Anyway, onto the list.
10. Mariachi El Bronx -II.
Following up the Bronx' excellent first Mariachi album was always going to be hard, but they've managed to make another one that's actually better than the first attempt.
9. Electric 6 - Heartbeats and Brainwaves.
You pretty much know what you're going to get with an E6 album -insanely catchy pop rock with a slightly unsettling edge to it. This one is better than most of theirs and contains one of the years best tracks in "French Bacon".
8. Janes' Addiction - The Great Escape Artist.
This is way better than I expected -I actually suspect it's way better than JA themselves expected- and well worth a purchase if you like the band.
7. Bon Iver - Bon Iver.
The next big thing. If you're unfamiliar with these guys, you won't be for long. Brilliant folky rock from very accomplished musicians. Check out the song "holocene" to hear them at their best. Also good for fans of bands with missing letters in their name.
6. Skindred - Union Black.
There aren't many truly unique bands about, but Skindred are certainly one of them. They effortlessly fuse metal, ragga and dubstep into one massive thunderclap. Brilliant, but best heard live -and that's the reason they're down at No.6. This album also contains the best version of the British national anthem ever.
5. Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math
Don't go into this one expecting something you've never heard the like of before, because on first listen, it's a fairly bland poppy album sung by a man with a pleasant if slightly whiny voice. Simple Math, however has hidden depths -and what depths they are. Lyrically, this is perhaps the most brutally honest album you'll ever hear. Keep listening to it and you'll fall in love with it.
4. Cage The Elephant -Thank You, Happy Birthday.
Conceptually a million miles away from "Simple Math" this is more of a "Happy" album - put this on when you're in a good mood and you'll soon be dancing around the room. I've just realised that that might just be me, but never mind, it's still a cracking album. It's only made No.4 because it's essentially a Pixies tribute album but if you're going to rip off someone, make sure it's someone unspeakably brilliant.
3. Mastodon - The Hunter.
Fan opinion on The Hunter was split, some seeing it as an incoherent piece of rubbish, others -like me- feteing it as Mastodons' finest hour. Rather than an album wide concept the Atlanta boys have given us a collection of largely unrelated songs, but what songs they are.
2. The Black Keys - El Camino.
The worlds' most underrated band return with their second brilliant album in as many years. This is the best rock album of the year by far. No arguments, go and buy it.
1. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake.
I didn't want to name this as the best album of the year -mainly because it seems nearly everyone else has- but you really can't deny the fact that it is. And it's the best by quite a large margin.
Musically, it's beautifully arranged and Harveys' voice is clearer and sharper than ever. Lyrically it's both powerful and sensitive without ever becoming maudlin or depressing, and she handles difficult subjects with subtlety and ease. It's not far short of a masterpiece.
PJ Harvey, yesterday. Brilliant.