23 December 2013

Top 50 Albums of the year - A blog collective (with some extra help)

Well - here we are......the is the joint collective blog for the top album of 2013 as picked by the team and a few extra people (thank you Barry Wilson & Lee Harrison from Alternation on NE1.FM, as well as Mike Potts from Waheela (for fairness, he could not vote for himself)).  The top ten would have by now been annouced on the radio, but here is the whole of the top 50.

For those of you (and I include myself in this group), for an album to be considered for the vote it had to get above the mark of 8 when reviewed; it also had to have been reviewed and posted before the 2nd of December.  For reason of neatness, I have to add some others that got below 8 to make it a round 50 (I just could not help myself, it made it a more fuller list and the music list OCD kicked in).  When I send the list to the other girls and boys I did not tell them what the mark out of ten was, just that it had reached over the required limit (they could find it out themselves).  BTW - Each title is a link to the original blog if you want to have a full read of it:

50 - Diamond Dawn - Overdrive

Overall I have to say I am impressed by this - it is a brilliant album overall. But it is such a marmite album it is very hard to see it being anything other than a niche record. If you love power/melodic/glam rock you will adore this album (I count myself in this grouping). However if not you might find it a little trying. You would be wrong, but who am I to judge on that one - I like The Lonely Island....... - Eddie - 8/10

49 - This Is Divine - The Great Circle

This is a great example of metalcore/hardcore/groove metal as it is tight as a drum, full of energy and passion.  The performance is top quality and this is a band that will be going places; I am sure of this.  As with most albums of this genre it is one tracked if the truth be told, but when it is played this good is that a bad thing?  Eddie - 7.5/10
48 - Cough/Windhand - Reflection of The Negative

Now, in all fairness I do have to point out that if push came to shove I would be hard done by to pick between which of these guys I prefer (to be honest until the vocals kick in I would be lost as to which band was playing) - but I think this is a really good show case for both acts and I will be looking it both really shortly.  The kings of sludge are here, long live the kings. - Eddie - 8/10

47 - Dutch Uncles - Out Of Touch With The Wild

I think it is obvious what I feel about this album.  I am not going to tell you that this album is the best thing ever, but it is a really good album that is so quiet and focused in places.  It is just a joy to listen to, I feel sort of guilty that it missed me when I first released.  If you have any interest in the UK indie music scene and want to go off the beaten track for a bit, start here. - Eddie - 9.5/10
46 - VerseChrousVerse - VerseChorusVerse

So, final thought - well, it is a brilliant album that has been released here.  Unlike some of the other projects which I have seen on Pledge Music, it has felt a lot gentler – not as ego driven, a lot more natural and personal.  Tony has been very contactable during the pledge and delivered everything upon the correct date.  I have really enjoyed listening to this album, it is perfect for the summer, and I am sure it will be a really winter warmer as well.  Beautiful. - Eddie - 8.5/10

45 - Elton John - The Diving Board

It's a waste of time if you're looking for any differences in his work compared to his previous offerings because you'll just be straining your ears for nothing. Elton John has gone for his tried and trusted format of piano orientated rock and sold-on-song and it works well. I'm not saying for one minute that this is better than Goodbye Yellow Brick Road as it will always be his zenith, but The Diving Board's a respectable album, and I don't think I can give a more befitting title. - Marc - 9/10
44 - Arcite - The Escape Key

I don't think that many people would be disappointed by this album and even fewer will find nothing to like on it.  Is it reinventing the wheel, well no - but it is bring something new to the UK metal scene which it needs.  It is bringing back some quality and passion.  In Newcastle at the moment you have some fantastic bands like Waheela, Def Con One, Nately's Whore's Kid Sister, Druganaut - you can also add Arcite to that list as well.  Each band is doing something different and also exciting.  I hope this album is beginning of great things for the North East and (more importantly) for Arcite themselves. - Eddie - 9/10

43 - Erica Nockalls - Imminent Room

This is a really good album which I have no problem recommending to any who is blessed with the gift of hearing.  It is much better than the Lana Del Ray's of the world, and the injustice is that it will receive not even a 10th of the press when it deserves it more. So not a pain at all, just joy from the beginning to the end. - Eddie - 8.5/10

42 - Exxasens - Satellites

To say this album is good is an understatement - it is properly spectacular and mesmerising.  It is an album that when I saw the track listing I was scared it might be a little short, but it is perfect in length.  It is not too long to get repetitive, and it is not too short to make you frustrated.  There is definitely a bigger prog influence on this album (whether it is by design or not is a different story) which lends to a greatly satisfactory listening experience. - Eddie - 9.5/10

