Let's all hope for health and happiness in 2021. All the best to you and yours
Jimi Hendrix - Auld Lang Syne
This is absolutely fucking inspired and has hardly been off the turntable since I got it about 10 days ago. It really shouldn't work but it does, so, so well. This would have made top ten in The Tracks of My Year if I had had it a couple more weeks. If you didn't know better you would swear that that vocal was supposed to be in there. It is the product of Japanese dj/producer Mister Mushi.
Mister Mushi - Hard Lifetime
Last week I was listening to Into The Mystic and thought to myself "what a pity he's such a prick, the majority of his music is so wonderful. I always knew he had been a moody fucker but when I read Laura Barton's account of trying to interview him, I lost all respect for the man. You can read it here And this was before his utterances on the COVID19 situation and joining the ranks of the Fox fool, Hartley-Brewer et all. But by god can he make some sweet music. This is an outtake from a recording session back in 1972 at Pacific High Studios in San Francisco.
Van Morrison - Caledonia Soul Music (Full version)
Ok, so here we are, it's time for the most self indulgent post of the year, the tracks that I believe are the best of the year, you may think differently but of course you are all wrong.
It would have been easy to have filled this list with at least a dozen tracks that would be peppered with the Guv'nor's magic, to coin a phrase, as this is probably the last year that Andrew Weatherall's music will feature here which is too heart breaking to contemplate, not eagerly awaiting the next change in direction and ordering on spec, /cause it's Weatherall isn't it. Not sure if this is any kind of honour but he is the only artist that has featured in all 11 of these yearly posts.
When I completed the list I was quite surprised that there was nothing By Kungens Man or the 4 albums that I had purchased from those released on the El Paraiso label but when I thought a bit more there were no single tracks that jumped out at me, all were fine albums and worked as that an album, I would put them on and just listen to them. Another thing that struck me is, that for the first time, horror of horrors, downloads have been included and not just a few but 8 in total. I just hope that this is not the shape of things to come but I suspect it will be.
Even a quick scan and you will realise that there are quite a lot of mixes/edits, yes in this year of all years when it has been impossible to go anywhere to dance I have been buying and listening to loads of dance music. That along with a lot of ambient and psych is what has kept me relatively sane over the past 12 months.
I hope you find something here that piques your interest here.
1. Whyte Horses - Mr Natural
2. Sault - Wildfires
3. Daniel Avery - Lone Swordsman
4. Little Barrie & Malcolm Catto - After After
5. The Orb - The Weekend It Rained For Ever (The Ravens Have Left The Tower)
6. Night Noise - Guiding Light (On The Horizon Mix)
7. Richard Norris - Music For Healing 6
8. Glok - Cloud Cover (Andrew Weatherall mix)
9. A.M.O.R - No More (Original mix)
10. Closed Paradise - Tripping On Sunshine
11. Greg Float - Pointe Venus
12. Pye Corner Audio - Resist (John Talabot remix)
13. Four Tet - Something In The Sadness
14. Mister Mushi - Hard Lifetime
15.The Grid - Floatation (Paul Woolford Full Length mix)
16. Charles Webster - The Spell (Vocal mix)
17. Prince Fatty - Black Rabbit
18. Jorge Smith - Rose Rouge
19. Cult of Free Love - Transcendence
20. Fever - Honesty
21. Woodleigh Research Facility - Calm Before The Storm
22. Kit Sebastian - Durma (Baris K dub)
23. Klaus - Mammatus Clouds Over Saskatchewan
24. Marcu Rares - Contratimp
25. Andres Y Xavi - Is It Balearic?
26. The Airborne Toxic Event - Common Touch
27. The Bongolian - Harlem Hipshake
28. King Creosote - Cath
29. The Long Champs - Men Of Letters
30. Unloved -Why Not (Richard Sen dub)
31. The Night Beats - That All You Got.
32. Tomorrow Syndicate - Living In Simulation
33. The Emanations - Spread A Little Love (Soul Clap Mix/Greg Wilson edit)
34. Fjord Funk - It's All Black (Hardway Bros Meet Monktown Uptown version)
35. X.Y.R. - Black Monk On The Dunes
36. The Kevin Fingier Collective feat Gerri Granger - Don't Wanna Cry No More
37. Bruce Springsteen - Burnin' Train
38. Night Noise - Dancing In Space - (Hardway Bros Amorphous mix)
39. Valium Aggelein - Here Comes The Black Moon
40. Birds - Transcendental Phase
It's the final Friday prior to Christmas and normally I would be going on about the amateur drinkers and the sheer hell it is working in pubs and clubs on this night but things are a wee bit different this year. I am sure that all hospitality staff would rather be dealing with the worst of the Christmas office night out twat than sitting in the house doing nothing. I really feel for people working in hospitality but have less sympathy for club owners and top chefs moaning about public policy when they have been fleecing punters for years for miniscule portions and wine with a mark up of at least 300%, the money being made certainly wasn't going to the KPs, commis chefs, waiting or bar staff. Anyway, I digress, this post is usually soundtracked with a big, house tune, I'm not sure that Throw by Tee Mango was a big tune as by the time it was released, 2015 my clubbing days were mostly behind me but the tune that it liberally samples was HUGE.
"Drew, what is going on with the Diamonds?" you may ask and my answer is, I have no idea, the only word that comes to mind is inconsistent. They have lost more than they have won and are in the bottom half off the table after two games that they really should have won or in last week's case at least turned up. This week they are away to league leaders Falkirk and I fully expect a scudding.
Have a good weekend people and stay safe.
Tee Mango - Throw
I haven't stopped playing this since I got it, five times on the bounce last night. Not sure what it is but the whole feel of it just lifts the spirit, it may be that organ, you don't hear enough of that instrument these days. You could imagine Otis Redding or Sam Cooke belting this out. In fact it may have been ever so slightly influenced by That's How Strong My Love Is which has featured here previously.
