We present to you the WestWorld team’s personal picks from 2014. From music to art we’ve covered all the bases. Don’t agree with some of our selections? Let us know what you would have chosen over on our twitter @WestWorld_UWE

Saddest band break up of 2014 – Towns

By Christian Northwood

towns dan kendall

When an established band breaks up it’s obviously crushing, but when a band breaks up just before they hit the big time, the feeling of missed potential is crushing. Bristol’s Towns fall into this latter category, splitting mere weeks before releasing their fantastic debut Get By. Managing to perfectly blend psychedelic guitars, baggy bass-lines and massive choruses, Towns could have packed festival tents. But alas, it was not to be, with the band breaking up with a note to their fans thanking them for their support. Luckily for us, their label still released the album. It was a masterpiece, with highlight “Everyone’s Out” brilliantly summing up their intense, trippy but fun sound. R.I.P Towns, definitely not forgotten.

Best single – Paloma Faith – Only Love Can Hurt Like This

By Lottie Bazley

Credit: RCA
Credit: RCA

With the plethora of great music that has been released this year and all the brilliant new artists that have appeared, I understand that my Radio 2 approved song might ruffle some feathers when I declare it my ‘Single of the Year.’

The reasons why are three-fold. Firstly, I love Paloma Faith. Usually when an artist is labelled ‘quirky’ and ‘eccentric’, it’s code for ‘irritating’, but not with Paloma. And when an artist’s talking voice is an ugly antithesis of their singing voice it’s a huge disappointment (no offence, Adele), but not with Paloma. She somehow makes it work.

Secondly, the song itself is just great. The track is an obscure mix of styles; a jazzy brass bass-track accompanied by violins and drums, with backing vocals reminiscent of a 60’s girl group, and yet it’s still somehow an almost hip-hoppy power ballad.

And finally, the vocals. If the melody wasn’t catchy enough to cement this as my favourite single, lyrics like ‘Love is torture, makes me more sure, only love can hurt like this’ take me back to my days as an angsty teenager, where singing loudly about the agony of love was a favourite past time of mine. Paloma’s sultry voice, evocative of Amy Winehouse at times, makes these words even more powerful.

I have no shame in declaring this the best single of 2014, and after a couple of listens I’m sure most, perhaps secretly, will agree.

Favourite Gig of 2014 – Prince Fatty & Horseman 

By Stephen Levene

If you know me will know that I’m a hip-hop head. I pray and study at the old school temple and I swear by it. Therefore it may come to a shock to some that my favourite show of 2014 is not a hip-hop gig. Instead it was Prince Fatty and Horseman at the Attic Bar.

The gig couldn’t have come at a better time. University had just broken up for Christmas, the cold winter had settled in and I was itching for some escape. Prince Fatty’s excellent selection of warming, up-tempo reggae and dub records was the perfect solution. Playing hits from his acclaimed “Survival of the Fittest” album and collaborations with Mungo’s HiFi and Nostalgia 77 the vibrations made you forget the time of year and sent you to sunny Jamaica. Horseman’s mastery of the ceremony was also great, keeping the crowd focused with some fast flowing riddims whilst also humorously protecting girls from predatory men by publicly humiliating them. The Attic is also one of my favourite venues. The degrees of Jah infused dancing increased the closer to the stage you went. Of course I was right at the front. A fantastic way to bring 2014 to a close.

Wierdest Gig of 2014 – Anklepants at Start the Bus Dec 5th 2014

By Caspar Ash

“Are you ready to become adults, are you ready to become better people?”

With a notorious reputation and a face that looks like an aborted Klingon, you could be forgiven for being wary of the one we call Anklepants. From Berlin to Bristol he is the king of controversy, dividing opinion like the second coming, when I heard Anklepants’s first English tour date was happening at Start the Bus, I knew one thing…it would be wrong not to go!

Before the show there was much discussion between friends, some thought “he’s doing something refreshing and arty”, while the majority said him and his animatronic cock nose were stupid!  Having seen what a spectacle laid ahead of me, I wasn’t sure what to think.

Truth is he’s just giving the kids what they want, with an extra adapter they didn’t even know they needed. In short it was amazing! Transcending genres smoother than Beck in Marty-Mcfly mode, we are treated to a Smorgasbord of naughty noises and visceral visuals. The man’s got err…nose control like no other and that’s not even what he’s about! The real talent is controlling, singing and looping sounds with his personally built voice modulating microphone.

So whether you like house, bass music, techno, hard-tek, 80s power-pop or all of the above rolled into one, Ankletrousers wont disappoint, I mean pants won’t let you down.

Best Exhibition – Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined (at The Royal Academy of Arts London) 4th May 2014

By Emma Farr

If I wanted something immersive I wouldn’t typically go to an architecture exhibition, but a full-scale architectural experience is a different story. It led me to a new world away from the busy, soul-less streets of London. Sensing Spaces was experiential, there’s no direction and few facts are given. Instead the installations begin a process of unlearning, of turning off our rational mind and getting back in touch with our core senses. With light, smell, sound and texture to help with the main visual stimulant of finding your way through the maze of spaces. This exhibition has given architects the chance to reawaken the visitor’s sense of their own space.

In one room you see this majestic plywood form akin to a castle working within the original nineteenth century embellished room. Seemingly endless spiral stairs take you right up to the ceiling so you can see the gloriously hideous gold angels that adorn the room’s pillars.

In another area bright straws were provided to add to an igloo, the public was to embellish this otherwise monochromatic cocoon of plastic and holes with an ever-changing cloak of multi-colour, the piece will only be effective on the reliance of engagement, interaction and adding your own effort to the piece. The experience was surreal, people gathered like bees preparing, attaching and fixing the sculpture while others left and joined.

This experience has inspired me to get involved with festival installations, maybe even build a mezzanine floor into my own space! I left feeling elated but sad that I would never be able to return to this ethereal palace.

Best new fashion trend 2014

By Charlie Elliott

As the days get colder and colder at the end of last year, I found myself failing to consider how fashionable I looked as I left the house each morning to go to University. Lots of layers, jumpers, and a 10 ft. scarf wrapped round my neck pretty summed up my ‘winter look’.

Credit: Wikipedia
Credit: Wikipedia

However one of the huge fashion revivals this season are turtlenecks. Whether this is a jumper or a top they’ve been bang on trend this cold winter season, and combine practicality with fashion perfectly.

The great thing about turtlenecks is the variation in style and usage. One day I can wear it under a crop jumper for extra warmth giving my outfit an instantly smarter look, another day I can whack on a slouchy oversized thick knit turtleneck and other days I can layer it underneath an old summer dress with a pair of thick wooly tights! I love doing this, as reincorporating summer clothing into your winter wardrobe is very satisfying indeed. All of a sudden a thermal item of clothing from Marks and Spencer isn’t frowned upon- who would have thought it!

Breakout artist of 2014 – Corbin

By Christian Northwood

All the best music is made by weirdos. Without them, no one would push boundaries. So it’s a good job that my pick for best breakout artist of 2014 is a doo rag wearing, white 18 year old from Minnesota, with a baby head and angelic voice.

Despite having more name changes in 2014 than mixtapes (3 name changes and 2 mixtapes), Corbin aka Spooky Black aka Lil Spook has managed to take over the internet armed with a collection of the smoothest, most heart-breaking R&B ballads you’ll have heard from an 18 year old.

His Sampha like baritone coupled with spacey, trippy production, brings to mind another 18 year old whose love of bizarre headwear and emotional honesty has propelled him to the top of most peoples end of year lists: Yung Lean. Corbin is essentially The Weeknd to Yung Lean’s Drake.

If none of this has swayed you yet, go online and watch the video to his breakout song ‘Without U’. Start with your eyes closed, letting his beautiful voice wash over you, before opening your eyes to see his turtle-necked, doo-ragged big blonde head.

Let’s hope 2015 gets even weirder.   

Best Album – Session Victim – See You When You Get There

By Sam Walker

Credit: Youtube
Season Victim – See You When You Get There // Credit: Youtube

Session Victim have tended to always be the bridesmaid but never the bride. Although revered and respected in the world of house and electronic music, they always seem to get recognition without real reward. And although it is true that most people would rather be underrated than overrated, See You When You Get There takes the talented German duo of Hauke Freer & Matthias Reiling one step closer to being whisked down the aisle.

See You When You Get There sees Session Victim maintain their electronic roots while expanding on their current repertoire by dipping their creative toe into a genre laden musical bath. From the ethnic drums at the beginning of Stick Together to the funky bass in the beautiful Hey Stranger, this album has understated flakes of many different genres sprinkled over it like hundreds and thousands.

This album, the follow up to 2012’s ‘The Haunted House of House’, is the “difficult second album”. As we all know, this can see some artists fall by the wayside and in some cases, struggle to come back. It can, however, see artists thrive. And although Session Victim are not that well known outside of the electronic bubble, this album could well see them being appreciated on a wider scale. But as their modest musical personas attest, they might just want stay as the bridesmaid after all.