As it is definitely still tradition, let’s start with my favourite SONG OF THE YEAR – a full run down of all my favourite songs can be heard on one of our end of the year podcasts – the Kicker one – and, well, it’s not every year that a song you co-wrote 34 years ago gets covered by, as Chorizo Garbanzo correctly points out on the podcast, not only a proper musician, but a “rock star”.

Good grief, it’s Hercules Fence!!

(If you’re so inclined, you can hear the original on this podcast, about 25 minutes in.)

Top 25 Albums

1   Simon Love – Love, Sex And Death, Etc

We wizards fucking love Simon Fucking Love, and this might just be his best record yet. Combining brilliant storytelling with a suitably cynical view of the world, and yet somehow remaining life affirming, these songs tick all our boxes, including the one marked ‘gratuitous swearing’. A clear winner of this year’s Kicker. Llongyfarchiadau, Simon!!

2   The Vat Egg Imposition – Shop Tones

3   Telefís – a hAon  / a Dó

Robyn Hitchcock– Shufflemania

5   Yard Act – The Overload

6   Dumb – Pray 4 Tomorrow

7   Half Man Half Biscuit – The Voltarol Years

8   The Cool Greenhouse – Sod’s Toastie

9   The Humdrum Express – Forward Defensive

10  Rodney Cromwell – Memory Box

11  Guided By Voices – Crystal Nuns Cathedral / Tremblers And Goggles By Rank

12  Royal Chant – Anyways And Also Sorry

13 The Bug Club – Green Dream in F#

14  Elaine Howley – The Distance Between Heart And Mouth

15  Cassels – Gut Feeling

16  Martha – Please Don’t Take Me Back

17  New North Wales – Minor Birds

18  Good Grief – Shake Your Faith

19  Aldous Harding – Warm Chris

20  Personal Trainer – Big Love Blanket

21  Birds In The Brickwork – Recovery

22  Fieldhead – Engine Idling, Around 5am

23  The Cleaners From Venus – That London

24  Helen Love – This Is My World

25  Pixy Jones – Bits N Bobs

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

Apta – Echoes; The Balloonist – The Balloonist; Black Country, New Road – Ants From Up There; The Burning Hell – Garbage Island; Bill Callahan – YTI⅃AƎЯ; Courting – Guitar Music; Death Of The Neighbourhood – Death Of The Neighbourhood 3; Deliluh – Fault Lines; The Delines – The Sea Drift; Derrero – Curvy Lines; Fragile X – Human Condition; Held By Trees – Solace; Human Concept – The Machine That Made Eternity; Joseph Airport – Vector 23; Love, Burns – It Should Have Been Tomorrow; Stephen Mallinder – Tick Tick Tick; Kevin Morby – This Is A Photograph; The Nightingales – The Last Laugh; Red Setter – Water Feature; The Reds, Pinks & Purples – Summer At Land’s End; Graham Repulski – Zero Shred Forty; The Smile – A Light For Attracting Attention; Luke Steele – Listen To The Water; Test Card – Patterns; Working Men’s Club – Fear Fear

Top 5 Compilations

1  Keep It In Motion: A Tribute To Guided By Voices, Circa 20 Something And 12 (Silly Moo Records)

I mean, these songs are great, aren’t they? Here given a fresh take from a load of excellent bands form all over the globe (probably just the UK and US, tbf – TTW Accuracy Ed). If I had to choose a favourite, I would have to go with the stellar efforts from Sleepy Kitty and bLUSH, but, frankly, it’s all great.

2  Participation: Volume 1 (Castles In Space)

3  Give Us A Clue – 10 Years Of Clue Records

4  Un-Scene! Post-Punk Birmingham 1978-1982 (Easy Action)

5  Signals, Wires & Amplifiers 2 (Next Phase : Normal Records)

Top 5 EPs

1   The Declining Winter – I Remember

The title track opens up my disc of favourite instrumentals despite not being an instrumental. This is a moving collection of songs that simultaneously makes me feel happy and sad.

