A quick run down of all the things that most pleased me over the last 12 months (excluding a certain 63 year old Argentinian).

Starting with my favourite SONG OF THE YEAR (a full run down of all my favourite songs can be heard on a forthcoming podcast), and congratulations to Benjamin Shaw, whose mood may well be very slightly lightened with news of this great honour. Or not.


Top 25 Albums

1              Guided By Voices – Space Gun

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a modern day classic

2              Spare Snare – ‘Sounds’

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so good I bought it seven times

3              The Ocean Party – The Oddfellows’ Hall

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a fitting tribute to the sadly departed Zac Denton

4              Benjamin Shaw – Megadead

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the sound of man picking seeds from his skull

5              The Coke Dares  – Fake Lake

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jam-packed with hits

6              The Breeders – All Nerve

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7              RVG  ‎– A Quality Of Mercy

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8              Interrobang‽ – Interrobang‽

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9              The Monochrome Set – Maiseworld

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10           The Goon Sax – We’re Not Talking

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11           Astral Swans – Strange Prison

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12           Half Man Half Biscuit – No-one Cares About Your Creative Hub So Get Your Fuckin’ Hedge Cut

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13           The Astounds – Get Alright With The Astounds

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14           The Moles — Code Word

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15           The Gentleman Losers – Permanently Midnight

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16           Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Hope Downs

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17           Cash Rivers & The Sinners – Do Not Try To Adjust Your Set, I Am The Vertical & Horizontal

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18           Schizo Fun Addict – El Shoegaze Bossa Nova


19           Rick Rude – Verb For Dreaming


20           Concretism – For Concrete And Country

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21           Trace Mountains – Partner To Lean On

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22           Bas Jan – Yes I Jan

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23           JD Meatyard – The Batchain Pullers

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24           Dust From 1000 Yrs – A Sweet Thing Turns Sour

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25           of Arrowe Hill – Domestic Espionage

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… and making up a top 50 albums, all of which you should own, are, in alphabetical order, 25 more:


The Advisory Circle – Ways of Seeing, Amen Dunes – Freedom, Babybird – You And Me Is Wrong / Selfies Inside The Coffin / Happy Face/Sad Face, The Charlemagnes – Three Chords And A Half-Truth, The Chills – Snow Bound, The Cleaners From Venus – Life In A Time Machine, The Declining Winter – Belmont Slope, epic45 – Through Broken Summer, Eureka California – Roadrunners , Nathan Hall & The Sinister Locals – Tunguska Tydfil, Hello Whirled – Tear The Night Apart , Kristin Hersh – Possible Dust Clouds, Holy Tunics – Butter Dish, Les Big Byrd – Iran Iraq IKEA, Simon Love – “Sincerely, S. Love x”, The Lovely Eggs – Eggland , Low – Double Negative , The Lucid Dream – Actualisation, Madensuyu – Current, Ben Mason – Dogs N Yaaa, Mudhoney – Digital Garbage, Mythical Motors – Elevated Levels, Von Hayes – You Vape?, Wreckless Eric – Construction Time And Demolition, Yo La Tengo – There’s A Riot Going On


Best Compilations

1   Sarah Artists Compilation (Emotional Response)

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2   The Bedroom Tapes (Minimal Wave)

3   The Beginning Of The End: The Existential Psychodrama In Country Music (1956-1974) (The Iron Mountain Analogue Research Facility)

4   Communion (Burning Witches Records)

5   Space Is The Plaice (Pussyfoot Records)


Top EPs

1   Wurld Series ‎– Stately and Befrothed

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2   The Ocean Party – I.B.O. EP

3    Guided By Voices – Winecork Stonehenge / 100 Dougs

4     Roger Gerressen ‎– Yauch EP

5     Thee Mightees – Let’s Look At Thee Mightees


Top 5 Reissues / Re-pressings / Not Strictly Speaking New Stuff

1    Boyracer – Fling Yr Bonnet Over The Windmill


2    The Monochrome Set – 1979-1985: Complete Recordings

3    This Kind Of Punishment – This Kind Of Punishment / A Beard Of Bees

4     Robert Storey – Come Up And Hear My Etchings

5      Even As We Speak ‎– Feral Pop Frenzy


Top Live Albums

1      Babybird – The St. Pancras Old Church Live Album

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2       Guided By Voices – Ogre’s Trumpet

