Whilst my colleagues have mentioned how quickly the year has flown, for me it has seemed one of the longest ever. Work-related issues have meant that my energies, particularly in the second half, have had to be spent elsewhere other than The Moshville Times. However, it does not matter where I am or what am I am doing or how much time I can dedicate to writing reviews, music is a constant companion. It’s the background to life, it is what I dream of, cry to, love to and most importantly it’s what still makes me jump up and down for joy, and make me feel lucky to be alive. This year’s Top 10 albums probably reflect my year and focus well but it has been a great year for music and I am glad I have been able to play some part in it.
Album of the Year – Top 10:
Album of the Year – Massive Wagons – Full Nelson
Lancashire lads Massive Wagons have been quietly slogging away for the best part of a decade but it was only with third album Full Nelson that they have finally been able to make that breakthrough and they did it with a bang. Not only did Full Nelson debut in the Top 20 of the UK album Charts but backed by a succession of well-received summer festival appearances and an album that is packed full of songs that make you want to dance and shout for joy whilst nodding in agreement to vocalist Baz’s lyrics but this was an album that can be played again and again and somehow makes you feel like you are one of the Massive Wagons family in the process.
Standout Track – “Last on the List”
2. Black Foxxes – Reioli
Black Foxxes’ second album surprised many by perhaps even eclipsing their debut from only two years before. As a band this album demonstrated how they had grown in the interim taking their already familiar grunge sound and adding layers upon layers or psychedelic orchestrated sublime emotion and adding to this, vocals that were already distinct but on this album flew more than ever. A masterpiece just waiting to be discovered.
Standout Track – “Breathe”
Vicious firmly let everyone know that Halestorm are back and in a big way. The attitude, image and confidence underwent a revamp and as a result, Halestorm were able to produce one of their best albums to date. An album full of venom, rock, sex, moments of confession and in your face indignation. This album was dark but Halestorm seem all the healthier for it.
Standout Track – “Killing Ourselves To Live”
One of the first albums to be released this year and one I was most looking forward to and Anatomical Venus did not disappoint. Moving away from their early stoner Black Sabbath punk sound into one that is simply Black Moth this was an epic album that flowed as if telling a single story about singer Harriet and her place in the world.
Standout Track – “Istra”
5. Desert Mountain Tribe – Om Parvart Mystery
I am not even entirely sure how I came across this London based German trio but I am certainly glad I did. Om Parvart Mysteryis one of the best psychedelic Rock albums of modern times and has so much depth that you discover something new with each listen. Dark, trippy, epic and soulful.
Standout Track – “Chemical Genius”
6. Greta van Fleet – Anthem of the Peaceful Army
Greta van Fleets album seemed to drop till almost silence and then within days the tour sold out and everyone was going crazy about them. This second album by the reincarnation of Led Zeppelin created its own hype by being just simply fantastic. It has the epicness of its influences and from start to finish it packed full of catchy rock and roll filled with passion and spirit of the 70’s but delivered by a bunch of guys from very much now.
Standout Track – “Age of Man”
We had been following The Kut and looking forward to this their debut album for some time and Valley of Thorns did not disappoint. We were already familiar with such rocking and explosive tunes such as “I Want You Maniac” and “Bad Man” but with songs like “No Trace” we were introduced to a whole new side to The Kut and quite simply put it is thoughtful, a whole new layer of complexity and brilliant
Standout Track – “No Trace”
If you read The Moshville Times even occasionally you will be aware that one or two staff members are quite keen on The Virginmarys. Did I say quite keen? I meant obsessed.The Northern Sun Sessionsis such powerful and raw album that is easy to see why. At times brutally honest and dripping with raw emotion, anger and lust for life these tracks not only rock but they speak to you on a personal level as well. For me this album is in the same vein and fans show the same commitment as New Model Army
Standout Track – “Northern Sun”
The mad bastard is back, and he has something to say. This is not just Andrew WK back to his melodic best, but it is a life-affirming album as well. Going deeply into your psyche and letting you know he and you are not alone this album is part therapy part party and 100% classic.
Standout Track – “Music is Worth Living For”
10. Ghost – Prequelle
I am not sure what is left to say about Ghost that has not already been said but the story continues on Prequelle and it is every bit as fun, as dark, as mesmerizing as its predecessors. Ghost are never going to appeal to everyone, it all depends on whether you believe or not but even as stand-alone rock tracks this album delivers.
Standout Track – “Rats”
Best Live Show – Top 5
What Moshville Times Said: Massive Wagons live are even better than on record; rawer, heavier and more triumphant. An absolutely fantastic set, it was clear that most of the crowd knew the words to most of the songs and everyone was dancing, jumping and singing along joyously. This felt like a watershed moment for the band and everyone knew it. They have been on the radar for some years now but it is only recently where they seem to be getting more of the attention that they deserve. Highlights of the set were “Tokyo”, “Ratio” and ending on “Fee Fi Fo Fum”. My only complaint was the set was not long enough.
What Moshville Times Said: The greatest testament I can actually pay to the Foo Fighters is that during the 2.5 hour set I never got bored once. I am not a massive fan of long sets as sometimes it is too much filler but this wasn’t the case here.
3. Black Foxxes – Key Club, Leeds
What Moshville Times Said: From that first note they were like a torrent, crashing in and out of guitar feedback, thrashing and whirling around the stage and the sound was note-perfect… but it is those vocals that will get you every time. The vocal range is truly impressive and it really raises the game for the Black Foxxes and sets them apart from their contemporaries. No other singer has quite the range, the feeling of emotions or raw power displayed here.
4. The Wedding Present, The Lantern, Halifax
What Moshville Times Said: What a band! To be honest I was looking forward to them but I never imagined that they was going to be that good. Every moment was perfect. Firstly how can you not love a band who was clearly so buzzing to be stood exactly where they were and what a turnout, the field was heaving. Getting there early was wise to be down the front. The show itself was every bit as comic, tragic, amazing, stupid and incredible as you could imagine. We had clowns and the Sumo Rabbit, band members’ kids in cardboard trains… You name it, it was probably going on and all of this without yet even mentioning the music.