The most wonderful time of the year….List Time.
In an utterly disgusting year for pretty much everything else, 2016 has been abnormally good for music – like the best year I’ve experienced on record that I can think of musically (yes majorly down to Suede content but also everything else), alongside me playing in too many bands at too many shows and recording too many bands & actually Getting On It on a personal level, endless amounts of ace records have been put out/ace shows have been played, and it would be completely against the spirit of me as a sucker for lists and music to not acknowledge them with a big list article (and also I have an essay to write so this is much more appealing), so here we are reviving this old blog just for that once again…
Records of the Year (I agonised over the order of these after the first 2 for a huge amount of time & had to cut a fair few in pain)
- Night Thoughts – Suede (what did u expect – but even objectively it’s the best by a mile)
- Light Upon The Lake – Whitney
- The Life Of Pablo – Kanye West
- Come All Sufferers – Gabriel Bruce
- Freetown Sound – Blood Orange
- Friends – White Lies
- Salero (OST) – Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie
- Vol, 2. – PC Music (O yes a compilation)
- Kin – The Duke Spirit
- Mindfullness – Flyying Colours
- Skeleton Tree – Nick Cave
- For All We Know – NAO
- Ullages – Eagulls
- Grandfeathered – Pinkshinyultrablast
- Pennied Days – Night Moves
- Amnesty (I) – Crystal Castles
- Super – Pet Shop Boys
- Boy King – Wild Beasts
- Trance Frendz – Ólafur Arnalds & Nils Frahm (didn’t want to double & I loved this record more but Island Songs was also incredible)
- Third World Pyramid – The Brian Jonestown Massacre
- Good Luck And Do Your Best – Gold Panda
- Orphee – Jóhann Jóhannsson
Honourable things of note that aren’t records:
- Grace Lightman put out 2 gorgeous singles of pure pop bliss that everyone must hear this year & absolutely cannot wait for her record
- Suffer EP – Jennie Vee is a last minute contender that has had me dying to pick up instruments & record something good myself
- Declan McKenna put out some ace tracks/played some top live shows I was in attendance at & is to keep an eye on
- Manor also put out some tracks that are beautiful + a revised version of their EP and am also dying for their record
- ^^ditto^^ Gangly
- Eyre Llew did the same
- Father John Misty put out Real Love which is one of the ultimate best tracks of the year
- The Killers released a Christmas compilation album that is a treat if you’ve missed the tracks before & it’s all raised $1 million for charity which is nice
And obviously here is a playlist of the best ones inc. the stuff below for yr perusal….
Notable shows I went to (I have trouble cutting myself/bands I really like so this is a bit long and pretty much almost every gig I went to this year but ones I recommend you should all catch in the next one
- //Last Min. Amendement// – I saw The Clientele last night and they were incredible.
- Suede – they were always going to be on here though, but this year especially – if we’re counting, I saw Suede the most times I ever have in a year this year (14 to be exact) plus the weird Q&A’s/screenings/everything inbetween- I got on some planes, indulged a week of my 52 in following the tour, made even more friends & naturally all of it was the best ever & (though still feeling the financial implications) I love them more than anything else.
- Stars Of The Lid – continuing the branching into the ambient classical synth sorts this year has taken me on – I got to see SOTL at the Barbican a few months back and combined with some intense visuals and a GIANT MOOG it was borderline religious experience
- Father John Misty – talking of religious experience, in sheer desperation I bartered with a tout for a very last minute ticket to FJM’s second Roundhouse show, and eventually ended up in the thick of an intense couple of hours accompanied by the voice of which there aren’t many words to describe live and worshipping the persona of genius – please check out his Kiss It Better cover it’s nearly the best thing this year has birthed & he’s probably my favourite person of the year
- Cats Eyes/Luna – Upon my Suede travels in Butlins (ye Butlins) I saw some /other/ bands and these two were the highlights, fresh from a Twin Peaks/Horrors binge Cat’s Eyes had me from the off, and Luna (the product of Dean Wareham’s Galaxie 500 departure as I learnt a few hours before) were equally fantastic with dreamy sounds
- Gabriel Bruce – He came back this year and after the return show at The Windmill (incredible) I also caught him at Moth Club at the end of the tour and it was a carefree disco of beautiful uplifting delights, long live the Bruce.
- Penguin Cafe – Another Suede led adventure, I finally got to see PC twice which was brilliant for a) the obvious inclusion of a certain member and b) they are actually more so brilliant live than on record – and despite being almost probably definitely the youngest by a fair shot in a town hall in Cheltenham and the Barbican (where the also ace Anna Von Hausswolff supported), it was entirely worth it & 2017 shall see more of this I hope.
- GIRLI – Top one of big highlights of my year was getting to support GIRLI at The Garage (absolute surreality of having people queueing for a show you’re playing even if its not for you & clinging to the front row whilst you are gives you a beautiful false sense of making it – someone even carried my gear offstage for me (!) ) but after we’d done our bit, she took to the stage and ultimately tore it up & if she isn’t massive next year I give up – (listen to those word perfect children screaming, they know whats up)
- The Horrors/Peter Hook – Yet another Suede adventure, TTP in Brighton featured these two in support, and both were entirely stellar – my love for The Horrors is a never faltering thing & they also played another beautiful set in Bilbao also in support of Suede a few months after
- Field Day – This festival is the most constantly incredible line up of all time, but this year was particularly good because I finally got to see BJM – a band I’ve been dying to, and when slightly drunk having bumped into the very friends that got you into them you havent seen in years totally by chance 5 minutes beforehand, it was only a recipe for an absolutely mind blowing state of affairs. Equally Thurston Moore, Mystery Jets (yes those) and PJ Harvey (all 4 songs before I had to leave, nice one me) were also insane – I finally caught PJ properly before Suede in Bilbao and she was as ace as the 4 before.
- The Fall/Bo Ningen – I love The Fall and I loved them the last time I saw them at the Garage, but this time they had a nuts Japanese band supporting, and a really very up for it crowd, which made for a v good combo indeed.
- Fat White Family – being shoved around in a sweaty mess in The Coronet for a couple of hours doesn’t exactly sound like the best idea, but on this particular night in March soundtracked by Fat Whites new record and the support of Paranoid London, it absolutely was & they are entirely still one of the best live new bands out there on levels of sheer mania.
- The Hives/Rationale/Declan McKenna – Yet another Suede led adventure, a field in Ware (me either) waiting for them led to beautiful support in the form of Rationale (soulful, poppy & totally won me over), Declan McKenna (energy fuelled 17 y/o making me feel awful about my musical achievements for my age & singing about actual important things) and The Hives (if you havent heard of them where have you been since 2000 – unleashed boundless energy and sent entire crowd into frenzy of mosh, would’ve outshined Suede if they weren’t y’know..Suede)
- Massive Attack – After clamouring around, someone gave me tickets to this for £2 and it was also brilliant, Patti Smith was in support and having just finished her book it translated incredibly live, as did Shura’s pure pop set, but the outfit themself alongside Tricky were unstoppable on a sore post Brexit fallout weekend
- Crystal Castles – living out another sad early teen me dream a mere day after my 20th birthday in some tunnels under Waterloo was quite the one, and I know it’s not 2008 anymore but they’re still great
- Lush – Transformed the Roundhouse into a beautiful thing and didn’t feel like twenty years ago – top marks.
And there you have my opinions nobody really cared for but it got me out of writing an essay for an hour or two so that works anyway…