What a great year it has been for music. Last year it was tricky to find ten records to stand apart and highlight but this year, there’s an amazing smorgasbord of melodic and not so melodic delights. Oddly enough, running a weekly radio show has actually made it easier to pinpoint those records that have stood out over the course of the year. By having to listen to and research so much more to prepare a play list each week, the cream floats more easily to the top of the milk so to speak. So then, here are my highlights of the year.

bug soused

The Bug : Angels & Devils | Scott Walker & Sunn0))) : Soused

There’s nothing I can do but start by mentioning two albums which will not leave my head. They are bold, startling and quite a pair.

Soused is pure theatre. Drone masters Sunn0))) scale back their enveloping wall of noise to allow additional ornamentation and produce a sparse but compelling stage at the behest of mastermind Scott Walker upon which he then reads, cajoles, screams, sings, and, most importantly, performs.

The Bug’s Angels and Devils takes the opposite approach with his beats and basslines enveloping his large roster of collaborators in ways sympathetic to the performance but remaining undeniably his music. Flowdan, Death Grips & Manga’s in-your-face emceeing is pushed to the limit while Liz Harris and Inga Copeland become yet more ethereal in the mix.

Maximum volume results in maximum results reads the text on Soused. The same must be said for Angels and Devils. Collaboration guys?