The BEST OF XXXX CD has been a regular thing at Bruton mansions since way back. It's something I do for me and for a few friends, usually posting them their cds with their Christmas cards. But not this year, oh no.... Sure, I could do them as mp3 downloads, or as Spotify playlists, but there's something wonderfully old-school about making a cd. Which is weird in itself, the idea of a cd being 'old', since I can vividly remember that sense of 'the future' that came with getting my first ever cd - it was The Shamen, Pro-Gen, one of those ace 3inch cd singles that were all the rage when cds first came out.
My first proper cds were That Petrol Emotion's Chemicrazy and Ultra Vivid Scene, Joy 1967-1990. Which puts my first cd player as 1990. Now, seeing as TPE and UVS are still two of my favourite bands, and have never let me down, I reckon that's pretty damn good. As far as The Shamen go, they're one of those bands I love to a point, specifically about half of the Boss Drum album. After that it's pretty unlistenable.
So, as for this year...
Daft Punk & Giorgio Moroder - GIORGIO BY MORODER
I actually wrote about this earlier in 2015, where I called it beautiful, powerful, the sound of the future. It still is, it always will be I reckon, the chill that shoots down the spine as the words come in, as Moroder talks so simply about the click track, about his choices, about the sound of the future. It's just a magnificent wonder of a track, capturing every moment of Moroder the pioneer.
Daniel Avery - DRONE LOGIC
For those that have the cd just be impressed with the seamless mix from track one to track two, for those of you without the cd you'll have to trust me on this, with a little bit of manipulation, the beautiful end of Moroder, with the click track leading out... click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click .... and the start of Daniel Avery's brilliant Drone Logic is just perfect.
Drone Logic is everything Moroder dreamed of or possibly everything he would have hated, a magnificent drone of a song, repetitive beats playing out so perfectly. The sort of track I put on here knowing some of you will absolutely hate it, but some will love it every bit as much as I do.
Brody Dalle - MEET THE FOETUS / OH THE JOY
Ex of Distillers, Brody Dalle delivers a fabulously loud, wonderfully shouty few minutes of song. Cracking.
St. Vincent - BIRTH IN REVERSE
New to me. Maybe not to you. Clever and inventive and interesting. And a great lyric in the process.
Ibibio Sound Machine - LET'S DANCE
Not necessarily an unusual sound, especially not when Peel brought the sound of Africa to my ears back in the late 80s and early 90s. But it's a bloody gorgeous sound, energy, energy, energy, a real happy piece.
Le Tigre - HOT TOPIC
I knew of Le Tigre. I heard Le Tigre back when they formed at the tail end of the 90s. But they dropped off my listening radar over the years. Just one of those things. But thankfully, I was brought back into the fold thanks firstly to Julia Scheele's Double Dare Ya! zine and secondly thanks to Spotify. The entire back catalogue hit heavy rotation and of that, this is the one that just stuck around in my head. And frankly, who doesn't love a good list song?
The Fall - THE CLASSICAL
Some bands are album bands. Some bands are best-of bands. I got into The Fall with a best of - the 458489 A-sides and B-sides. And aside from a few subsequent albums they remained a best-of band, the compilation covered much of the time Brix Smith joined and pulled the band and new hubby Mark E. Smith in a slightly different, more poppy, more accessible direction. And then a year ago I got it into my head to start listening to the whole bloody discography. It's necessarily patchy sure, but there's some incredible songwriting coming out of Mark E Smith.
Sinead O'Connor - THE WOLF IS GETTING MARRIED
Go on, admit it, you thought she'd stopped making music ages back didn't you? But you remember those first couple of albums don't you? That voice, that brilliant passionate powerful voice, alongside some great tunes made '87s Lion & The Cobra and the follow up in '90, I Do Not Want What I Haven't Go, just excellent. This is from How About I Be Me (And You Be You), a massive return to form in 2012.
Damon Albarn - HEAVY SEAS OF LOVE
I've more time for Albarn than lots of folk. Blur hit at just the right time for me, and Albarn's musical career since then has been eclectic and clever, and he does a damn good singalong tune as well. Which is just what this is.
Mick Harvey and Anita Lane - INITIALS BB
God knows where I heard this. Radio at some point in 2014 I think. A weird one, a Serge Gainsbourg cover where that lecherous French genius does his usual lecherous French genius thing over Brigitte Bardot.
As for Mick Harvey, well he's an Australian who came along with Nick Cave, forming The Birthday Party and The Bad Seeds, and this track is from the first of two Gainesbourg cover albums.
The Rolling Stones - TOO MUCH BLOOD (EXTENDED)
Another one of those Spotify 'lets listen to the catalogue' things, just like The Fall. I'd always had a hankering for some of the Stones music, but it tended to veer towards the more esoteric, Mother's Little Helper, We Love You, that sort of thing. But I also loved, always loved Undercover Of The Night, a thudding, throbbing thing. And when I got to that album I heard this and loved it. Absolutely daft beast of a track, all over the place in its way, Jagger doing something he thinks of as rap probably. There's even an Arthur Baker remix of this that ramps it all up another notch but loses a bit of the driving Stones funk in the process.
Elbow - NEW YORK MORNING
Another band who suffer like Damon Albarn does from an over familiarity in people's minds. Blame the massive success they had. But whether they're fashionable or not, Guy Garvey's voice and lyrics are typically lovely in this one.
Robert Smith - C MOON
Ok, it's cheesy. It's predictable, it's a strange idea, Smith doing a twee Paul McCartney song for the Art of McCartney tribute thing. But it's a ridiculously infectious song, and it guarantees a smile on my face.
Carter USM - THE MUSIC THAT NOBODY LIKES and THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW CROSS
This is from the final gig the band did in 2014. Well, it's meant to be the final Carter gig, but they've said that before. For a while they settled into a nice nostalgia package of doing a few gigs a year. But no, it seems a little more decisive this time.
But god, Carter were amazing, another band that have long been favourites, ever since I heard Sheriff Fatman. I'd seen them numerous times and always had a fantastic time.
So these couple of songs are just a selection from the whole set that was one the radio. The whole set's well worth listening to. You might remember them as a couple of strange looking indie kids with jangly guitars, crap hair and shite jumpers. I say look past that and open your ears to them, listen to some incredibly perfect pop songs, packed full of an energy that has you bouncing and a lyricist in Jim Bob who really does do the whole modern poet thing so damn well.
These two were picked because of a couple of gorgeously soppy moments where the 40+ me reached out to the younger me 20+ years back and said it might just be ok...
"Say goodnight Jim Bob....
".. goodnight Jim Bob"
and of course, from The Only Living Boy In New Cross...
"Hello... good evening ... and goodbye...."
Both still bring a slight, but very stupid misting to my eye. Dopey git that I am.
Anyway, that was 2014....
Oh, and here's the whole gig....