Best of the Decade: James Auton’s Top Twenty Albums

Best of the Decade: James Auton’s Top Twenty Albums


In no particular order, least of all alphabetical or chronological, my top twenty records of the past decade. There could be twenty other LPs included in this but these are a fair cross section of the period 2010 to 2019, taking albums from each year. If you don’t know them, give them a listen, they’re ace:

I Love You, Honeybear – Father John Misty (2015)

Took a while to wake up to the Father but this is a masterpiece. Brilliant acerbic and witty lyrics, huge arrangements that are now matched on stage. A flamboyant, consummate performer for the 21st century.

Desperate Journalist – Grow Up (2017)

The most consistently brilliant band of the decade. This, their second LP, is flawless. If you must pigeonhole them, they’ve been described as noir indie pop which doesn’t really do them justice. Jo Bevan and Rob Hardy are the best songwriting partnership of this century, in esteemed company from the last.

Paul Draper – Spooky Action (2017)

The greatest voice from the 90’s returned 15 years after the demise of Mansun as if he’s never been away. Arguably this is better than the last two Mansun LP’s, harking back to the stylistic approach from Attack of the Grey Lantern and Six.

Ultrasound – Real Britannia (2016)

Understated release that was a labour of love. Superb Prog tinged indie that is worth it for the one track side two “Blue Remembered Hills” a twenty minute cyclical song, three or four sections of songs that depicts a life from childhood to adulthood.

Menace Beach – Rat World (2015)

Scuzzy indie with post punk edges and psych inflections. Quite a breath of fresh air at the time, lead single ‘Fortune Teller’ a psychedelic Wurlitzer that stood them out from the crowd.

Fontaines DC – Dogrel (2019)

A record bristling with an electricity, stories of those that have shaped their city, Dublin, their lives and their emotional growth as the landscape changes, and they change; for good and for bad. Light and shade from ‘Big’ to ‘Television Screen’, ‘Too Real’ to ‘Roy’s Tune’, simplicity and sonic highs.

Idles – Joy As An Act Of Resistance (2018)

Joy with a side serving of vitriolic fury. Everyone knows their raison d’etre, the bashing down of the walls of toxic masculinity, ill informed Brexiteers, celebrating the immigrant and fighting back against the testosterone fuelled, thick necked bullies, with curly hair.

Shame – Songs Of Praise (2018)

One of the best debut albums of the decade, they managed to splice the Punk fury of Charlie Steen’s delivery and lyrics and the clean guitar hooks of indie greats such as John Squire and Johnny Marr with songs about gynaecologist visits by virtue of a golden ticket (hanging out of his left pocket), a girl and her sugar daddy and nearly running out of cigarette papers.

The Big Moon – Love In the 4th Dimension (2017)

Comfortably the best indie pop record of the decade. Wry and witty lyrics and catchy as hell guitar hooks with simply some of the best songwriting of the past few years. Essential indie disco stuff.

Ghostpoet – Dark Days and Canapés (2017)

Trip-hop infused dark spoken word infused with socio-political imagery. It’s a night time record, for dark times. Incredibly evocative and sombre but expertly crafted.

Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I just Sit (2015)

Excellent Slacker Indie Pop with an Antipodean drawl bemoaning Australian suburbia, the daily grind, not really wanting to go out when you want to stay in and miserable people. All with a massive grin on her face.

Everything, Everything – Man Alive (2010)

Some might call it math rock or the like, but it’s essentially pop with some clever lyrics and unorthodox delivery and subject matter. Not a weak track on it and it holds up over 10 years which is more than can be said for their latter output.

Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool (2016)

Back to form in my humble opinion. I think I’m in the minority on In Rainbows and King of Limbs just wasn’t good at all. From openers ‘Burn The Witch’ and ‘Daydreamer‘ to ‘Numbers‘ and the beautiful closing ‘True Love Waits’ it’s their best complete album since Kid A.

The Joy Formidable – The Big Roar (2011)

One of the best rock records of the past ten years, it took the best bits from their debut EP, A Balloon Called Moaning, and built on it to epic proportions. The Welsh trio make a staggering racket, lead by the diminutive but powerful Ritzy Bryan, straining every last squeal and growl out of her Stratocaster.

Bears Den – Islands (2014)

Before they stepped too heavily on the atmospheric pedal, Bears Den let their superior songwriting do the talking on their debut. A beauteous collection that straddles folk but takes in the epic, anthemic side of Elbow.

Laura Marling – I Speak Because I Can (2010)

Following up her stunning debut, Alas, I Cannot Swim, Laura Marling added a layer of maturity and darkness to her second LP with the likes of opener ‘Devil’s Spoke’ and but retains incredible beauty with ‘Goodbye England’ and ‘What He Wrote’ all raised higher then they might normally by Laura’s ethereal and angelic voice that begins it’s journey on this record not just from the sweet and gentle (‘Made by Maid’) to the forceful and castigating, which both appear in ‘Rambling Man’.

Eaves – What Green Feels Like (2015)

Fragile and beautiful on his own but uplifting and epic when in full flow with his band, Joe Lyons debut is beautifully simplistic one moment and huge the next. His violent childhood is laid bare on the heart-breaking but incredible ‘As Old As The Grave’ “Father/you’re drunk/easy now/only the bottle sees your best and worst” but escapism is a constant thread through this remarkable debut, which appears to be his only record as he’s disappeared without trace. Hopefully he’ll return one day.

alt-J – An Awesome Wave (2012)

Mercury Prize winning debut that is unlike anything that has won it before. The opening quadruped (‘Intro’, ‘Rack and Ruin’, ‘Tessellate’ and ‘Breezeblocks’) are as good an introduction to a band that there has been this decade.

Wolf Alice – My Love is Cool (2015)

Giving grunge a pop sensibility with Ellie Rowsell’s sweet vocals making way for a caterwauling and pained exclamations that seemed to be missing since Courtney Love hung up her vocal chords such as on ‘Bros’ and ‘Giant Peach’. Loud and proud.

Editors – The Weight of your Love (2013)

Arguably their best record, but I may be the only one arguing in favour of their fourth LP. Where their third, In This Light and On This Evening, was quite an abrasive and harsh record with grotesque imagery and EDM elements, The Weight of your Love went back the other way, and including orchestral moments (‘Nothing’) but was also stripped back (‘The Phone Book’) but more than anything it took the their indie anthems and went epic and grandiose, never more so than on centrepiece ‘A Ton of Love’ which is probably their best song.


1 thought on “Best of the Decade: James Auton’s Top Twenty Albums

  1. “bashing down of the walls of toxic masculinity, ill informed Brexiteers, celebrating the immigrant and fighting back against the testosterone fuelled, thick necked bullies, with curly hair.”

    Lol

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