3       Mount Eerie – (after)


The Robert Pollard Annual Output Roundup


The remarkable and indispensable Guided By Voices Database (15 years old this year!!) details a dozen releases from the Pollard camp in 2018 with two albums (one a phenomenal double) from the Cash Rivers & The Sinners alter-ego: Blue Balls Lincoln and Do Not Try To Adjust Your Set I Am The Vertical And The Horizontal. There were three Guided By Voices singles: See My Field, That’s Good, and You Own The Night , two further EPs: Winecork Stonehenge and 100 Dougs and, two full LPs – Space Gun and the double live album Ogre’s Trumpet. The database lists Todd Tobias‘s Massabu Evening Entertainments, but he also released the album Amialluma with Chloë March and the self-titled Moonchy & Tobias with, er, Moonchy. Meanwhile Doug Gillard was all over the Neko Case album Hell-On, Tobin Sprout snuck out a digital only release of the song Supersonic Chairman, and Chris Slusarenko’s band, Eyelids, released their third LP, Maybe More. Robert Pollard also helpfully typed up a release schedule for next year that already includes a double LP, two single LPs, two more EPs, and a range of reissues. So that’s good.


The Bobby Pop Award For Prolificacy

Remarkably , we have the same top three as in 2017 and I have honestly lost count of the number of songs I now have squirrelled away from these artists.

  1. Ben Spizuco: 267 (+22 live tracks) = 289 (Hello Whirled) – here are my two favourites:


2. Stephen Jones: 212 (+43) = 255 (Arthritis Kid, Babybird, Wayz2Die, Apple Android, Stephen Jones)

3. Robert Pollard: 125 + (25) = 150 (Cash Rivers & The Sinners, Guided By Voices)


Top 5 Music Related Books (Read This Year)

1   Closer You Are: The Story Of Robert Pollard & Guided By Voices – Matthew Cutter

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2   It’s Lovely To Be Here: The Touring Diaries Of A Scottish Gent – James Yorkston

3   Long Shadows, High Hopes: The Life and Times of Matt Johnson & The The – Neil Fraser

4    Popkiss: The Life & Afterlife Of Sarah Records – Michael White

5    A Novel for Lazy Readers – An Antidote to the Headache of BBC Radio 4 – David R Edwards


Top Musical Film

The Slits – Here To Be Heard

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Musical Discovery Of The Year

Dust From 1000 Years

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Top 10 Gigs

1   Spare Snare – Leith Depot, Edinburgh, 18th August

2   Babybird – Deaf Institute, Manchester, 17 May & Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, 30 November

3    They Might Be Giants – O2 Academy, Manchester, 4 October

4   Even As We Speak & Boyracer –  Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, 21 July

5   Euroheedfest 8 – Stag’s Head Hoxton, London, 7 April

6   The Flight Of The Conchords – Echo Arena, Liverpool, 25 June

7    Jeffrey Lewis & JD Meatyard – The Leaf, Liverpool, 4 April

8   Chuck Prophet & Stephanie Finch – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, 20 September

9   Belle & Sebastian – Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, 19 March

10  Shonen Knife – Shipping Forecast, Liverpool, 21 April

In a very pleasing development I attended five of my top ten gigs with my son (not to mention a number of Leeds United home matches). Good lad, Kicker Jr.


New Musical Source Of The Year

46-30 Podcast – James Yorkston & Stephen Marshall (Triassic Tusk Records)


Musical Quote Of The Year

Never mind quotes, I’m in a proper musician’s video….


Favourite Music Related Moment (Outside of Everything Above)

Playing the Papernut CambridgeOutstairs Instairs LP side A from the centre out. Every time it makes me smile.

About kickerofelves1

Wizard-in-Chief for Trust The Wizards music podcast and blog. Guided By Voices fanatic.

4 responses »

  1. […] Kicker of Elves favourite things of 2018 […]

  2. […] the drums. “Skeleton Of Hope” had its vocal fans at the time. I remember being the song Darren Fox used when he awarded me the Bobby Pop Prolificacy Award of 2018. “Where’s The Signal?” is the other song I wrote and recorded on Memorial Day […]

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