2016 in review

2016 has of course been another great year in music, so (as last year) here are some brief, if rather belated, thoughts on my musical highlights of the year.

Some of this has already featured in the Getintothis review of the year.

Albums of the year

My top 5 albums of the year are:

David Bowie: Blackstar (what a way to go out). None of the tracks off this made my best of CD largely because I assume all recipients already own the album or will never buy it!

The Goon Sax: Up To Anything (this generation’s version of The Go-Betweens)

Bob Mould: Patch The Sky (a living legend at the peak of his powers)

The Parrots: Los Niños Sin Miedo (top notch Spanish garage punk)

Soft Hearted Scientists: Golden Omen (Welsh psych pop at its finest)

Gigs of the year

The Chills at the Liverpool Philharmonic Music Room (an 80’s and 90’s nostalgia treat mixed in with tracks off a wonderful new album – review here)

John Grant at the Phil (simply stunning – review here)

Ian Prowse at a birthday party in Liverpool One Bridewell (intimate and singalong, in a good way – review here)

Meilyr Jones at Leaf (bringing fine new album 2013 into sharper focus – review here)

Dinosaur Jr at the Arts Club (another night of nostalgia-meets-great new work – review here)

Bubbling under: Joanna Newsom at the Phil (review here), Shonen Knife at the Arts Club Loft (review here), Low at The Epstein Theatre (review here), Youth Hostel at Sound City) (review here) and The Wedding Present at the O2 Academy 2 (review here).

Songs of the year

Every year I compile a ‘best of’ CD for friends. I set a few rules – only one song per band/singer, and only songs released that year. If you want a copy, give me a shout.

2016 CD cover

2016 CD cover

This year’s track listing is:

  1. The Goon SaxBoyfriend. A gay unrequited love song by this Aussie three piece that includes the son of Go-B Robert Forster. Sparse and far from virtuoso.
  2. Bob MouldHands Are Tied. Typically driving number from Patch The Sky, but features some nice Beach Boys-esque backing vocals in the chorus.
  3. Meilyr JonesHow To Recognise A Work Of Art. After a great posh spoken intro this develops into a big pop hit with a hint of Pulp, and some great falsetto at times.
  4. The PosiesSquirrel Vs Snake. An atypically political song by the legendary power poppers (on Solid States, an album I was happy to pledge for ahead of time as they can be relied on for their quality output), this one nasally sung by Jon Auer, I think.
  5. Thee Oh SeesDead Man’s Gun. Controlled chaos with a great riff. As this one’s not on Spotify, here’s the video:
  6. MexrrisseyCada Día Es Domingo. A Mexican version of Morrissey’s Everyday Is Like Sunday from their No Manchester album of Mexican versions of his songs. As good as that sounds, if not better. Sadly, the concept only stretched to seven Moz (solo) numbers.
  7. Martha St. Paul’s (Westerberg Comprehensive). A Replacements-referencing highlight of the Durham band’s Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart.
  8. Willie NelsonSomebody Loves Me. This year’s wizened legend revisiting the old American songbook, this time the works of George & Ira Gershwin.
  9. Dressy BessyLady Liberty. This year’s fine indie pop comeback, as the female-fronted Americans return with their first long player since 2008.
  10. The FallWise Ol’ Man. Yes, another year, another new Fall release. Sadly this time just an ep – which in Fall-land means one ace new track, another half-hearted effort and some live tracks and remixes. Still, one great new Fall song is worth the entrance fee.
  11. Emitt RhodesIf I Knew Then. Previously seen as the successor to Paul McCartney, he disappeared after his fourth album in 1973, with 2016’s Rainbow Ends being his next release. Worth the wait.
  12. Of MontrealIt’s Different For Girls. A typically quirky highlight from their umpteenth record, Innocence Reaches.
  13. The ParrotsNo Me Gustas Te Quiero. Downbeat Spanish garage from Los Niños Sin Miedo.
  14. Shonen KnifeJump Into The New World. Starts off like The Wedding Present circa George Best before rocking as only these Japanese girls can. From the latest, harder-rocking Adventure
  15. Soft Hearted ScientistsGlimpse! Spooky Welsh psych from (short) double album Golden Omens.
  16. Chook RaceHard To Clean. Second Aussie indie pop classic in this selection, from second album Around The House. Discovered via the Big Takeover and The Rider podcasts.
  17. Sturgill SimpsonIn Bloom. A surprisingly effective countrified, doomy cover of the Nirvana song off Nevermind, from A Sailor’s Guide To Earth.
  18. Dinosaur JrTiny. Grungy pop at its finest from Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not, their eleventh studio album.
  19. Cate Le BonI Was Born On The Wrong Day. Another slice of Welsh oddness.
  20. White LungHungry. Off the Paradise album that I don’t actually own (yet). Instead I came across it on a freebie Mojo magazine CD. This one only just snuck into the track listing.
  21. AudacityBaseball. Some scuzzy American garage fromm fourth album Hyper Vessels. A find courtesy of the always enjoyable The Ledge podcast.
  22. The JayhawksQuiet Corners & Empty Spaces. The harmony-drenched opener to the alt.country outfit’s first album in five years.
  23. TacocatI Love Seattle. Another slice of spikily perfect female indie pop.
  24. The Wedding PresentSecretary. A killer, short, exceptionally fast track from their latest, best-in-a-very-long-time album Going, Going.
  25. Leonard CohenLeaving The Table. An appropriately downbeat ending to a CD from a year with so many musical deaths of note. Leonard announces he is “out of the game”. RIP.

Surprisingly, only a few of these artists have featured on my Best Of CD’s in the recent past – Tacocat and Leonard Cohen in 2014, The Fall on four of the last seven (i.e. every year they have released anything…) and Bob Mould twice.

Event of 2016

A sad series of musical demises, with the most devastating for me being the sublime Leonard Cohen.

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Playlist

Here is most of my 2016 CD on Spotify:

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One response to “2016 in review

  1. Will fantastic stuff. You have scuttling off for a number of releases that I have missed. The Mexican Morrissey Album sounds right up mine (and my daughters street). Looking forward to 2017 already! Keep Going Amigo!

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