A second appearance for Gary in the rundown so far. Roy opted for the lead single ‘My Name Is Ruin’, but I am going to go for my favourite track on the album, the more introspective and beguiling ‘And It All Began With You’. No video as such, but it really doesn’t need one. The album, his biggest hit since 1980, manages to combine his more recent industrial rebirth with the pioneering synth sounds of his chart zenith to brilliant effect. The album was boosted by a highly effective media campaign that even saw him featured on News At Ten.
I signed up to the pledgemusic campaign to fund the album 18 months ago – effectively a kickstarter – so have been receiving demos and video updates from Gary as the album gradually took shape. It’s been fascinating to watch the creative process in real time. This is one of the tracks that seems to have varied the least from the original versions.
The fabulous lead track from this album has already featured as one of Andy’s choices and again I could have chosen any track to feature in my top 10. I saw this band several times in their heyday, but they were never as good as earlier this year in a nightclub in Kingston, where I was fortunate to witness the gig for their official album launch. Improved technology, like with peers Slowdive, has enabled them to give full realisation to their sonic vision and produce the best work of their career. Number 6, Ride, ‘All I Want”
My Top 5 is, by and large, filled with familiar faces from my favourite albums of the year. However, number 6 sees a debut entry from a chap who has been around in various guises for quite a while now, most notably as “Bright Eyes”, which may or may not have its origins in the Art Garfunkel song of the same name? I think it was actually released at the tail end of 2016, although it came to my attention at the very start of this year as part of his “Salutation” album. I suppose you’d describe his genre as Indie Folk, which I do have a penchant for, as evidenced by a yet-to-be-revealed entry. Anyway, for now, you’ll just have to make do with this! Number 6…
As we reach the heady heights of our Advent calendar, I hope that there will be less overlap/intertwining as my selections mine the rich vein of Antipodean indie music. #6 on my list is Methyl Ethyl, one of a number of contemporary Australian bands expert in modern psychedelia. Hailing from Perth (same town as psych-pop proponents Tame Impala), Methyl Ethyl’s second album “Everything is Forgotten” includes fuzzy drone guitars nicely blended with clean synthesizer hooks and vaguely androgynous vocals. Their second LP holds numerous enjoyable tracks, including “Drink Wine” and “L’Heure des Sorcieres”. However, the chosen track “Ubu” is the album’s main single and neatly showcases the band’s musical style and art school sensibility.
PS Courtesy of my godson’s brother (who works at the venue), I managed to get a ticket to one of Methyl Ethyl’s three sold out Sydney shows earlier this year. The Oxford Art Factory was packed to the rafters every night and based on the ample enthusiasm in the room, I expect we’ll be hearing more of them in both northern & southern hemispheres over the next few years.