It has been a good year for new music and for me I have discovered some established artists that are new to me (My Life Story, Jamie Freeman, Swim Deep) plus strong returns from some favorites (The Divine Comedy, the Darker My Horizon & Evergrey). There is si much good new music out there, and older music to discover. What are you waiting for? Off you go and enjoy 🙂
THE DIVINE COMEDY ‘Office Politics’ a real tour de force on this double album. It has everyting from the pop classic ‘Norma and Norman’ through to the avant garde pop of ‘Phillip and Steve’s Furniture Removal Company’. Quirky pop perfection.
2. PHIL LANZON ’48 Seconds’ Not quite making the number one spot for the second year running, he still produced an album of memorable songs and will there be another album next year? We can but hope!
3. JAMIE FREEMAN ‘Dreams About Falling’ a fantastic mix of country, Americana and pop from a talented singer songwriter. A new name to this reviewer and one of the most played albums this year for me.
4. STEELEYE SPAN ‘Est’d 1969‘ the band celebrate their 50th anniversary with one of their best studio albums to date. Steeleye Span are sailing with confidence into their fiftieth anniversary, backed by this very enjoyable album and the band’s seemingly endless love of getting out and performing live in order to keep their songs and traditional music alive.
5. BIG BIG TRAIN ‘Grand Tour’ their sound moves on from the pastoral themes of the past couple of albums into a wider scope, a world tour of the arts and discovery. They keep their high musical standards and in ‘Alive’ have produced one of the feel good anthems of the year.
6. JIM PETERIK & WORLD STAGE ‘Winds Of Change’ Frontiers in a year when there were plenty of new melodic rock/AOR releases, few really stood out and warranted repeated plays. This album is one of the few and with guests including Don Barnes, Kevin Cronin and Dennis de Young plus the writing skills of Jim Peterik, you know you are in for a treat and some melodic rock gold.
7. EVERGREY ‘The Atlantic’ AFM Records they are back and they don’t disappoint.
8. FLYING COLORS ‘Third Degree’ Mascot album number three and a more pop slant overall. ‘You Are Not Alone’ is one of the songs of the year.
9. MY LIFE STORY ‘World Citizen’ Exilophone Classy pop and a wonderful set of melodies.
10. THE NEW ROSES ‘Nothing But Wild!’ Napalm Records this band deserves to be HUGE!
11. THE REMBRANDTS ‘Via Satellite’ another band (okay duo) back after a long time. Plenty of memorable pop rock treats to be enjoyed here.
12. DEVIN TOWNSEND ‘Empath’ Inside Out An album where he mixes in every musical style he does and it works. Plus a video featuring drumming elephants and a gorilla on bass, what’s not to like?
13. SWIM DEEP ‘Emerald Classics’ another new name to me and one of the joys of reviewing is coming across albums like this. One for discerning pop pickers – not ‘arf!
14. CATS IN SPACE ‘Daytrip To Narnia’ more 70s influenced rock and pop – think the Sweet jamming with 10CC and Cheap Trick, nice…
15. THE DARKER MY HORIZON ‘Seize The Day’ their strongest album to date and hopefully will bring them the success they deserve.
16. JEFF LYNNE’S ELO ‘From Out Of Nowhere’ solo album under the ELO name some say. Who cares as it sounds like ELO and good to see Richard Tandy feature on one song.
17. KING OF HEARTS MelodicRock Records blimey been awhile since this lot last released an album (1989!). Excellent, classy AOR as it should be done.
18. SOLIEL MOON ‘Warrior’ Frontiers like King Of Hearts, this album is a classy piece of AOR featuring the wonderful vocals of Larry King.
19. LONELY ROBOT ‘Under Stars’ Inside Out final part of the trilogy (or is it?!) sees John Mitchell harness his love of 80s synth pop.
20. WHITESNAKE ‘Flesh & Blood’ Frontiers better than expected and has some great rockers on it.
21. TRISHULA ‘Scared To Breathe’ Neal Fraser (Ten, Rage Of Angels) solo project and one of the year’s best melodic rock treats.
22. THIS WINTER MACHINE ‘A Tower Of Clocks’ F2 Music
23. ROYAL REPUBLIC ‘Club Majesty’ Nuclear Blast totally bonkers mix of disco, rock, pop, funk – damn good fun!
24. PETER H. NILSSON ‘Little American Dream’ AOR Heaven
25. BATTLE BEAST ‘No More Hollywood Endings’ Nuclear Blast
26. MYRATH ‘Shehili’
27. MIKE VASS ‘Save His Calm’ such a soothing voice, perfect headphones listening.
28. JONES ‘Carver’s Law’ another singer with songs you can loose yourself in for awhile…
29. THE HOLD STEADY ‘Thrashin’ Through The Passion’
30. EMPIRE CIRCUS ‘Ti’
30. = DANDELION CHARM ‘Maybe Dreamers’ folk, prog, rock, jazz – this band have it all on a very assured debut album.
Plus plenty more good ‘uns which just missed the cut including Fortune’s comeback ‘II’, Hat’s Off Gentlemen That’s Adequate’s EP ‘Ark’, Donnie Vie’s pop rock beauty that is ‘Beautiful Things’, LEE ABRAHAM’s concept piece ‘Comotose’ on F2 Music, CANONBALLZ ‘8Ballz2Many’ on MelodicRock Records, Pretty Maids ‘Undress Your Madness’ & Avantasia’s ‘Moonglow’.