2  Helpful People – Broken Blossom Threats

Nosdam + Rayon – From Nowhere To North

Ffion – The Way Of Birds And Their Voyage Into Radiance

Pigbaby – Palindromes

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

1   Jenny Mae – Singles & Unreleased Tracks 1989-2017

Put together by her friend Bela Koe-Krompecher, these songs just underline what a lost talent Jenny Mae really is. Having read Bela’s book ‘Love, Death & Photosynthesis’ last year, it’s clear she really didn’t have a clue how great she was. You just need to listen to this collection to see for yourself.

2  Guided By Voices – Scalping the Guru

Dexys Midnight Runners – Too Rye Ay (As It Could Have Sounded)

Helen Love  – Songs From Under The Bed Vol 2

Babybird – King Of Nothing

Top 5 Live Albums

1   Warrington-Runcorn New Town Development PlanLive at Fox Fest

The standout set for me from a great day of electronic music (see below), and all done with such huge hands!

2  Craven Faults – Live Works

Yard Act – Use Your Nut, It’s YA For Yard Act

Black Country, New Road – Live From The Queen Elizabeth Hall

Neil Young – Citizen Kane Jr. Blues (Live At The Bottom Line)

The Robert Pollard Annual Output Roundup

Guided By Voices – Devil Between My Toes (reissue on grey/clear);Crystal Nuns Cathedral; Tremblers And Goggles By Rank; Scalping the Guru (EP comp);Alex Bell (7”); Thank You Very Much For Absolutely Nothing (DVD)

Robert Pollard – Our Gaze

Two tribute albums: Keep It In Motion: A Tribute To Guided By Voices Circa 20 Something And 12 (Silly Moo Records) – curated by Bunnygrunt’s Matt Harnish (see elsewhere) and All Good Kids – A Tribute To Guided By Voices (Phonophore Records)

And from the wider GbV family, we had the always rocked to the max, Mitch Mitchell’s Terrifying Experience – Appalachian Tontine and the very Circus Devils sounding Moonchy & Tobias – Golem

Top 2 Books (Read This Year)

One a musician’s autobiography, the other a novel by a musician. Both incredible tales.

Vashti Bunyan – Wayward: Just Another Life To Live and James Yorkston – The Book Of The Gaels

Other books I have read this year:

Matt Berenson – Secret Stars: The Greatest Underdogs of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Era ***; James Bowen – A Street Cat Named Bob *; Anthony Clavane – Moving The Goalposts ***; Ron Ferguson – Black Diamonds & The Blue Brazil ***; David Grossman – A Horse Walks Into A Bar **; Sarah Hall – The Carhullan Army ***; Helen O’Hara – What’s She Like ***; Robert Harris – The Second Sleep **; Phil Hay – And It Was Beautiful ***; Greg Healey – Not In Front Of The Children **; Mick Herron – Real Tigers **; Mick Herron – Spook Street ***; Mick Herron – London Rules ***; Mick Herron – Joe Country ***; Mick Herron – Slough House ***; Mick Herron – The Drop & The List **; Mick Herron – The Catch **; Charlie Hill – I Don’t Want To Go To The Taj Mahal **; Salim Lamrani – Marcelo Bielsa *; Alan Lane – The Club On The Edge Of Town ***; Bob Mortimer – The Satsuma Complex **; James Norman – Micro Record Label **; George P Pelecanos – A Firing Offence ***; Stephen Rule – Welsh And I **; Richard Shepherd – Unnatural Causes ***; Willy Vlautin – The Motel Life ***; Willy Vlautin – The Free ***; Ben Wardle – Mark Hollis: A Perfect Silence ***; Martyn Ware – Electronically Yours ***

Top 5 Music Films Seen (But Not Necessarily Released) This Year

1  This Film Should Not Exist (Country Teasers, Datblygu, The Oblivians, The Rebel)

So good, I have now watched it three times. Diolch yn fawr, Gisella!

