End of year lists are a funny old business. Should they be a measure of the success of the artists on the list you’re compiling? If that were the case then Royal Blood would be the top of any Brighton based list by the longest of margins (and they have been voted album of the year by NME readers). The alternative is that they’re based on personal preference instead, which is incredibly subjective but does give us the chance to enthuse about the things we’ve loved the most over the past twelve months. Being just a list of twenty acts is incredibly restricting too. The past couple of years we’ve put together out best of list as an Advent Calendar instead, which gave us another five acts we could include, but would have meant us getting our act together in November which was never going to happen this year. So here’s the first half of our top twenty – we’ll count down our top ten counting down as we get closer to Christmas.
20. Yumi & The Weather – All We Can EP
Technically All We Can came out in December 2013, but end of year lists had all been agreed by that point and tracks on the EP are easily as good if not better than most of the new music we’ve heard in 2014. The Vondelpark rework of the EPs title track is pure bliss.
19. Anushka – Mansions
Anushka’s Mansions, the lead single from their album Broken Circuit which came out on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings was one of our tunes of the summer.
18. Curxes – Valkyrie
To keep us interested while the Brighton / Portsmouth duo inch forward to completion of their debut long player (which has a provision title of Verxes), this year the band put out PreCurxor – a compilation of their early work – and this single, a noisy, frantic affair that’s guaranteed to wake you up.
17. Michael A Grammar – The Day I Come Alive
We fell in love with Michael A Grammar’s The Day I Came Alive on the very first listen, probably because it sounded like early Blur and reminded us of our first trips to indie discos many years ago.
16. Dog in the Snow – Factory
Dog in the Snow put out a couple of singles this year, with Factory being the more electronic of the two. The video was a fantastic match for the song, initially about mundane daily repetition before morphing into something magical.
15. The New Union – Now
The New Union continue apace with their melodic indie rock. Now was the first of their two singles of 2014, which was followed up later in the year by the equally great Believe in Nothing.
14. Winston & Goldstein – Ode to a Massive Obsession
Jacqueline Collyer used to be in Kins, but this year she went solo, ditched the guitars (mostly), and embraced electronica in all it’s forms on her album In The Eyes of the Other from ambient to dance tracks like Ode to a Massive Obsession which is our pick.
13. The Fiction Aisle – Blue
The Fiction Aisle have only played three gigs, and have only put one track on the internet so far. The man behind the band is an industry veteran though, with over ten years experience under his belt. This year, Electric Soft Parade hung up their hats (except for the odd one off), but Tom White has formed a brilliant new band, recruiting brother Alex on drums, and a cast of thousands. Well, about a dozen.
12. Blood Red Shoes – Blood Red Shoes
Blood Red Shoes eponymous fourth album was heralded from all quarters as a return to form. Their gig in April at the Concorde was the loudest thing we heard this year.
11. Adolescent – Golden Halls part II
There’s been an incredible amount of electronica produced in Brighton this year, most of it coming out through the wonderful Physics House Band affiliated KLDSCP records. Pick of the bunch for us was Adolescent’s Golden Halls EP, and it’s utterly beautiful and unhurried lead track Golden Halls Part II