Monday, 28 December 2020

albums of the year (more ramblings... part 1)

Hope you've all had a lovely few days celebrating (or not) Christmas! Before resuming *proper* posting for the new year, I'm back at it with some follow-ups to my albums of the year feature last week (read that here) where, in addition to a top five, I shared 35 records I've loved this year. I'm planning to share 7 records a day across the next few days, all in release order - each one of them is brill and I hope you enjoy! 

The Big Moon Walking Like We Do (buy/stream)

Way back in January this year, this was the first record to be released that I'd been looking forward to, so it's been a favourite for a while, and listening recently I was reminded how brilliant it is! Your Light is one of the best pop songs of the year in my opinion... so good!! Barcelona and Why are also faves. Love their harmonies, and the fried chicken lyric in Dog Eat Dog ("round here they say it's dog eat dog but / it's more like pigeon eat fried chicken on the street") is GENIUS. They also deserve an AOTY mention for the fact their album release coincided with the moon being reaaaaal big. Clever.

Bombay Bicycle Club Everything Else Has Gone Wrong (buy/stream)

Probably the coolest advance stream that I've ever had and absolutely HAS to be on this list! Listening to this on my commute before it was released made me feel very cool. Following their previous record in 2014 this was long awaited and it could so easily have fallen a little flat, but it is completely glorious - there isn't a note or lyric out of place. Favourite tracks include Is It Real, Racing Stripes and the title track Everything Else Has Gone Wrong. Seeing them live last year was a treat. Huge soft spot for Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You) below - the tongue-in-cheek video touching on their return. Also - I love their recent Live at Brixton album! Read my write-up of Everything Else... here.

Gengahr Sanctuary (buy/stream)

I think this might be the only album that I've bought in a physical record store this year... since our HMV closed we don't have stores locally, and while I've bought a bunch of LPs from Banquet and Resident online through the year, I bought this one on a day out back in Feb. So I guess it holds a special place for being the only things that I've dug out in the vinyl racks this year - with quite a lot of glee at finding it! It's a quality follow up to Where Wildness Grows which I adore. So many favourite tracks - Heavenly Maybe, Atlas Please and Icarus are certainly up there.

Brooke Bentham Everyday Nothing (store / Spotify)

This is Brooke's debut album and it's superb. One of those artists whose tracks I get sent to review, realise that I've enjoyed all of the singles, give the record a try and... woah. Love it. I struggled to pick between this and Sunday Self, the acoustic version of the record that Brooke brought out a few months later. Fave tracks include Control and All My Friends Are Drunk. This is for the Fenne Lily, Phoebe Bridgers, Marika Hackman etc fans (which you all should be...) 

Franc Moody Dream In Colour (buy/stream)

The award for the funkiest record on the AOTY list goes to.... damn. SO funky. I loved seeing them open for Friendly Fires a couple of years back, loved the EP they brought out at the time and was eagerly awaiting their debut record. I listened back to this recently on a bus journey but would advise listening somewhere where you're able to dance like nobody is watching. Get me to a live Franc Moody set soon, please, world. Favourite tracks include Skin on Skin, She's Too Good For Me, and the title track, Dream In Colour. So much to love here.

Halloweens - Morning Kiss at the Acropolis (Bandcamp)

A side project of The Vaccines' frontman Justin Young and keys player Timothy Lanham (that's T Truman, to you and I) Halloweens have been the gift that just keeps on giving in 2020. Right from the first single, Hannah You're Amazing, in late 2019, I was hooked. Things have just got better and better ever since, and their debut record is a dream. They also released the Maserati Anxiety Designed EP recently, somehow finding time amidst making the new Vaccines record (!!!) and Timothy working on his solo project. A lot of love for the productivity when they keeps releasing such cracking tunes as these. Favourite tunes include My Baby Looks Good With Another, Lady and Ur Kinda Man

NNAMDÏ BRAT (buy/stream)

I was first put onto this record by this year's AOTY... winner (?! is that a thing) White Tail Falls, when he recommended a few records that were circulating his earphones in our interview earlier in the year - on NNAMDÏ's BRAT he shared that it was blowing my mind. I wanted in on the action and took myself for a listen... which I think turned into two or three consecutive listens. Written, recorded and performed by Nnamdï himself, the record belies genre categorisation. There's a bit of everything going on. Styles which on paper, probably shouldn't work together, and that I might not usually choose to listen to, but I love this. It's OK, Really Don't and Perfect In My Mind are highlights for me - but it is best appreciated as the full piece of work. 

Thanks if you've made it this far - I'll be back to share the next seven records tomorrow!! Happy listening... 

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