All too soon another year ends and exposes my shameful attempts at maintaining this or any other blog…
Still…herewith my favourite songs discovered this year…mostly new, the odd oldie…compiled in part to subvert the message of Christmas cards with imposition/indulgence of my tastes; and in support of @LPGrp’s furtive festiveness, or festive furtiveness, or something. What follows are the listening/sleevenotes provided alongside the mix CDs – most of which I hope are now in the hands of recipients.
A mixed bag, reflecting a mixed year on many levels. There is much love and humour reflected within, all of which is reflective itself of the warmth, kindness and company of friends and family throughout good and bad times. There is also change. The odd surprise. And noise:
1. ‘Wait a minute’ – Tim Tam and the Turn Ons
This appeared magically via shuffle, hiding in a hastily ripped Northern Soul compilation. Supreme doo-wop. The first 26 seconds provide ‘Pretty Woman’, ‘9 to 5’ and The Go! Team.
2. ‘Hark to the music’ – Ezra Furman
Pure joy, mirroring the man’s live shows. My favourite artist for the second year running…
3. ‘Rainy day record’ – Mercury Rev
The welcome return of Donohue, Grasshopper and co. Bright and brilliant pop. Really should have gone to see them on my birthday.
4. ‘Spirit moves’ – Langhorne Slim
Still showing all nu-mericana pretenders how it’s done. A live return cannot come too soon.
5. ‘A house safe for tigers’ – Lee Hazlewood
Another oldie, via a feature from 6music’s Gid Coe. The most beautiful lullaby.
6. ‘Chateau lobby #4 (in C for two virgins)’ – Father John Misty
Cornering the ‘intelligent americana filth market’. Live performances do funny things to all of my girl friends.
7. ‘Don Juan’ – Meilyr Jones
My discovery of EOTR 2015. A Welsh Morrissey singing Carly Simon songs. Glorious.
8. ‘Ordinary Life’ – Ezra Furman
…a second track on the list for the second year running. Have recently obsessed over this track in the run-up to some big decisions. Thank you Ezra.
9. ‘Every time the sun comes up’ – Sharon van Etten
Still yet to completely get SVE, but this is completely beautiful.
10. ‘I’m all wrong’ – Juan Wauters
Provided welcome sunshine and smiles at EOTR 2015. Simple and funny and sweet.
11. ‘The Legend of Chavo Guerrero’ – The Mountain Goats
If only for being my favourite wrestling-based song of the year.
12. ‘All your favourite bands’ – Dawes
More memories of sunny afternoons in Dorset in early September. The sentiment in the chorus nearly broke hungover me. We need more of all of this in the world. This one goes out to T-Bone.
13. ‘Dancing in the dark’ – Hot Chip
Like SVE, a slightly leftfield choice for me as I know little else by them bar the odd single (and I’m not too struck by them). This is immense though – echoes of Chemical Brothers at their best in the build and the drop.
(and oh my what a video…)
14. ‘Blue bucket of gold (remix)’ – Sufjan Stevens
An album of the year contender in ‘Carrie & Lowell’ and pretty much any track could have made this list – excepting segue and ‘mood’ issues. The most wonderful songwriter, singer and performer. And he made Stephanie’s year.
15. ‘Fantastic explosion of time’ – Pond
Another EOTR 2015 favourite – filling the Flaming Lips-shaped hole in my life. So much fun. So much noise. Glam psych.
16. ‘Dimed out’ – Titus Andronicus
‘The Most Lamentable Tragedy’ another definite AOTY contender and absolutely the most ambitious. TA are a brilliant and underrated band. I love the immediacy and message of this record. I hear Clash, Pogues and Springsteen. And it’s all good.
17. ‘Send me a postcard’ – Shocking Blue
The first song I heard in 2015, in the early hours of Jan 1st, after Sleaford Mods posted a link on Twitter. Something along the lines of Grace Slick fronting a garage band on a Russ Meyer soundtrack. And every bit as good as that sounds.
18. ‘Sad screaming old man’ – Jeffrey Lewis
A late entry from a brilliant, brilliant album, from a brilliant, brilliant man. I so want him to work with Ezra Furman.
19. ‘Why they hide their bodies under my garage’ – Girl Band
After much consideration, for me, the best song of 2015, for its cinema, its noise, its darkness and, most of all, for what happens at around 4m 07s. It’s bonkers and won’t be for everybody. But I love it.
(and in finding the video, I have only just learned this is a cover…Blawan’s original is very cool too…)
20. ‘Reign array’ – Liturgy
If you’ve made it this far, listen to this, if only the once. It is one of the most extraordinary things I have ever heard. Black metal and bagpipes soundtracking a very odd sci-fi western.
6music for being the general soundtrack to my life. Special mentions to Gideon Coe, Marc Riley and Tom Ravenscroft. Also to EOTR for being the perfect festival. And otherwise to friends…I love you all. All of you introduced me to this.