December 17, 2015

HCTF's best of 2015 (5-1)

2015 was a rather good year for music. HCTF lists the 20 albums that will be in regular rotation for many years to come.

Today: final countdown from number 5 to 1. Go here for 10-6 | 15-11 | 20-16.

5 The Leonids: Satellite Broadcast Kill

Exquisite orchestral pop meets jazz. The sky is the limit on a genre-crossing concept album of sorts.

{...} an album in the true sense of the word. Each song has its own flow and texture, but all of them contribute to the overall sound and feel: jazzy pop with uncanny ear for harmonic detail. Whether they are taking a bow to the Eighties synths (The Common World) or use a bass clarinet as the lead instrument (Under The Leonids), it all fits like a jigsaw that is complicated and straightforward at the same time. The title track is a superb throwback to the heyday of UK orchestral pop. Adele will be fucking jealous.

» Full review

4 Johnny Dowd: That's Your Wife on the Back of My Horse

The world most prolific trashcan Americana singer goes fiercely DIY, with an old drum machine, guitar and scary sounding pre-programmed keyboards.

Dowd is a troubadour in his own right, a Tom Waits-alike raconteur who won't back down, telling the world that "it sucks to get old" in Poor, but Proud. No problem if you cry for lost youth (Teardrops), but keep your guard up. He still might still steal your wife in the end.

» Full review

3 The Sideshow Tragedy: Capital

Recipe for loud bluesy garage rock: take two guys and let them play resonator guitar and drums. Add vocals. Press play.

(...) a melting pot of gnarly, spicy tunes telling stories about gun fights, trying to keep a composure, funerals, highway men and love affairs from Hell.

Singleton and Harrell have an instant rapport, sounding like they are one guy with four arms and four legs. with the "don't-fuck-with-me" vocals as an added bonus. The Sideshow Tragedy have thrown down a slab of abrasive songs that will induce foot tapping, air guitar and drums.

» Full review

2 The Aristocrats: Tres Caballeros

Prog jazz fusion metal rock virtuosos having fun with their chops. Tons of notes, tons of licks and tons of ideas. Relentless touring has turned them into formidable live act and studio masters.

During their live concerts they spice things up with squealing noises made by a plastic pig and chicken, but after given it some serious thought the pig didn't' make an appearance on the aptly titled Govan showcase Pig’s Day Off - the DVD extra includes Pig’s Day On and it isn't as good; they choose wisely. Beller goes Morricone in his composition Smuggler’s Corridor, with Govan laying down flawless Latin runs and Beller leading a small choir going "Ähaa-Ahaa-Ahaa", a dead ringer for audience participation.

» Full review

1 Alberteen: Miss World

The London rhythm & noir band take a look at life and English history, with a an album honoring "listen, learn, read on".

Alberteen is well aware that there are two sides of the coin in life, a concept that comes to the fore in We Are The Mods (youthful hope for a brighter future) and We Are The Last (sadder but wiser).

Miss World is an album for adults and smart kids. With Mike Bennett (The Fall, Ian Brown) once again the producer's seat, they have come up with a timeless post-punk album filled with a wealth of cultural references that never get in the way of enjoying the music as such.

» Full review


  1. I Dig the list Good job. Also I been a fan of Sideshow for some time glade to see they are getting some love.

  2. I'm very glad to see Johnny Dowd's album get praise. But his music is about as Americana as Motorhead. And he has as much in common with Tom Waits as Sonny Bono did.

    1. It says "trashcan Americana". And then it makes sense.