Sunday, December 23, 2012

Feel good hits of the 23rd December

The first for a while, so there's a bonus extra five - and a new easier-to-read format...
1. 'Unbeliever' - Therapy?
About three weeks ago, the news that some friends, independently of one another, were going to see Therapy? led me to dust off my copy of Troublegum. It didn't leave the stereo for a week. For a wannabe disaffected youth, was there a better album? I think not. 'Unbeliever', a collaboration with Page Hamilton of Helmet, was always one of my least favourites, but hearing it with fresh ears was a revelation.

2. 'Inside Your Heart' - Ty Segall
Paul McCartney fronting a reformed Nirvana? Pfft. THIS is what it should have sounded like. Loving the sludgey slo-mo and wail of feedback at the end.

3. 'Everlasting Light' - Mono
Mono were one of my highlights from Shellac's ATP, so an album was duly purchased. Pitchfork reviewer Cosmo Lee mischievously claimed that 2009's Albini-produced Hymn To The Immortal Wind sounded like post-rock power ballads - perhaps justifiably, though there is sufficient power in the record's final track 'Everlasting Light' to crack the heavens.

4. 'Inhaler' - Foals
Bands must hate to read this, but 'Inhaler' sounds like a dramatic return to form after the ironically somewhat lifeless Total Life Forever. The verse is reminiscent of Antidotes, while the chorus carries surprising echoes of Rage Against The Machine - all of which bodes well for forthcoming third LP Holy Fire.

5. 'The End Of Radio' - Shellac
The highlight of the ATP curators' Sunday night set. Naturally.

6. 'Jimmy's Rose Tattoo' - Nina Nastasia
Another ATP revelation, and debut Dogs has been another post-festival acquisition. 'Jimmy's Rose Tattoo' is typically unsettling and gripping.

7. 'More News From Nowhere' - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Will Self, Peaches Geldof, Beth Orton, Doc Martin actress Caroline Catz, artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster and the Bad Seeds (including a shorn Jim Sclavunos), in a gentlemen's club? You have to wonder what the casting agent was on - but it works brilliantly.

8. 'I Couldn't Say It To Your Face' - Tall Firs
An Arthur Russell cover from third album Out Of It And Into It, a post-Primavera purchase in recognition of the fact that their seated set in the sunshine was one of the festival's most understatedly accomplished. The album sounds like it might potentially have been the prompt for Thurston Moore to decide an acoustic solo album could work.

9. 'The Haunted Man' - Bat For Lashes
The title track from Natasha Khan's third record. It's yet to really dazzle, but it certainly has its moments - this definitely being one of them.

10. 'Nobody's Off The Hook' - Rufus Wainwright
Release The Stars is my album of the year. Not released this year, admittedly...

11. 'Sleeping Ute' - Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear's Shields continues to work its subtle but effective magic.

12. 'Last Christmas' - The XX
Recognising the discrepancy between the downbeat lyrics and the chirpy melody and cheery apres-ski bonhomie of the video, the XX entertained Radio 1 listeners with a version of the song as it should have been. 

13. 'Manchasm' - Future Of The Left
One of many jabs delivered by Andy Falkous' mob during a typically chaotic, ferocious and hilarious ATP set.

14. 'Another The Letter' - Wire
After Release The Stars, Wire's Pink Flag is my other album of the year - and another one released long before. I may not have been treated to anything from that record at ATP, but over-too-soon sequencer experiment 'Another The Letter' from Chairs Missing was a very unexpected delight.

15. 'Kennedy' - The Wedding Present
Courtesy of a pub jukebox recently, as I waited to watch my football team fall to yet another defeat.

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