2  Guided By Voices – Thank You Very Much For Absolutely Nothing

3 Made In Sheffield: The Human League, Heaven 17, ABC, Cabaret Voltaire, Pulp

4 Martin Newell – The Golden Afternoon

5 Who Killed The KLF

The Stephen Jones One Man Domination Of Record Shelf Space Award

Just the 262 tracks released by Stephen Jones this year under various guises:

Babybird – Kids Gun / Pop Gun / A Selfie Cam EP / Selfie Cam / Shepherds Bush, 09.03.19/ I Don’t Want To Be In Love, But I Am / Life, The Brutal Monster, And How To Defeat It / Influencer / King Of Nothing (vinyl)

Baby Bird – Good Shave

Stephen Jones – My Favourite Songs/ The Soundtrack Of A Face / The Happiest People I Know Are Blind To The Concept Of Existence

Death Of The Neighbourhood – Death Of The Neighbourhood 3

Black Reindeer – Truss

Musical Sources Of The Year

Castles In Space

Subscription Library: Endangered Species 1998; Nurse Predator – Music For Low Luxury; Ffion – The Way of Birds and Their Voyage Into Radiance; Twilight Sequence – Looking At Lifeforms (7”); Salvatore Mercatante – Mysteries And Prophecies Of The Strega; Kieran Mahon – Eternal Return (dl); DJ Carlos – Castles in Space Vinyl Mix; Yves Malone – Upon Chrome Skies Rides A Pale Horse; Everyday Dust – Deadham Ridge; Wealdham – Complex Systems; Luke Requena – Mirror Stage;Kösmonaut – Transgressive Transmissions;Soulless Party – Macrocosmic Thinking; v/a – Participation Volume 1; Concretism – The Concretism Archive: Volume 2; Rieux – The Gestalt Manifesto;The British Stereo Collective – Tomorrow The Stars; Monochrome Echo – The City And The Stars.

Werra Foxma Records

Subscription: Chris Prine – Glacier Locked; Glinca – The Mould; Fields Of Few – Calm Before The Norm; Onepointwo – Atlantis; The Metamorph – Exploded View; Synthetic Villains – Through A Crack Of Light; Oceanographer – Modern Prophecies; Letters From Mouse – Engrams; v/a – One Shot; Gribbles – Digressions; WFR Dark (comp);Autumna – This Isn’t The Love You Promised; Mike K Smith – Landfill

The Wedding Present – 24 Songs (Monthly Singles)

We Should Be Together; I Am Not Going To Fall In Love With You; Go Go Go; Monochrome; X Marks The Spot; Once Bitten; We Interrupt Our Programme; Each Time You Open Your Eyes; We All Came From The Sea; Astronomic; Science Fiction;

Optic Nerve 7”s 4.0:

The Bluebells – Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool; The Suede Crocodiles – Stop The Rain; Josef K – Sorry For Laughing; Article 58 – Event To Come; The Monochrome Set – The Jet Set Junta; The Wild Swans – Revolutionary Spirit; Black – Human Features; The Wake – On Our Honeymoon; The Times – I Helped Patrick McGoohan Escape; Dolly Mixture – Everything And More; The Chefs – 24 Hours; The Avocados – I Never Knew

Top 3 Gigs

To be fair, the only 3 gigs I went to. And one was online. This is what happens when your knees go, kids, never play cricket!!

1 Spare Snare – The Hug and Pint, Glasgow, 19 September

2 Hap & Damwain – Victoria Hall, Lampeter, 4 June

3 FoxFest livestream festival, 21st May 2022:

Scanner, Warrington-Runcorn New Town Development Plan, Everyday Dust, Sulk Rooms, Cholly, Dohnavùr, Faex Optim, Letters From Mouse, Mike K Smith, Apta, Bendu, Eonlake

Favourite Music Related Moments (Outside of Everything Above)

As well as being covered (see above), my old band Tom Violence were also included on the Castles In Space Participation Volume 1 compilation made available to subscribers (see above, but further down). However, perhaps the most exciting musical development came in form of long-time hero and prolificacy’s proliferator supreme, Stephen Jones, aka Babybird, who went and wrote a song about me and my son. I can’t listen to it without crying, but you might be able to:

Please help support all the wonderful musicians mentioned in the lists above by searching out their records, CDs, tapes and downloads and BUYING THEM!!!

Previous end of year podcasts:

Related articles:

About kickerofelves1

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

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