Top 20 albums of the year 2021

The year that live music returned also brought several long-awaited studio albums, and a few unexpected gems too. In time-honoured tradition, here are my top 20 albums of the year:

Best of 2021 Spotify playlist

1.) The Blue Stones – Hidden Gems

Canadian blues-rock duo effortlessly blend hard rock riffs with R&B grooves on their second record to create a truly irresistible sound.

2.) Press To Meco – Transmute

The most underrated band in the UK are going from strength to strength with the addition of a new drummer and an even broader palette of sounds on this, their third full-length album.

3.) Foxing – Draw Down The Moon

The most unpredictable record of the year, each shift of tone will keep you guessing where this enigmatic band will go next.

4.) Wolf Alice – Blue Weekend

Perpetual Mercury Prize nominees keep up their incredible run, even if this record doesn’t quite scale the heights of their past two.

5.) Biffy Clyro – The Myth Of The Happily Ever After

One of the best things to come out of lockdown – Biffy crank up the intensity and the experimentation on an album that seems brilliantly devoid of concern for commercial success.

6.) Lakes – Start Again

Quite possibly the cheeriest break-up album ever penned, you can’t help but smile at those optimistic harmonies.

7.) Manchester Orchestra – The Million Masks Of God

Although slightly underwhelming by their lofty standards, the latest Manchester Orchestra album is still a captivating listen packed with tender moments and delightful melodies.

8.) Weezer – Van Weezer

The long-delayed Van Halen tribute album is far less gimmicky than it sounds, as 80s hair metal influences have enlivened all of the best Weezer records over the years.

9.) Bicurious – (re)constructed

Deviously inventive and enthralling, this fascinating post-rock record is one worth listening to at full volume.

10.) Mogwai – As The Love Continues

Scottish post rock pioneers finally get the Mercury recognition they deserve on their 10th studio album.

11.) Codices – Vivid
12.) Arlo Parks – Collapsed In Sunbeams
13.) Lonely The Brave – The Hope List
14.) The Vaccines – Back In Love City
15.) The Go! Team – Get Up Sequences Part One
16.) Quicksand – Distant Populations
17.) Death From Above 1979 – Is 4 Lovers
18.) We Are Scientists – Huffy
19.) Black Pistol Fire – Look Alive
20.) Elbow – Flying Dream

So what have we got to look forward to in 2022? A full festival calendar would be a joyous thing, and there are exciting new releases on the horizon from Arctic Monkeys, Frank Turner, Placebo and Gang Of Youths.

For now, I’ll leave you with my video of the year, which comes from another band due to release a new album in 2022 – enjoy…

Top 20 albums of the year 2020

This isn’t a year many will look back on too fondly, and with tours postponed and album releases delayed, you’d be forgiven for thinking it wasn’t a great year for new music, but you’d be wrong. If you happen to have a lot of time on your hands, for whatever reason, give some of these a spin…

Best of 2020 Spotify playlist

1.) Doves – The Universal Want

A triumphant return after a 11-year hiatus. Jimi Goodwin’s soothing tones are more welcome now than ever.

Stream: Cathedrals Of The Mind, Carousels.

2.) Biffy Clyro – A Celebration Of Endings

Balancing the bizarre with the mainstream has been Biffy’s challenge for the past 10 years and on this album they’ve struck the balance perfectly.

Stream: Cop Syrup, Tiny Indoor Fireworks.

3.) Four Year Strong – Brain Pain

A blistering, cathartic record that finishes as abruptly as it explodes into life.

Stream: It’s Cool, Young At Heart.

4.) Sports Team – Deep Down Happy

What if Art Brut but with actual singing? The best debut album of the year by a country mile, will leave you wanting to learn every last whip-smart lyric.

Stream: Lander, Here’s The Thing.

5.) Nothing But Thieves – Moral Panic

Combines all the best bits of their first two albums into a delightfully cohesive whole.

Stream: Can You Afford To Be An Individual? Is Everybody Going Crazy?

6.) Neck Deep – All Distortions Are Intentional

The way the first half of this album seamlessly flows together and the general production values show that this is a band at the peak of their powers.

Stream: Fall, Pushing Daisies.

7.) Mystery Jets – A Billion Heartbeats

Arguably the most zeitgeisty album on this list – written in 2019, but all the more relevant in 2020.

Stream: History Has Its Eyes On You, A Billion Heartbeats.

