Friday, 18 December 2020

Albums of 2020

2020 ... Some year the 2020 eh?  😒

'Nuff said about the year in general, I’m sure everyone's sick of it and the endless analysis that has gone and is yet to come ... we all have our experiences and memories of 2020, I have many but not for here and not for now.

For many, music has been extra special in these times and we will all have our particular reference point albums and tracks that will never fade due to the circumstances.  

Hence the reason I thought I’d dust off this old site that no-one ever reads to share my albums of this particular year.

As always, rules include no re-issues, no best-ofs & no live albums ... had I missed that last rule, The Twilight Sad would probably be #1 here, Mogwai would have more than one entry in the list and there would probably be a cheeky wee Arctic Monkeys entry!

Having said that ...

20: Man of Moon - “Dark Sea”

Seems like an age since I saw these guys supporting The Twilight Sad at Glasgow Barrowlands in 2015 and, despite a few great single & EP releases since, this is their debut album ... well worth the wait!

19: Fontaines DC – “A Heroes Death”

The debut 'Dogrel' was #4 on my albums of 2019 list and I know many people consider 'A Heroes Death' as a development & improvement.  Its different, and it's still great but not as big a deal for me as the first one, sorry!

18: Tim Burgess – “I Love the New Sky”

Not sure if I would have given this as much listening time had it not been for Tim's Twitter listening parties and the impact those had, and continue to have, on people generally as part of Covid restrictions.

I think this is one of the albums I listened to most in the mid-part of 2020 and will continue to revisit.  One album aside (later in this list), this is probably a key Covid musical reference point for me. 

17: GoGo Penguin – “GoGo Penguin”

One of those bands that just seem to do it for me every time ... the jazz / electronica / post-rock fusion always threatens to run out of steam and stop delivering but never does!  

Possibly one their best offerings but just up against big competition this year!

16: Muzz – “Muzz”

One of several albums discovered as part of my weekly Spotify 'Release Radar' playlist that probably wouldn't have otherwise known about.

A 'supergroup' of sorts comprising Paul Banks (Interpol), Matt Barrick (The Walkmen) and Josh Kaufman (The National and others) that sounds pretty much as you would expect that combo to ... this is not a bad thing!

15: Rival Consoles – “Articulation”

My first exposure to Ryan Lee West's Rival Consoles was 2018's 'Persona' and when 'Articulation' dropped this year I gave it a few listens over a weekend where I think there were several good releases so it kinda passed me by.

One of the tracks came up on a playlist a month or so later than made me go back and listen again ... I'm glad I did!

14: Bruce Springsteen – “Letter to You”

I was a fan of the Boss in my (much) younger days and saw him live for the first time just a few years ago but much of his later work has passed me by.

Maybe it was the timing of 'Letter to You', maybe it was watching the accompanying 'making of' film but whatever it was it struck a chord and hooked me.

It will never be 'Darkness on the Edge of Town' but that is a pretty high bar to be fair!

13: Phillip Jon Taylor – “Essential Maintenance For Human Happiness”

Paws frontman Phillip had multiple DIY releases this year, this and an EP under his own name plus an experimental electronica offering under the Coping Mechanism moniker.

While all well worthy of your listening time, this is probably the strongest and most varied of the three.

Phillip's challenges, drivers and approaches to recording are well documented if you take the time to look. His music and lyrics are deep, insightful and make you just want to buy the guy a beer and chat ... I genuinely believe that after all this madness, if you find yourself in and around Dornoch's stunning coastline, he'd be up for the visit.

Meantime, buy the guy's music will ye!  [Phillip's Bandcamp]

12: Nyx Nótt – “Aux pieds de la nuit”

Another alter ego of Arab Strap frontman and poet Aidan Moffat that focuses, exclusively, on his musical creativity as opposed to his normal lyrical genius.

Distantly reminiscent of his L. Pierre output, this wanders around alt-Jazz / pseudo-classical instrumental territory in a way that is completely hypnotic in the right listening circumstances.

If you struggle with the opening of the album, stick with it until pretty much bang on the 4 minute mark of second track "The Prairie' ... something beautiful happens, trust me! 

11: Daniel Avery - “Love + Light”

Dropping out of nowhere in the middle of 2020, this schizophrenic electronica kaleidoscope includes everything from rave pulse beats to pseudo ambient chill.  On the first few listens, it's really tricky to work out what it's trying to be.

With room to breathe, and an acceptance that it's all over the place, it turns into a strangely coherent and engaging listen that will make you want to dance and chill out all in the same hour! 

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Albums of the Year: 2016 to 2019

Filling in some gaps from 2016 to 2019:

Albums of 2019:

20 The Murder Capital “When I Have Fears”

19 Lost Under Heaven “Love Hates What You Become”

18 Slipknot “We Are Not Your Kind”

17 Floating Points “Crush”

16 Blanck Mass “Animated Violence Mild”

15 These New Puritans “Inside the Rose”

14 Mono “Nowhere Now Here”

13 Thom Yorke “ANIMA”

12 Tool “Fear Innoculum”

11 A Winged Victory for the Sullen “The Undivided Five”

10 Shhe    "Shhe”

9.     65daysofstatic  "replicr, 2019"

8 The National “I Am Easy to Find”

7 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds “Ghosteen”

6 DIIV “Deceiver”

5 Pixies “Beneath the Eirie”

4 Fontaines D.C. “Dogrel”

3 The Ninth Wave “Infancy”

2 A Mote of Dust “A Mote of Dust II”

1 The Twilight Sad “It Won/t Be Like This All the Time”