I know, it’s already January 2017 – but better late than never…
Having spent a large chunk of 2016 pretty much immobile, I haven’t managed to pay my favourite record stores the usual regular visits over the last eight months or so – which means I have been very grateful to the good friends (they know who they are) who have helped out by providing my fix of new music, especially during the latter part of the year. None of them will be surprised that a high proportion of their selections appear on this list!
As usual, this is a very personal and fairly eclectic list, and consists solely of the albums I enjoyed the most in 2016 – I tend to ignore media end of year lists, and focus instead on the music I actually like instead of the bands and albums the music press tell me I should be into. Inevitably, they occasionally get it right and there is some crossover with my list, but compiling these choices is all so subjective anyway…
After all those Christmas blog posts, it’s time for another seasonal tradition on Another Kind Of Mind – my albums of the year list. As usual, I’ve ignored all the end of year ‘best of’ lists in every newspaper and music publication: these are the albums that I’ve personally loved most or found particularly interesting in 2015 (and yes, it’s been a good year for metal!). They’re listed alphabetically, since we’d all be waiting here until next Christmas if I tried to put them in any sort of order…
- Deafheaven – New Bermuda
- Death Cab For Cutie – Kintsugi
- Faith No More – Sol Invictus
- FFS – FFS
- Four Tet – Morning/Evening
- Iron Maiden – Book of Souls
- Kylesa – Exhausting Fire
- Leftfield – Alternative Light Source
- Lianne La Havas – Blood
- Little Boots – Working Girl
- Napalm Death – Apex Predator-Easy Meat
- Paradise Lost – The Plague Within
- PiL – What The World Needs Now…
- Run The Jewels – Meow The Jewels
- Slayer – Repentless
- Sleater-Kinney – No Cities To Love
- The Charlatans – Modern Nature
- The Chemical Brothers – Born In The Echoes
- The Selecter – Subculture
- Teeth of the Sea – Highly Deadly Black Tarantula
- Therapy? – Disquiet
I did, however, manage to put my Top 5 songs of the year in some kind of order for the Festive 50, and you can find them here.
These are not the ‘best’ albums of 2014, because that is nigh on impossible to judge objectively – and everyone’s taste is different. Instead, this is a list (arranged alphabetically rather than in any specific order or rank) of the albums that I particularly enjoyed or was particularly struck by over the last year. I’ve ignored all the magazine/blog/website ‘best of’ lists and gone for the albums I actually like, not the ones that are considered especially hip or cool (because, let’s face it, I’m neither of those things!). Feel free to let me know what you think….
Antemasque – Antemasque
Aphex Twin – Syro
Behemoth – The Satanist
Earth – Primitive & Deadly
Electric Wizard – Time To Die
First Aid Kit – Stay Gold
Goat – Commune
Hookworms – The Hum
Inspiral Carpets – Inspiral Carpets
Wilko Johnson & Roger Daltrey – Going Back Home
Killer Be Killed – Killer Be Killed
King Creosote – From Scotland With Love
Johnny Marr – Playland
Mogwai – Rave Tapes
Thurston Moore – The Best Day
Bob Mould – Beauty & Ruin
Grant Nicholas – Yorktown Heights
Pharmakon – Bestial Burden
Royal Blood – Royal Blood
St. Vincent – St. Vincent
The Juan McLean – In A Dream
The Wytches – Annabel Dream Reader
Sharon Van Etten – Are We There
Wo Fat – The Conjuring
Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes
Other interesting things released in 2014 that are also worth a mention:
Pantera – Far Beyond Bootleg: Live From Donington 1994
Pixies – Doolittle 25
Soundgarden – Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path
Teeth of the Sea – A Field in England: Re-Imagined [EP]
Regular readers will know of my involvement in compiling Top 50 music lists – indeed, I’ve posted my complete 1970s and 1990s albums lists here in the past. For more information on the Top 50 Albums Lists project and more details of my Debut Albums choices, visit the Top 50s blog. You can also find a wide selection of other Top 50s from various different music fans over on the List of Lists.
50) The Charlatans – Some Friendly (1990)
49) The Verve – A Storm In Heaven (1993)
48) Chemical Brothers – Exit Planet Dust (1995)
47) Super Furry Animals – Fuzzy Logic (1996)
46) Elliott Smith – Roman Candle (1994)
45) Gram Parsons – GP (1973)
44) Daft Punk – Homework (1997)
43) The Postal Service – Give Up (2003)
42) Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols (1977)
41) Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine – 101 Damnations (1990)
40) The Prodigy – Experience (1992)
Last year, after much deliberation, I posted a list of my favourite fifty albums from the 1990s. Since then, I’ve compiled a 1970s list, which you can find in full below. For more information on the Top 50 Albums Lists project, visit the blog here – and you can find lots more 70s Top 50s on the List of Lists here.
