A Happy New Year to you all!!
This monthly mix rounds up all those tracks from 2015 that oh-so-nearly made my Best of the Year selections.
First up we have particular O’Elves favourites They Might Be Giants with one of a plethora of tracks they have been releasing to their fanclub (hello, Kicker Jr!) throughout the year as part of their Dial-a-Song project. You can also find this song (and some of the others) on the album Why? And why not? Now, you may have noticed that I sneaked a very short track from The Chills onto my Best of the Year selections, but the album Silver Bullets is also worthwhile revisiting for the tremendous title track. You know who I’ve got in my sights, right? On podcast #51, we featured our Scandiwegian pal Martin Meeoonsun Sjeeuuustrand and his band This Heel. Well, Martin is also a key part of the wonderfully named Dog! Paper! Submarine! and their Signal From Kepler-22B EP is a really doozy, so here’s my favourite track from that. This is followed by the always enchanting Helen Love and a cassingle (yes, everyone’s favourite format) that came out on Post Pop Records. It’s not on Spotify, so go and buy it after you’ve enjoyed the shenanigans below.
Darren Hayman has been ludicrously busy again this year multi-tasking his way through loads of great musical projects and collaborations. However, my favourite from him has been the relatively simple solo album Florence and the stand out track for me details unrequited love in the Post Office. One of the many highlights from the Indietracks Festival that Chorizo and I enjoyed was the band Bunnygrunt, topping even the brief glimpse of the aforementioned Mr Hayman. I am guessing the band released their fourth album this year; it is called Vol. 4 after all and features more fine cover artwork that you should check out. The song we walked in on when the band started their set is still my favourite. Following hard on the footsteps of bands I love that have punningly named themselves on other bands, like Elvis Depressedly, come the band Sauna Youth. I have played their Distractions LP a lot this year and really should have included them in my original list. Still, better late than never, here I have gone for the fanatstic racket that is Transmitters. A band who came to my attention rather later in the year via the Espace B. November download was The Soap Opera. I don’t know much about this lot, although I guess they are Canadian, but what I do know is that they have written the best song about Paul Gascoigne ever. It’s not on Spotify, so you’ll just have to enjoy below. Way-aye!
Another reliable source of quality music is the German label Kapitaen Platte and this year my pick from their releases is the instrumental magnificence of Halma from the album Granular. Equally reliable as source of great music has been the band Trust Fund. I already showcased my favourite from their first release this year on my Best Of 2015 list, but the band also produce a second, equally wonderful, album, Seems Unfair, and the song Football is a favourite not only with me, but also with a certain leopard-suited frontman. So, it must be grrrrreat. [TTW Ed. that’s a tiger, you fool.] The slightly more prolific Robert Pollard has given us 5 albums of new material this year under the guises of Ricked Wicky (3 albums), Circus Devils (see my pick of the year) and under his own name with the album Faulty Superheroes. It is from the latter that my second favourite Pollard track of the year is taken – What a Man!!. We wizards have a good old chat about the band Sleaford Mods on the final part of the Best of 2015s triptych (soon to be published), but suffice to say my top track from them was the expletive-strewn B-side to A Little Ditty. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the delicate sensibility of Spotify means you’ll have to enjoy the track in video form:
Another cassingle next, or possibly a cassettep (5 tracks), all the way from Montreal, Québec, it’s Moss Lime and a track from their July First collection that originally came out at the end of 2014, but so good is it that it was re-released in May this year (and that, my friends, gets it onto this list, Strummer Rule and all). Rather more obviously a 2015 release, Wreckless Eric’s amERICa is a particularly fine addition to his canon of work. My favourite track is the politically astute White Bread – also, the best type of bread to toast and have with Marmite incidentally. Another welcome return this year came from pseudo (?) DDR revisionists Kosmische Lauefer with their third instalment of The Secret Cosmic Music Of The East German Olympic Program 1972-83 – another fantastic collection that my fellow, but more (at all) active running, wizards will no doubt be applying to their training regimes next year. Then we have the most prolific artist of the year, out Pollarding Pollard, it’s yer man Stephen Jones with a track taken from one of his 21 (twenty-one, teleprinter fans) albums that saw light in 2015, this one, Back To The Womb, coming out under the Babybird name. Not on Spotify – do yourself a favour and investigate Stephen’s bandcamp page, and enjoy my current favourite from all that below.
One of the strangest live experiences of the year was seeing the band Vukovar play in support of Brix Smith. Seemingly fully undeterred by the virtually empty room, to all intents and purposes they morphed into a post punk approximation of The Doors. I didn’t recognise any of the tracks they played despite the fact that their Emperor LP has been a particular favourite for most of the year. Anyway, here’s my favourite from them in a form that I do recognise. For the second month running I am playing a Clearance track – this one comes from their Rapid Rewards LP (that still hasn’t arrived btw – too much lovin’ at the P.O., eh?). Our pal Jan, out of off of Spare Snare, has not only taken the band out on tour and released the best cover version of an Argentinian lo-fi anti-folk singer of this or any year, but has also been very busy with his Grand Gestures project this year. The fourth, and final, album again features a treasure trove of vocalists and is well worth checking out here, but it is a track from the Third release that came out at the start of the year that I particularly love. When I first heard the Andrew Mitchell fronted ‘In To The Darkness We Go’, I described it as the saddest song I would hear all year. I was right and it is still absolutely fantastic. Sob. Then to finish off, I have gone with another artist I know nothing about, who again comes to me via Espace B – this time as part of their December, or if you prefer, Décembre release, it’s Inaniel Swims. It’s a great song and just the spur I need to drive me to find out more over the next 12 months…
Those all important tracks in full:
- They Might Be Giants – Definition Of Good
- The Chills – Silver Bullets
- Dog! Paper! Submarine! – New Light
- Helen Love – You Can’t Beat A Boy Who Loves The Ramones
- Darren Hayman – Post Office Girl
- Bunnygrunt – The Book That I Wrote
- Sauna Youth – Transmitters
- The Soap Opera – Paul Gascoigne
- Halma – Deep White
- Trust Fund – Football
- Robert Pollard – What A Man
- Sleaford Mods – I’m Shit At It
- Moss Lime – Ice Cream Sandwiches
- Wreckless Eric – White Bread
- Kosmische Laufer – Zeit Zum Laufen 164
- Babybird – Photosynthesis
- Clearance – You’ve Been Pre-Approved
- Vukovar – The New World Order
- The Grand Gestures – In To The Darkness We Go
- Inaniel Swims – Hello Nowhere
Bubbling Under in 2015
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