My bronze medal for 2018 goes to John Grant. I was having a think about why I like the solo artists that I do and three consistent threads seem to be important: inventive lyrics, a willingness to reinvent and experiment and a sense of humour
John Grant certainly sits alongside mavericks like Julian Cope, E, Thomas Dolby and Martin Stephenson in that regard. He does not take himself too seriously as this song and video demonstrate.
After the success of Queen Of Denmark it would no doubt have been tempting to stick to that piano-ballad template, or after Pale Green Ghosts to go Scandic-Noir, but each album tends to grow out of the last in a new direction. This year’s album ‘Love Is Magic’ was mostly recorded in a studio full of analogue synths in Cornwall and is my favourite LP of the year. I know that this particular track can be marmite for some, but it just makes me smile every time I hear it. I stumbled upon this video whilst looking for a version to post. Basically it is Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer on acid.
Like Andy, I nearly missed Gorillaz ‘The Now Now’ album as it was released with little fanfare and no publicity. Superior to 2017’s misfiring ‘Humanz’ largely because it was more cohesive with fewer collaborations and with Damon front and central; particularly on this gold-plated electropop banger. #3 Gorillaz, ‘Tranz’
I had John Grant on my list, and indeed, after initially having the title track of “Love is Magic”, I also had included this particular track. However, due to “an administrative cock-up” I realised that I had too many tracks to squeeze in, and therefore, thinking that it may get an airing, decided to omit it from my final 20!
At number 3 on my list is are two singers – one who has featured several times over the course of the last fifteen years with her band, and another who hasn’t, but if memory serves me, was a former chart-topper of Richard a couple of years ago. So I’m led to believe, it’s “the culmination of creativity from KENZO’s Spring/Summer collection”! I can’t really comment on such attire with any authority, but I would say that the combination of their two voices on this particular track are very well-presented! Number 3…
Number three on my list is “Eclipse” from San Francisco pysch-rockers Wooden Shjips. They have been floating around now for about eight years but I only heard them (that I can recall) for the first time this year. Their new album “V” is wonderfully evocative of the late 1960s psychedelic movement with looping guitars, fey lyrics and a pulsing drum beats. They remind me a bit of Aussie psych kings King Gizzard, but on this track most of all of Stone Roses. No video but a great audio track all the same: