Wednesday, December 24, 2014

2014 - In Review (Part 2 - Reissues and More)

Part 1 of my 2014 Review covering LPs of the year can be found here.

Reissues of the year:

Morrissey - Your Arsenal (Parophone)

Vauxhall & I also got the reissue treatment but for me this was always the more exciting LP of the two. Moz with Boz and Alain Whyte and Mick Ronson behind the console and a batch of amazing tunes - the Remastering sounded fantastic. Unlike the other albums in Moz's reissue campaign Your Arsenal has been left alone from a tracklisting and song ordering point of view except for a different mix of the album's last track, Tomorrow.

 The The - Soul Mining (Sony Music)

I balked initially but eventually went for the LP boxset. I'm glad I did - this is how reissues should be done. There was even room in the box for the Record Store Day 12'' of DJ Food's reworking of Giant. Soul Mining is one of altime favourites and this pressing sounded unreal.

C86 - 3CD Boxset (Cherry Red Records)

This was a blast from start to finish and fantastic companion piece to Cherry Red's Scared to Be Happy Boxset. Worth it for the extensive booklet alone - basically an history of indiepop.

The Field - From Here We Go Sublime (Kompakt)

Axel Willner's 2007 debut was finally released on vinyl by Kompakt. An amazing record remastered and pressed on double vinyl housed in a gatefold sleeve.

Live Album of the year:

The House of Love - Live at the Lexington 13.11.13 (Cherry Red Records)

Chadwick and Bickers blasting through a set culled mainly from the first two records but also highlighting some of the gems from last year's She Paints Words in Red. Jesus, I love this band! This came with a DVD - watching the camera zoom in on Bickers' guitar playing was one of my highlights of the year!!! Wow that sounds sad, I know!

Now would someone please get around to doing a boxset of the Fontana years. It's always the Creation years that people go on about. I would love a box of the three Fontana LPs + the B-Sides Comp. The last album of the band's original run, 1993's Audience With the Mind has to be without doubt one of the most under-rated albums of the 90s - tt is absolutely sublime but because of the band's backstory it always gets ignored and also because Bickers was gone by then they don't play any of it live.

Gigs of the year:

Sleaford Mods at Whelans
Clint Mansell at NCH
Peter Gabriel at The Point
The Jesus & Mary Chain - Vicar Street
Moderat - Vicar Street

Of the secondhand finds these were the highlights: 

 The Triffids - Wide Open Road 7''
DAF - Gold Und Liebe LP
David Ackles - American Gothic LP
Moby Grape '69 LP
XTC - Black Sea LP
Fiction Factory - Feels Like Heaven 7''

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

2014 - In Review (Part 1 - Albums)

My round up of the year. Nothing out of ordinary here, in fact it's probably a little bit predictable really, but I kept it to LPs that I purchased rather than things I downloaded and therefore some of my favourite artists inevitably show up. I tried to keep it to 10 but failed - I just couldn't leave out the Röyksopp & Robyn mini-LP.

Röyksopp & Robyn - Do It Again (Dog Triumph)

A white vinyl mini LP but a sublime piece of work. This was better then the Röyksopp album and just made me want a new Robyn full length. This spent a lot of time on the turntable.

Allo Darlin' - We Come From the Same Place (Fortuna Pop!)

The third full length from Elizabeth Morris' indie popsters arrived on blue and white splattered vinyl. History Lessons was probably one of my most played tunes all year. I thought 2012's Europe was a really strong indiepop record but this album really, really impressed me - it's a huge leap forward in songwriting. The liner notes from Darren Hayman were also beautifully written.

Shellac - Dude Incredible (Touch & Go)

Shellac of North America - Albini, Trainer, Weston. Packaged in a chipboard album jacket with two high gloss, full-color monkeys on the front cover. The LP is an 180-gram audiophile quality pressing and includes a CD of the full album. LP comes in a printed inner sleeve. Yes!

Morrissey - World Peace is None of Your Business (Harvest)

Five years on from Years of Refusal, Moz was back with one of his strongest sets in years. The gatefold double vinyl was a beautiful package. His voice sounds better then ever and the album was packed with beautiful moments - Gustazo Manzur's Spanish guitar for one.

Walls/Oram - Sound Houses (Ecsatic)

Alessio Natalizia and Sam Willis got the chance to play around with Daphne Oram's tape archive, Sonic Boom mastered the end result which was pressed on clear vinyl. This is a great, great record.

Adrian Crowley - Some Blue Morning (Chemikal Underground)

He did it again. A beautiful gatefold pressing on heavy vinyl on Chemikal Underground - this just sounds amazing. A beautiful collection of songs.

Goat - Commune (Rocket Recordings)

The second LP from the masked Swedish experimental fusion group didn't disappoint. This was every bit as good as their World Music debut. The live album (Live Ballroom Ritual) they released this year was also brilliant. This edition of Commune came on beautiful red and black splattered vinyl and also included a free 7''.

Dum Dum Girls - Too True (Sub Pop)

Initially I wasn't too sure but by the time the needle hit Trouble Is My Name, I was hooked. This first edition on blue vinyl came with a signed poster of the album artwork signed by Dee Dee.

Future Islands - Singles (4AD)

Like the Dum Dum Girls LP, I was a little disappointed upon my initial listen. It really did reveal itself after repeated listens. A big step up for them.  Their gig in Dublin's Vicar Street was also a momentous event.

Marisa Nadler - July (Bella Union)

Bella Union picked up this Sacred Bones release for Europe and I'm so glad they did - this has probably spent more time on the turntable then any other LP all year. It might be called July but it's a dark, Wintery album. She has a huge back catalogue that I've yet to start exploring.

Eat Lights Become Lights - Into Forever (The Great Pop Supplement)

The fourth full length Kraut/electronic/synth mash-up from Neil Rudd, but definitely his most diverse and enjoyable release to date. This was pressed on a beautiful grey vinyl. 

That's it for albums, Part 2 will cover reissues and Part 3 will cover books.