Yep, it’s the least wonderful time of the year – the time where everyone feels the urge to throw their lists of what their favourite records of the year were and hey,we’re no different..and so we present to you our 10 collective favourite albums of the year. Sort of.
Picking 5 is near impossible, and as we say during this episode it could change on any given day as this was a pretty great year for music over all. Bushie could have done an entire list purely of reissues, and Jamie will probably write something a little more thorough here over the next week or so. For brevity purposes we each picked 5 lps and an extra “wild card” song each and stuck to it because realistically an hour of us talking about music is probably way too much anyway, had we gone with more than 5 each we’d be here all week. Anyhow, here’s what we chose to talk about – please note we’ve linked the Irish releases so you can check ’em out.
ST VINCENT: Mass Education
and “Faster” by CATSCARS: (this wasn’t on Spotify so here’s the video)
DAUGHTERS: You Won’t Get What You Want
TROPICAL FUCK STORM: A Laughing Death In Meatspace
JAYE JAYLE: No Trail & Other Unholy Paths
and “Unknown Tomb” by ELIZABETH COLOUR WHEEL
In order that you might check these soddin’ records out, dear listeners, we also made you a little Spotify playlist of our picks:
BUT WAIT!!THERE’S MORE!!
We’re a community minded pair so we asked a selection of friends and acquaintances from the local music scene and beyond if they’d like to give us their top 5s too, in the spirit of caring and sharing.
We didn’t give people a whole lot of time to do this so our sincere thanks to those who gave us their lists, and our even more sincere apologies to those who couldn’t get back to us before the admittedly fairly abrupt deadline – we’ll post any more we get between now and Christmas Day here but otherwise we’ll get you next year. We asked everyone to pick 5 and told them to write as much or as little as they wanted.
Check ’em out here:
IAN LYNCH (Lankum):
Hilary Woods – Colt
Dreamy, melancholic, wounded, reflective, detached; the music on this album is all of these things. What I really like about it though, is the underlying tone of resilience. The feeling that rather than simply wallowing in the misery for its own sake, tough situations have been faced, hardships have been surmounted and important lessons have been learnt. To me this gives the album an unexpected positive aspect when taken as a whole. It seems that this album has brought Woods some well-deserved attention over the last while. Personally I’d love to see her playing at the Roadhouse if there was ever a new season of Twin Peaks, because she’d be better than most of the acts on the last one.
Anna and Elizabeth – The Invisible Comes To Us
This is quite simply one of the bravest albums of traditional song I have ever heard. To find hardcore song-nerdery alchemically wedded with such avant-garde out-there-ism is a massive joy and treat. Drums, samples, electric guitars and a moog bass combine with spotless dyed-in-the-wool Appalachian mountain singing and seamless harmonies to make this album an absolute gem. One of the saddest aspects of folk music history, in my humble opinion, is that the greatest of traditional musicians have consistently been hoodwinked into making the worst musical decisions when in the studio – whether by record company executives or by over-active producers, their raw talent has often been obscured and watered down by all kinds of gammy accompaniment and studio tomfuckery that some middleman thought was necessary to sell their music to the public. Think Michael Coleman, Dominic Behan, Christy Moore’s first album etc. Anna and Elizabeth make me imagine a better world; a world where the musicians told those people to go and shite, took psychedelic drugs, and collaborated with some experimental composers to end up making something truly epic.
Sarah Davachi – Gave In Rest
I’ve listened to a good bit of what is called minimalist, ambient, or drone music this year, but what makes a lot of the tracks on this record stand out, to me, is the sense of movement. Sustained intertwining notes bring you right to the boundary where improvised ambience seems to straddle the line with definitive songcraft. Electronic manipulation or not, I love the meditative and otherworldly sounds coaxed from strings, piano, organ and (I think) voice, in ways so beautiful and ghostly it often moves me to tears.
Jim Ghedi – A Hymn For Ancient Land
Largely instrumental, this album from Sheffield native Jim Ghedi consists of 7 tracks of atmospheric and heartfelt folk. I am loathe to use the word ‘pastoral’ in this type of context, but Ghedi does manage to get across a love of both the light and dark of the south Yorkshire countryside in what could be seen as a reverential, ritualistic or even esoteric manner. The primitive guitar stylings that make up the basis of his music are majestically held aloft by the sympathetic use of harmonium, double bass, violin, cello, piano, and more, all enveloped within a lush acoustic production.
Landless – Bleaching Bones
Anyone who has been to a singing session or a gig with these four women performing knows just how spellbinding they are. Magical four-part harmonies give contemporary expression to the distilled and time worn traditional songs of Ireland, Scotland and England. What is remarkable about this record is how studio engineer and producer John ‘Spud’ Murphy has managed to capture the best parts of these four varied voices – ranging from ethereal beauty to soul soothing low-ended smoothness – to achieve such a rich and cohesive sound. Music to salve the wounded soul of humanity.
DECLAN SYNNOT: (Siorai Geimhreadh/Horse/Box Emissions):
BARRY O’SULLIVAN (Bitch Falcon)
Will Haven: Meurte
Deru: Torn In Two
Just Mustard: Wednesday
Sleaford Mods: ep
BOZ MUGABE (Yurt)
Chris Carter: Chemistry Lessons Volume One
The Ex: 27 Passports
Haru Nemuri: Haru To Shura
Alva Noto: Unieqav
Laibach: The Sound of Music
CHRIS MAHON (World of Difference):
Drug Church -Cheer
Candy -Good to Feel
Culture Abuse – Bay Dream
Carly Rae Jepson – Party for One
Warthog – Demo 2018
KATIE O’NEILL (Alien She/Solo):
(Katie decided to give us 10 instead of 5,so we went with the whole list)