Sunday, December 31, 2017

Feel good hits of the 31st December

An end-of-year special, covering some of the things that didn't make it into the SWSL Top Ten.

1. 'I Promise' - Radiohead
Further proof, as if it were needed, that Radiohead were absolutely untouchable during the OK Computer era. How they could choose to leave a track as good as this off the album is beyond me.

2. 'Namekuji' - Part Chimp
Reviewing their April gig at Clwb, I described this track as sounding "like descending into the depths of hell in lead boots". It's a description I stand by. More songs should be written about mythological Japanese slug-beasts that invade and eat your dreams.

3. 'Mess Of Wires' - Metz
That Strange Dreams was strongly reminiscent of In Utero came as little surprise (earlier tracks like 'Eraser' had prepared the ground), but Steve Albini's fingerprints were all over it. Opening track 'Mess Of Wires' exemplified the Torontonians' modus operandi: intense noise-rock with a seizure-inducing video.

4. 'Star Roving' - Slowdive
I was a bit too young to appreciate the shoegaze legends first time around, and I wasn't as smitten as some with their comeback LP (it ended up top of the pile in the Sounding Bored end-of-year poll), but 'Star Roving' was a corker.

5. 'DNA' - Kendrick Lamar
I probably wouldn't have listened to DAMN without the strength of David's endorsement on Episode 24 of Sounding Bored, and in truth I found it lost my interest quite quickly, but second track 'DNA' - a furious and righteous statement about identity - was jaw-droppingly good.

6. 'Walk' - Philip Selway
Step aside (temporarily), Thom and Jonny. 'Walk' was the highlight of the Radiohead drummer's soundtrack for Let Me Go.

7. 'Mirror Reaper' - Bell Witch
Some songs you can get lost in, but you can always find your way out. Not so 'Mirror Reaper', the 83-minute-long behemoth that formed the entirety of drone-doom duo Bell Witch's third LP.

8. 'Darkjewel' - Gallops
Gallops supported kindred spirits Battles and 65daysofstatic and released a debut album at the tail end of 2012 before lapsing into inactivity. 2017 saw the release of the Wrexham outfit's second LP Bronze Mystic and a headlining slot at the If Not Now, When? festival in Oxford. 'Darkjewel' exists in the fertile area between experimental rock and Fuck Buttons-style noise-electronics. Cheers to Gareth for the tip-off.

9. 'Pristeen' - Julian Cope
The opening song on 1991's Peggy Suicide, 'Pristeen' was far from new in 2017 - though it was to my ears, as the superb climax to his rescheduled show at Tramshed in April.

10.  'Anymore' - The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart are a band whose career I've lost touch with since their 2009 self-titled debut, so it was thanks to a Spotify algorithm that threw up the cooing, fuzzy 'Anymore' after a spell of listening to The Jesus And Mary Chain. The Echo Of Pleasure wasn't exactly prominent in end-of-year lists, but I'm still inclined to give it some time.

11. 'The Castle' - The Flaming Lips
After the uncharacteristic and unrelenting bleakness of The Terror (an album I really like, incidentally), 'The Castle' signalled a return to the (relatively) accessible, technicolour Lips of Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots.

12. 'Here We Come' - Sleater-Kinney
2015's No Cities To Love was such a good comeback that news of a new Sleater-Kinney track was bound to arouse significant interest. In truth, 'Here We Come' - released on a compilation in support of Planned Parenthood - was an offcut from the No Cities To Love sessions, but it went some way towards slaking our thirst ahead of (hopefully) a new LP.

13. '100 Percent' - Cap'n Jazz & Hop Along
Not a great cover (recorded for the AV Club's Undercover series), but any excuse to listen to the Sonic Youth classic.

14. 'The Fall Of Home' - Los Campesinos!
Sick Scenes hasn't yet grabbed me in the way that previous Los Campesinos! albums have, but that's not to say that it won't, given a bit of time.

15. 'Over Everything' - Kurt Vile & Courtney Barnett
A perfect marriage in so many ways, so I feel like I should really love this more.

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