Albums of the Year So Far 2024 | Rough Trade UK

Rough Trade Records

July 1st, 2024


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The music that hit and the music you missed.

New internet eras, true grassroots success stories, stylistic left-turns, boundary-pushing projects and the faithfully reliable. As we reach 2024’s midway point we present our favourite albums spun on our store turntables so far this year.

Below, (in no particular order) explore 30 albums that have been the most important, influential and adored by our staff and store communities.

Did your favourite make the cut?


Album artwork for This Could Be Texas by  English Teacher

This Could Be Texas, the debut album from English Teacher, is a sparkling exploration of the self. It seamlessly weaves between genres, even referencing those they don’t want to tackle (see the excellent R&B) and keeps you on your toes the whole way through. Is it possible to be a jack of all trades and also a master of them too? English Teacher seem to be pulling it off.

Celeste, Rough Trade West

There’s no denying, Charli really goes hard on this one. Drawing from more leftfield club influences, the vocals flip between intimate tones and her signature autotune, brash lyricism placed on beds of big room techno, drum machines and squelchy acid. Thematically, Brat is highly entertaining with plenty of meta-commentary and good meme fodder, whilst also capturing Charli’s most reflective lyrics yet (I think about it all the time case in point). With regular shifts in energy, the album’s softer moments take you by surprise but don’t fall flat. All in all, Brat is an experience and an addictive one no doubt (bumpin’ that).

Georgia, Rough Trade Office

The Mancunian artist builds her beguiling otherworldly sound into a more personal record on Love In Constant Spectacle. Weaver‘s poetic lyrisicm and impressive imagery are her true strength, her airy but direct voice cutting through the fuzz pedals and pulsating basslines. One to get lost in on a summers day, romantic, dreamlike and unmistakably Jane Weaver.

Georgia, Rough Trade Office

Tapir!

Taking my evening bus home, I found myself captivated by Tapir! debut. On the top deck of the 135, I was wading through grassy knolls and stormy seas, encompassed by an air of the mythical. Like any good fable, this album offers an illumination to nuisances of life that no straightforward prose could achieve. Through its evocative lyricism, rich folk instrumental arrangements, and a vocal performance delivered with the upmost sincerity, The Pilgrim, Their God, and The King of My Decrepit Mountain gives its listeners a potent dose of majestic songwriting that can make a bus ride home a hero’s journey.

Adam, Rough Trade East

Some albums have a real ability to almost become your best friend in certain moments in your life, as if they’re right beside you with whatever you’re going through – I imagine Iechyd Da will be that for a lot of people. Bill’s honesty through the album makes it so easily relatable, the record feels like more than a body of music – it’s an expression of raw emotion of a break-up on top of perfectly arranged layers. Every instrument maintains its own space and meshes with the other seamlessly. It’s nothing short of beautiful, I needed this album. Nice one Bill.

Matt Burr, Rough Trade East

Infused with industrial synths Allie X‘s Girl with No Face is a world-building exercise, showcasing how synthpop and its retro-futuristic nature works so well in contemporary music. With nods to The Human League and New Order the sound is motorik, alluring dark pop with crisp melodic production, a call to the dancefloor for fans of gothic-tinged production or Billie Eilish‘s electro-pop leaning.

Georgia, Rough Trade Office

The Smile‘s second album, Wall of Eyes was released early this year, following on from a hugely successful first release, A Light For Attracting Attention. I love this album. For me, The Smile have conquered the second album fear. The songs seem to have been approached in a way that makes this record feel incredibly wise and transformative. Sounds and textures so deliberate, alongside the words and melodies, creates some beautiful and complex stories. Although criticism depicts this album to be less of a treasure in comparison to their debut, I disagree. I would urge everyone to give this entire album a proper listen. It’s raw and brilliant and definitely worth the 45 minutes.

Josie, Rough Trade Bristol

A much anticipated new album following the intriguing I Know I’m Funny Haha. Faye Webster’s sound remains as hard to pin down as ever, with its varied instrumentation, mostly jangly, sometimes lilting guitar, a particularly interesting salsa twist on Wanna Quit All The Time. The album is overarchingly personal, loosely reflecting on the strange feelings relationships bring and breaking up. With just one collaboration (Lego Ring, featuring Webster’s childhood friend Lil Yachty), the album is also overwhelmingly internal. Webster is somehow at her best being despondent, but this also feels cathartic. Everything feels pointless but somehow this is the point.

Georgia, Rough Trade Office

The sixth solo studio album by Big Thief front person Adrianne Lenker is a warm melancholic comfort recorded straight to tape. I fell in love with this album before it was released through the defining singles ruined, sadness as a gift, fool, and free treasure. The confessional lyrics and intricate guitar, typical of Lenker’s discography, work in strong harmony alongside productional elements, bringing a heartbreaking showcase of songwriting prowess.