8.) Another Sky – I Slept On The Floor

Catrin Vincent’s fascinatingly androgynous voice lifts this haunting record into the realm of the extraordinary.

Stream: How Long? Fell In Love With The City.

9.) Sparta – Trust The River

Their first album in 14 years is a nostalgic treat that hits all the right notes.

Stream: Empty Houses, No One Can Be Nowhere.

10.) Creeper – Sex, Death & The Infinite Void

Goth-punk breakout stars defy logic by completely reinventing themselves as glam-rock crooners for their second album – a brave move that really paid off.

Stream: Cyanide, Napalm Girls.

11.) beabadoobee – Fake It Flowers
12.) Laura Marling – Song For Our Daughter
13.) Orchards – Lovecore
14.) Travis – 10 Songs
15.) Electric Soft Parade – Stages
16.) Everything Everything – RE-ANIMATOR
17.) Fleet Foxes – Shore
18.) Spanish Love Songs – Brave Faces Everyone
19.) Twin Atlantic – POWER
20.) HAIM – Women In Music Pt. III

What’s to come in 2021? Hopefully a return to live music for many and the released of the delayed albums from Weezer and the Foos. As always, I’ll leave you with my video of the year, enjoy!

Top 20 albums of the decade 2010-2019

The end of the decade brings a nice opportunity to reflect on the good and the truly exceptional. If you happen to have missed any of these, I implore you to give them a listen – needless to say every one is a gem in its own way…

1.) 65daysofstatic – We Were Exploding Anyway

This album opened my mind to a whole new genre of instrumental music and is one of the all-time best driving records.

2.) Elbow – Build A Rocket Boys!

A graceful masterpiece that captures both the innocence of youth and the humility of ageing. Forget the Mercury-winning Seldom Seen Kid, this is Elbow at their finest.

3.) Gang Of Youths – Go Farther In Lightness

The only album on this list that I discovered late (so it doesn’t feature on any of my album of the year lists), Go Farther In Lightness is a sprawling epic, capped off by one of my all-time favourite songs, Perservere.

4.) Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

I was very excited when Pat Smear rejoined the Foo Fighters and sure enough this record sees them scale the heights of their previous record with him, The Colour and The Shape (still my #1 album of all time).

5.) Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

Cinematic in its scope and acutely observed, Win Butler’s world-weary lyricism instantly transports you to suburban Texas. A massively underrated album due to the lack of a standout single and perhaps the quintessential grower.

6.) Dry The River – Shallow Bed

The peak of the new-folk movement, Dry The River’s debut is a blissfully brilliant listen and made for a fantastic live show.

7.) Frank Turner – England Keep My Bones

In an era when English national identity has become something of a thorny issue, the warmth and honesty of this album is something to be cherished.

8.) Arctic Monkeys – AM

After two hugely underwhelming albums (Humbug, Suck It And See), this record heralded the rebirth of the Arctic Monkeys and made Alex Turner the coolest man in Britain.

9.) Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

Daft Punk don’t release many albums (only 4 in their 22-year career) or play many live shows, but when they do it’s pretty special and makes the world sit up and take note. Of all the cameos on here, Nile Rogers’ collaboration seems like a match made in heaven.

10.) Biffy Clyro – Opposites

Most double albums leave me wishing the band had trimmed it down to one amazing record. Not this one, which is arguably the best of its kind. One of my biggest live music regrets is not shelling out to see them headline Reading with this wonderful noise.

11.) Public Service Broadcasting – Every Valley

12.) Mystery Jets – Curve Of The Earth

13.) Band Of Skulls – Himalayan

14.) Twin Atlantic – The Great Divide

15.) Dive Dive – Potential

16.) Idlewild – Everything Ever Written

17.) Laura Marling – A Creature I Don’t Know

18.) Wolf Alice – My Love Is Cool

19.) Canterbury – Dark Days

20.) Queens Of The Stone Age – …Like Clockwork

Thanks to those of you who have followed my blog for the past 10 years – here’s to the next decade of fantastic music!

Top 20 albums of the year 2019

A great year for new music in my humble opinion, here’s my annual rundown…

1.) Indoor Pets – Be Content

This delightfully dorky debut album is absolutely brimming with shout-along choruses, clever hooks and distinct personality from the band formerly known as Get Inuit.

2.) Jimmy Eat World – Surviving

Their best record in over a decade, encompassing everything from cheesy saxophone solos to six-minute riff monsters.

