TV series:

  • Hinterland (loved seeing the Borth setting where we lived for a while)
  • True Detective
  • An Honourable Women


  • Serial


  • Fivethirtyeight


  • The Imitation Game
  • Captain Phillips
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Belle


  • Our Love by Caribou
  • Here and Nowhere Else by Cloud Nothings
  • Lost in the Dream by War on Drugs
  • In the Silence by Asgeir


  • The Brother Imperial IPA by Fremont Brewing
  • Red Chair NWPA by Deschutes Brewery
  • Pow Town Porter by Townsite Brewing

It’s that time of year again to provide a best of list.  Music lovers can find a compendium of critics lists here.  From what I’ve listened to this year, here’s my top 10 albums:

1.  Girls – Father, Son and Holy Ghost

2.  Beriut – The Riptide

3.   Bon Iver – Bon Iver

4.   Cults – Cults

5.  Josh Garrels – Love & War & The Sea In Between

6.  Submarine – Alex Turner

7.  Cloud Nothings – Cloud Nothings

8.  Days – Real Estate

9.   Cut Copy – Zonoscope

10.   Smith Westerns – Dye it Blonde

Here is the short list for the annual Polaris Music Prize, the Canadian equivalent of the Mercury Music Prize in the UK (whose shortlist is out next week).

Artist: Arcade Fire
Album: The Suburbs
Artist: Austra
Album: Feel It Break
Artist: Braids
Album: Native Speaker
Artist: Destroyer
Album: Kaputt
Artist: Galaxie
Album: Tigre et diesel
Artist: Hey Rosetta!
Album: Seeds
Artist: Ron Sexsmith
Album: Long Player Late Bloomer
Artist: Colin Stetson
Album: New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges
Comment:  A circular breathing sax player who records in single live takes.  The token jazz album! But actually quite an intriguing listen.   
Artist: Timber Timbre
Album: Creep On Creepin’ On
Artist: The Weeknd
Album: House Of Balloons
For me the The Suburbs by Arcade Fire is the outstanding album on this list.  Kaputt by Destroyer is also good.  However, the tendency is for these prizes to go to a lesser known act and thus provide a commercial boast and a wider listening audience to some great bands that otherwise may go under the radar.  With this is mind and having listened to most of the albums on the list I would pick Native Speaker by Braids.
Who is missing from the shortlist?  I would say Miracle Fortress, their new album (Was I The Wave?) although clearly not as good as their brilliant debut four years ago (Five Roses), is still worth a listen.

My Top 10 music albums of the year:

1.  The Tallest Man On Earth:  The Wild Hunt

A great new discovery for me.  How this guy from Sweden can sound so much like Bob Dylan – I don’t know, but I like it a lot!  I’m not sure this would have topped my list if I had previously heard his 2008 album ‘Shallow Grave’ which is similar.  His recently released EP ‘Sometimes The Blues Is Just A Passing Bird’ has also enjoyed many a listen.

2.  Arcade Fire: The Suburbs

Arcade Fire deliver once again.  I had hugely anticipated this new offering.  On first listen I was slightly underwhelmed, perhaps because it is a different sound from their previous material, but this has generally really grown on me with repeated listens.

3.  The National: High Violet

The National, one of my favourite bands, I don’t think this album is as good as Boxer, but it’s still amazing.  Is it just me or does anyone else think that this is music for (and by) middle-aged men!?

4.  Vampire Weekend: Contra

Another fun catchy album from Vampire Weekend.  I sense that this one wasn’t liked as much as their debut, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

5.  Gil Scott-Heron: I’m New Here

Poetry to a Dubstep soundscape!  An underestimated album in my opinion, released way back in January it seems to have been forgotten (or missed) by many.

6.  Beach House: Teen Dream

This seems to have been Beach House’s break through year. I was a fan of their previous album Devotion and am glad this band has reached a wider audience.  The melodic loops can get a bit sickly if you listen to the whole album over and over.

7.  Deerhunter: Halcyon Digest

“A mix of crunchy psych-rock, spaced-out ambience, indie rock and pop” (NPR).

8.  Sufjan Stevens: The Age of Adz

This is probably my present listening favourite.

9.  Caribou: Swim

With a PhD in Mathematics this guy understands the beauty of sound patterns.

10.  Sleigh Bells: Treats

Riotous; crazy, just crazy – you’ve never heard anything like this before.

Because it is so tough to keep a selection to 10, here are some other favourites that came close:

Astro Coast: Surfer Blood

West coast surf grooves.

The Radio Dept.: Clinging to a Scheme

Like ‘I’m New Here’ has a smoker on the front sleeve and like ‘The Tallest Man on Earth’ ‘The Radio Dept.’ is Swedish.

Tame Impala: InnerSpeaker

Psychedelic pop from the land down under.

Laura Marling: I Speak Because I Can

Folk music – a British Joni Mitchell!

The New Pornographers: Together

The Vancouver bands best album to date (in my opinion)

Fool’s Gold: Fool’s Gold

More African rhythms than ‘Vampire Weekend’.  The opening track ‘Surprise Hotel’ is an absolute cracker.

And some others that get an honourable mention:

The Walkman: Lisbon

Yeasayer: ODD BLOOD

Broken Social Scene: The Forgiveness Rock Record

Jonsi: Go

If your want to know the music critic lists check out this compendium with a complete list of lists!