41 - Cyanide Pills - Still Bored

Cyanide Pills aren’t the sort of band you listen to for deep, musical exploration and besides, being samey didn’t do Bad Religion any harm now did it? - Luke - 8/10
40 - Midlake - Antiphon

This album is a surprise on many levels - I did not know that it was coming or what had gone on with the band.  To find out that it was made within six months from scratch is even more amazing, the split from their previous singer could actually be the making of them.  For their first effort as a band instead of a vision this is truly amazing; this will be held one day as the way to live on after the loss of your talisman. - Eddie - 9/10
39 - Mutation - The Frankenstien Effect

This is a work which will take a while to get, once you have got it you will find that sometimes it is good to do things a little different.  So he has made a good start here for the first part of Mutation, let's see what part 2 brings. - Eddie - 7.5/10
38 - The Joy Formidable - Wolf's Law

It is not as instant as their first one, but it is very good and well worth making the effort for; but it has all the hallmarks of a grower. Which is a really good sign, as the first one was instant like a debut has to be, to catch you attention. All great follow ups are one's that sink in that make their hooks without being noticed and stick in your head for days.  A wonderful follow up and one that will be around my head for days to come. - Eddie - 8.5/10

37 - Steve From Accounting - Remission

It was nice to listen to an instrumental rock (I’m guessing classical and electronic stuff doesn’t count) album all the way through without once (okay, okay, maybe a couple of times) thinking the singer thing. It’s the first time I can remember doing so since Surfing With The Alien, which was a very long time ago and was a very pleasant surprise. - Luke - 8/10
36 - Alter Bridge - Fortress

After getting to the end of this album I have figured out a few things about Alter Bridge which I will mention here before the verdict.  They are obviously stupidly talented musicians and with Myles Kennedy, Messrs Tremonti, Marshall and Phillips, they have a much more talented and powerful vocalist than when they are in Creed.  That being said, they do tend to get stuck in a rut with the light/loud vocal movements of their work and even though they are brilliant musicians sometime they over reach themselves with their work. - Eddie - 7.5/10
35 - Nine Inch Nails - Hesitation Marks

I want to have a negative here, I want to say that the lack of fire power ruins the album, I want to say that the ring rust from the time away has not helped, I want to say that age has tamed the beast, I want to feel like I did after The Slip and Ghosts I-IV - because if there was a negative moment it would be easier to dismiss this and stay safe in the past moments.  But Trent has not allowed this, he has reformed his merry posse of vagabonds have made an industrial moment of genius here. - Eddie - 10/10
34 - Dropkick Murphys - Signed & Sealed In Blood

What we have here is an amazing piece of work by the DKM; if I am honest the last few albums have been a bit by the numbers.  Yeah they are the type of band who is not going to change the way they make an album, they do not need to as it is working incredible well and as they say - if it ain't broke, why fix it.  But they have given this some more soul on this one, it is just a brilliant piece of work and is their best work since "The Warrior's Code".  - Eddie - 8/10

33 - Laura Marling - Once I Was An Eagle

This reminds me a lot of a minimalist version of 'The Hazards Of Love' by The Decembrists - it keeps going back to musical themes and has the listener hypnotized with the story and inner workings of the piece.  This is a beautiful album, if anything I can see why it has been commented that it could have lost a few tracks, but that is a minor point.  - Eddie - 8/10
32 - Masked Intruder - Masked Intruder

I apologise for waxing lyrical about this album, but it's class.  I'm not one for nerding out on punk forums trying to discover their true identites and analysing lyrics, but I will keep a beady eye on this band to see what they come up with next. Actually, I'm withdrawing my apology.  I love this band because it's immature and fun. - Pete - 10/10

31 - Waheela - Amber

I wonder what they are going to do next.  Four releases in with some excellent work, and I wonder if they will go in a different direction to confuse everyone, create some more noise to scare the living bee-Jesus out of everyone or fall into the trap of doing the same thing over and over.  I have a feeling it will not be the later, these guys are too good for that, but on each release they have improved and I always wonder what it next.  I can't wait to find out - when you get a chance to hear AMBER, go in with an open mind - it is that type of release. - Eddie - 9/10

30 - Chthonic - Bu-Tik

Chthonic stand out as unique in a genre well known for its genericness. There’s nobody that sounds like them and certainly nobody that does it this well. On top of their music they also have a strong image, their costumes and outfits are intriguing without being ridiculous. Bù-Tik is an excellent album by an excellent band and well worth checking out f you’re a fan of this sort of stuff. - Luke - 8/10
29 - The National - Trouble Will Find Me

I did not want this album to end when I finished listening to it, and I still feel that way now.  The brooding nature of the album means it is not an everyday work that I could listen to everyday, but whenever the mood takes it is one that I reach for each time. - Eddie - 9/10
28 - Bliss N Eso - Circus In The Sky

