In a year where I spent more time than ever making and releasing my own music, I still found time to hear a whole bunch of new (and new to me) music. Here’s my favourite 11 albums from the last 12 months – give ’em a listen, and buy the ones you like.
Divinity Roxx – ImPossible
I heard this album in its unfinished state back in January in LA. I’d heard a couple of the songs as they were being written (and played improvised versions of them on a gig with Divi in 2015) but was still knocked out by just how great this album is. It’s an extraordinary statement, a labour of love, and the sound of someone throwing their everything into a project, and it working. I love everything about this.
Together, As One – Dinosaur
Laura Jurd’s latest band – I love her trumpet playing on everything I’ve heard her on. This takes something of the vibe of 70s Miles and takes it on a beautiful journey. This benefits from extended repeat listening. I can’t imagine ever getting tired of this album.
Feel – Hope And Social
New Hope & Social albums are interesting, because listening to old Hope & Social albums is so heavily associated with memories of seeing them live. They are, after all, my favourite live band in the world. This album stands on its own two feet and I can’t wait to hear all these songs live. Everything they do is wonderful.
Wyatt At The Coyote Palace – Kristin Hersh
Also a contender for favourite gig of the year, this is Kristin’s new album that was released as a book with accompanying CDs, rather than a regular music release, but I’ve just found that it’s also on Bandcamp. It is, as expected from Kristin, an amazing collection of songs – she plays everything and never shies away from allowing the music and lyrics to be unsettling where necessary. A rich, rewarding journey that I’m going to be revisiting a LOT throughout 2017.
Midnight Hallelujah – Jonatha Brooke
New Jonatha records usually take me a few listens to get into, cos she doesn’t stand still, and I have such a huge love for her earlier albums. This took a few spins to properly love, but now I adore it. Amazing songwriting, a properly deep probing lyrical journey, and some amazing arrangements.
Living In The Past – Jazz Chronicles
Properly beautiful hip-hop/nu soul/funky organic electronica project from one of my favourite producers in the world.
Kin – KT Tunstall
Another one that took a while to get properly into – KT reintroducing the fun rocking element of her earlier records, following the more downbeat sound of much of the last record. Loving it.
The Violent Sleep Of Reason – Meshuggah
Meshuggah do what they do and do it better than anyone. This record has more swagger and sway to it than some of their earlier records, and is all the better for it.
Dissociation – Dillinger Escape Plan
The swansong from an amazing band – as dizzying and disturbing as you’d expect, and (if you can imagine it) perhaps even more diverse than previous albums. Amazing.
Eden – Ivy Sole
A surprise recommendation from a friend who works at Bandcamp – soulful hip hop that I’ve played a LOT this year.
Fellow Creatures – Jasper Høiby
Jasper took a little time out from Phronesis this year for other projects – this fabulous quintet record, with Laura Jurd on trumpet and Mark Lockheart on sax is full of interestingness and beauty.by