Guest Lists: Paul McLoone’s 10 best albums of 2015

Radio presenter and vocalist with the Undertones Paul McLoone is the third of our guest contributors highlighting the best albums of 2015. Paul is one of Ireland’s most popular radio DJs, presenting his Mon – Thurs show on Today FM from 9pm to midnight. He also sings with one of Ireland’s most iconic and influential punk bands, the Undertones.

 

1. At the End of a Winding Day – Hedge Schools

Understated perfection from the brilliant Pat Barrett et al. If Winter Coats doesn’t trouble

your tear ducts your eyes need a plumber. Barrett equals the best work of his acknowledged

idols on these nine flawless mood pieces. Simply perfect.

 

 

2. Music Complete – New Order

Yes, I’m a biased New Order nut and there’s no getting round it, Hooky is missed, but this is

a great set of perfectly produced sleek dance-pop; nearly prime NO, which makes it very fine

indeed.

 

 

3. The Magic Whip – Blur

The return of another pop institution, this time seeing the reinstatement of a key member

and Graham Coxon’s subtle but vital paw marks are all over an album which combines the

surprise value of classic Blur with the wonky grooviness of Gorillaz, adding a large dollop of

recent solo – Albarn melancholia.

 

 

4. Vulnicura – Bjork

Speaking of which, heartbreak and hope vie for centre stage on the latest work from the

Icelandic genius: one of those albums that occasionally makes one wonder if one should

really be listening, but its emotional punch and musical brilliance cannot be denied.

 

 

5. Stories from the Surface – HamsandwicH

Another often moving exploration of affairs of the heart from a band who are growing in

confidence, stature and song-writing smarts, and who really could be on the verge of

deservedly-bigger things in 2016.

 

 

6. Currents – Tame Impala

So hip, but so good, Kevin Parker’s slick, groovy sequel to Lonerism managed to make good

on that record’s promise, whilst warping his patent day-glo psychedelia into new,  fun

shapes.

 

 

7. Depression Cherry – Beach House

A bit overlooked, I thought. The better of two back to back releases from the Sonny and

Cher of woozy dreampop vibes, Depression Cherry envelops and caresses like a duck down

duvet on a hungover Sunday.

 

 

8. Anniversary – North Sea

Impressive, urgent debut from a Dublin band who deserve more attention both here and in

the UK; a masterful, moody collection that recalls such greats as The Smiths, The Bunnymen,

The Go-Betweens and even the peerless A House. The lyrics are bloody good too.

 

 

9. Return to the Moon – El Vy

Side projects can be tricky: perfectly legitimate work in their own right, but occasionally

fenced off by an understandable sense of self-indulgence. Matt Berninger and Brent Knopf

avoid the pitfalls by sounding exactly as one might expect, with a more lyrically-capricious

Mr. Berninger still managing to give the heartstrings the occasional yank in that wonderfully

oblique way of his.

 

 

10. Courting the Squall – Guy Garvey

Solo debut from the rightly-beloved Elbow singer, and thankfully not the point at which he

has chosen to reveal his long-standing obsession with Grime. This is prime Garvey: warm,

careworn, slightly lachrymose but never anything less than big-hearted on an expansive yet

personal excursion into darker blue, jazzier waters.