US LABEL Paradise of Bachelors released a bevy of astonishing records this year. Best of all is self-titled album The Weather Station, the follow-up to 2015’s sublime Loyalty.
Songs such as the tumultuous Thirty and unhurried closer The Most Dangerous Thing About You are further proof that Canadian Tamara Lindeman is one of the most talented songwriters working today.
Lovers of good music should also check out James Elkington’s folky debut album Wintres Woma, the expansive desert country of Gun Outfit’s Out of Range and Jake Xeres Fussell’s archival exploration of folk, blues and country on What In A Natural World.
Having topped the best-of lists with 2014’s Lost In The Dream, Philadelphia’s War On Drugs continued their exploration of heartland rock on the widescreen A Deeper Understanding, with the yearning 11 minutes of Thinking Of A Place a strong contender for track of the year.
A little more accessible than their lo-fi punk back catalogue, Near To The Wild Heart Of Life from Vancouver duo Japandroids is one of the most exciting, and loud, guitar records released this year. Their live show is explosive.
Indie pop star Jens Lekman’s set at this summer’s End Of The Road festival transformed the audience into one giant dance party by playing his poptastic disco album Life Will See You Now. With the Swede’s trademark melancholy and deadpan humour running through the songs, you’ll be hard pressed to find a catchier set of tunes released this year, in or out of the top 40.
In Britain, Loyle Carner’s debut Yesterday’s Gone is a musically muscular, deeply confessional and literate slice of hip hop.Though they have yet to release an album, South London’s pop-rap two piece The Rhythm Method are the latest in a long line of great British songwriters stretching back to The Kinks, Squeeze and more recent artists like The Streets and the Sleaford Mods.
“She likes our Commons touch but she's destined for the Lords/Be my Cherie Blair, I'll be your Cherie Amour,” romances lead singer Joey Bradbury on single Party Politics.
If there is any justice in the world, these guys will break through in 2018.
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