Part the second of a rapid scurry through the best releases of the year as nominated by some Salford City Radio DJs and a select band of followers of The Fall
Deerhoof – Secret Mobilization – vs Evil (January) – the slow drip release technique was either a clever marketing ploy or the sign of a band that knows it’s audience. In any event their best yet in that it retains the quirky nature of the bands work to date whilst adopting a more accessible approach. The selected track merges a funk approach with astringent rock in a sort of 1970s aesthetic.
Gnod – Visions of Load – Chaudelande Volume One (November) – the second album this year from our local space rock monsters. They started their last European tour by spending a couple of days in the Studio Chaudelande, a small house in the Normandy countryside. The sessions will be as a two volumes LP series on Tamed Records, of which this is the first. I sense a slight change in direction here but the core Gnod manifesto still persists. Unfortunately due to the need to fit a lot into the show only half of this track could be played.
Dum Dum Girls – Bedroom Eyes – Only In Dreams (September) Does the Raveonettes production wreck the original lo-fi wonderment of the Dum Dum Girls? Well you can hear Dee Dee’s voice a lot more clearly and the production is clearly more “professional” as it were. Adding a proper band for this album tends to shift the emphasis away from her as musician and develop her more as vocalist/lyricist. The original charm of the band may have been lost but this is a fine album, and the selected tracks is a fine piece of American pop.
Girls – Alex – Father, Son, Holy Ghost (September) – some grumpiness about this in the reviews – too polished and not as adventurous was one comment. Disagree completely – this is original brain flipping stuff – almost subversive in it’s adoption of pop mores into the area of psych and prog. Owens and White write well and put some effort and thought into the music.
Feist – Caught A Long Wind – Metals (October) I’m not completely sold on this nu-folk stuff (especially the UK end of things) but Leslie Feist is able to take the core elements of this genre and develop it into something a little more compelling. There is a gentle feel to this album which provides a nice counterpoint to a lot of the stuff I listen to. There are times where is gets a tad chocolate box cover in parts but generally more agreeable.
Thurston Moore – Illuminine – Demolished Thoughts (May) In which Thurston works with Beck to go in a Nick Drake direction – well to my ears anyway in the string arrangements if nothing else. Some said it was similar to Murray Street, which as far as I am concerned is damn fine, as that’s one of Sonic Youth’s best albums. With the dissolution of his marrage to Kim, and the future of the Youth uncertain one wonders where he will go next.
Tom Waits – Get Lost – Bad As Me (October) a common theme of the albums in this exercise is artists coming back to form after a long lay off – this time seven years. Tom is back to his gnarly, bluesy, jazzy best on this album. An enjoyable set of songs proving he still has it in him to deliver cutting edge music.
The Jar Family – Debt – The Jar Family (November) a collective of five singer-songwriters from Hartlepool – this is their debut and rather impressive it is too. There is a variety of excellent writing and styles on this album. I would guess world domination is not far away for these as they certainly have the tunes.
Efrim Manuel Menuck – I am no longer a motherless child – Plays High Gospel (May) debut album from the chap behind Godspeed!You Black Emperor and A Silver Mount Zion. Some serious guitar distress on this album with walls of heavily processed sound allied to Efrim’s trademark keening vocalisations (my good lady leaves the home when I play ASMZ tracks she thinks he is in pain). Some nods back to early Eno material with Frippisms appearing in places.
Mike Patton – Calculus of Finite Differences – The Solitude of Prime Numbers (November) Patton’s third film soundtrack to date and his most accessible. Simply put its sounds nothing like he has done before, in his many incarnations in the business. If you like his more extreme work be in for a shock, this is formally constructed, ambient in parts, and definitely highly listenable.
Perplexa – Tribal – Gone Beyond (January) – Detroit’s space-rockers moving into entirely new territory with a bold world music sound. There are links to Spaceman 3 here with Caruthers on bass and some stunning cello work from Phil Myers. Marvellous!
Peaking Lights – Hey Sparrow – 936 (February) fascinating stuff – drifting, dub, space-rock psyche from Wisconsin. Drum machine, basic keyboards, guitar, and bass grooves make for gorgeous low-fi pop. Vashtu Bunyan guests on this selection.
This City of Takers – This City is a Pipe Bomb – The Felt (November) Indie-Rock band from St. Louis playing Post-Punk music not dissimilar to Sonic Youth, Cursive, and Spoon. Self released album on Bandcamp which is free also…..mightily impressive sound.
Psychic Ills – Midnight Moon – Hazed Dream (October) and to close a beautiful piece of dreamy psychedelia…….
To listen to the show click on the link