Three Days in Music No. 1

Fact: England has spectacular taste in music. I learned this within my first couple weeks in Leeds, when it seemed that a multitude of great songs were following me wherever I went. I walked into Next and heard Alvvays’ ‘Dreams Tonite’ playing over the speakers, I perused HMV while they blared Noel Gallagher’s ‘Holy Mountain,’ and a trip to Oliver Bonas meant singing ‘Heart of Glass’ to myself in the back corner of the store.  I like that I can find bits of who I am even in a foreign city, and I like that a lot of those bits have to do with music.

Charlotte came to visit me for a couple days this week, and we somehow managed to hear more than a dozen of our favourite songs over the course of a forty-eight-hour period. The coincidences became difficult to ignore, and she made a Spotify playlist of all the tracks while I scrawled the most memorable ones into a new notebook. Hearing music you know and love in new places is comforting and makes everything feel like it’s in alignment, and that feeling deserved a blogpost.

February 6th, 3:45 PM. Millennium Square. ‘Sign of the Times’ by Harry Styles.

For reasons unbeknownst to me, Leeds is currently staging a Valentine’s Fair in Millennium Square. Charlotte and I walked past it while making our way from the train station to my dorm room, and it took about a millisecond for the two of us to register the fact that they were blasting Harry Styles from the midway. Last year, when we drove home from seeing Patti Smith in New York City, Charlotte woke up from a nap to me playing his debut album as softly as I could, mumbling the lyrics to myself. She promptly turned it up, and we listened to the rest of the record while singing along loudly. The fact that we have listened to him in Toronto and New York and now Leeds makes me particularly happy, and hearing ‘Sign of the Times’ less than half an hour after she arrived in my new city was most definitely a good sign.

February 7th, 12:45 PM. Village Bookshop & Gallery. ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’ by Angel Olsen.  

On our first full day together, we spent a few hours wandering into shop after shop, hunting down records and books and vintage clothing. Village is a tiny gem stocking magazines and art prints and countless other trinkets, and just as we walked in, the clerk put on Angel Olsen. We made it partway through My Woman before we exited the shop, Charlotte and I and the guy behind the counter singing softly to ourselves.

February 7th, 2:00 PM. Blue Rinse Vintage. ‘Because the Night’ by Patti Smith.

 Shuffling through vintage clothing shops is one of life’s simple pleasures, partly because it’s exciting to find a treasure amidst the racks, and partly because they tend to come with good soundtracks. While standing in line waiting to buy vintage denim, Charlotte and I and at least a couple other patrons hummed along to Dusty Springfield’s ‘Son of a Preacher Man,’ which promptly gave way to ‘Because the Night’ by Patti Smith. I turned to look at Charlotte from where I was combing through a box of bandanas, both of us wide-eyed and excited. Patti makes everything better, even when it’s already good in the first place.

February 7th, 2:45 PM. SingleShot Vinyl Records & Coffee House. ‘Lust for Life’ by Iggy Pop.  

A solid playlist is usually guaranteed when entering a record shop, and this was no exception. We stopped in SingleShot on a whim, keen on looking through stacks of vintage vinyl. Iggy Pop was an added bonus, and we stayed until the song played out before going off in search of coffee.

February 7th, 4 PM. Layne’s Espresso. ‘Dark Days’ by Local Natives.

Layne’s Espresso is close to the train station and boasts big, bright windows that feel almost nonexistent, making it the perfect place for both coffee drinking and people watching. Charlotte and I stopped here for an hour or so in the afternoon, pulling out notebooks and novels to pass the time. I wrote poems and doodled the scenes in front of me, enjoying the unmediated experience of sitting in a coffee shop without my laptop or a pair of headphones. They were playing good music, and I perked up when ‘Dark Days’ started playing, the layered vocals only adding to the atmosphere. 

February 7th, 5:45 PM. Friends of Ham. ‘Go Your Own Way’ by Fleetwood Mac.

