Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Is this 2017? (part two)

Some blogger and his #2 fave album of the year (more apologies to The Swede...)

More of my top picks of the year, and the girls are dominant again...

Jane Weaver 'Modern Kosmology'
Until Nadine Shah's album came out, this was my favourite record of the year. A surprise seeing as it is rare I would rate anything so electronic so highly, but that seaks volumes. 'Modern Kosmology' has been hailed by many critics as Jane's masterpiece, and it is a real psychedelic/Krautrock odyssey - glistening synths and floaty vocals abound, but at the heart of everything is a good tune. Really good tunes, in fact. Slow Motion is one of my singles of the year, The Architect comes close too. Blissful, shimmery vibes - a proper lazy summer evening album.

It's telling how this record has appeared on so many Best of 2017 lists I've seen so far. A lot of those have posted Slow Motion so I'm going for The Architect just to be different!

British Sea Power - 'Let The Dancers Inherit The Party'
They never let you down, this lot. Another consistently good set of songs infused with some unexpected twists and turns, a bit of weirdness and melodies that stay with you long after the record has finished. Business as usual then.

Mammút - 'Kinder Versions'
Mammút's first English-language record - and their first to be released outside their native Iceland - proved to be a winner. A bit of a departure on their earlier stuff with more keyboards and a more lush production, but that's no bad thing. Some really good songs and sounds on here, making 'Kinder Versions' probably their best record to date.

Waxahatchee - 'Out in The Storm'
Talking of best records to date - Katie Crutchfield just keeps getting better and better. I played this album more times this year than I thought I would and I still haven't grown remotely tired of it. It's one I keep coming back to.

Here's a killer live take of Never Been Wrong featuring Katie playing one of my favourite guitars...

Public Service Broadcasting - 'Every Valley'
Of course, this one was always going to feature, wasn't it. A record about the decline of the South Wales mining industry doesn't immediately invoke 'album of the year'-type thoughts, but what PSB did with 'Every Valley' was bring the emotive elements to the fore to create exactly that. They also drafted in some special guests to sing some proper vocals for the first time. A sign of things to come, perhaps. Here's the angry Miners Strike song:

Other mentions must go to:
Annie Booth - 'An Unforgiving Light'
Marika Hackman - 'I'm Not Your Man'
Further proof (if any were needed) that the fairer sex seems to be making the best music at the moment. I owe CC a pint for introducing me to Annie Booth.

Spiral Stairs - 'Doris & The Daggers'
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - 'Who Built The Moon?'
Classic songwriting at the heart of these two records. It's Noel's best to date for sure.

And of course, there was Mark Lanegan Band's 'Gargoyle' and the Popguns' 'Sugar Kisses' that have already been written about a-plenty on other notable blogs from over there on my Blogroll. I ought to also mention Wolf Alice, Cold War Kids, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, Prophets Of Rage, Feist and Bully have also got loads of plays this year. I've probably forgotten plenty others too...

The year was tinged with disappointments as well, though. The Charlatans, one of my favourite bands, delivered a bit of a stinker with 'Different Days', very uncharacteristic of them. Same for Weezer's latest offering 'Pacific Daydream', and Morrissey's 'Low In High School', an at times bordering on awful record. I never thought I'd write that about Moz, but then he's becoming increasingly unlikeable as a person so I don't feel guilty about it. Then there was LCD Soundsystem's comeback record 'American Dream' which sounded like, well, like LCD Soundsystem only with not-as-good songs.

And just to prove the girls aren't infallible I did feel a little let down by the latest efforts by Laura Marling and Torres. Laura, who up to this point has been flawless, seemed to have just channelled Joni Mitchell and just made a 'girl-with-acoustic-guitar-by-numbers' record, while Torres just rehashed Lana Del Ray and made a couple of controversial videos to get people talking. Not good enough.

That's yer lot for now. What of 2018? Well, as you know, I've struggled to keep the momentum up as far as blogging goes so I'm not making any plans for this place beyond Bowie Week and the marking of the blog's 4th (final?) Anniversary. We'll see what happens. Some bloody good music on the way though. Django Django, First Aid Kit, Franz Ferdinand, Buffalo Tom and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club all have new stuff imminent. The Breeders, Yak, Gulp and Estrons will probably all put albums out too. We have tickets booked to see British Sea Power and Belly - yes, THE Belly. They're back! So very much looking forward to those. Whether I'll write about them depends on whether I can be arsed.

See you next year.


  1. Lazy bugger. Never see me slacking off...>

  2. LCD didn't do much for me either. Glad I'm not the only one.
    Swiss Adam

  3. LCD I only got at was on the back of really enjoying the live show and the fact so many critics raving about the album in the end-of-year lists. The live renditions were waaaaaay better.

    I'm going to call it a day on my catching-up and will read the 2018 postings tomorrow. Thanks again for everything Robster. Really do hope you feel like keeping it going.....if not, there will always be a slot, regular or otherwise, over at my place.