These ten are plucked from the Spotify playlist I've been chucking new (and old) songs I was playing repeatedly into. I've been doing this for about five years now and as we maintain a paid subscription this is where I hear most new (and old) music; I very rarely own albums anymore, unless I like them so much I want to hear them in my car.
They're not necessarily in any order, and there are some almost equally amazing songs (some by the same artists) that I've enjoyed as much, but I wanted to make a list of ten, because that's how many fingers I currently have. So here they are:
- Hitna - Dino Merlin
- Enduring freedom - Gaptooth & Oli Trademark
- Biloxi parish - The Gaslight Anthem
- Henrietta Maria - Darren Hayman and the Long Parliament
- Rewind the film - Manic Street Preachers & Richard Hawley
- Kedvesem (Zoohacker remix) - Bye Alex
- My number - Foals
- Dovahkiin - The Indelicates
- Nearly midnight, Honolulu - Neko Case
- Stations - Naevus
And here they are individually:
After what I can only describe as my favourite ever Eurovision ever this year, I decided to check out a couple of artists from previous years whose entries I'd enjoyed. Dino Merlin's "Love in rewind" was probably my favourite ever Eurovision entry for Bosnia & Herzegovina, so I was pleased to find out his awesomeness is not confined to 3-minute love-songs sung in English.
"Gaptooth" and I were pen-friends for a bit when we were teens, having met among mutual friends in a Manic Street Preachers chat room(!) But don't hold that against her; I got to hear an album from her this year after well over a decade of wondering what that might sound like, and I was blown away - especially by this; combining as it does, sexual politics, poetry, puns and BIG trancey sounding synth stuff. I love it. As soon as I've worn out the CDR copy in my car I might actually buy the actual album. (Something I do only about twice a year nowadays.)
This and many of their other songs got me through two long hard months away from my family working in London this year, and this song in particular will forever remind me of walking along Regent's Canal in North Central London. One of the many pleasant experiences and habits that emerged from the unpleasant situation of working away. At least I wasn't on an oil rig.
A grandiose concept album about 17th century English history from a relatively famous indie dude (remember Hefner?) whose work I'd never much cared for somehow contained this absolute gem, which grabbed me immediately and I've not yet got sick of, despite about 100,000 plays.
I was very cynical about hearing a 758th Manic Street Preachers album this year, but thought I'd give it a go. The whole thing is magnificent, and this deserves special attention. Watch the video too. This really forced me to challenge the prejudice with which I view my own youth, and bingo halls. (I'm still very cynical though.)
My personal douze points cette année.
This is the song that reminds me of my first working-away-from-home stint; a month in April. I loved the album too; Foals get better and better, for me. I never thought they were aimed at me really. Still don't, but don't care much either.
It's always a good year when The Indelicates release something substantial. This year's album is a really weird one - not least in the way it was released. (I think I've still to buy a quarter of it.) But the disjointed emergence hasn't harmed the quality of the whole. Like a lot of folks, I was especially impressed by this track. Reminiscent of the tenderer (yet angrier) moments of Carter USM, perhaps. And Meat Loaf. Definitely Meat Loaf.
One never knows what to expect from Naevus. Listening to their odds-and-ends compilation album Stations (released this year) goes some way (though probably not the whole way) to showing what a downright weird band they've been at times. Their work veers from thrumming, confrontational modernist punk to expertly-crafted acoustic-driven rock ballads. After last year's dark, experimental, yet undeniably fun album The Division of Labour, Stations might make a lot of sense as an album release, but the song itself was the last thing I was expecting. And it's fantastic.