MY FAVOURITE MUSIC OF THE YEAR: 2015

December 16th 2015

NEW ALBUMS

1 C Duncan, Architect

One man’s vision – part classical, ambient, other worldly

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvbJS3YVae0

2 Kamasi Washington, The Epic

Jazz is rarely like this: mixing big band, soul & funk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCIAMO3Al1A

3 Floating Points, Elaenia

Stunning harmonies, spaces and silence

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfYP7uTZX8Y

4 Tame Impala, Currents

Real departure for guitar sound into dance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFptt7Cargc

5 D’Angelo, Black Messiah

Rarely has political funk/R&Bsounded so good

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2r5yqjlVrI

6 Mark Ronson, Uptown Funk

Good time infectious dance/pop

7 Julia Holter, Have You in My Wilderness

Mysterious, serious, haunting, beautiful sort of folk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OERixQR-hxY

8 Public Service Broadcasting, The Race for Space

When space & the future were filled with hope

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wY-kAnvOY80

9 Steven Wilson, Hand Cannot Erase

About a body left in a London flat

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCHEj70o-OM

10 Drive-By Truckers, It’s Great to Be Alive

Great US rock n roll band 3 album live set

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FthiOls0w4I

BEST COMPILATION

1 Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, Collected Recordings 1983-89

Piles of demos, obscure tracks & all their vids

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvptsWYx6A4

2. Bob Dylan, The Cutting Edge 1965-66

Not a Dylanhead, but his golden period

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EF1mDgfKKM

BEST REISSUE

1 Duke Ellington, The Conny Plank Session

The Duke and the legendary soundman from 1970

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-0ibQhGZcc

BEST PREVIOUSLY RELEASED

1 Steven Wilson, Cover Version

Six singles; six covers & originals

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuDVJsUIArg

2 Nina Simone, Live at Ronnie Scott’s

Nina in stunning form; recorded 1964

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgROGsAaZhY

BEST CLASSICAL

1 Max Richter, Sleep

8 album set taking you thru sleep

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N84hEgk8b1M

BEST BOOTLEG

1 New Order, 12 X 12 

Comp of NO reissued 12 inches over 4 albums

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2fAMG-DUTA

2 Blue Nile, B Sides and Rarities

Collects all their loose tracks

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P75xSmJbnJ4

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

1 Frank Sinatra, A Voice on the Air 1939-55

100 tracks from radio shows.

One low point of the music year (Sinatra’s 100th anniversary of his birth) was this set apart the sheer paucity and inadequacy of any reissues. The Sinatra estate is to blame for this: and in a future a Frank reissue series is needed of the quality of Dylan, Miles and Elvis. Sadly this year was a big missed opportunity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKsmKrYWBmE

2 Jilted John

1978 album of the one hit wonder

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iN45OjB-cCU

LATE ADDITIONS:

1 Jason Isbell, Something More than Free

One time Drive-By Trucker guitarist records country/folk/hard times classic

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKX5caTE0I

2. Young Fathers, White Men are Black Men Too

Edinburgh winners of 2014 Mercury embrace rock/hip-hop mix

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiQw8fqFh3M

TWO BELATED DISCOVERIES THIS YEAR:

Pharaoh Sanders, Karma, 1969

Sanders combines a Sun Ra like eclecticism and ambition with gorgeous soul funk inspired jazz. Only got into this in 2015 – and by coincidence – then into Kamasi Washington – who clearly took inspiration from his work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZ6lB7FKxi8

ESG, A South Bronx Story, 2000; A South Bronx Story 2, 2006

What a discovery these were this year (via Bob Stanley’s Yeah, Yeah, Yeah): a missing link between post-punk and dance.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlbTgyJOI4c