3.) Vampire Weekend – Father Of The Bride

A diverse and sprawling record that shows off the maturity of Ezra Koenig’s songwriting skills.

4.) American Football – LP3

From emo revival to full-blown renaissance, American Football are back for good and their third self-titled album adds a new dimension with the female guest vocals supplied by Rachel Goswell, Elizabeth Powell (Land of Talk) and Hayley Williams (Paramore).

5.) Band Of Skulls – Love Is All You Love

Few bands can balance two styles so evenly as Band of Skulls, veering from a glam-rock strut to a reflective saunter and back without ever jarring in your ear. This is another fine addition to their increasingly impressive back catalogue.

6.) Get Up Kids – Problems

The emo pioneers roll back the years on this hugely satisfying record, their first in eight years, but their best in 20.

7.) The Amazons – Future Dust

“This is how Arch Rivals* would sound if you were in charge,” said Helen**. I’m gonna take that as a compliment…

8.) Idlewild – Interview Music

As subtle and diverse as you’d expect from Idlewild, this wonderfully poetic album rewards repeat listens.

9.) The Flatliners – Inviting Light

Chris Creswell’s voice leapt out at me from Spotify album radio and I still haven’t got over it. This fifth album from the Canadian quartet is a true revelation.

10.) Elbow – Giants Of All Sizes

Lead singles Dexter & Sinister and Empires set the bar very high indeed, and while the rest of this album doesn’t quite live up to that standard, it’s still a delightful record.

11.) Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost p1

12.) Foals– Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost p2

13.) Biffy Clyro – Balance Not Symmetry OST

14.) Whenyoung – Reasons To Dream

15.) Rival Sons – Feral Roots

16.) Weezer – The Teal Album

17.) Millencolin – SOS

18.) Dinosaur Pile-up – Celebrity Mansions

19.) Human Pyramids – Power Pose

20.) Dive Dive – The Waves Behind

There are plenty of new records to get excited about in 2020 from the likes of Green Day, Twin Atlantic and Weezer (yes, another one!) But for now, I leave you with my video of the year…

*My old band
** My wife

6 band names that just don’t work with voice search

Until very recently, I thought that voice assistants were a bit of a gimmick for tech addicts or the lazy, but since having a baby last year, I’ve realised that they are a great way to queue up some music when your hands are full.

I’ve paired my Spotify account to my Google Mini home assistant and Chromecast, so I can just say ‘Play X’ and voila, a greatest hits-style playlist starts up on my TV. Not exactly rocket science you’d think, but as the title of this post implies, there are some bands whose names just plain don’t work:

1. A

I have no doubt the band didn’t see this coming when they came up with their obnoxious name, but searching for their music on Spotify via voice command is nigh-on impossible. It just assumes I want to hear anything on Spotify and resumes my last-played music.

2. The Music

See ‘A’ – it doesn’t even work if you ask for ‘The Music, the band’ – you just end up with a band called ‘The Band’. Confused yet? Me too…

3. Hundred Reasons

One I was really surprised by as their name is two fairly basic words put together, but search with your voice and you get…

4. Only Echoes Remain

Maybe because they’re not (yet) a household name, but Google doesn’t know what to do with this band name. And it’s not just because they’re post rock – I was able to request Maybeshewill, And So I Watch You From Afar, 65daysofstatic and TTNG without any problems. However, when I asked for Only Echoes Remain, I got…

5. The Xcerts

Shout out to Claire for this one – if you search for the Xcerts via voice command you get the equally excellent, but really quite different:

6. !!!

Admittedly not a band I often listen to, but I thought I’d give it a go for the purposes of bringing this blog post to a nice round half-dozen. Apparently their name is pronounced ‘chit, chit, chit’, which Google interprets as:


Bonus tip: If you’ve got a Google Home Hub (or Amazon Echo or Apple HomePod), you can ask: ‘What’s this song?’ when the radio’s playing and it will identify it. No more need for Shazam. Neat, huh?

