- Alexandra Savior – Belladonna of Sadness
Elegant and venerable but with razor sharp teeth, Alexandra Savior’s almost cinematic debut puts her impressive songwriting at the forefront. From the horror style sound FX on ‘Shades’ through to the guitar riff that says “Ah, Mr Bond I’ve been expecting you” on ‘Mystery Girl’, the album takes you on a suave and epic journey through the depths of Savior’s imagination. Special praise has to go to the intimate and fragile ‘Girlie’, held together by Alex Turner’s smooth lead guitar. It’s a song with an intricate subtlety that commands attention. While the Last Shadow Puppets on this record perform majestically, it’s Savior that pulls their strings making every detail shimmer.
- King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Murder of the Universe
The most ambitious album of the year, Murder of the Universe was the release every King Gizzard fan was waiting for, the final proof that their string of albums have all been linked. The record teases riffs and lyrics from previous releases, for example the howls on “NONAGON INFINITY” from the album of the same name, and the creepily merry flute from I’m In Your Mind Fuzz’s ‘Hot Water’. Murder of the Universe is split into three chapters all collaged together with spoken word pieces that narrate the action provided by the songs. On the whole it’s King Gizzard’s most batshit crazy record to date (and that’s saying something), with the wonky riff that’s about to fall off the record on ‘Lord of Lightening’ being a particular favourite of mine.
- The Horrors – V
The best work Southend’s finest have ever produced. V merges the whole of The Horrors back catalogue and creates a monstrously good record. Opener ‘Hologram’ sets the tone as Faris Badwan cries “Are we hologram?”. The rest of the record seemingly sets out to answer his question. It’s a record like Arctic Monkeys’ AM, in which all the songs seem to have the same musical signature, whilst retaining their own characteristics – which makes the record feel very polished. Every song on V is an epic, with nothing falling below the four minute mark. Despite this, none of the tracks outstay their welcome, making for a record that overall feels profound.
- Ty Segall – Ty Segall
Featuring the song Marc Bolan forgot to write, ‘Orange Colour Queen’, Ty Segall is a glamtastic assault. The album is possibly Segall’s most balanced record to date, from the way it kicks out the jams on opener ‘Break a Guitar’ to the almost prog jam of ‘Warm Hands (Freedom Returned)’. Segall proves himself to be a much more versatile songwriter than he is often given credit for – whilst still retaining his crown as king of garage rock. The album is up there with his best work, though not quite surpassing 2014’s Manipulator. The album serves as a perfect entry point for new fans, but also provides a treasure chest of gems for seasoned Segall lovers.
- The Moonlandingz – Interplanetary Class Classics
The Moonlandingz’ debut is a beautifully vulgar trip through the twisted minds of the Valhalla Dale band, and features what is in my opinion is the song of the year: ‘The Rabies Are Back’ – a lovechild of The Cramps and The B52s. Other bangers are the pulsating ‘Vessels’ and ‘The Strangle of Anna’, a marvelous duet between Johnny Rocket and Slow Club’s Rebecca Taylor that feels like a distant relative of the Velvet Underground’s ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’. While the songs are so outrageous in content, they retain a catchy singalong quality, summed up perfectly by single ‘Black Hanz’. The album generates a marvellous absurdity – at a time when music seems to be lacking enough of an outrageous side. Overall it’s just unclean fun, and not of the organised variety. Where else can you get a bloke with loaves of bread for bracelets singing about the cheap wine of Aldi and Lidl?