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picks of 2015

A round up of the best of the year from some the Tasty writing team...

 

Jen Dan

Albums:

  • Steve Kilbey & Martin Kennedy - Inside We Are The Same
  • OOFJ - Acute Feast
  • Madison - Wonderland EP

Singles:

  • A Billion Lions - Devil's Dance
  • Black Honey - Spinning Wheel
  • Suede - Outsiders

Matthew Haddrill

Singles:

  • Faith No More's 'Sunny Side Up' (from the album Sol Invictus) was a welcome return from the band, showed all the 'elements' are still in place, sounds almost youthful ...
  • Wilco's album Star Wars was a lovely gift from the band and just couldn't stop listening to 'Random Name Generator', classic Wilco groove that shows they're still a 'contemporary' band, one of the best!
  • Black Rivers' 'The Forest', stirring stuff from Jez and Andy Williams of Dove, something quintessentially English about it, bucolic, shimmering, psychedelic ... the whole album works like a dream for me.

(David Bowie 'Black Star', intrigued by the video (and song!), and what's in store for the coming year!)

Albums:

  • Steven Wilson 'Transience'. 'Hand. Cannot. Erase' was Wilson's official release of 2015 (also excellent), but I keep listening to compilation 'Transience', a sort of 'bringing-you-up-to-speed' with his solo material since 2009. If you're not one of the die-hards and don't want to trawl through everything (I know I've committed heresy!), it's a great 'in' to the master's music ... kick back and enjoy it!!
  • Roisin Murphy 'Hairless Toys'. Recent BBC Six Music plays remind me how good it actually is. Lots of subtle twists and turns, and songs of a dance fidelity that reveal themselves subtly (something to do with the chemistry built up between Murphy and her producer and musical arranger Eddie Stevens). The singer 'performs' a lot of the songs in character, also interesting, you wonder if it's art imitating life or ... wonderfully intricate release.
  • Here We Go Magic 'Be Small'. Based purely on the criteria 'most returned to' of the year's releases. Always enjoyable, Luke Temple's latest creation is, as the title suggests, scaled down, which makes it all the more charming, lovely 'little' pop ditties.

(if anybody's interested in ambient music, I'd recommend Lorenzo Montana's releases on the Dublin-based Psychonavigation label which I discovered this year thanks to Tasty. I reviewed 'Vari Chromo' which is excellent, but I really enjoyed Montana's collaboration with another Italian artist Alio Die 'Holographic Codex' (from 2013, but I think it's re-issued). Beautiful pastoral sounds and warm drones combined with Montana's electronics).


JG

ALBUMS:

  • Imaginary People : Dead Letterbox
  • The Jackals : People
  • Maud The Moth : The Inner Wasteland

SINGLES:

  • Siv Jakobsen : Dark
  • The Elwins : So Down Low
  • Troyka : Arcades

Shane Blanchard

Albums:

  • Vessels - Dilate
  • Pop Will Eat Itself - Anti-Nasty League
  • Idlewild - Everything Ever Written

Singles:

  • Ghxst - No Luck
  • Sennen - Autopilot
  • Demob Happy - Succubus

Gigs:

  • Underworld at Gateshead Sage
  • The Prodigy at Bridlington Spa
 

Bill Howe

Albums:

  • ‘The Sovereign Self’ – Trembling Bells (Tin Angel Records)
    As a fan, this album was everything I had hoped it would be; triple-distilled Trembling Bells, with the band evidencing their truly eclectic range of influences and at the same time, underlining the long-standing assertion that, at their heart, they are the UK’s finest psychedelic rock band. Where else, except a Trembling Bells record, would you find Blind Willy Johnson and Jean Arthur Rimbaud rubbing shoulders with Lou Reed, Lauren Bacall and Asterix the Gaul?

  • ‘Alasdair Roberts’ – Alasdair Roberts (Drag City Records)
    Instrumentally much sparser that it’s predecessor, and lyrically more personal and introspective that some his earlier, more syncretic works this self-titled album still represents another superb demonstration of quiet genius from the restless troubadour, Mr Roberts.
  • ‘Two Wolves’ – Marry Waterson & David A. Jaycock (One Little Indian Records)
    A hard, final choice and I did almost plump for the crunchy retro-fuzz of Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats’ ‘The Night Creeper’, as an album that brings joy to my heart and time warps me back to my teens, hunched over a Dansette, head-banging along to ‘Masters of Reality’; but in the end, my mature self made the casting vote for this debut collection of songs from what I hope will be a long-standing musical collaboration between the more traditional folk tradition of Marry Waterson and the whimsical, psychedelic sensibilities of David A. Jaycock. An album that’s still growing on me – like ergot.

Gigs:

  • Trembling Bells. (August 9th. Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds)
    The second of two gigs I caught on the ‘Sovereign Self’ tour from my favourite band in the whole world; with this one winning out for a number of reasons, not least because of the fact that support on the night came from Horse Loom and, for me, the UK’s current ‘folk-genius’, Alasdair Roberts, and, as a later gig in the tour, the performance was more honed, relaxed and at the same time, consistently brilliant.
  • Moon Duo. (April 29th. Left Bank, Leeds.)
    A perfect evening when band, venue and light-show, all blended into one delirious, shining globule of strobes, delayed guitar, swirling keyboards and motorik drumming.
  • Alasdair Roberts. (March 9th. Heart, Headingley, Leeds)
    An intimate, close-up showcasing of (mostly) songs from this year’s self-titled album, plus support from the wonderfully eccentric Stevie Jones as ‘Sound of Yell’ and a woman from Shipley playing a saw. What more can one hope for from an evening of ‘folk-music’?


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