I would have included the following two albums in my albums of the year, were they readily available commercially. It can, however, only be a matter of time before these acts achieve the success they deserve.
Tom Rogerson's self-titled debut album was recorded in New York with members of The Bad Plus (a major coup for a new musician if ever there was one!) and is a highly creative and intuitive improvised work. Tom can currently be seen playing piano with Jeremy Warmsley's backing band the LMNOPs, but the song-based approach of that music is really no preparation for this abstract, yet intensely focussed work. There is feeling as well as science in Tom's unpredictable compositions.
'Halcyon Days', the first proper album from Colonel Bastard is as enjoyable a pop album as I've heard all year. Wonderfully quirky pop songs with a distinctively British sensibility - well removed from the tiresome scenesters which seem to dominate the British independent secto at the moment. Anyway, things move in cycles and, regardless of how terrible they are, it seems likely that the Kaiser Chiefs may reignite interest in this sort of approach in 2006. To order the album, go to http://www.colonelbastard.com