Clash launched its Album Of The Year countdown yesterday (December 14th), and - if anything - the frenzied debate the list has caused only serves to underline what a tremendous year for music it has been.
Part Two continues right now, and we're reaching some big hitters, some absolute beginners and some defiant oddballs...
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31. Gengahr - 'A Dream Outside'
"It might be jumping the gun a bit to call them the 'saviours of British guitar music', or anything along those lines, but it must surely rank amongst the finest guitar-driven debut album to be coughed up by British music thus far in 2015."
32. Vince Staples - 'Summertime '06'
"At times difficult and uncompromising, at others open and euphoric, 'Summertime '06' has that rare feeling of only being truly able to come from one artist."
33. The Maccabees - 'Marks To Prove It'
"On the surface, an extension and refinement of their previous record, but in reality, a thrilling, provocative and daring album that rewards with each listen. Eleven years and four albums in, they have found themselves; they've come through a lot, and can wear those marks like a badge of honour."
34. SOAK - 'Before We Forgot How To Dream'
"Bridie has pulled off a highly polished debut. Her sound is still in its infancy, and - at times - the album's instrumentals can almost be too breathy and spacious. That said, her evident authenticity means she will hopefully continue to push in new directions. Mostly, 'Before We Forgot How To Dream' reads a little like a portrait of Bridie's hero Joni Mitchell as a young artist: irreverent, observational and soulful."
35. Blur - 'The Magic Whip'
"In returning, Blur have progressed. This is not a band revisiting past glories, indeed they’ve said recently that they felt there was no scope to do further gigs without new music to play. Shorn of expectation and match fit in the middle of a long tour, four friends found each other again."
36. Nozinja - 'Nozinja Lodge'
"For someone who has been ingrained in defining the sound for the past decade, it shouldn't be terribly surprising that Richard Mthetwa's debut LP is one that combines the raw ingredients that have defined the Shangaan sound. Influenced by traditional African folk, tsonga disco and kwaito house, this Warp release from Shangaan pioneer Nozinja is one that is rich in character and personality."
37. Roots Manuva - 'Bleeds'
"‘Bleeds’ isn’t a flawless album, but it is diverse and imaginative. As expected, Roots Manuva still manages to bring unique inventiveness to his work. With ‘Bleeds’, he manages to avoid being defined while maintaining his distinctiveness. It’s a classic Roots manoeuvre (yes!)"
38. Ghostpoet - 'Shedding Skin'
"In embracing the rebooted live experience, compelling rhythm is essential to Ghostpoet's progression. It brings new flexibility, humility and weariness where authoritative tenor remains, and in a way, a better-channelled confidence throughout each narrative; perhaps in part to several female confronters who open up track perspectives further."
39. Kurt Vile - 'b'lieve i'm goin down'
"Stoner, slacker, loafer: just some of the words used ceaselessly by lazy journalists to describe the style of Kurt Vile's hazy song-craft. If the idle repetition of these superficial terms bothers the 35 year-old though, then he doesn't let it show. His latest LP is an endearing collection of slow-burning, dreamy arrangements, which find the singer wistfully contemplating the shifting nature of identity."
40. Deerhunter - 'Fading Frontier'
"It's wobbly, psychedelic, and even creepy. Brandon Cox's vocals are tweaked, pulled and muffled into that of something from a Lynchian world. It's fantastic... though not as fantastic as album highlight 'Snakeskin', a twitchy funk number and one the best songs Deerhunter have ever committed to tape. The lyrics, dare we say, remind one of 'Blonde on Blonde' or 'Highway 61...' era Dylan while the percussion is straight from the funking 70s. More of this please, lads."
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Check out Pt. 1 HERE.