30) King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Sleep Drifter
With an evocative, Middle Eastern flavour given by the use of microtonal scales, King Gizzard moved further into experimentation whilst still retaining elements that have been crucial to their previous recordings, notably the wonderful bluesy stomp that closes out the track.
29) Oh Sees – Nite Expo/Animated Violence
Double cut from Oh Sees that rides smoothly from one track to the other due to its utilisation of similar chord progressions. Tension is built through the synth-psychedelia of ‘Nite Expo’ before exploding in a wave of thrashy, garage rock anchored by aggressive guitar slides and a roaring vocal performance from John Dwyer.
28) Kelela – Frontline
Sweeping, textured R&B track that builds in potency throughout on the back of deep, resonant production and a powerful Kelela vocal performance that flows with a stress and rhyme pattern of high audacity.
27) The National – Day I Die
‘Day I Die’ is a soundtrack for those at a crossroads. The characteristically dark, emotionally charged atmosphere of The National is layered with more synthesisers underneath the choppy drumming and wailing guitars to represent a sort of doubling of meaning; the band themselves are at an intersection of different sounds on top of the more apparent theme of looking forward from the position of a failed relationship.
26) LCD Soundsystem – Call the Police
In an age where dance music often tends away from any sense of artfulness, the indie rock-dance punk fusion of the returning LCD track was like a breath of fresh air. The subtle and gradual addition of sounds and textures to give ‘Call the Police’ a sense of progression was an unmistakably James Murphy touch.
25) Sampha – Plastic 100c
A gorgeous lyrical approach full of bold, sensual imagery and Sampha’s typically evocative vocal delivery make Plastic 100°c a track that searches for grandness and the sublime. This is given heightened effect through the sampling of Neil Armstrong as he is about to touch down on the moon.
24) King Krule – Half Man-Half Shark
Archy Marshall’s ability to put ungraspable sensations into music is on show with Half Man Half Shark. The unconstrained, genre bending fusion of upbeat rockabilly and punk abrasiveness is reflective of the feeling of the track in its series of impressions bound by no theme.
23) Julie Byrne – Natural Blue
Solitude, reflection, awe; Julie Byrne brings them all together in ‘Natural Blue’ to beautifully express a ethereal moment of existence that might otherwise escape appreciation in the hustle of day-to-day life.
22) Vince Staples – Yeah Right ft. Kucka, Flume & Kendrick Lamar
This four way collaboration between Vince, Flume, Kucka and Kendrick Lamar is a highly ambitious track both in content and structure. It focuses largely on legitimacy of hip hop, particularly the divide between image and reality of many rappers, whilst the use of two hooks and the variation in flows from verse to verse gives it a highly original edge. Kendrick’s whirlwind of a verse in particular is a masterfully executed show of sustain and release rapping, using rests and fluctuative stress patterns with biting effect.
21) Slowdive – Star Roving
The aptly named song is a transcendence of the shoegaze genre, the washy, immense waves of guitar tone and chugging rhythm sending the listener shooting into the stars for five and a half minutes. The hush of the breakdown in the middle serves as a moment of blissful reflection, before the instruments kick in and it starts all over again.