Ben Walton's Top Albums of 2014
10) Grant Nicholas - Yorktown Heights
Feeder's Grant Nicholas went down the familiar lead-singer-does-a-solo-album route this year, and the results weren't too bad in the end. Yorktown Heights is a more sombre and acoustic take on the recognisable sounds of his regular band but there is still plenty of bite and energy on tracks like 'Joan of Arc' and 'Time Stood Still'. On Yorktown Heights, Nicholas proved he could pen a tune with more emotional depth than anything about a CD player player player player player.
9) CJ Wildheart - Mable
Not exactly a surprise that a member of The Wildhearts did a solo album this year, but CJs first solo work in seven years is an absolute mother of a sonic gut punch. The power pop blitzkrieg comes thick and fast with songs like 'Better Late Than Never', 'Devil' and the album highlight 'Vitriol'. CJ took the opportunity of his second solo outing to prove that The Wildhearts was never a one man show.
8) Beck - Morning Phase
2014 saw the welcome return of the musical equivalent of Willy Wonka, Beck. Morning Phase revisited the acoustic sounds of his seminal 2003 album Sea Change, with an added dash of optimism. The four years Beck took out between this and his last studio album obviously did him some good as Morning Phase features some of his best songs, such as 'Blue Moon', 'Waking Light' and the gorgeous 'Heart Is A Drum'.
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The Snowman and the Snowdog will no doubt light up living rooms across Britain when it airs on Christmas Day, and the man behind the music for the upcoming sequel to the beloved 1982 festive classic The Snowman, Andy Burrows, is sure that people will love this new one all the same. Why you ask? Because his daughter says so.
The former Razorlight drummer spoke to the Daily Star recently, and revealed that he tested out the score on his four-year-old daughter before he submitted anything for the new TV short. He told the paper, “I wanted the songs to give the same childlike excitement I felt when I watched the original Snowman. If Chloe started dancing around, I knew I was on to a good thing.”
The soundtrack also features a few faces you wouldn't expect to be penning the music for a festive family treat; Muse's drummer Dominic Howard and Ash singer Tim Wheeler. Although Wheeler did release a somewhat tongue-in-cheek Christmas album last year with Emmy the Great, Burrows and Howard's involvement in the project did turn a few heads. Nevertheless, he has since endeavoured to contribute to a Christmas film that not only his daughter can enjoy, but everyone can.
Tim Wheeler - Ash frontman Tim Wheeler and girlfriend Emma Lee Moss (aka Emmy The Great) Dublin, Ireland - were guests on Tony Fenton's Today FM radio show to perform tracks from their new duet album 'This is Christmas' Thursday 8th December 2011