What I have I missed? Let me know in the comments…

Top 20 albums of the year 2018

My first post in over a year* is the compulsory albums of the year round-up. Read on to listen to my top picks from the past 12 months…

1.) The Vaccines – Combat Sports

A perfect half-hour of pop rock delights from “the last of the great romantic poets”. The ideal soundtrack to the hottest summer in living memory.
Stream: Out On The Street, Rolling Stones

2.) Press To Meco – Here’s To The Fatigue

Croydon power trio hit the big time with Marshall Records and supremo producer Gene ‘Machine’ Freeman.
Stream: Familiar Ground, A Place In It All

3.) Eels – The Deconstruction

E lays his heart bare once again, taking in everything from fatherhood to divorce.
Stream: Sweet Scorched Earth, Today Is The Day

4.) The Go! Team – Semicircle

A dazzling smorgasbord of instrumentation and genre-bending, even better than their 2004 debut.
Stream: Mayday, All The Way Live

5.) Editors – Violence

Brummy quintet bring real electro swagger to their latest offering.
Stream: Belong, So Low (Hallelujah)

6.) Muse – Simulation Theory

So garish, so kitsch, so much fun. Their 2019 world tour can’t come soon enough.
Stream: Pressure, Propaganda

7.) Fatherson – Sum Of All Your Parts

This Kilmarnock trio have been lauded as the next Frightened Rabbit, and whilst they may not be at that level just yet, their third album is a huge step forward.
Stream: The Rain, Oh Yes

8.) Art Brut – Wham! Bang! Pow! Let’s Rock Out!

The archetypal comeback record from Eddie Argos and co. Feat big brass.
Stream: Kultfigur, Wham! Bang! Pow! Let’s Rock Out!


Laura Marling/Mike Lindsay collab shimmers with chilled-out brilliance.
Stream: Late To The Flight, Curse Of The Contemporary

10.) Ash – Islands

Tim Wheeler’s break-up album is packed with hidden charms.
Stream: Incoming Waves, Buzzkill

11.) Orchards – Losers/Lovers
12.) Smashing Pumpkins – Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun.
13.) Frank Turner – Be More Kind
14.) Black Foxxes – Reiði
15.) Thrice – Palms
16.) Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
17.) Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. – Young Adult
18.) Trophy Eyes – The American Dream
19.) Alkaline Trio – Is This Thing Cursed?
20.) The Magic Numbers – Outsiders

Looking forward to 2019, we can expect more pop-rock silliness from Weezer’s Black Album, comebacks from Millencolin and Doves, as well as the rumoured reincarnation of Creeper. In the meantime, I leave you with my video of the year – guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

*Convenient excuse – I became a dad!


Top 20 albums of the year 2017

It’s been a particularly strong year for new music – for the first time in a decade I could have easily stretched this to a top 40 – but in keeping with tradition, here are my top 20 albums of the year. Click on the headline to listen in full on Spotify.

1.) Creeper – Eternity In Your Arms

Quite simply the most exciting debut album to come out in years. The goth punk six-piece’s first full-length is electrifying stuff, combining the dramatic riffs of AFI with the gritty vocals of Alkaline Trio and the unashamed mythologising of My Chemical Romance. Their upcoming US tour supporting Neck Deep should see thousands more recruited to the cult.
Stream: Hiding With The Boys, Suzanne

2.) Elbow – Little Fictions

2017 may have been the year that Elbow recorded the John Lewis advert, but the Manchester indie veterans kicked off the year with another memorable record packed with melodic masterpieces and lyrical delights.
Stream: K2, Kindling

3.) Laura Marling – Semper Femina

A dazzling return to form from Britain’s most underrated solo artist, which was capped off by an effortlessly beautiful set on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury.
Stream: Wild Fire, Nothing Not Nearly

4.) Arcade Fire – Everything Now

Fully embracing their disco and glam-rock influences, Arcade Fire’s latest release is a significant improvement on Reflektor, although the self-indulgent finale We Don’t Deserve Love is definitely one to skip.
Stream: Creature Comfort, Infinite Content

5.) Tall Ships – Impressions

The long-awaited follow-up to Everything Touching finally saw the light of day after a five-year gestation and it was more than worth the wait, with the band focusing on direct songwriting over gradual crescendos. Clearly it took a lot out of them, as they announced their break-up in  the summer and played their final show just last Saturday.
Stream: Home, Will To Life

6.) Foo Fighters – Concrete And Gold

With no gimmicky concept or studio-hopping marathons, the ninth Foos album is a straight-up classic of hard rock instrumentation and catchy tunes in perfect harmony. The litany of cameos (Paul McCartney, Justin Timberlake etc.) doesn’t disrupt the flow and the loud-quiet dynamic is as punchy as it has ever been.
Stream: T-Shirt, Run

7.) Queens Of The Stone Age – Villains

The Josh Homme show continues in full flow, with the ginger Elvis recruiting Mark Ronson to add an extra layer of swagger to the production of this, the band’s seventh studio album. Irresistibly devilish.
Stream: The Way You Used To Do, The Evil Has Landed