At this point charcuterie seemed like the only option for dinner, and we walked two doors down from Layne’s Espresso to Friends of Ham, proceeding to spend an hour eating cheese and prosciutto and sourdough dipped in olive oil. Fleetwood Mac has my heart forever, and hearing ‘Go Your Own Way’ in the middle of a packed restaurant was the perfect way to end the day. 

February 8th, 9:30 AM. Greasy Pig. ‘I Can’t Quit’ by The Vaccines.

The next morning, we made the trek to Hyde Park for breakfast. The radio show they were playing in the restaurant was particularly awful, but it eventually redeemed itself when the DJ put on ‘I Can’t Quit.’ I was wearing my denim jacket, the arm embroidered with the song’s title, and I had a Vaccines concert shirt on underneath my sweater, and the whole thing felt perfect. Hearing my favourite band on the radio will never get old, especially not when I’m two months away from seeing them play to ten thousand people at Alexandra Palace.

February 8th, 12:30 PM. Mrs. Atha’s. ‘Money’ by Peace.  

Mrs. Atha’s makes the best flat white in probably the whole world, but aside from that, they play a constant stream of great songs. David Bowie’s ‘Life on Mars’ was floating through the speakers when we walked in, and that melted into ‘Girlfriend in a Coma’ by The Smiths, which turned into ‘Money’ by Peace. When I first bought my turntable, I scoured the internet for a copy of Peace’s debut album, In Love, eventually finding a copy on red translucent vinyl on eBay. It’s still one of my most played albums, and listening to the band while drinking coffee and eating salted caramel shortbread is my idea of the perfect afternoon.

Music takes up a prominent place in my life, but it becomes even better when the world around you speaks in songs and artists that you love. Leeds felt good almost as soon as I got here, and these constant sonic encounters keep reminding me how glad I am to be in this city.

Charlotte’s playlist goes well with this blogpost, and it can be listened to here.  


Paint Sounds: Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz

Visual art and music are numbers one and two on the list of things I love most in the world. The order changes depending on the day, but the power of a trip to an art gallery or a dance party to my favourite record is undeniable, and both can lift my mood or turn my day around in the blink of an eye. I’m lucky to be able to study both things, and although I deeply understand how they fit together, it is sometimes difficult to put that connection into words that make sense to others. I always want to bring art and music as close together as possible, so I’m drawing parallels between some of my favourite artworks and my favourite songs.

I have been enamoured by creative partnership since the very moment I picked Patti Smith’s Just Kids off a shelf in Indigo, obsessed with her relationship with Robert Mappelthorpe. That duo will certainly be featured in this series, but I’m starting off with Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz. The Art Gallery of Ontario staged an O’Keeffe exhibit last summer, and I visited it multiple times, always captivated by the mirror images that can be picked out of her work and his. Their relationship was symbiotic but also spacious, and the pieces created over the course of two distinct careers are magnificent. I’ve narrowed it down to a few of my favourite works, and there’s a song to go along with each one, all of them wrapped up in a playlist called Paint Sounds, which is my feeble attempt at referencing The Beach Boys. As far as I’m concerned, music and art are inextricably intertwined, and I will explore that bond until the day I die.

Alfred Stieglitz, Snapshot – From My Window, New York, 1902 and ‘Step’ by Vampire Weekend

Alfred Stieglitz - Snapshot, From My Window, New York, 1902

While Vampire Weekend is taking a million years to release new music, I’ve resorted to listening to their previous albums quite often. ‘Step’ is one of my favourite tracks, and my brain seems to associate it with grey days spent tucked away in an apartment overlooking the city, much like Stieglitz depicts in this photo. Both are moody and nostalgic, straightforward yet layered, and they complement one another well.