What I like about Bliss 'n' Eso is this; their lyrics are political, and they're about unity.  They rap for the love of music, togetherness and chilling out.  It's not all about blunts, 40s and bitches (although there's plenty of that too). - Pete - 8/10

27 - Julia Holter - Loud City Songs

It is rewarding, but at time frustrating - I reckon this album will haunt me for years and will probably be in my record collection very shortly.  Damm you Adam Potts, damm you and your selection (and thank you as well) and Ms Holter, thank you for frustrating me beyond belief by making a very rewarding experience. Sorry for sounding ungrateful. - Eddie - 7/10
26 - Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip - Repent Replenish Repeat

This album has exceeded my expectations and I am truly amazed by this record; I have been listening to this for the last four days and the result each time is that I want to listen to it again.  This is as perfect an album as has been released this year and it is automatically in the mix for my personal album of the year. - Eddie - 10/10
25 - Vista Chino - Peace

This album is a very good example of how to make a great album in stoner rock.  Of course you wouldn't expect anything else from them; they were in one of the biggest bands that ever came out of the scene. Vista Chino in one album show how to make a near perfect album in a genre that can seem a little closed. - Eddie - 9/10
24 - Conan - Mount Wrath Live

I can honestly say that there is not a weak part to this album, there is not a link, note or moment where I was not hypnotised and stunned by this album - and it was a freaking live recording! I find live recordings to be a tricky beast at times, this is one of the best I have heard and when we do our next version of the live album blog, this will be my pick. - Eddie - 10/10

23 - Dillinger Escape Plan - One Of Us Is The Killer

What they have changed is how they aim to the fan - you no longer have the need to dance like your having an accident with some water and a fuse box, it comes from the heart in some ways. There is no real let up, even on the slower numbers and it feels like you are being held captive and compel to view paintings of great wonder against your will.  It is not an easy listen by means, but I do not think it is not without merit or style. - Eddie - 9/10

22 - Deep Purple - Now What

I'd be doing a great injustice by comparing this to their zenith in Machine Head, nor will this I suspect be rated as a classic album. That said, it gets good marks from me as Now What?! sets out its purpose to be a listenable and entertaining record. Strong showing from The 'Purple here, they can still mix it with the younger guns and clear evidence that they still have plenty of creative ideas in tow. - Marc - 8/10
21 - Arcade Fire - Reflektor

To be honest I'm not 100% sure which one.  It is a good album, but that their last two and worth a listen.  But it could have had some of the fat trimmed off and been out of this world if the truth be told.  But that is talking about what could have been, what we have here is an album that is more of a grower than an instant hit, each listen revealed more about it to me.  There are little things which keep on coming and hidden moments that come to the forefront upon different listens depending what you are focusing on. - Eddie - 8/10
20 - David Bowie - The Next Day

There is not a point of this album that lets the rest of the work.  It works from beginning to end, and if there is a better album released in 2013 I will be really surprised.  I hope that Bowie does more (even some shows would be good), but if this is the last wave goodbye then whilst I would be sad to see him go, it would be on such a perfect moment.  Perfection from the perfectionist. - Eddie - 10/10

19 - Gary Numan - Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind)

Gary Numan has been treading this path for a while and this is a very accomplished album; for anyone who wondered what he had been up to since "Cars", what has kept you so long coming to the party.  This is a brilliant piece of work which crosses a few genres, well worth the effort, but tread carefully if you’re on a downer. - Eddie - 8.5/10
18 - AFI - Burials

Without a shadow of a doubt this is one of the best albums that AFI have ever released.  The break since the last album and the various side projects that they have been involved in have been of a great benefit here. I cannot praise this album enough here for bring back the band to my attention after the last album. - Eddie - 9.5/10

17 - Dream Theater - Dream Theater

The 'Theater have always set themselves high musical standards and as I suggested earlier, they surely are the finest progressive metal act ever to grace terra firma. So with this new album literally hot off the press, it's difficult to see how they are ever going to be upstaged. One of the most entertaining records I've heard in many a long time (not just saying either) and certainly my contender for album of the year. - Marc - 10/10

16 - Druganaut - Druganaut

The performance from the whole band has improved in both terms of performance and sound.  As I have mentioned in the Arcite article, Newcastle upon Tyne has a vibrant music scene and the metal/noise crowd seem to be leading the way.  Druganaut have an important part to play here. - Eddie - 8.5/10

15 - Miracle Of Sound - Level 3

One of the main strengths of Miracle Of Sound is Gavin’s songwriting skills. Even the songs that are about a subject you might not be particularly familiar with are still really enjoyable and can be appreciated in their own right. That he churns out songs with some regularity is further testament. - Luke - 8/10