8.) Wolf Alice – Visions Of A Life

This incredibly versatile quartet’s sophomore album is every bit as varied and intriguing as their debut, with singer Ellie Rowsell channeling the spirit of Courtney Love, Billy Corgan and Taylor Swift by turns.
Stream: Yuk Foo, Beautifully Unconventional

9.) Public Service Broadcasting – Every Valley

A concept album about a Welsh mining village might seem like a stretch for this most English of art-rock bands, but with clever use of archive samples and some truly stellar guest vocals, the result is utterly heart-warming.
Stream: Turn No More, They Gave Me A Lamp

10.) Everything Everything – A Fever Dream

It’s really saying something that an album about the nightmarish state of media, culture and politics including a song about Michael Gove can still make you want to dance until you drop.
Stream: Big Game, Run The Numbers

11.) Manchester Orchestra – A Black Mile To The Surface
12.) The xx – I See You
13.) AFI – AFI
14.) Alt-J – Relaxer
15.) Jamie Lenman – Devolver
16.) Death From Above – Outrage! Is Now
17.) And So I Watch You From Afar – The Endless Shimmering
18.) At The Drive-In – in.ter
19.) Arcane Roots – Melancholia Hymns
20.) Royal Blood – How Did We Get So Dark?

I’m sure I’ve missed plenty off, so please let me know in the comments below, and I’ll leave you with my video of the year:

Slow burners: 8 of the best hard rock intros

A recent article on the BBC, which suggests that intros are dying out, prompted me to finally write a post I’ve been knocking around for a while now. Not that you’d know it from the start of this blog, but I believe that well-crafted intros are a fine art and one that I’d hate to see die out completely. Even if we do have an average online attention span of just eight seconds, surely there’s got to be room in life for the slow-burner. The BBC article linked above gives a handful of fairly predictable choices for the best epic song intro, and here are mine:

Audioslave: Cochise

Those pounding drums, that scratchy guitar and then, after nearly a full minute of anticipation, the big riff and Chris Cornell’s immortal voice.

Biffy Clyro: Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies

Convoluted, confusing and utterly brilliant. I must have listened to this intro hundreds of times, but I still get it wrong when I try to sing along.

Foo Fighters: In Your Honour

The most stadium-sized song the Foos have recorded to date, if I was Dave Grohl I’d open every single show with this absolute belter.

Led Zeppelin: The Song Remains The Same

87 seconds long and featuring at least eight separate phases, this masterpiece is the mother of all hard rock intros.

The Mars Volta: Cygnus… Vismund Cygnus

One of those quiet intros that tricks you into turning up the volume before blowing your head off 45 seconds later. Only with a dizzying blast of salsa-inspired post-rock.

Muse: Knights of Cydonia

Within five seconds you’re aware there’s a Western theme coming, within ten they’ve thrown in a sci-fi element and within 40 you’re wailing your head off to Matt Bellamy’s indiscernible shrieking.

Pink Floyd: In The Flesh?

So many of Pink Floyd’s songs start slowly that, in my teen years, I once skipped through their entire greatest hits impatiently searching for instant gratification. But as they say, good things come to those who wait.

Queens Of The Stone Age: (You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A) Millionaire

Most of the tracks on the seminal Songs For The Deaf could make this list, thanks to the brilliant radio intros punctuating the record, but this one stands out for its utter mastery of the loud-quiet dynamic and Nick Oliveri’s inimitable vocals.

As usual, I’ve probably missed some right gems, so let me know in the comments below and I’ll leave you with the best track that totally shuns any concept of an intro and just gets right into it:






Top 20 albums of the year 2016

For the tenth year in a row, here’s my list of the best albums released over the past 12 months. Follow the links to listen to the full thing on Spotify:

1.) Mystery Jets – Curve Of The Earth

Far more ambitious and adventurous than I ever thought this lot were capable of – the outstanding surprise of the year and a worthy winner.
Stream: Telomere, 1985

2.) Frightened Rabbit – Painting Of A Panic Attack

Perhaps the most underrated indie-rock band in the UK are finally starting to get the recognition that they deserve.
Stream: Lump Street, Die Like A Rich Boy

3.) Explosions In The Sky – The Wilderness

Yet another atmospheric masterpiece from the kings of post-rock, which rewards repeat listening.
Stream: Disintegration Anxiety, Colours In Space