Georgia O’Keeffe, Music: Pink and Blue No. 2, 1918 and ‘Dreams Tonite’ by Alvvays

Georgia O'Keefe - Music- Pink and Blue No. 2, 1918

I adored this song from the very first second I heard it, enchanted by the floaty tempo and the way the instruments seem to swirl around the lyrics. Everything about Alvvays is vivid, and O’Keeffe’s billowing forms match the colour palette evoked by this track. O’Keeffe was intrigued by the idea of transforming aural sensations into visual ones, and although I doubt she was listening to Alvvays when this piece was created, they make a good pair nonetheless.

Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe – Hands, 1919 and ‘Dancing Barefoot’ by Patti Smith

Georgia O'Keefe - Hands, Alfred Stieglitz

I had to pull Patti in here somehow, didn’t I? This track gives power to a female force, but also discusses her roots in a male equivalent in a way that represents the connection between O’Keeffe and Stieglitz extremely well. Throughout their partnership they both retained their individual identities, but Stieglitz was let into a part of O’Keeffe not often seen by the rest of the world. He captured photos of her at her most vulnerable, hinting at the intimate entanglement of the two artists. O’Keeffe’s hands were her most important tool, and I love how they are depicted here. On a side note, Patti has also written a poem about O’Keeffe, which can be read here.

Georgia O’Keeffe, Ladder to the Moon, 1958 and ‘Gravity Don’t Pull Me’ By Rostam

Georgia O'Keefe - Ladder to the Moon, 1958

O’Keeffe’s pieces retain elements of the natural world while also opening portals to the mystical, and this painting is a beautiful representation of that. Rostam’s track evokes the weightlessness of O’Keeffe’s work, his use of sound transporting the listener into another realm. Listening to the song while viewing the painting causes them to form a single entity, two different forms of expression merging in time and space.

Alfred Stieglitz, Equivalent, 1930 and ‘Sky Musings’ by Wolf Alice  

Alfred Stieglitz - Equivalent, 1930

This photo is one in a series of works in which Stieglitz focused on the sky, freeing the viewer from defined meaning and creating a sense of abstraction. ‘Sky Musings’ stands in contrast to it, and the hurried, claustrophobic track initially seems to be the antithesis of an expansive sky, although the two are perhaps connected by more than what is seen on the surface. Gazing up at the atmosphere can sometimes evoke feelings of smallness and overwhelm, and Wolf Alice’s lyrics discuss these exact sensations, as well as a desire to disappear into the ether. Stieglitz’s photos are transporting, providing a momentary escape from the bombarding thoughts that come along with life.

Georgia O’Keeffe, Horse’s Skull with White Rose, 1931 and ‘White Light/White Heat’ by The Velvet Underground

Georgia O'Keefe - Horse's Skull with White Rose, 1931

What strikes me about this piece is the duality of its components and the delicate balance that O’Keeffe has managed to strike. The skull, a sure sign of death and decay, is juxtaposed by the roses at its peak, and the white of the main subject contrasts the deep black background. The only song that felt appropriate to pair with it was The Velvet Underground’s ‘White Light/White Heat,’ and although the subject matter doesn’t match, the feelings are there. The track is chaotic but measured, the lyrics demanding deep thought and unwavering attention, just as O’Keeffe’s painting does.

It doesn’t take much to realize how intertwined we are with the world and the life that exists within it. Both art and music are products of a human need to express emotion and experience, as well as a deep desire to leave a mark that will remain long after our physical bodies have gone. O’Keefe and Stieglitz have clearly achieved both those things, as have many of the musicians mentioned. Products of human creation are eternal and often unmissable, but it is sometimes worth training our eyes on them for as long as we can, just to see what secret connections we can find.


Track Review: ‘Mistake’ by Middle Kids

I am a creature of habit. I love music with every fibre of my being, but I don’t always (read: rarely) deviate from the genres and bands and songs that I know I like. I listen to The Vaccines and Patti Smith and The National as if they’re my lifeblood, and although I would happily do so for the rest of my life, I figured I should start making the effort to get to know something that’s a bit out of my wheelhouse. This promise happily coincided with the release of Middle Kids’ newest single, ‘Mistake,’ and I happened to see an article about it just as I was searching for new listening material. Needless to say, it took one listen for me to be hooked, and I’m not planning on playing anything else anytime soon.