14 - The Lancashire Hotpots - Crust For Life

I'm sure the likes of PC World and Poundland will be eternally gratefully to this Lancastrian quintet for helping to raise their profiles. This isn't a half hearted effort obviously and if you can't take this with a big grin on your face, then you have got a serious clinical problem or you really are a terminally miserable guts. - Marc - 9/10

13 - Korn - The Paradigm Shift 

This is a massive improvement to the last one, but so are the small parcels that come out of my cat Ochie (it is his picture that adores this blog looking at my old laptop).  But that aside, this is one of the best Korn album's in a long time.  It has the power that was missing and I have to say that the return of Head has done the band wonders; he works so well with everyone else that the game has been brought back up to a great level. - Eddie - 7.5/10

12 - Ghost - Infestissuman

The best way I found to truly appreciate this album when I started to think of it like an 80's Alice Cooper album - there is some stuff that is not working, there is some stuff that is really working ; yet overall it is a great record.  Granted it is not as good as their debut, but what could be if I am honest. - Eddie - 8/10

11 - Mutation - Error 500

Well, to be honest this is what I wanted from the album as a whole.  To use a phrase that one of my friends uses - it is madder than a bunch of frogs in a box, in a sack full of cats who are very annoyed.  This is just a beautifully twisted piece of work. - Eddie - 10/10

10 - M.I.A. - Matangi

The detail in the songs is amazing, the feel of the music is beyond any sort of simile that I can think of; this is straight into the mix for my personal album of the year due to the fact as well as being a bolt from out of nowhere, it is mind blowing and above all -magnificent. - Eddie - 9.5/10

9 - Bosnian Rainbows - Bosnian Rainbows

I reckon this could get a cult following and will one day be seen as one of the smartest moves that Rodríguez-López ever did.  Yes it did kill off (for now at least) one of the most dynamic bands ever, but he was on the money here, the potential of Bosnian Rainbows is too good a thing not to keep you full focus on.  Whilst not a proof of a deity album, it is so close to it for me.  Beautiful. - Eddie - 9.5/10

8 - Queens of The Stone Age - Like Clockwork....

For the opening drum beat of "Keep Your Eyes Peeled" to the title track at the end, this is a smouldering sexy record that oozes such a presence that it will give shivers down the spin for weeks to come. Overall the whole album is just a joy to hear and is another contender for album of the year. - Eddie - 9/10

7 - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Push The Sky Away

I will probably wish I had waited a while before reviewing this, I will probably want to change the mark I'm going to give in a few months when I figure out that the album is a stone cold classic.  But that is not the way we work here in All The Time Towers. Once marked, the review stays - this album is very very very good, and I recommend it to anyone who has even a slight liking of the new man in black. - Eddie - 8/10 (For the record, I do wish I could change the mark and it would be up)

6 - Alice In Chains - The Devil Put Dinoaures Here

This is still a very good album and DuVall is becoming more cemented into Alice In Chains which is spelling good things for the future. However, treat carefully dear reader with this one - if you don't you might end up in a corner rocking backwards and forwards. - Eddie - 7.5

5 - Biffy Clyro - Opposite

If you can afford it, go for the double album.  It just feels so complete. But I would recommend getting this album one way or another - so beautiful and as has been said many time before - Mon The Biff!!!! - Eddie - 10/10

4 - Clutch - Earth Rocker

It is a solid record that would do well to grace the collection of any rock fan, they have not out done themselves by any stretch of the imagination, but they have done themselves justice and made a fine album. - Eddie - 8/10

3 - Eureka Machines - Remain In Hope

I ‘m very glad they got to make it and I’ll be first in line should they start another Pledge campaign for their fourth album. - Luke - 9/10

2 - We Are Knuckle Dragger - The Drone 

Well, I think it is safe to say that this is a massive improvement to their last album,  From the stunning art work , to the brilliant production job by Ross Robson (and I never thought I would say that out of the 00's) and finally to the band themselves - this is the album I was hoping for the last time.  This time it is an attack and experience that is stunning, it is in line with their shows and early demos which held so much promise.  If this album is not a game changer for them, I will be extremely surprised. - Eddie - 10/10
1 - Carcass - Surgical Steel

This is an album that sits well with their early 90's stuff. I'm headbanging as I type this, having listened to "Unfit For Human Consumption" for the third time. Hey, it's the best song on here! In all honesty, it's one of those albums you could go through without skipping tracks.- Jerm - 8/10

Well, that is it - Carcass has won it - Well done and here is to a great 2014!!!!!

Past sermons

Greatest hits