Amongst my 2018 choices this could be seen as something of an outlier, given my current level of boredom with guitar bands, but this track from Bristol’s Idles fizzes with energy and lyrical interest. Their second album ‘Joy Is An Act of Resistance’ is 6Music’s album of the year and it rivals ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ for best album name of the year. As I type we are a day away from a vote in the House of Commons in the UK, the aftermath of which that could determine the next few decades on many levels, so here is a song about freedom of movement.
For the uninitiated the guy in the video is not in the band. They are a whole lot hairier than that. He is their friend: Ukranian born Danny Nedelko.
You may remember that last year’s number 1 album for me was Fleet Foxes “Crack-Up” so it comes as no surprise that former member, Josh Tillman, has made it into this year’s list in his own right. This is taken from his album “God’s Favourite Customer”, and for those unfamiliar with him, he is a singer, songwriter, guitarist, drummer, producer and resembles an uncanny likeness to a dishevelled Kris Kristofferson! From Father Christmas to Father John…
In the interests of further diversity, let me throw a left field guitar instrumental into the mix as my #12. Khruangbin are a Texas trio, named after the Thai word for aeroplane (literally “flying engine”). They play what can be broadly called world music, mainly instrumental, with musical influences ranging across Thai, Afghanistan, Tex-Mex and the Middle Eastern styles. I had heard about them extensively over the last few years, via various friends and reviewers I respect, and yet their albums were hard to come by in this part of the world. Consequently, I purchased their 2018 release “Con Todo El Mundo” along with their 2015 debut “The Universe Smiles Upon You” from Fopp in Leicester Square without having heard a single track. While my selected tune “Maria También” is a super-catchy instrumental, the rest of the albums were – sadly – a disappointment to me. For eclectic but inspired world music give me Thievery Corporation instead; for South-Western Americana try Calexico. All the same, enjoy the tune and the clip’s interesting visual history of Iran.
In complete contrast my number 12 is by an artist who’s name sounds more like he should be part of the hipster ‘new jazz’ movement that everybody will have forgotten about by this time next year. George Fitzgerald produces sounds that could not be further apart on the musical spectrum to jazz. This a highlight from his current album ‘All That Must Be’, #12 ‘The Echo Forgets’ .