Middle Kids are a three-piece band based out of Sydney, Australia. Last year they dropped an EP overflowing with great tracks, and their debut album is set to be released in May. If ‘Mistake’ is any indication, I’m sure it’ll be full of songs that tug at your heartstrings and make you want to scream life’s praises all at once. I am really looking forward to it.

‘Mistake’ is the kind of track you can’t really ignore. It’s strong, rhythmic indie-pop, glorious and demanding. Lead singer Hannah Joy sings with drama and emotion that can’t be duplicated, evoking a sense of urgency and need in the listener. The lyrics are truthful and bittersweet, speaking of faults and errors that can’t be erased once they’ve been made. The chorus is a spectacular expression of feeling, and if I ever saw the band live, I’m sure I’d be standing in the middle of the crowd with my hands in the air and my head thrown back, singing along with all my might.

This is a song that my heart feels drawn to without any explanation, one that I want to share just because it is undeniably good. Teenage me likely would have scrawled the lyrics – “It was charming/the way we danced around the truth,” or “You’re standing out in the rain tonight/Like you’ve got something to say to God” – into notebook margins or inked them into my forearm in an act of identity creation. It’s addictive and magnetic and human, and I can’t wait to see what else Middle Kids have to offer.

Middle Kids’ debut LP, ‘Lost Friends,’ is set to be released on May 4th.

1/12: A January Playlist

Anyone who listens to and adores music can attest to the fact that certain songs and albums and artists have the power to transport you to a past memory or feeling or person. Music acts as a time capsule, an auditory representation of the ticket stubs and programmes and Polaroid photos that we shove into shoeboxes and store under our beds. Last spring, I started to become more conscious of standout moments and the tracks that came along with them, and I began creating a playlist for each month where I gathered the songs that I was listening to on repeat. I saw Phoenix play Field Trip at the beginning of June, and that month’s playlist inevitably included a few of their tracks. I added Stevie Nicks’ ‘Edge of Seventeen’ to October’s playlist after MUNA covered it flawlessly. I reread It by Alexa Chung in September, and at her mention of Jackson C. Frank’s ‘Blues Run the Game,’ I promptly added it to my early fall collection.

January’s playlist is one I’m going to hang onto for a while. It has been a long and eventful month, and these tracks have kept me company through a desperately needed fresh start, giving me something familiar to keep my eye on amidst a sea of change. Temporarily relocating to another country is no joke, and I am loving the leather jacket weather and new faces and streets that already feel familiar, but I’m also enjoying hanging onto my old pastimes, monthly-playlist-making included.

The first – and most obvious – track on this month’s list is The Vaccines’ ‘I Can’t Quit.’ I have already written a rather gushy post about how much I love it, and it was essentially all I listened to for the first week and a half of January. If it doesn’t end up being my most played track of the year, then Spotify should probably re-evaluate its numbers. I’ve also included the band’s second single, ‘Nightclub,’ which I inevitably adore. The riff is fantastic, the lyrics evoke vivid imagery, and sometimes it actually does make my head feel like a nightclub. My love of The Vaccines is nothing new, but with the release of Combat Sports on the horizon, it is definitely heightened.

Another notable addition for January is ‘Wish That You Were Here’ by Florence + the Machine, which I have somehow overlooked until now. It was playing at the bakehouse one day while I was sipping a flat white and journaling the last couple hours of the afternoon away, and as soon as I heard the first few notes, I rushed over to the counter and asked Abby what it was. Obsession ensued, and I have been listening to it while staring forlornly out of windows ever since.

