Sunday 10 December 2023

2023: 23 Highlights (pt. 2)

Another selection of my year's highlights...

Gaz Coombes - 'Turn The Car Around'
Another strong set of songs from Gaz. While his former Supergrass bandmate Danny Goffey still makes records that hark back to their 90s glory days, Gaz is forging a more lasting legacy for himself. 'Turn The Car Around', his fourth solo album, might be his most interesting effort yet. This is my favourite track.

Gemma Ray - 'Gemma Ray & The Death Bell Gang'
Mind, if Gaz Coombes is pushing the envelope, then Gemma Ray seems to have pushed it, addressed it and sent it to the moon! Her ninth - NINTH! - album is a major departure from her trademark twangy-guitar sound. Not a bad thing - in spite of the love I have for her, I did find her last two records to be far less interesting than her previous work. So this time she's gone full experimental psych mode. Once you get over the shock, the songs start to reveal themselves and you find bits of the Gemma Ray in them you always loved from the start. It's the record that has grown on me more than any other this year.

Boygenius - 'The Record'
There can't really be many people in the world who have not been made aware of Boygenius this year. I'm always wary of so-called "supergroups" - they're more often than not less than the sum of their parts. But to be fair, anything Phoebe Bridgers is involved in seems to come up smelling of roses. Getting back with Julian Baker and Lucy Dacus after a brief stint together a few years ago has yielded a really good record which covers similar ground to those made seperately by each member, yet the chemistry of them working together does add something extra special to the mix. Like their vocal harmonies *swoon*...

Myrkur - 'Spine'
Amalie Bruun - aka Myrkur - is difficult to categorise. She blends dark Scandanavian folk music with black metal to make something that often sounds like neither. 'Spine' adds a smattering of electronics to the proceedings and it resulted in possibly her best record yet. At times spine-tingling, at others terrifying, but never less than gripping.

Another batch to follow next week...

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