You couldn’t get away with paying what you wanted this time, but Radiohead’s eighth album arrived just as suddenly as its predecessor, accompanied by little fanfare save for a video of Thom’s unsuccessful audition for the next series of So You Think You Can Dance. Its low-key release was appropriate – this was an album that revealed its secrets reluctantly. Heavily influenced by the sinuous electronica of...

 
 
 

After the sweet acoustics of ‘Alas I Cannot Swim’ and the slick 
‘I Speak Because I Can’, Laura Marling put forward her most assured and coherent album 
yet. It tells of a demon Laura battles in her mind on ‘The Muse’ and in her bed 
on the rumbling electrics of ‘The Beast’. From the Dylan-esque ‘Salinas’ to the Leonard Cohen lilt of ‘Night After Night’, Laura grows in the shadow of...

 
 
 

The beauty and the beast pairing that shouldn’t have worked, but did. The duo of The Horrors’ Faris Badwan and pearly-eyed opera singer Rachel Zeffira found each other in the sonic arms of Phil Spector, Joe Meek and Serge Gainsbourg. Together Badwan and Zeffira crafted an album of wistful ’60s longing, gossamer-hearted regret and playful, child-like intrigue. The sound on ‘Cat’s Eyes’ didn’t fall...

 
 
 

"Uh… Huh… Uh… Huh… UH… HUH… UH HUH UH HUH UH HUH”. And thusly, with a whole load of grunting, was the world greeted by Battles MK II and their single ‘Ice Cream’, the first lip-smacking taster from ‘Gloss Drop’. Bright, lurid and brilliantly daft, with a colourful video to match, this was a song that made a total mockery of the notion that music made with much pushing of buttons and...

 
 
 

When Bombay Bicycle Club first broke into the public consciousness, way back on Channel 4’s The Road To V, 
surely no-one would ever have imagined that they would end up here. From the otherworldly coos that open ‘How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep’ to ‘Still’ – a Radiohead-recalling, piano-led slowie of entirely crushing beauty – ‘A Different Kind Of Fix’ blew the quartet’s jauntily lovelorn...

 
 
 

‘A supergroup featuring members of The Spells, Helium and Sleater-Kinney’ wasn’t exactly an email header that had editors banging their desks and demanding cover shoots when Wild Flag’s coming-together was announced last September. Of course, had those same editors simply been given their debut record and told that these girls were 19 instead of ’90s survivors, they’d have been dialing the picture desk...

 
 
 

What did we expect? A really promising, slightly rushed album that’d tick the hype box for The Vaccines and see them through to make a slightly disappointing second effort. Instead we got the indie rock album of the year. The hit rate is what whacks hardest – ‘Post Break Up Sex’, ‘Nørgaard’, ‘Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’ and ‘If You Wanna’ are as good as anything off The Strokes’ debut – but...

 
 
 

From the catatonic opening fuzz of ‘Armed For Peace’ to the pulverising, siren-flecked ‘Sweet Nothing’, Suuns can stake a claim for being the iciest newcomers in rock this year. Part garage band, part fruitloop FX geeks, their debut is at once bleak, haunting and heavy as fuck. It’s an undoubtedly awkward concoction that never tires, coming totally alive when played loud. While they’re still a cult...

 
 
 

The kaftans. The Factory dance moves. The messianic gestures. SCUM have always risked being Anton Newcombe-like figures of fun. We’d be taking the piss with this inclusion if it weren’t for every song exceeding its promise, turning pretension into prophecy. Distortion glimmers with an almost metaphysical sense of hope. Vocals are delivered like tablets from the sky. No joke, this album is far greater than the...

 
 
 

Part avant-garde guitar virtuoso, part gothic chanteuse, part grungy singer-songwriter, Calvi’s emergence was something unique. Her lyrics intrigued with their elliptic allusions, tunnelling around mathematical guitar lines and a voice of dominating authority. From the swishy, Ennio Morricone-style opener ‘Rider To The Sea’ to the weighty, purring PJ Harvey-isms of ‘Suzanne & I’, she was the missing link...

 
 
 
 
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