New for me is Sufjan Stevens, who has been on my radar ever since I adopted Call Me By Your Name as my new favourite film. I’ve seen it three times, because apparently I enjoy pain, and the soundtrack has become some of my go-to listening material. Most of December was spent listening to ‘Love My Way’ by The Psychedelic Furs on repeat while attempting to be a better dancer than Oliver (hint: I’m a worse dancer, if anything). Now I’ve moved on from the upbeat tracks, and Stevens’ ‘Visions of Gideon’ seems to be stuck in my head at all hours of the day. I’m not complaining, but I would appreciate it if I could listen to it once without bringing up all the heartbreak that comes along with both the song and the movie.

The last one I’m going to mention is ‘Crying Lightning’ by Arctic Monkeys, because being in England has caused me to fully embrace the tendencies I had at fourteen, when this band was all I seemed to listen to. The group seems to be making a comeback, and the excitement surrounding festival dates and a potential album announcement is enough to make the remnants of my teenage heart flutter. I’m going to fully embrace singing the lyrics to this track every time I get Pick n Mix at the movies, and I’m probably going to make the pilgrimage to Sheffield to find all the AM-related monuments I possibly can, and I’m going to love every second of it all, no matter how dorky it is.

Creating space for my favourite songs of each month brings me immense joy, and starting fresh for 2018 feels very good. I like how unique every playlist is, I like how none of them really make sense, and I like that each track reminds me of a certain day or moment or feeling. The year has only just begun, but I’m already seeing a lot of change, and I’m happy to have the constant companionship of so many outstanding songs.


Track Review: ‘I Can’t Quit’ by The Vaccines

It is not news to anyone that The Vaccines are my favourite band. They have been for nearly six years, and this is not a fact that’s going to change anytime soon. I wear their merchandise as if it’s surgically attached to my person, their records exist permanently on my turntable, and when I was eighteen I got the name of one of their songs tattooed on my bicep. They are the longest and happiest relationship I have ever had. I’m stuck with them for life.

Because I am so heavily invested in this band, Wednesday afternoon found me sitting cross-legged on my bed, wearing my oldest band t-shirt, and anxiously listening to BBC Radio1 for the premiere of their newest track. I have done this multiple times, from the debut of ‘Melody Calling’ to the first play of ‘Handsome,’ and at this point it’s pretty much a sacred ritual. I feel weird if I don’t get to perform it at least once every few years. I was in my element.

I expected ‘I Can’t Quit’ to be good. I love everything The Vaccines have ever done, and at this point I automatically send praise and adoration their way whenever they release something new. What I didn’t expect was to hear it and have my entire world shift into a space that is largely better than the one I was in before. There is something indescribable about the return of your favourite band, but this was that feeling multiplied by a thousand.

The track marks The Vaccines getting back to what got them started – catchy pop tracks less than three minutes long with lyrics that you can’t help but belt out at the top of your lungs – but it’s also a step forward into territory that somehow feels brand new. The song is inherently different to anything they’ve done before, as if the band is moving forward and surrendering to the music the universe is telling them to make while also fulfilling their own desires to evolve as artists. I knew The Vaccines could write a perfect song, but this is even beyond that.

The Vaccines have always offered me a reflection of myself. What Did You Expect from The Vaccines? feels like the perfect representation of the emotions I find myself flitting between. It fluctuates as I fluctuate, lives and breathes and lets itself be whatever it is at that moment.  Come of Age gave me an album full of angst-ridden tracks that got me through the most angst-ridden parts of my adolescence. When I’m fed up or in a bad mood or confused out of my mind by where my life is heading, it’s the first record I think to put on. English Graffiti is experimental while still sounding distinctly like The Vaccines, and it’s a nice reminder that doing something new is not necessarily a bad thing. Although ‘I Can’t Quit’ is only the first track we’re hearing from Combat Sports, it’s already continuing the trend of mirroring my being back to me. I entered the year with the fiery spirit of determination bubbling up under my skin, and the new track is a three-minute repetition of a mantra. I really can’t quit, and apparently neither can The Vaccines.

