This is a difficult list to write every year, for the simple reason that I am prone to falling in love with albums and playing them to death. The final five choices here make it because of where I was when I was listening to them, how good the live show was, how much time I had to enjoy them, and most of all - how incredible they are.
5) Little Hell - City and Colour
After being "that guy in Alexis On Fire" for so long Dallas Green decided to do something different. Little Hell is his new band's most recent release and the album he was touring when I got a surprise call inviting me to see them play. I'd given the record a few listens by then but seeing how enormous their show was made me completely fall in love with their music. Arguable best track "Weightless" below:
4) England Keep my Bones - Frank Turner
The reason I keep paying to see Frank play despite the larger, less intimate, and less enjoyable venues (If you want £4.50 for a beer your venue sucks automatically FYI) is that his live show is so energetic and exciting that I'd forgive him pretty much anything. I won't add to my review much but instead offer you the albums best track (and a bonus track at that) "Wanderlust" and a link to the song's atheist hymn "Glory Hallelujah" if you want it (no necessity here, if that sort of thing isn't for you).
3) Taking Back Sunday - Taking Back Sunday
It's about time they kissed and made up. I once met John Nolan and Shaun Cooper and they were fucking cool guys. I'm yet to see the band play under their correct/original line up thanks to work, but this album almost makes up for it. Fun fact - I listened to this when jogging almost exclusively because it always makes me go faster. "Since you're gone" below:
2) Kiss Each Other Clean - Iron and Wine
I wore this one out when I first started placement in NICU back in February by listening to it every day as I commuted in and every day as I travelled back. Unlike Iron & Wine's early offerings this isn't a stripped down folky acoustic record, it's an enormous rock, samba, jazz and country album covering morality, life, brotherhood, faith, and trying to outrun the law. My favourite track has to be the funky breakdown of "Your Fake Name Is Good Enough For Me":
1) The Wages of Fear - Tellison
Tellison are the reason my faith in the UK indy scene is still strong. This album is fun, adventurous, and hardcore, whilst being nerdy and full of literature references. I reviewed it better before, so I'll leave you with two of the best love songs I've ever heard: Rapture and the extremely bizarre Freud Links the Teeth With The Heart (a song which makes my current dental problems less depressing).
Hurry Up, We're Dreaming - M83
Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will - Mogwai
Act 3: Love Will Ruin - The Never Ending White Lights.