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As you may have noticed there have been lots of wizard fronted bests of last year taking up space on this here blog recently. You’ve had my own songs of the year and choice of albums and other stuff. The people’s wizard, Rebel Rikkit, has also had his say on this podcast and. of course, we have had a chance to hear Chorizo Garbanzo’s cooler than a nose nipped by J Frost annual selections and get the run down on his favourite albums, gigs and films too.
Nevertheless, there were a number of bands and tracks which didn’t quite make the cut in any of these lists, who I think deserve to have their wares laid out before you. So here we have a monthly mix made up of the near missess from 2013 that I really enjoyed and that I hope you will too.
We start with one of what I reckon to be 152 tracks released by Stephen Jones under his various guises last year. This was my favourite Black Reindeer song combining as it does a black sense of humour, quality ambient backing and, here, noisy drums. And anyway, cats are a bit shit, aren’t they? Next up it’s Blank Realm with a track from their Go Easy album that was on my best of short-list right up until the final cut only missing out because it was a bit long. Maintaining the rocky feel it’s then the standout track from Pixies EP1 and a track that seamlessly fitted in with their back catalogue when performed live. Live, of course, without the coolest Pixie of them all (as definitively decided by our poll), Kim Deal, who was busy releasing three great singles of her own last year – next it’s my favourite of those, all of which are worth checking out.
Adam Ant follows with his song about Vince Taylor that stuck in my head for months. Then it’s Boards of Canada with a track from my favourite instrumental album of last year. Then it’s another artist who I saw live all the way back in 2013, Robyn Hitchcock. His Love From London was a slow burner for me and again it was hearing the songs live that really worked. He didn’t play the song chosen here when me and Texas Paul saw him, but it’s still my favourite from the album. The next track is one of many superb tracks released on my new favourite label, Fruits de Mer. It is a single from Portuguese psych-folkers, Beautify Junkyards, and is a cover of tropicalia legends Os Mutantes. Fantástico
Now, I realise that I included a Mark Kozelek track on my best of the year list, but that was from his, er, rock album with Desertshore, the track here is very different in that it comes from his electronic collaboration with Jimmy Lavalle (The Album Leaf) Perils From The Sea and at over 10 minutes was too long to include. It is, however, something special. Following that we have Darkside from my second favourite Rough Trade album club album of last year (John Grant won that particular accolade). They know you’ll like it… because they’re Psychic. Eh? Oh. Anyway, after that excellent slice of ”hypnotic psychedelia with tip top beats’ we have The Head & The Heart. This is a band Rikkit and I discovered supporting the abject My Morning Jacket and the track is from their second album Let’s Be Still. Definitely a band to watch.
What you don’t want when watching any band is Pissed Jeans. Unless, of course, you have gone to see the band Pissed Jeans, in which casee.. well, you get the idea. Anyway, my favourite track from their album Honeys is next celebrating the passing of that twat at work. You know the one. Good old Tommy Keene follows that with another cover version, this time of a Roxy Music track. His album of covers is really interesting and includes a top version of Choking Tara that I’m very surprised I haven’t included. Then we have the last release this year from our friends at Alcopop! records. It’s the fella below, possibly, whose songwriting is currently way above his ability with the bat.
Three songs left and we start off with great favourites of the pod, Wire, with a song from their carefully reviewed album Change Becomes Us., which despite coming second to Edwyn Collins is still very good indeed. Then, finally, it’s time for a Robert Pollard related track and after much reflection, I reckon that right now this song from the Circus Devils album When Machines Attack has nudged out all those great songs from Guided By Voices English Little League to be my second favourite Uncle Bob track of last year. Of course, the fact that it directly mentions wizards has had no impact at all. To round off, there’s a track from minimalist composer Ludovico Einaudi, who I saw stun a Liverpool audience way back at the beginning of the year. An audience that included Kicker Jr. This is his favourite track of last year.
Those tracks in full:
1. Cat Freezer – Black Reindeer – yours for a quid!!
2. Cleaning Up My Mess – Blank Realm
3. What Goes Boom – Pixies
4. Walking With A Killer – Kim Deal
5. Vince Taylor – Adam Ant
6. New Seeds – Boards Of Canada
7. Fix You – Robyn Hitchcock
8. Fuga #2 – Beautify Junkyards
9. Somehow The Wonder Of Life Prevails – Mark Kozelek & Jimmy Lavalle
10. Paper Trails – Darkside
11. Another Story – The Head & The Heart
12. Cafeteria Food – Pissed Jeans
13. Out Of The Blue – Tommy Keene
14. Before My Tongue Becomes A Sword – Matt Pryor
15. Love Bends – Wire
16. Wizard Hat Lost In The Stars – Circus Devils – the best 79p you will ever spend
17. Experience – Ludovico Einaudi
How much do you believe in?
Playlist (of all the others)
Previous Monthly Mixes