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It’s happening again (2016 music)
  • This is already looking like a more exciting year than 2015 for me, music-wise (even if the actual year sort of sucks a bit so far, weather, job, Bowie etc etc), so here’s a place to discuss new stuff, whether out or on the way.


    David Bowie - Blackstar

    Those stars spell ‘Bowie’, am I the last person to realise that? I haven’t really been able to listen to this too much since Bowie’s death, but before that came out of nowhere I was really enjoying 5 of the songs and a bit unsure about the other two (‘Tis A Pity’ and ‘Sue’). Everything’s now in such a different context, however, that the whole project just amazes me. I really admire him for keeping his cancer away from the press and dealing with it in his music without ghoulishly cashing in or clumsily making a mawkish farewell album. In 20 or 30 years, it will be mythologised how he turned his own death into a work of art. I love the complexity of this album, the style and detail with all the self-references and tying up of loose ends (those videos!). I love the acceptance mixed with the horror and the humour. I heard the last Twitter account he followed was ‘God’.


    SR Hess & RM Zuydervelt

    This has been the standout experimental record of January so far. Hess is a percussionist who played on Pan•American albums amongst other things and this is one of those long-distance file-swapping projects. The album is half an hour long with 4 tracks and has a soft, snowy, grainy vibe with lulling half-melodies and occasional pockets of children’s voices or muffled drums.


    Tim Hecker - Love Streams

    Out in April (but already streaming in full), this is Hecker’s 8th proper solo album and it’s an interesting twist on his usual sound, using choral voices as well as other instruments for his electronic processes. There’s some unfathomable stuff on his website about “15th century choral scores”, “liturgical aesthetics after Yeezus” and “transcendental vocal music in the age of autotune”, but regardless of that it’s sounding great to me. My favourite of his albums are still the 2003-6 run of ‘Radio Amor’, ‘Mirages’ and ‘Harmony In Ultraviolet’, along with 2011’s ‘Ravedeath 1970’, but this is another exciting chapter in his book.


    Junior Boys - Big Black Coat

    Their first album since 2011’s completely brilliant ‘It’s All True’. I remember sitting in a Korean taxi, stuck in traffic, some time in 2004 and being mesmerised by ‘Bellona’ from their first album and I’ve been hooked ever since. Extremely excited about this one


    Animal Collective - Painting With

    Basically, all my favourite musicians are putting out albums this year. I didn’t love Centipede Hz as much as their previous couple, but then Panda Bear Vs The Grim Reaper was my favourite record of last year. Anyway, I heard there’s an early Beatles influence on this, which makes me smile.

    I think Library Tapes also have a new album coming out (Escapism). I prefer their/his early-career broken piano stuff but still one to listen to. I’m also waiting for rumoured albums from The Blue Aeroplanes (‘Welcome Stranger’) and the mighty Yeah Yeah Noh (‘Automatically Saturday’).

  • nickinko said:

    David Bowie - Blackstar

    Those stars spell ‘Bowie’, am I the last person to realise that?

    No, that would be me! Even though I sat down with this yesterday looking at the (pretty amazing) booklet the whole time. I’ve never been a Bowie nut exactly, and wasn’t hit that hard by his death because he always seemed like a chimeric, larger-than-life, outside-of-life figure to me, and when I tried to listen to The Next Day after it came out I found it incredibly boring, but this new one is brilliant in all respects and might be the best I’ve heard from him? I really like “Sue”, too, including the last minute.

    Otherwise, I’ve been listening to the new Suede album Night Thoughts, which is surprisingly great - out of context the singles seemed like, well, just, a few new Suede singles, but the thing about this one is that every song segues so seamlessly into the other that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts somehow (not that the parts aren’t good, though). I’ve also been listening to an excellent French pop album by some guy from Toulouse improbably named Eddy Crampes, and to Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s Peel Sessions release. The new Eleanor Friedberger should me in the mail anytime soon, which is exciting!

  • New Tortoise has its moments, including a lovely vocal(!) number featuring Georgia Hubley, but is overall a bit meh. Maybe I need to give it more time.

  • This year has got off to a storming start. Bowie, Tim Hecker, Junior Boys and now Not Waving all with excellent records.


    Not Waving - Animals

  • Pretty slow year so far for me, but I am very much digging Heron Oblivion’s self-titled album. 60’s psyche rock with pretty female vocals over some well-fuzzed and wah-ed guitars. Kinda reminds me of Opal. Excellent.

