Allright, here’s my final missive:
kuromoji – soba
This album by Kyoto native kuromoji (クロモジ) is a great example of the kind of music that the Japanese underground spews out at a fairly regular rate. Innovative, ambient, difficult-to-pin-down music that seems to wash over you and make everything seem allright.
Nots – Cosmetic
I fell in love with Nots just from the description alone (all-girl band make garagey racket with added synth) and wasn’t disappointed when I finally heard the music. I missed their (excellent) debut last year and had some catching up to do. I’m not sure if this second album has quite as much fizz as the debut, but it’s still packed full of excellently fuzzed-up noisy rock tunes.
PJ Havey – The Hope Six Demolition Project
I kind of forgot about this record for a while, but when I came back to it I found it pretty amazing. I like the idea of approaching the making of an album like writing a book. The fact that PJ Harvey researched, travelled and documented in order to write these songs give them a journalistic authority that a lot of ‘serious’ songwriters think they can get away with not bothering to do. And it’s always great to hear Peej wailing on the sax!
Skepta – Konnichiwa
Skepta’s 10-year overnight success was one of the truly heartwarming stories of the year. After spending years churning out ineffectual Grime-by-numbers at the behest of the record company in a bid to be famous, he dumped the record company, disrobed himself of the old identity (“I used to wear Gucci, put it all in the bin ‘cos that’s not me”) and released “Konnichiwa” himself. A fully-deserved Mercury Prize win and one of my most listened to albums this year. As I said back in June, all killer, no filler and a great British success story.
Savages – Adore Life
Savages electrifying debut was my Album of the Year two years ago, so I was super-excited for this new one and it more than lived up to my expectations. It’s a much more ‘mature’ record than the first and shows a big leap forward in their songwriting and musicianship, with the aggression and don’t-let-the-bastards-grind-you-downness channelled into powerful odes to love and life. It’s great to finally get a proper grown-up rock record that isn’t by a bunch of beardy white men.
That’s it for my 2016 list then, I listened to and loved a ton of other stuff too but I’ve already taken up way too much ‘Spill space. If I was forced to pick a Top 3 I’d probably go for Savages, Bowie and Foodman, but as I said there was a whole load of stuff to get excited about this year and I’ll try to get round to doing a Best of the Rest podcast sometime in the new year too.
Merry Christmas one and all!