically, this sounds almost exactly like Grizzly Bear playing Prince covers. Cathedral-verbed vocals/organs with crisp LinnDrums.
S/T EP (True Panther)
Love this guy. A real knarly Joe Strummer voice mixed with beautiful jazzy electric guitar, a bit of 808 thrown in there. One of the most ear-catching things I heard this year. Can't wait to hear a full-length
Liveloveasap Mixtape (Self-Release)
Weird that you'd sign a rapper for $3m so that you could officially release a mixtape that everyone has already downloaded for free, but anyway. I don't especially rate his flow, but the production is wicked (clams casino once again)...
Take Care (Young Money/Cash Money/Universal)
... which brings me on to this, guilty pleasure of the year. Drake is a poor MC and a significantly worse singer, but I LOVE THE BEATS ON THIS RECORD (mainly the T-Minus and Noah "40" Shebib ones). P.S 'Over My Dead Body' is chord progression of the year
A Real Hero
I'm not providing a link to this song. Watch the film 'Drive' and you'll know why this is THE song of the year, even though yes it's a couple of years old I think. Whatever.
Tom Vek @ Heaven
I had forgotten all about this gig after i'd booked tickets, and when I turned up to Heaven I wasn't that excited about it, despite it being his first gig in 5-odd years. To hear 'We Have Sound' almost in it's entirety was my gig of the year. Astonishingly good. Makes up for never being able to see Talking Heads live.
Tune-Yards @ Hoxton Bar & Kitchen
Managed to nab tickets to this secret show that preceded her support slot with Beirut the following day (Beirut- meh). The things this woman can do with a loop pedal is no joke
Sufjan Stevens @ Royal Festival Hall
It was a huge disappointment to me that I only got into Sufjan weeks after he'd left the UK on his 'Illinoise' tour. Had to wait years to see him, and it was worth the wait. This man has so much talent it's unfair to the rest of the musicians in the world. Musically speaking, possibly the most eclectic gig i've ever witnessed. Moving from folk to auto-tuned R&B is no mean feat
Hudson Mohawke @ XOYO
The most gurning i've ever done in my life, with only alcohol in my system too. An absolute FACE-MELTER, and some of the best beats i've ever heard. Release them please!!