Friday 1 January 2021

albums of the year (more ramblings... part 5)

(more) albums of the year... part 5: in case you missed it, I'm sharing my favourite records of 2020 (main post here) this week. Seven albums a day across the week, in release order. Enjoy!

IDLES - Ultra Mono (store / Spotify)

Their last record - very much a breakthrough record for the band - was in my top five in 2018. I didn't connect with this one quite so much but still really enjoyed it. Listening to Model Village while travelling through my own village on a bus to work is a really vivid memory of my first proper listen. As always, on the surface it feels full of angst, but dig deeper and you'll find endless important discussions taking place, rather poetically, in the lyrics. Alongside powerful instrumentation, of course. I can only imagine how keen they are to get back to the stage to share this record with audiences - their live show is certainly something to behold. Favourites alongside Model Village for me are Grounds, Kill Them With Kindness and Carcinogenic

Tempesst Must Be A Dream (store / Spotify)

It's been a while coming, having listened to Tempesst since 2016, and this year finally brought us their debut album. Worth the wait! As I wrote in late September... "as the days (and night, and, well, all of the time) start to suddenly get chilly, a record which appears audibly sun-drenched is exactly what we need, right?" It's so well put together - the combination of brilliant lyrics, their 60s influences, psychedelic tendencies, and those harmonies! With A Woman, Age of the Bored and Walk on the Water are favourites here. More thoughts in my write-up of the album here.

Dawes Good Luck With Whatever (buy/stream)

Well, there's absolutely no surprise that Dawes make it onto my AOTY list, is there?! I adore pretty much everything they do and love this, their seventh (!) studio album. Taylor Goldsmith is without a doubt one of the best songwriters (and guitarists, while we're here) of our generation. They're one of the best and this is a dream of a record, and not one that I'd expected this year! While I couldn't watch them live (timezones, boo!) Taylor's livestreams with his wife Mandy Moore through the first lockdown were such a treat. Favourites here Who Do You Think You're Talking To, St. Augustine At Night and the title track, Good Luck With Whatever. Damn, I really love Dawes. I hope you will too... 

Deep Sea Diver Impossible Weight (buy/stream)

This was one of those magical discoveries - I had never even heard of this artist (despite a couple of previous records) when I found a track from the new album in the blog's inbox. It was the title track of this record, which I really enjoyed at the time, shouted about it a bit online and moved on. Once the record was released I decided to give it a listen and loved it so much that I've revisited it a few times since. I really really dig it. Eyes Are Red (Don't Be Afraid), Lightning Bolts and Lights Out are favourites but the title track, featuring Sharon Van Etten, remains one of my favourite tracks of the year. Such a brill record!

Laura Fell - Safe From Me (Bandcamp)

A new artist sent through by my favourite PR company, but not only that, Paddy from Stay Loose was releasing the record on his own label, a new project for his blog Balloon Machine. The first release on Balloon Machine Records, a momentous occasion and an exciting milestone. I had high hopes from the first single and they were certainly reached. A unique vocal, superb songwriting and masterful delivery make for a really worthy spot on any AOTY list. Bone of Contention, Cold and Every Time remain favourites!

Ed The Dog Untitled.crashed.crashed.crashed (buy/stream)

I don't think that I've listened to Ed's previous record, but how could anybody not like a record with tracks like Thank You Buddy and Everybody, I Love You on it? I adored it on first listen, but found my favourite track right at the end in the form of I'm Gonna Change That. The exact track that I needed to hear towards the end of the year, passing into a new year, feeling desperate for some kind of change. I'm glad that I'm far too slow with AOTY plans to get my list out as early as many others do, otherwise it would be missing last minute records like this! 

Maggie Rogers Notes from the Archive: Recordings 2011-2016 (buy/stream)

An even more last minute addition to the list comes from last year's AOTY artist, queen Maggie Rogers. I LOVE Maggie so much, and I am so desperate for new music. While this isn't quite *new* a lot of it is unheard, and I've been loving it. Having been quickly thrown into the spotlight with last year's record and the events that preceded it, Maggie spoke of wanting to get out her archive material before moving on to new music. It's an archive record, split into four parts, with tracks from two independent records and a couple of other projects Maggie was part of before the current iteration of her career came about. Laid out in reverse chronological order, you hear her getting younger. It's a really lovely collection of tracks - even better if you have time to listen to the version with commentary here. Love opening track Celadon & Gold and James is a lovely tune too.

Thanks for reading/listening!

No comments:

Post a Comment