Kerenza, Rough Trade East

Described as his ‘dance album’ Kamasi‘s spiritual sound finds new tempos and fiery energy, dealing with raw and real emotions inspired by his first time experience of fatherhood. Built up with with real life inspirations (his three year old daughter’s piano dabbling) and collaboration (Andre 3000 on the flute, the vocals of George Clinton and D Smoke, the bass playing of Thundercat) Kamasi’s transcendant sax soundscapes are richer than ever, and he remains firmly a key figure of the contemporary jazz canon.

Georgia, Rough Trade Office

Highly anticipated debut record of South Korean DJ Peggy Gou. PG takes us back to the 90s by scratching the surface of alternative and trip-hop staples. Tracks like Back To One and Purple Horizon feel like they’ve been pulled straight from albums like Debut by Björk, or Blue Lines by Massive Attack. This deeply satisfies the native Bristolian in me, and was not something I expected from the Berlin-based DJ, whose hits have been akin to European House throughout her career. However, there are still plenty of summery tracks to go around (such as I Go) for the casual listener, cementing Gou’s on-going reputation as a club classic.

Erika, Rough Trade Bristol

The Texan trio return with their famiiar hi-fi magic on A LA SALA. A more stripped down sound than their previous works, but just as remarkable all the same. Khurangbin blend subtle drumming and whispered vocals rather than echoing heavy layers. The album’s relaxed pace emphasises the individual skills of the each player, allowing more space for distinctive instrumentation to be heard. A much welcome return to the earthy atmospherics we love the band for.

Georgia, Rough Trade Office

Billed as her debut solo album, this feels like a more than worthy follow up to 2002’s amazing Out of Season (credited as a collaboration with Rustin Man). Lives Outgrown features production by another Talk Talk alumni, Lee Harris, and contains sonic ghosts of Gibbons‘ past; some haunting, subtle echoes of the anxious moods explored on Portishead‘s Third – but there’s a general tilt away from the jazz and soul that has previously informed her work in favour of some kind of ancient British folk through a dreamlike prism. 30 years of music and not one single miss. A masterpiece.

Jono, Rough Trade Nottingham

An incredible sophomore record from New York’s Lip Critic. This album starts as it means to go on. Hex Dealer is loud and abrasive from the start and certainly does not let up for a single second of its 31 minute entirety. A blend of hip hop and what can only be described as skittish, electro punk, these four members have undeniably constructed a unique genre. Some stand-out tracks for me would be The Heart, Milky Max and I’m Alive but this is not to take away from the glory of any of the other tracks on this record.

Adam, Warehouse

Drawing from 2000s indie sleaze, Master Peace channels raucous energy into infectious beats for today’s generation. How To Make A Master Peace brings together punk elements, electroclash and tongue-in-cheek lyricism, ‘a pastiche of the alternative music the British artist was raised on.’ A very promising debut that stands out as something a bit different, in the often homogenous scene of British indie today.

Georgia, Rough Trade Office

I mean come on – this is as good as it gets. I’ve been waiting for Kim Gordon to release the follow up to her debut album No Home Record since I walked out of her ear-shattering KOKO gig in 2022, and if anything, it’s surpassed my expectations. THE COLLECTIVE is fucking bizarre in the best kind of way; lyrically fascinating and, surprisingly, contains some of the best trap to come out this decade. This record pushes her typical industrial guitar sound into a new space; a soundtrack for people like me who stare aimlessly at my phone as I walk home from work, listening to Psychedelic Orgasm AKA it slaps.

Matt Baghurst, Rough Trade East

Driving, head-nodding bass, jubilant sax and distinctly afrobeat percussion. Ibibio Sound Machine continue to spread a sound of positivity and interconnectedness. Frontwoman Eno Williams‘ commanding voice leads various grooves, from funky, disco flair to moodier, stomping numbers. Some of the band’s finest moments.

Georgia, Rough Trade Office

Coated unsparingly in lush, emotive instrumentals that are gloriously reminiscent of the big R&B, soul, pop and disco studio productions of the 80s and 90s, albeit with a contemporary focus, this is a special album. Intricately self-produced, it’s clear Palladino has paid particular attention to constructing sound beds that generously evoke the feelings visited in her lyrics. The fusion of influences both old and new meld to create an almost exemplar classic pop record.

Emily, Rough Trade Office

Waxahatchee‘s shift in sound on 2020’s Saint Cloud blew me away. On the eagerly awaited Tigers Blood that sound is fleshed out, confident and just as stunning. The masterful lyricism and gorgeous instrumentation confirm what I’ve long believed; that Katie Crutchfield is one of the most talented songwriters of our time.

Annabel, Rough Trade Nottingham

This is the kind of music to beat up bullies to. I adore its fierce, feral, life-giving energy. I also adore its tender melodic bliss. This is by far their finest achievement. The pantheon of quiet-loud stars of old, the likes of Kim Deal, Black Francis, Kurt Cobain and PJ Harvey, might need to make some room.

Paddy, Rough Trade Office

An album of wistful sentiment hammered home by searing guitar riffs. The Cleveland rockers make no left turns stylistically but instead, perfect their signature sound into something more raw and resonating. The storytelling holds a place of its own amongst the powerful, heavier sonics. Despite their change in form (moving from a four to three piece) the band feel assured and revitalised on new label home Pure Noise Records.

