Hard to believe that this is the seventh annual online version of our lists of the top tracks of the year, although we go much far further back into the analogue era, when we started exchanging typed up lists inside Christmas cards in the early 90s. This year we have our regular line up of Andy, Roy, Ian and myself, each nominating a track every day through to Christmas Eve. Think of it as a musical advent calendar and feel free to add some of your favourites in the comment section below.
I thought I would get us underway with something fun and upbeat, from Brighton’s The Go! Team. Influenced by Blaxpoitation soundtracks, Bollywood and early hip hop, at times the related album can suffer from ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ syndrome, but it’s never less than interesting and on this single, ‘Mayday’ the approach works perfectly, assisted by a great – if at times headache inducing – video.
Welcome to Advent 2018. These are the best singles I have heard this year* . Some of these tracks may come from from my list of best albums for the year, but I will take the liberty over the next few weeks to recognise here great tracks from bands that may not have enough good songs to warrant selection on my album list. First track for the year is from Welsh quartet Boy Azooga. Not even on the list a month ago, this short, punkish track brings to mind White Stripes’ “Hardest Button to Button”. The official video might be more eclectic, but this album version is the track that has been on high rotation on my playlist for the last few weeks
My first entry is by another Welsh artist (and possibly not the last in my 20!). Adwaith are an all female, Welsh language band from Camarthen. One of the notable highlights of 2018 is an upsurge in young Welsh speaking bands, many of who are linked to the fast growing, grass roots independence movement Yes! Cymru. Remarkably these artists are crossing over to the mainstream with this track, aided by its famous remixer, being playlisted on Radio 1; alongside the likes of Mellt who’s bilingual tribute to Joe Strummer ‘Rebel’ is well worth checking out. Also the brilliant ‘Gwenwyn’ by Alffa recently became the first Welsh language track to hit 1 million plays/streams on Spotify. This however is ‘Gartref (James Dean Bradfield remix)’ by Adwaith.
Following on from Richard’s fun and upbeat selection, I’ll kick off my countdown with a group who haven’t made my end-of-year lists for 16 years! Then it was “Dreaming of You” which reached number 13, whereas this year they will have to be content with number 20. This caught my attention in the Spring and lifts the spirits from a prolonged winter. It really was a “Sweet Release”. A welcome return from The Coral…