Tuesday 17 December 2019

Albums of the Year

I have bought far too many albums this year, quite a few if truth be told I will rarely play but at the time I believed were essential purchases. There were quite a few more that I was severely tempted by but resisted including all but two of the Stereolab reissues. While talking about reissues, one that I hummed and hawed about including in my top ten was I Trawl The Megahertz, an absolute treasure of an album that would have been high up the list.  But it is a re-release even though this time it is under the Prefab Sprout moniker and not as when originally released a Paddy McAloon record. Another couple of  records that would have been included I have no doubt if they had been released  and purchased earlier in the year would have been Chef by Kungens Man and the Spiral Arm by Dallas Acid which have not been played enough yet to push out any of the ones on the list.

So here we go

10. Unloved - Heartbreak

The second album from David Holmes' collaboration with Keefus Ciancia and Jade Vincent bring us more soulful cinemascope tunes that conjour up visions of 60s psychedelia, twisted girl group sounds and coolness. Both and Girl is a song that I have been unable to get out of my head ever since I first heard it, it is such a beautifully sad song that does feel really familiar.

9. Cowgirl In Sweden

Another album that harks back to the late 60s, taking it's name from  Lee Hazlewood's 1970 album Cowboys In Sweden and including a cover of a song by psychedelic folk band The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. This album led me to Manchester's Whyte Horses, a revelation to these ears who those in the know say made this record and from there to the Justin Velor album released back in 2012 and well worth checking out. The Cowgirl In Sweden album is one for lazy summer days or sitting on a dank December night dreaming of warm, lazy summer days.

Cowgirl In Sweden - Welcome Home

8. Lo-Five - Geography of The Abyss

A gorgeous album which is apparently an exploration of advanced states of consciousness and shifts in perception. It is something that is best listened to as a whole but also works as individual tracks. It reminds me of the work of Jon Hopkins. It is also beautifully packaged and can be purchased from one time blogger, Colin Morrison's excellent Castles In Space label.

7. L'eppe - Diabolique

Does Anton Newcombe ever sleep? What with touring, producing for other people and releasing albums every year as part of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, he still finds time to start up a side project with Emmanuelle Seigner and the Liminanas. More 60s psych influences here with added drone.

6. The Utopia Strong - The Utopia Strong

I never thought I would ever be listening to an album recorded by Steve Davis, yes that Steve Davis. I knew that after snooker he had turned to the decks and had become a techno dj which had been a surprise as I thought that he was a bit of a Northern Soul man. But part of a trio making modern kosmiche, nah,  no way. But yes and incredibly good experimental 70s German influenced music it is too and once again wonderfully packaged.

5. Nick Waterhouse - Nick Waterhouse

On album number four Nick Waterhouse gives us more music for men in sharp suits and women in minidresses grooving in smokey dim light after hours clubs. If it ain't broke. . . don't fuck about with it.

4. Glok - Dissident

Balearic, techno krautrock from the guitarist in Ride?  Fuck off!

No, listen, it is absolutely magic

About as likely as a 6 times snooker world champion playing modular synths.

3. [Retreat] - Retreat

Collaboration by Lyndon Scarfe from The Black Lamps and Sam Horton another resident off Barnsley who have teamed up to make an album that on listening to the first track you think is just going to be another of those ambient things that take bits of dialogue from space missions and drench them with synth sounds to create a "soundscape" but fuck me no, it twists and turns from "Yorkshire's answer to MES" ranting over a pounding beat through distorted brass, foreboding synths and culminating in a track to accompany some cataclysmic event. This is what Twitter is for, finding musicians that are making amazing music that would otherwise have passed me by. Well that and Momentum and fascist baiting.

2. Dream Division - Transcend

More music to soundtrack a nightmare. This time a John Carpenteresque Sci-Fi Horror. More analogue synths and psychedelic sounds from the Polyphonic Youth label.

1. Karen O & Danger Mouse - Lux Prima

I can't put my finger on just why I like this album more than anything else I have bought this year I just know that I do. The production is immaculate as you would expect, the album as a whole has a dreamy feel to it and flits from the almost symphonic title track through the disco like Turn The Light to the cinematic end title sounds of Nox Lumina, taking in hip hop beats here and four to the floor northern stomping there and garage guitars for good measure.

Tune in on Saturday for the Tracks of My Year, if you are remotely interested.


The Swede said...

A fascinating list Drew, which immediately reminded me that I should go back and check out the L'eppe album further. Elsewhere, I like the sound of Cowgirl in Sweden and apparently managed to completely miss the new Nick Waterhouse record altogether, so thanks too for those nudges. As for Kungens Män, I reckon that the very recent 'Hårt som ben' is every bit as good as 'Chef' and, if I get around to putting a similar post together, they'll both feature strongly.

Charity Chic said...

I think we can all relate to "quite a few if truth be told I will rarely play but at the time I believed were essential purchases." Drew
I'm usually familiar with at least a couple on your list but you have stumped me this year!

Echorich said...

I've got some interesting listening ahead of me! Great selection of music and I look forward to delving in.

Swiss Adam said...

L'epee is ace and the Glok album will feature highly in my list. When I finally find some time to write it. Some for me to check out too.