I realize that I am overwhelmingly biased. Nothing I say has any basis in reality, because all my thoughts are coming straight from my heart and bypassing my mind on their way out. But sometimes a feeling is all you need to go off, and ‘I Can’t Quit’ makes me feel unstoppable and free and in alignment with everything around me. I have been listening to it on repeat for forty-eight straight hours, and I will likely choose to continue this habit for the rest of the foreseeable future. What I know for sure is that this is a spectacular track, and my excitement for the release of the full record only increases as time goes on. The Vaccines have gotten somewhere really good, and I want to be there too.

Playlist: This Is It

I don’t think there’s anything I love as much as the new year. I am the number one fan of fresh starts and blank slates, and January first is the best blank slate you can ask for. I spent the last few hours of twenty-seventeen making a vision board and writing out my intentions for the next twelve months, and while having a visual representation of what I want to accomplish was good, I needed some music to go with it all. So here we are.

While I pride myself on being an expert playlist-maker, this one is more personal than what I usually share on the blog, and it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Like life itself, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and the fluctuations between tracks are sometimes extreme. Patti Smith and The Velvet Underground and Talking Heads and The Zombies cover the classic tracks department. Harry Styles is in there, mostly because I think the earnest way in which he belts out We don’t talk enough/ We should open up is how we should all approach our relationships with others over the next year. ‘Morning’ by Francis and the Lights is beautiful and it encapsulates a lot of great feelings. The National and The Walkmen and Broken Social Scene are included as well, the latter two because the tracks I chose are encouraging, and the first because, even though the song isn’t exactly motivational, I like the repetition of Gonna be a blank slate/ Gonna wear a white cape. I also included ‘Believer’ by American Authors, because I think we could all use some cheesiness to bring us into the present.

What we surround ourselves with – from the big things, like people and jobs and hobbies, to the little things, like music and posters and scent – plays a big role in how we move through each day, and eventually how we move through life as a whole. I like to think that this playlist is something I’ll come back to over and over again, and that listening to the tracks will instill me with renewed determination and will allow me to come back to all the reasons why I’m doing what I’m doing. I hope we can all find it within us to spend the next twelve months being the best we can be, and that we all understand that we’re worthy of a good life no matter how we feel in the current moment. We owe it to one another to be kind and supportive and loving, and we owe it to the world to use our voices to speak up and create change. We’re all worth something, and we all have something to give. Let’s use this year to get a little bit closer to all of those things. This is it.


Top Albums of 2017

As I write this, I am having a very difficult time believing that we’ve already reached the end of the year. Twenty-seventeen was not as easy as I expected it to be, and I experienced a lot of lows and a lot of highs. The world was divided and quite often terrifying, and I carried that anxiety within me in terms of my own feelings and of my concern for all of humanity. As cheesy as it is, music has always been my sliver of hope when things get difficult, and these are the albums that have carried me through the year.

1.Harry Styles – Harry Styles


I hope you all knew this was coming. It was inevitable, wasn’t it? Harry came screaming into his place as a rock star from the second ‘Sign of the Times’ was released, and things only got better once the album came out. He channels Bowie and Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles, exhibiting a kind of hesitant bravery in every track. It’s a comforting album, one that wraps itself around you and begs to be played on repeat – a plea I never deny. You can feel the breaking of personal boundaries, the sharing of experience, the self-discovery and self-expression. It’s pieced together, but it’s loud and hard to ignore. The boy has done incredibly well for himself, and I’m aching to hear more from him.

Favourite Track: ‘From the Dining Table’

2.MUNA – About U


MUNA make music that is about healing, but also does a good job of offering healing as you listen. I was captivated from the very first song I heard, and they quickly became one of my most played artists of the year. They forgo gendered pronouns and speak directly about sociopolitical issues and emotional experiences, a combination that creates extremely relevant music for the current state of the world. They are both loud and quiet, hard and soft, and they strike this balance effortlessly. I would happily listen to them for the rest of my life, spending all my days relishing in lyrics that offer immediate connection and catharsis.

