AS WE build up to our album of the year countdown next week, we discuss some of our favourite events, songs and bands of the year.

Next week’s 2015 album list has been compiled with the help of a panel including music supremo Jim Gellatly, Podcart’s Halina Rifai and Tenement TV’s Nadine Walker. Unfortunately you’re stuck with just the two of us this week.

Best Single

Stefan: It’s a tricky one but I think Laura St Jude’s “Yours to Destroy” has to be up there. It’s a great track and sounds like nothing else that’s come out. It’s so dark but the guitars and vocals work perfectly. I’d have to say Blush by WHITE deserves a mention too though, very funky.

Jonny: Yeah, I’d agree with WHITE. Fat Ronaldo by VASA stands out for me. It really showcased the colourful, instrumental style the band roll with on their album Colours. I thought Kathryn Joseph’s The Bird stood out as an out-and-out single from her record as well.

Best Gig

Jonny: Mogwai at Barrowlands was incredible. I only made it to one of the nights they performed, but it summed up a good year for Mogwai. They marked twenty years for the band and felt like the closing of a chapter, especially as guitarist John Cummings moved on shortly after.

Stefan: For me, it would have to Paolo Nutini at Bellahouston Park. It was just such a big moment for him and he looked every bit the headliner. It’s not often you see someone pull off a massive gig like that with such ease. Showed you how far he’s come. Hector Bizerk at Oran Mor as well was another special one though…

Most Underrated Band

Jonny: The Girobabies deserve a shout out here. People often dismiss the vocals as not very marketable, but they actually have intriguing concepts and a pretty poetic way of writing,

Stefan: Yeah I think Bring Potions of their album is one of my favourite songs from last year actually, wasn’t sure about Equinox but Potions got me right into them.

Jonny: Another band that are incredibly underrated are Helicon, one of the best psychedelic bands in Scotland. They don’t get enough press coverage – actually, I think we only covered them once so maybe we’re no better!

Most Overrated Band

Jonny: Dare we say Young Fathers?

Stefan: I would disagree, but you go ahead…

Jonny: Maybe overrated is the wrong word. Dead was one of the best albums of last year and White Men Are Black Men Too would probably still sneak into my top 20, but I’m seeing it hailed as album of the year by several publications. I don’t think it merits the hype.

Stefan: For me I’d probably go with one of the returning bands which have popped back up this year. The new Fratellis album was pretty poor… but to be fair it wasn’t really hyped all that much. Considering Belle and Sebastian were voted the best Scottish band of all time their comeback album was fairly underwhelming too. I’d maybe be tempted to put The Lafontaines in this category as well… their album was alright but I think there were better records out there. I’m saying no bad word against Young Fathers though.

Best Festival

Stefan: Despite all the problems, I did think the music on offer at T in the Park was impressive this year, but, Eden Festival in Dumfries and Galloway has to go in as my favourite. It is hands down the strangest place I have ever been in Scotland! Another festival down that way which was brilliant was Wickerman. Stereo MC’s, Baby Strange and Jimmy Cliff were all right on form.

Jonny: Loch Lomond Boat Party was amazing, even though it was rainy. It was a festival which had a wide mix of Scottish Acts from techno to funk to punk to reggae. I loved Audio Soup too. Credit to Mark McGhee who launched the first ever stage devoted to solely Scottish hip hop at a three-day-festival.

Best International Album

Jonny: Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly. It solidified Kendrick’s spot as, not only one of the best rappers, but artists in America right now. It wasn’t only the songwriting, but the way he mixed so many different styles and perspectives that was impressive. The final product is one of the most profound social commentaries on 21st Century Urban America that we’ve heard.

Stefan: Mine is on the other end of the scale a bit but I have to say Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Sit. That album was the first time I’d heard her and I loved it straight away. Very clever, funny and pretty grungy at times. Depreston is great, so on the strength of that and Pedestrian at Best alone, it gets my vote. Not a big fan of the title though.

Best Music Video

Stefan: I only actually saw the video for the first time the other day, but Colonel Mustard’s – These Are Not The Drugs is an absolute cracker. It’s got Boaby the barman from Still Game popping up and the Eden and Kelburn footage looks brilliant on it. Good song too.

Jonny: I liked the new Chvrches one, Empty Threat, where all the goths go to the swimming park. It works quite well, strangely.

Best Breakthrough Act

Jonny: Whether you love them or hate them, Prides already have a confident and anthemic pop sound. They had a great year.

Another band is WeCameFromWolves. I think they have the same potential as the likes of Twin Atlantic did when they were starting up.

Stefan: Until quite recently I thought Gerry Cinnamon was just the guy who did that Hope Over Fear song, but he is actually a quality songwriter. He deserves a mention.

That said, I think acts like Catholic Action, Neon Waltz, C Duncan and Crash Club have all done really well too.

Our panel have put their choices forward and our top 20 Album of the Year countdown will be announced in next Thursday’s paper!