One good thing that has come out of 2020 is the quality of the music that has been released, well the music that I have bought anyway. It has been a bumper year in the number of releases too making it hard to keep up and I have had to make more hard choices on what to buy and what to try and forget about. It has also been a year when I have chosen to buy the cd copy of some new releases over the vinyl, mostly forced on me by major labels ripping the absolute pish in relation to price, thirty quid for A Letter To You by Bruce Springsteen or Taylor Swift's latest anyone? And don't get me started about the lack of download codes in an ever increasing number of vinyl releases.
Some record labels are offering a different approach, producing beautifully packaged, well produced records complete with download codes and download links from the Bandcamp pages at a reasonable price, Colin Morrison's Castles In Space is the leader in this field and is now offering a brilliant subscription service. On the topic of labels a couple of new ones that have come to my attention over the past 12 months are Werra Foxma and Cue Dot Records both of which offer some excellent fresh electronic sounds and are well worth checking out.
It has been difficult get my list down to ten albums but here they are.
10. Autotelia - I
The album consists of 5 fairly lengthy pieces of psychedelic, kosmiche that envegle themselves into your consciousness and foster a strange feeling of calm at a time of high stress. Well worth a listen
9. OCH - II
I know very little about OCH other than they are a trio from Sweden and this is their second release, the first being an ep which came out back in 2014. More synth based modern Prog Rock, no, honestly give it a listen. This album was bought on a whim and I am glad that I did. There was a time between April and July/August when, apart from one album which will feature later I had very little time for anything with any vocals at all and this fitted right in with that mood.
OCH - Akssa
8. The Long Champs - Straight To Audio
Another one bought on the strength of hearing one track. Debut album by "the Welsh Idiot", not my description but what's on the Twitter bio for the Long Champs. I really don't know how to describe this other than none of the eight tracks would have been out of place on Weatherall's Music's Not For Everyone and quite a few of them could be included in an A Love From Outer Space set and no one would bat an eye. Yes, it is that good. Only downside is that it only came out on cd or download.
7. Sault - (Untitled) Black Is
It's September and out of the blue, unheralded as with the previous two albums by the mysterious Sault, Black Is is released. An album that has obviously been produced in the wake of the hellish racist murder of George Floyd, the justified BLM protests and the totally disgusting actions of police forces all over the US. An album of protest, brooding, sorrowful in parts, defiant in others but absolutely gorgeous and the album that every right minded person needed at that time.
Some deep and dubby House for the last working week Monday of the year, for me at least and I must admit that I am looking forward to a couple of weeks of doing as little as possible and not thinking about work for two whole weeks. I realise that I really am one of the lucky ones as I have been working all the way through and have not been furloughed or worse but it has been hard going. Even though there were lots of things in regard to my job that I haven't been able to do due to travel restrictions and not being able to get into where I spend my time if I am not in my cupboard at home, my workload has increased what seemed like two fold and it was the same throughout our department. So some time with the pile of unread books that I have and some of the music I have bought but haven't really got round to listening to will be relished.
Beautiful World is the lead track on a three track 12" released on Paper Recordings twenty one years ago, however the tune does not sound dated or stale to me and I think wouldn't sound out of place in a club now, if such a thing were possible.
Paul Hester - Beautiful World
It's the same old story, England's glory
Claiming back the Union Jack, my arse.
They've sold us all down the river for fucking fish that they're not going to be able to process or sell and blue bastarding passports that never were fucking blue in the first place. Still in fifty years it may come good. Cry God for Harry, England and St George, eh. Fucking criminals each and every one of them.
And by the way if you voted leave fucking own the shitshow that follows, it's not us that voted to remain in the EU to blame, neither is it the EU, the French or any other fucking scapegoat your, evil propaganda sheets might single out in the coming weeks, it's all down to you fuckers. As you kept telling us you knew what you were voting for.
Edwyn Collins - Keep On Burning
I have been on a bit of an Ashley Beedle trip this weekend, immersing myself in both Ballistic Brothers albums, some 12" single and some of my favourite remixes including the immense Long Night and The Samba remix of One Night Stand by the Aloof which could have featured in this spot if I hadn't already posted it at least three times previously. Instead here is a beautiful deep mix of Simone Olayemi Adefikayo Ogunnbunmi excellent Unmask Me. This is just the sort of summery vibes that we need in early December. Just focus on the fact that in 14 days the days nights will start to draw out.
The photie, is the vision that greeted me last Friday when I got up to get Max up for his work!
Mama - Unmask Me (Ashley Beedle Vocal Mix)
The Trip isn't a cover of my favourite Kim Fowley track which has been featured here in the past but the flip side of the only single, "I Know", the only release by Park Avenue Playground, a bunch of kids at the time hailing from Lansing, Illinois The track was recorded in an old theatre and is a furiously paced fuzz guitar, mad sound effects and lyrics suggesting that this bunch had taken a trip or two. The band had 500 copies of the single pressed in 1969 for distribution and the single came to the attention of the Chicago label USA Records who unsuccessfully tried to sign the band who disappeared without trace after that.
Park Avenue Playground - The Trip
Over the past few months I have found that during the day I just need to take some time out and just sit there, select something comforting, stare off into the middle distance and try to soothe my increasingly troubled soul. Kathryn Williams cover of Thirteen, one of the most heartachingly beautiful songs about first love ever usually does the trick either that or it makes me even more maudlin and then the day is shot to pieces and I go down the rabbit hole of That Summer Feeling, IMy Favourite Girl, Go Now, The Day Before You Came etc.
You pays your money and you takes your chances
Kathryn Williams - Thirteen