Favourite Track: ‘If U Love Me Now’

3.Wolf Alice – Visions of a Life


This one crept up on me a little bit. I knew in my heart that I would adore anything Wolf Alice could possibly release, but it took a few listens for Visions of a Life to fully sink its teeth into my shoulder. The band does a fantastic job of being honest and open, crafting an album that perfectly showcases the constant flux of human emotion. They tell stories and weave vivid imagery and hit your heart like it’s a bullseye. It is very difficult not to find some part of this album to adore, and after you do that, I assure you that it’ll be something you carry with you for a while – a comfort, a sliver of life, a vision that feels like the past and present and future all at once.

Favourite Track: ‘Space & Time’

4.The National – Sleep Well Beast

I will be the first to admit that I did not give this album the recognition it deserved until well after it was released. I gave it an initial listen, but it wasn’t until I saw the band live that I realized just how spectacular it is. The National makes songs that feel like real life, with themes swinging from the mundane to the extraordinary. Sleep Well Beast fits the listener like a second skin, something you’d never want to scrub off. It’s intoxicating in a subtle way, and that’s what makes it special.

Favourite Track: ‘I’ll Still Destroy You’

5.HAIM – Something to Tell You


We all know I love everything HAIM has ever done, and the fire of my adoration was happily stoked by their new record. Something to Tell You feels perfect. It is crisp and clean, an album that gives breathing room and dance space. Every note is purposeful, every lyric perfectly uttered. I like that HAIM isn’t trying to be anyone but themselves. I love how badass they are, and how their music makes me feel badass, too. This is the kind of empowering record that I needed to guide me through the year, and I’m sure it will remain a staple for a long time.

Favourite Track: ‘Nothing’s Wrong’

6.Rostam – Half-Light


Rostam hasn’t gotten as much love as I expected him to this year, so I am attempting to remedy that in my own small way. This album feels like every good thing boiled down into fifteen songs. More than anything, it’s hopeful. It holds space for new things. It’s malleable, as if soft hands could form it into anything they wish the album to be. It flows in and out of you as easily as breath. It settled into my daily life without effort, and it has remained a staple for the past for months. Charlotte and I are seeing Rostam on my last day in England next year, and I can’t wait to feel every word wash over me.

Favourite Track: ‘Don’t Let It Get To You’

7.Alvvays – Antisocialites


One of the most exciting things this year was the much anticipated return of Alvvays. The band has been playing some of these songs for ages, and to hear them recorded and packed into a selection of new tracks was something I’d been aching for. I’ve been a fan of them for so long that they just feel comfortable, slotting easily into my record collection and my Spotify playlists. While it’s not exceptionally different from the first album, it feels familiar and safe and good, and sometimes that is exactly the kind of album you need to hear.

Favourite Track: ‘Your Type’

8.Lorde – Melodrama


This is hands down one of the standout records of the year, and I loved it a lot more than I expected to. Lorde speaks to a generation of people who feel lost and upset and angry and blissful and anxious all at once. The lyrics, the melodies, they hold each of those emotions, whispering them into the world in a way that is hard to ignore. I think we all appreciate music that is relatable and honest, and Lorde achieves that impeccably.

Favourite Track: ‘Hard Feelings/Loveless’

9.Phoenix – Ti Amo


In a rather divided world, Phoenix managed to create an album about unity. It was the burst of positivity I needed this year, a simple push forward that felt more like an orchestrated dance routine. It really is just fun – frivolous and groovy, an album that feels sunny and bright in the perfect way. I dare you to listen to it and not feel your mood lift instantly.

Favourite Track: ‘Fior Di Latte’

I realize that this was probably the most predictable and also the weirdest best album list in the history of the world. My music taste is all over the place and I love it that way – it keeps things interesting. This year has been a spectacular one in the sonic universe, and with new albums already announced for twenty-eighteen, I have a feeling there are even better things on the horizon. Just wait for my unrelenting screams when The Vaccines finally drop Combat Sports.