50) The Police – Reggatta de Blanc (1979)
49) Madness – One Step Beyond (1979)
48) The Damned – Damned Damned Damned (1977)
47) Marianne Faithfull – Broken English (1979)
46) Lou Reed – Transformer (1972)
45) Various Artists – Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 (1972)
44) Gram Parsons – GP (1973)
43) Sly & The Family Stone – There’s A Riot Goin’ On (1971)
42) Iggy & The Stooges – Raw Power (1973)
41) John Martyn – Solid Air (1973)
40) Kraftwerk – Trans-Europe Express (1977)
Since 2013 has finally drawn to a close (and since so many people asked me to), I’ve compiled the now-traditional end-of-year list of my favourite albums. As far as I’m concerned, 2013 has been a very interesting year for music. I’ve certainly been listening to more new albums over the last twelve months than I have done for a very long time – particular thanks must go to the #twitterindiecrew for all their excellent suggestions and recommendations (you know who you are!) – although this has also been a year for (re)discovering many old favourites too, which is perhaps reflected in the choice of artists and albums below…
10) MARK LANEGAN – IMITATIONS:
I confess that I find it pretty difficult to resist almost anything Lanegan does; I could listen that wonderful, world-weary voice of his sing the phone book and still love it. One of the joys of his voice is the sheer range of styles he can sing – everything from the blistering rock roar of his work with Screaming Trees to his delicate take on some of the well-known standards and more obscure tracks that appear here. Highlights include a lovely version of Nick Cave’s ‘Brompton Oratory’ (and I am not a Nick Cave fan), an astonishing reworking of the Bond theme ‘You Only Live Twice’, a gorgeous, heartbreaking take on Neil Sedaka’s ‘Solitaire’ and, to my delight, a deliciously melancholy version of Brecht and Weill’s classic ‘Mack The Knife’. This album is a fascinating treat for the music lover.
Lots of people on Twitter last night were asking for my views on this album, so I thought I’d scribble a quick review for all interested parties…
I fell in love with Pearl Jam twenty-two years ago with the release of the now classic Ten album. I was a messed-up fifteen year old back then, and it was probably inevitable, I guess! Since then, they’ve released a series of good and occasionally brilliant albums and I have continued to be a fan – but none of their last few albums have really captured and held my interest. Until this one.
The excellent punky lead-off single ‘Mind Your Manners’ (video below) had already piqued my curiosity in a big way, making me more excited about a new Pearl Jam album than I had been since sometime in the 1990s. And they didn’t let me down – even on the strength of a few early listens, it’s already obvious that Lightning Bolt is easily one of the best albums they have released in years.
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Nirvana’s highly influential final studio album In Utero, an album that has played a huge part in my life over those years – so I’m reblogging the review I wrote a few months back for the Top 50 Nineties Albums blog here…
Much as I love Nevermind (and it’s still a great record), it is this, Nirvana’s final studio album, which – in my view – proudly stands head and shoulders above everything else they ever released – and that’s despite my stated and probably irrational fondness for 1989’s Bleach. However, and even with the benefit of twenty years of hindsight, it’s still very difficult to properly approach In Utero without everything that went alongside rearing its ugly head.
Indeed, you can still look at it as Kurt Cobain’s final, most tragic artistic statement, with all that implies (which it wasn’t, really – the version he originally wanted was eventually watered down a little for the record company) – or you can strip away all the bullshit and see it as one of the best albums to come out of the Seattle scene full stop; as one of the last great…
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OK. It’s time for a little self indulgence, for which I am sure you will forgive me! Feel free to ignore this post if you’re not interested in such geeky housekeeping, but if you are, here’s a few interesting stats concerning my #Top50 albums list (which you can find in its entirety here and here)…
5 – the number of decades covered by my #Top50 list
2 – the number of albums on the list released in the 1960s
6 – the number of albums on the list released in the 1970s
11 – the number of albums on the list released in the 1980s
30 – the number of albums on the list released in the 1990s
1 – the number of albums on the list released in the 2000s
It’s really not uncommon these days to find social media sites up in arms about something or other on a regular basis – and last night’s overexcited Twitter storm was no exception to that. But this time, surprisingly, Twitter wasn’t getting its collective knickers in a twist about the latest political outrage, celebrity foot-in-mouth comment, Daily Mail screed of hate or exploitative reality TV show.
Instead, and to the astonishment of music fans (of a certain age, mostly) everywhere, the mysterious and now almost mythical shoegazer band My Bloody Valentine finally released the very belated follow-up to their classic 1991 album Loveless onto their website in the early hours of this morning, to a response on Twitter that can only be described as mass indie hysteria.
Unsurprisingly, the demand for mbv (as the album is inventively titled) almost instantaneously crashed the band’s website, and it remained down for several hours – leading to frustrated jokes aplenty about MBV frontman Kevin Shields breaking the internet or spending 22 years creating a beautifully crafted error message instead of an album.
In a way, all this was typical of My Bloody Valentine – they’ve never been a band to do anything the conventional (or even easy) way. The recording sessions for Loveless, for example, comprehensively demonstrated Shields’ notorious sonic perfectionism at its peak, plus the completed album ended up almost bankrupting Creation Records in the process.