Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Class of 2019 [3]

Here's another four brilliant records I've listened to lots this year, once again illustrating what a quality year 2019 has been for music.

Pom Poko - 'Birthday'
Another of my favourite discoveries of the year is this Norwegian four-piece who made one of the debut albums of the decade. 'Birthday' is so choc-full of spiky, fun-fuelled art-punk tunes it's impossible to dislike it. They also use plenty of cowbell. I love a good cowbell...

Drenge - 'Strange Creatures'
Well, this was a shock. I mean, I've always liked Drenge - I saw them five years ago while they were still touring their debut album. But I didn't expect them to put out anything quite as good as 'Strange Creatures'. Some really good, strong tracks on this record, but the opener, Bonfire Of The City Boys, sounds like Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds circa 'Dig Lazarus Dig'. On steroids.

New Model Army - 'From Here'
Who'd have thought that New Model Army would be one of the most relevent acts of 2019? These are dark times we are living in, but who is writing the protest songs, the social commentary, the music we really need right now? Stormzy you say? Hmmm, OK, but what about guitar bands? Who? New Model Army, that's who. 'From Here' is a dark record reflecting how things are in the world. As such, it's not an easy record to get into initially, but persevere and you will be rewarded, trust me. Powerful stuff.

Stephen Hero - 'Deciduous Eccentric'
Patrick Fitzgerald has recorded under lots of different monikers over the years. He's been a member of Kitchens Of Distinction, Fruit, Lost Girls and Oskar's Drum. As Stephen Hero, he's put out five solo albums. Sadly, however, he's announced his latest is his last. He's not explained why, but when you consider the serious health problems he's been suffering over the past decade or so, it adds a real touch of sadness. Not least for me because I was a big fan of the Kitchens, and when I wrote this piece a few years back, Patrick himself commented on it on Twitter. 'Deciduous Eccentric' is a lovely farewell, delicately arranged for piano and strings, its songs were written from Patrick's personal memories. My favourite track Patient Here Myself is simply wonderful.

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