Wasn’t The Brits the most mind-numbing yet?
All very professional and that, but really about as engaging as one of those corporate events where they give awards for Salesperson Of The Year. Come to think of it, in the case of One Direction they did just that. Anyway, it seemed to exist in a parallel universe to what I am listening to. Elsewhere on the blog are what Andy, Roy and I felt to be the best songs of last year, but 2013 is already shaping up to be a great year, so I thought as an antidote to the Brits I would put up some of my favourite tracks of 2013 ‘for your consideration’. They are in no particular order, we’ll leave that for the end of 2013 when many of these may well have been eclipsed by what is to come. Some of these have featured on my ‘This Is My Jam’ feed, but nice to have them all in one place.
Pride of place goes to John Grant’s Pale Green Ghosts. A breathtaking and epic single that reminds me of early ‘The The’ mixed with an unsettling Twin Peaks feel to it. Quite stunning and radically different to his Queen of Denmark album. What will the album be like?
Next, the surprise return of David Bowie. On initial listening I liked it but it did remind me a lot of Achting Baby U2 – perhaps it’s the reference to Berlin landmarks. However the vocals on the chorus are just heart-breakingly vulnerable. I like it more each time I hear it.
Appropriately enough another returning act is Suede, very much Bowie acolytes. Barriers was a great come back, and this single kicks it up a notch. Easily on a par with their (impressive) back catalogue. Check out their Maida Vale session on the 6 Music website
Pulp also made a surprise return. No album seems to be imminent, but there is this one-off , recorded with Mr LCD Soundsystem, James Murphy. Like Suede, very classic in its sound.
OK, enough of the comebacks, here are a few newer bands. Firstly Villagers with ‘Nothing Arrived’. A lovely, poignant video. Does he win the lottery or not?
From Foals, a classic pop song, almost insanely catchy. A student disco staple for 2013 I am sure:
I Am Kloot have been around somewhat longer, but this is a great anthemic single from the Manchester band.
We have just had a new Eels album. A fine collection that bizarrely got to no 14 in the official UK album chart last week. Here is the title track: ‘Wonderful, Glorious’. And it is.
A bit of 90s-style indie rock from the Joy Formidable, from the album Wolf’s Law:
I thought I’d end with a couple of piano instrumentals. I am a sucker for a an echoey piano. This first is by German pianist/composer Nils Frahm. Apparently he broke his thumb, so wrote the album from which this comes whilst convalescing, carefully picking out the notes with remaining fingers, which gives a pleasingly minimalist style. If you like this track you can download the whole album for free, legally here – the link is at the bottom of that page
And second in our echoey piano pairing is exits by L. Pierre. He used to be called Aidan Moffatt and was in Arab Strap. This comes from the Album ‘The Island Come True’. No accompanying video so just shut your eyes and listen..
So that’s it so far for 2013. let me know any suggestions for things I may have missed – I am sure there are many! As you made it all the way to the bottom, here is a rare clip of Spinal Tap getting a bit confused about the Eels winning best newcomer in 1998: