Stuff I’ve Enjoyed This Year..

New Music

MJ Lenderman (photo above)

After two DIY recorded albums, ‘Boat Songs’ is MJ Lenderman‘s first professionally recorded album. Like ’90s slacker bands, Pavement and Dinosaur Jnr., fuzzy guitars and great lyrics and melodies. They have a classic feel but also an alternative one.

Nilufer Yanya

The daughter of two visual artists, her mother is of Irish and Barbadian heritage and her father is Turkish. Yanya grew up in Chelsea, London listening to Turkish music and classical music playing at home. She learned electric guitar at the age of 12.

French music magazine, ‘Les Inrockuptibles‘ compared her music to King Krule, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Parquet Courts and The Breeders.

Painless‘ is her wonderful second album and was released in March 2022 on the brilliant ATO Records.

Weyes Blood

Another gorgeous voice. Californian Natalie Mering, known as Weyes Blood, released her fifth album, ‘And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow‘ on Sub Pop this year. Puts me in mind of Karen Carpenter and Carol King.

It was ‘Spin’ Magazine’s Album of the Year and made it on to loads of other end of year lists.

Alex G

Born in Havertown, Pennsylvania in 1993. Alex started recording his music at the age of 11, releasing early albums first on MySpace then via Bandcamp. Now aged 29, his 9th album, ‘God Save The Animals’ was released on Domino this year.

Daniel Avery

I’ve been a fan since his debut, ‘Drone Logic‘ in 2013. His 5th album, ‘Ultra Truth’ came out in November 2022 and Daniel Avery has progressed to become one of the most widely-recognised and revered talents in British electronic music. Recorded in his London studio with collaborative help from a host of friends including Kelly Lee Owens, he describes this album as ‘a distorted fever dream of a record: riled, determined and alive’.

High Vis

Like Shaun Ryder fronting a band with Johnny Marr and Billy Duffy on guitar, in 2022 and really meaning it. Punk guitars and attitude give way to ’90s style Manchester choruses ringing through. Great front man, Graham Sayle, originally from Liverpool, now lives in London.

Old Music

Stuff I read about this year or saw other people talk about so checked out..

Townes Van Zandt

After sharing this video on social media someone recommended I should check out his self titled 3rd album, released in 1969. I’m glad I did.

Jack Kerouac & Steve Allen ~ Poetry For The Beat Generation

I had no idea this record excised until this summer. The album is great.

Professor Longhair ‘Tipitina’

I read loads of music books earlier on this year as I was invited to be a judge for the Penderyn Music Book Award. Through reading these books from Bobby Gillespie, Don Letts, Lenny Kaye, Warren Ellis and twelve more authors I compiled a playlist of music I had always meant to check out, or had never heard of.

Stretch ‘Why Did You Do It?’

Bobby Gillespie mentions this track in his great ‘Tenement Kid’ autobiography. Originally released in 1975, it reminded me of dancing to it when Andrew Weatherall used to play it in the ‘90s.

Gigs

My daughter, Tex and I went to see Phoebe Bridgers at the Brixton Academy in July. We used to sing along to ‘Motion Sickness’ when Tex was 15 and when she saw the tickets go on sale she bought some for us. It was a wonderful, magical gig. Not just being there with Tex, but also hearing all those young voices sing along to every word, very special.

Books

I’ve read a fair bit this year, music books and modern fiction but the author I keep returning to is Patrick Hamilton (17 March 1904 – 23 September 1962). I find every word he writes to be perfect and timeless.

I’ve just finished ‘The Slaves of Solitude’ – he was apparently drinking four bottles of whiskey a day when he wrote it. It is brilliant.

Theatre

I adored ‘To Kill A Mocking Bird’ I saw it with Rafe Spalls as Atticus. I left the theatre still in tears. Had to pull myself together. (I am very emotional though.) Clever use of music and wonderful acting.

The Corn Is Green’ by Emlyn Williams (26 November 1905 – 25 September 1987) starring Nicola Walker based in rural North Wales. With singing by a Welsh choir, on stage as minors, sung low and full of atmosphere. Very emotional.

‘The 47th’ by Mike Bartlett (no relation) directed by Rupert Goold at the Old Vic. (I’ve seen Rupert Direct before, ‘ENRON‘ and ‘King Charles III, this was one of the reason I wanted to see this). The play opens on a golf course, with Donald Trump driving a real golf buggy. It was the storming of the Capitol building in 2021 that inspired Mike Bartlett to write ‘The 47th’.

TV

I’ve just finished ‘How To..with John Wilson’ – absolutely loved every minute.

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