4.) Band Of Skulls – By Default

Southampton power trio add some serious swagger to their bombastic mix of riffs and choruses. Irresistibly catchy stuff.
Stream: Black Magic, By Default

5.) Thrice – To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere

Well worth the wait after a four-year hiatus. Orange Country’s emo veterans are back with a bang.
Stream: Hurricane, Black Honey

6.) The Last Shadow Puppets – Everything You’ve Come To Expect

Alex Turner and Miles Kane join forces once again for the second spectacular album from their orchestral indie supergroup.
Stream: Dracula Teeth, Bad Habits

7.) Twin Atlantic – GLA

Glasgow rockers get rowdy on their fourth album, which is interspersed with some truly touching acoustic tracks as well.
Stream: I Am Alive, Whispers

8.) Blink 182 – California

Who needs Tom DeLonge? A change in frontman threatened to derail Blink 182, but Matt Skiba has slotted in seamlessly.
Stream: Kings Of The Weekend, No Future

9.) Weezer – The White Album

Set aside the daft ramblings of Thank God For Girls and this is the most consistent album that Weezer have released since Maladroit.
Stream: King Of The World, Wind In Our Sail

10.) Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Getaway

Still going strong in their fourth decade, the grandaddies of funk-rock are back on form with this solid collection of effortless tunes.
Stream: Goodbye Angels, This Ticonderoga

11.) Pixies – Head Carrier
12.) Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
13.) Jimmy Eat World – Integrity Blues
14.) 65daysofstatic – No Man’s Sky: Music For An Infinite Universe
15.) Biffy Clyro – Ellipsis
16.) Taking Back Sunday – Tidal Wave
17.) Travis – Everything At Once
18.) Sonic Boom Six – The F Bomb
19.) Green Day – Revolution Radio
20.) PAWS – No Grace

Plenty to look forward to in 2017, with Arcade Fire, Foo Fighters, Elbow and Tall Ships all shaping up to release new records. I’ll go into more depth on those in a future post, but for now I’ll leave you with my video of the year:

Post-rock primer: 5 great albums to get you hooked on instrumental music

Tomorrow sees the start of ArcTanGent – one of the few festivals in the UK dedicated to post-rock, math-rock, noise-rock and generally obscure but mind-bending music – and this has prompted me to finally write a post I’ve been knocking around for months.

Post rock raven

I’ll admit, not all bands that identify themselves as post-rock are strictly instrumental only, but broadly speaking the genre is typified by a reliance on progressive compositions or unexpected dynamic shifts, rather than on clever lyrics and catchy choruses. This can be a turn-off for some, but for others this kind of music is ideal for when you really need to focus and lyrics are a big distraction. So the next time you have to finish an essay, write a report, or even pen a seriously pretentious blog post, pop on one of these magnificent albums (via the orange Spotify links below) and enjoy.

  1. And So I Watch You From Afar – Heirs

Release: 2015
Average track length: 4:19
Key tracks: Run Home, Animal Ghosts
Fun fact: The shortest track on this album, Wasps was recently used as the soundtrack for a Tony Hawk skateboarding video.

  1. 65daysofstatic – We Were Exploding Anyway

Released: 2010
Average track length: 5:34
Key tracks: Mountainhead, Go Complex
Fun fact: After opening for The Cure on their 2008 European Tour, the Sheffield band teamed up with Robert Smith for Come To Me, the only track on this album that features vocals.

  1. Explosions In The Sky – The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place

Released: 2003
Average track length: 9:03
Key tracks: First Breath After Coma, Your Hand In Mine
Fun fact:  The Vitamin String Quartet included an abridged cover version of Your Hand In Mine in their 2010 compilation album The Rock N’ Roll Wedding Collection Vol. 2.

Explosions in the Sky meme

  1. Cougar – Patriot

Release: 2009
Average track length: 4:05
Key tracks: Heavy Into Jeff, Endings
Fun fact: Founded in Wisconsin in 2003, the band decided on their name before it became slang for a middle-aged female sexual predator.

  1. Maybeshewill – I Was Here For A Moment, Then I Was Gone

Release: 2011
Average track length: 4:05
Key tracks: Relative Minors, To The Skies From A Hillside
Fun fact: In a 2008 review, Drowned In Sound described the Leicester quintet as sounding “like Mogwai would if they had ever found love in an arthouse cinema. And then were beaten around the head with a keyboard.”