Saturday, December 08, 2018

Local heroes

Love it or hate it, it's end-of-year list time again. (I'm on the fence, to be honest - as much as I love reading them, I hate the feeling of having missed out on so much.)

The names of my top five LPs of 2018 have been submitted to Sounding Bored host Rob, with the team's compiled top ten to be revealed in Episode 36. Typically, I'm already doubting my choices...

As usual, I also voted in Nightshift's annual top 25 tracks of the year - despite no longer being resident in Oxford, I've been able to keep in touch with the city's musical output through the magazine, for which I've continued to contribute the odd review.

As editor Ronan noted in his introduction to the rundown, it was a particularly interesting year because "few of the local big guns - Radiohead; Foals; Ride; Glass Animals - released new music". Top spot was taken by 'Get On With It' by scuzz punksters Self Help, who seem to be pretty much universally loved - and not without good reason. (Incidentally, their track 'The Razz', with its reference to the Hi-Lo Jamaican bar on Cowley Road, would have been a good soundtrack to the very drunken weekend I spent back in the city last month. It's like IDLES doing Madness.)

Of the artists I voted for, Ghosts In The Photographs claimed 15th spot with 'Dylexorcist', a beast of a track that suggested they've come of age and promised even more for the future, and Rainbow Reservoir snuck in with 'Podium Girls', a characteristically fuzzy pop-punk gem from album Channel Hanna.

Also featuring in the top 25 were the likes of Lucy Leave, Desert Storm and Death Of The Maiden (the latter a local-scale all-female supergroup that might be of interest to the Guardian's Laura Snapes), but sadly there wasn't space for either of my other two picks: masters of post-rock restraint Year Of The Kite, whose debut album With Sparks Flying really impressed, and Kid Kin, whose 'Jarmo' confirmed his status as a one-man Mogwai venturing a little further into the electronic territory where the Glaswegians still seem to fear to tread.

Finally, a mention for The August List's stunning 'Distorted Mountain', released just too late to be considered for inclusion. Another monumental advance for the duo, it amps up the volume and the darkness, continues their gradual shift away from the backwoods folk of their early days, and very much whets the appetite for (hopefully) a new LP in 2019.

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