And so to my favourite five albums of 2015. There'll be no tremendous surprises here for anyone who has cast a beady eye over this blog in the past 12 months. Here we go (in reverse order, natch....).
5) Daniel Knox - Daniel Knox
Daniel's songs can bring a smile to your lips one minute and cause a shiver to run down your spine the next. The power of his voice will rock you back on your heels before melting your heart. It's extraordinary stuff.
4) Trembling Bells - The Sovereign Self
When I listen to Trembling Bells, I find myself concocting make-believe musical genres in an attempt to pin down their general wonderfulness. Last time I posted about them (here) I hit on 'Psych-Folk-Kraut-Rock', though I'm currently favouring 'Medieval-Wyrd-Noir'. Feel free to disregard my waffle, except this next bit...'The Sovereign Self' is an astounding LP.
3) Alasdair Roberts - Alasdair Roberts
I'm sure that everyone has a select clutch of artists about whom they find it incredibly difficult to remain objective. Alasdair Roberts is one such artist for me. This fantastic LP was released on Drag City in January and was followed later in the year by an EP as a member of The Furrow Collective, then in the Autumn with another, self-distributed, solo LP, 'Missed Flights and Fist Fights'. There may very well be more 2015 recordings out there that I still need to track down, such is Alasdair's restlessly creative nature. I have a ticket to see him in concert again in March, expect further gushing superlatives to come your way shortly thereafter.
2) Lonelady - Hinterland
'Hinterland' has been so deeply embedded in my noggin this year, that for a while I completely disregarded it from my 2015 review, being convinced that it must have actually been issued in 2014. It's a terrific album, released a full five years after its predecessor 'Nerve Up'. Let's hope we don't have to wait quite so long for the next one.
1) Rozi Plain - Friend
Rozi Plain contributed substantially to This is the Kit's excellent 'Bashed Out' and also to 'We Resonate' by Rachael Dadd, a fine LP that reached my 2014 long-list. In spite of this, 'Friend', the third album Rozi has released under her own name, inhabits a unique sonic world, sounding quite unlike anything else I've heard, while simultaneously remaining resolutely warm and accessible. An absolute delight and highly recommended.