    Also enjoying Aziza Brahim’s “Abbar el Hamada” and The I Don’t Cares “Wild Stab”

  • The albums I mentioned above have all been on rotation here (that is when I haven’t been listening to Burning Spear or Elliott Smith, my two main retrospective obsessions so far this year), but other new stuff I like includes …


    Deakin’s Sleep Cycle (freakfolk throwback from Animal Collective’s fourth most famous member)


    The Apple Tree by Hintermass (members of Ghostbox honchos The Advisory Circle and Broadcast), which has a stunningly good A side but dips a bit later…


    and finally Lighthouse Stories by Low Jack, a techno thing on Modern Love.

  • The new albums by Parquet Courts and Woods came out on the same day last week and they’re both goddamn wonderful.

  • The new David Thomas Broughton is jaw-droppingly good. Album of the year by a mile at the moment:


  • Woah, this new Autechre.

  • I’ve been listening to nothing but ANTI the past week, it’s so good. I mean there’ve always been Rihanna songs I’ve liked but I haven’t really listened to her full albums before. Especially like Consideration atm. At least I got to it in the same year it came out, unlike The Pinkprint by Nicki Minaj which I also discovered earlier this year but two years after everyone else had.

  • As it’s June, I thought I’d put a rough list of my favourite albums of the year up here. I think that so far it’s been the best year for ages for the music I like. It would be nice to hear what other people have been digging too, of course.

    The best…

    • Autechre - elseq 1-5

    • David Thomas Broughton - Crippling Lack

    • Tim Hecker - Love Streams

    Also really good…

    • David Bowie - Black Star

    • ABC - Lexicon Of Love II

    • Animal Collective - Painting With

    • Not Waving - Animals

    • Hintermass - The Apple Tree

    • Belbury Poly - New Ways Out

    Plus, enjoying these…

    • Solo Andata - In The Lens

    • Kane Ikin - Modern Pressure

    • Andy Stott - Too Many Voices

    • Pantha du Prince - The Triad

    • Library Tapes - Escapism / Sketches, Outtakes & Rarities Volume 2

    • Deakin - Sleep Cycle

    Machinefabriek has been busy, as usual, and my favourite of his releases are…

    • Re:Collecting (as SR Hess & RM Zuydervelt)

    • Minuten

    There have also been some shorter releases I’ve played a lot…

    • Low Jack - Lightning Stories

    • Pye Corner Audio & Dalhous - Run For The Shadows

    • Micachu - Taz And May Vids

    • Robert A. A. Lowe - Cognition / Observation

  • You might like David Thmas Broughton?

  • I think the only new albums I’ve listened to this year are White Lung - Paradise, Aesop Rock - The Impossible Kid, and Lemonade, of course.

  • Stuff from 2016 I’ve enjoyed to one degree or another:

    Heron Oblivion - s/t

    Aziza Brahim - Abbar El Hamada

    The Hotelier - Goodness

    Ralph Peterson - Triangular III

    Brad Mehldau - Blues & Ballads

    Mammal Hands - Floa

    Gogo Penguin - Man Made Object

    David Murray, Geri Allen & Terri Lyne Carrington - Perfection

    Kyle Craft - Dolls Of Highland

    A couple of new ones I need to spend more time with but which sound good on first listen:

    Frameworks - Smother

    Cocek Brass Band - Round Two

    I’d say 2016 has been pretty disappointing so far musically, but then again that’s what I was still saying about 2015 IN DECEMBER. And then I discovered a bunch of great stuff (hooray for best-of-the-year-lists) and therefore had to reevaluate. So I’m certainly prepared to be proven wrong by the end of this year.

  • The new Deerhoof record is really great, and so is the latest Fennesz/Jim O’Rourke collaboration. I don’t think anyone’s mentioned Anohni’s Hopelessness so far, and that’s a great example of a straightforward protest record that has much more impact than PJ Harvey’s awkward latest.

  • Has anyone else heard the new lambchop? I really like it. Vocoder, drum machines, but it still sounds like them, mumbling quiet nothing music. Nice songs.

  • I’ve only just bought it on Friday and should spend more time with it, but I think I’m going to like it too! Although I’m conservative and wish I could have (maybe see?) versions of these songs with unprocessed vocals.

  • The first time I listened to it was in bed, falling asleep, and when “The Hustle” began I was surprised because I could have sworn I had listened to two or three songs only. Even after a few listens I still can’t remember how any of the songs between tracks 3 and 10 goes, but that suggests giving it some time could be a rewarding experience…

  • I find that I keep going back to those middle songs actually, I think it’s my favorite part.

  • a similar vibe to my still-favorite lambchop song, “My face your ass”