Well, the waiting is over. Here are my top 10 albums of 2014. If you are adventurous, give them a try. And if you don't like them, well, it would be a very boring world if we all liked the same things, wouldn't it?
10: Pink mountaintops, Get Back - going through a range of styles from 80 indie through to…err 80s garage rock, this album is one of those ones you’ll just want to play over and over again, so catchy are its tunes.
9: Tune-yards, Nikki Nack - another brilliant and inventive surge of energy from Merrill Garbus. If you want intelligent dance music that isn't made by some media studies student in shoreditch, but instead draws on influences from Africa, Europe and the US, then give this a try.
8: Rozi Plain, Joined Sometimes Unjoined - lovely album, my choice is probably influenced by the fact that she featured in two of my favourite gigs of the year (with This is the Kit on the roof of the south bank, and supporting Dan Michaelson at the Slaughtered Lamb). Simple songs, beautiful harmonies, but upbeat and poppy, and never taking itself too seriously.
7. Hookworms, Hum - I mean, this is what Black Sabbath must have sounded like when they first crashed onto the scene 40 odd years ago. Screeching vocals, heavy guitar and fantastic energy. Their set at End of the Road was a live highlight this year. Brilliant.
6. Ezra Furman, Day of the Dog - It is just garage pop really and may not stand the test of time, but some stand out tracks - I cant stop playing The Mall - and another great live performance at EOTR mean I give it the benefit of the doubt
5. Damon Albarn, Everyday Robots - great album. As ever, he moves through styles and genres seamlessly with so few bum notes, and some utterly beautiful tunes. not often you get a critically acclaimed album featuring songs about Leytonstone either.
4. The Liminanas, I’ve Got Trouble in Mind - Perpignan’s finest are back with a bunch of b-sides, covers and unreleased stuff, all of it groovy, all of it punchy, and music to make you dance and smile.
3. King Creosote, From Scotland with Love - well it had to be in the year of the referendum didn't it? beautiful album which just manages to avoid dropping into sentimentality, painting sublime pictures of a country that’s gone, but can see the possibility of reclaiming itself. Essential and uplifting.
2. Dan Michaelson and the Coastguards, Distance - oh man, what an album. pedal steel guitar, growling - sometimes barely audible - vocals, and painfully touching lyrics about heartbreak, and peculiarly british ways of dealing with the end of relationships. Utterly lovely.
1. Hurray for the Riff Raff, Small Town Heroes - this is what country music is meant to be. A tender, touching, but sharp edged suite of songs, wonderful tunes, delicious vocals and lyrics and stories from the tradition of Woody Guthrie and other chroniclers of the ‘other’ american way. In a year when other american singer songwriters (Sharon van Etten, Marissa Nadler, Lucinda Williams) put out acclaimed albums, this for me was head and shoulders above them. Every track a classic.