My second instrumental so far, Hannah Peel’s Archid Orange Dwarf is taken from her album ‘Mary Casio: Journey to Cassiopeia’. As I hinted on Roy’s #18 choice Fatima Yamaha, 2017 has been the year of the analogue synth, heralded by the release of the Radiophonic Workshop’s ‘ Burials in Parallel Earth’ and the continued rise of synthcore. On this concept album Peel’s alter ego ‘Mary Casio’ merges an analogue synth sound with a 33 piece colliery brass band. This track reflects the album well; the rich warm brass sounds take the final half to a glorious conclusion. Having collaborated with both John Foxx and the Magnetic North, she has been described as a 21st Century Delia Derbyshire.
Imagine my surprise earlier this year when I heard a song on an indie/alternative radio station which sounded suspiciously like 1970s -era Steely Dan. Of course Todd Rundgren’s collaboration with Donald Fagen on “Tin Foil Hat” draws heavily on Fagen’s vocals, but is only one of 12 collaborations included on Todd’s new album “White Knight”. With guest appearances from the aforementioned Fagen, Trent Reznor, Robyn, Joe Satriani, Joe Walsh & Daryl Hall & many others, the album is a compendium of musical styles. Sadly, while some of the tracks work well, not many of them work very well. While I I liked the track “Look At Me”, produced with hip-hop artist/movie producer Michael Holman, none of the videos I found for this song match the quality of the album tracks. So here’s Todd’s official video release for “Tin Foil Hat”, political observations for no extra cost
My number 17 is one of my ‘finds’ of the year (along with Cabbage, Ist Ist and Shame). They released their debut album ‘The Witch’ earlier in the year and very fine it is to. This track appeared as a ‘single’ soon after and is absolutely not representative of anything else on the album, which veers from psychedelia, through Roses baggy-esque beats to southern gothic and folktronica. The one consistent being the fabulous vocals of lead singer Isabel Munoz-Newsome. At number 17 the super eclectic, Pumarosa and ‘Honey’
As further evidence that I’m favouring artists from my dim and distant past, I give you a group that hasn’t been seen since the early 90’s. Very much the fulcrum of the shoegazing movement, they were part of Alan McGhee’s Creation label, until they disbanded in 1996 and went their separate ways. Returning this year with the “Weather Diaries” album, I could have picked a couple of tracks but decided to go with this one, as it was the first to grab my attention. Do not expect this to be the last “retro” band to appear on this countdown, or indeed the only shoegazing band…but I’ll leave that to my colleagues. Number 17…