I think this is the third collaboration in our top five so far, one that seemed surprising at the time but makes perfect sense. Two singles were released from the four track ‘Teatime Dub Encounters’ EP that Underworld & Iggy Pop recorded together and this is my favourite – Get Your Shirt. I say ‘EP’, but it’s only a few minutes shorter than The Good, The Bad & The Queen album.
Underworld also released weekly tracks in the Autumn on their website as part of the Drift AV project, meaning that, in a year when they did not release an album, they actually released more music than in the year when they did. This shows that they are on something of a creative high at the moment. Not bad as Karl has just passed 60 and Rick is just about to…
My runner-up spot goes to a band who I saw play live for the first time last month, although I was actually there more for the support band – The Staves. They hadn’t played this in the main set and I was hoping that it was going to be part of the encore – and I wasn’t disappointed!
In a year when running has been an ever-present weekly event, the following lyric seems entirely appropriate…
Why do I do this to myself every time?
I know the way it ends before it’s even begun
I am the only one at the finish line
My number two is from the oldest artist in (at least) my selection for this year’s festive list. At nearly eighty years of age Mavis Staples is from the fabled Staple Singers family. Initially singing gospel music, they broke into the mainstream in the 1950s with a number of hits and eventually went on to become the soundtrack to the US civil rights movement through their association with Martin Luther King. Staples’ first solo release was in the 1960s (“Crying In The Chapel”) and there were periods of relative inactivity. In recent years though she has released a series of well-received albums with the most recent being “If All I Was Was Black”, co-written with Jeff Tweedy (Wilco). Again, not a bad track on the album but for me the stand out song is the album’s title single, released earlier this year. My #2 “If All I Was Was Black” by Mavis Staples
My runner-up is another track that has already featured. This particular song is arguably right up there with the best this artist has ever produced, either with his group, solo or as a guest vocalist; an absolutely stunning vocal hitched to a tune of shimmering dark beauty. #2 Thom Yorke ‘Suspirium’