Georgia, Rough Trade Office

SPRINTSLetter to Self emerged in January as our first Album of the Month of 2024 and quickly won unanimous approval. Abrasive riffs, raw voice, thoughtful lyrics sung by the well grounded and impeccable leader Karla Chubb. The Irish garage punk four piece’s debut album is full on pain and passion spread across 11 delightfully melodic and catchy titles. All this sealed by solid live performances which make them an excellent live band, not to be missed!

Heloise, Rough Trade Office

How do you follow up a perfectly weaved together pop album like Everything Harmony? Well let me introduce A Dream Is All We Know. An album sculpted under the warming haze of 60’s pop nostalgia. Lush harmonies and infectious melodies set the landscape for a sun laden slice of serenity. The D’Addario brothers have built the album under the influence of The Beach Boys, a nod to sunnier days; the ones we’ve had and the ones yet to come. Stand out tracks for me are The Golden Years and They Don’t Know How to Fall In To Place. The familiarity of the album is its true charm, an oldest but newest friend.

Bruce, Rough Trade East

Bob Vylan‘s straight-up, no-nonsense DIY attitude has been unfaltering, the biting lyricism they have come to be known for seems as potent as ever on Humble As The Sun. Anger is still justifiably present, but this doesnt characterise the whole album, its engaging storytelling which is dark in places, is also uplifting. Blending punk and electronic with more distinct element of reggae we also see the duo embrace a more soulful side which its listeners can really lean into. A brillant set of Rough Trade in-stores as always.

Georgia, Rough Trade Office

I wasn’t a fan of Yard Act at first – something just didn’t make sense. Something was up with them. It might be because the singer looks exactly like someone that annoys me. Anyway, when we got Where’s My Utopia in I thought I’d give them another go and low and behold I was hooked! This album cooks. It’s all there – the beats, the breaks, the samples, the riffs and the tunes. Check it.

Chris, Rough Trade West

DON’T MISS: Yard Act – Live At Rough Trade on Rough Trade Exclusive vinyl

Rough Trade On the Rise, February Album of the Month, winners of the BRIT Rising Star Award. The Last Dinner Party have been the word on everyone’s lips in 2024. Their debut album is a real baroque pop rager, taking inspiration from the band’s favourite romantic poets to rip into ideas of gender, identity and femininity with sharp storytelling. The album’s unpredictable tempo could take cues from Bowie’s finest glam rock moments and the swooping, dramatic vocals are reminiscent of the haunting melodies of Kate Bush. An early contender for the top spot of all end-of-year lists for sure.

Georgia, Rough Trade Office

The powerful Electronic legends Gaspard and Xavier return with their first project in three years and it feels like the Justice we all know and love, mixed with a new and adventurous sound from features that you wouldn’t expect to collaborate with them. Tame Impala, Conan Mockasin and Miguel all added a twist to the Justice sound on their respective featured tracks. My personal standout track being the Thundercat feature to end the album. It’s almost impossible for them to top the 07-08 run of their first two albums, but this is definitely the closest they have come since then.

Jamie, Rough Trade East

The cult songwriter’s follow up to critically acclaimed album Dear Scott (one of our Albums of the Year in 2022) is an elegant, personal and evocative collection of songs, produced once again by Bill Ryder-Jones at the former Coral lead-guitarist’s Yawn Studios. It is with genuine delight that we witness a continued streak of glorious musicianship from the Liverpudlian. As he extends his rich back catalogue with Loophole, Head only reaffirms the strikingly characterful charm that’s kept us all coming back for more that 40 years.

Emily, Rough Trade Office

Having been hard at work slogging through the touring circuit and breaking into North America, The Mysterines are back with their follow up to critically acclaimed The Reeling. They’ve gone on a journey of self discovery with the many miles they’ve put behind them, forming a stronger united bond and taking leaps to hone and define themselves. Album two is always a tricky one to get right, but they have provided enough of the comfortable stability of the first album, with the edge of throwing in new and exciting nuances into the mix.

Matt, Warehouse

Crafted during rigorous 7am sessions in her revamped home studio, All Born Screaming ignites the spirit of St. Vincent with an unstoppable flame which despite its bittersweet title, leaves an indelible taste which is anything but sour. Several of these tracks, notably Broken Man and Big Time Nothing, were meticulously sculpted upon modular synths only to be lacerated by blistering guitars and raw vocal prowess. Tenacious, provocative and unwavering, All Born Screaming presents Annie in a bold and focused light, making it clear that she is not only playing with fire but rather commanding it with absolute mastery.

Julia, Rough Trade East


CALM receives 25% more calls to their life saving helpline during the Summer months.

Suicide rates are at their highest in Spring/Summer. Donate to CALM in-store and online at Rough Trade and help support the charity’s ongoing preventative work and vital resources.

If you’re feeling suicidal or have thoughts of harming yourself, talk to CALM. Their incredible helpline is open from 5pm to midnight every day.

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