Lists

List time again, for what it’s worth.

Albums
It looks like 2018 has been a very good year for albums, a format everyone keeps suggesting is dead or dying. Making a long list was very easy. There are albums that came out at the start of the year I’m enjoying, albums that have come out recently I’m still getting into and albums I haven’t heard yet which I feel sure I should have (Beak for one, The Orielles for another and Neneh Cherry for a third).

Floating around above my top ten are all of these albums and placing them in order seems very arbitrary. All of them have brightened up my year and all are worthy of a mention- Factory Floor ‘Soundtrack To A Film’; Mogwai ‘Kin’; The Orb ‘No Sounds Are Out Of Bounds’; Hollie Cook ‘Vessel of Love’; Gwenno ‘Le Kov’; J Mascis ‘Elastic Days’; Tracey Thorn ‘Record’; Echo Ladies ‘Pink Noise’;  The Advisory Circle ‘Ways Of Seeing’; Half Man Half Biscuit ‘No-one Cares About Your Creative Hub So Get Your Fucking Hedge Cut’. A week ago AMOR’s debut album Sinking Into A Miracle arrived. If it had come out sooner I think it would have made the dozen below.

I should also mention a pair of albums out this year but not of this year- Primal Scream’s Memphis Sessions, Tom Dowd’s recordings left unreleased for two decades, and Joe Strummer 001, a compilation of Joe’s solo years with enough newly uncovered material to make it feel like a treasure trove. Today is the sixteenth anniversary of his death and the world feels like a poorer place without him.

Previously unreleased, this is a Joe and Mick Jones song from 1986. Ten minutes inside Joe’s mind with some of Big Audio Dynamite accompanying.

Albums of 2018- a top twelve

Twelve
Gulp ‘All Good Wishes’
Ace kraut-folk from Wales, full of invention and melody.

Eleven
Rival Consoles ‘Persona’
Perfectly judged laptop electronic dance music that works just as well at home/in the car. Very rhythmic and abstract in places but never without tunes.

Ten
Finiflex ‘Suilven’
A 2018 return for the duo from Fini Tribe- an album named after a mountain, aimed at the head and the feet with multi-tracked vocals, synths and chugging electronic drums. Uplifting and fresh.

Nine
The Liminanas ‘Shadow People’
Ten songs from France’s best kept secret, ten versions of a psych-folk-Velvets-1960s for the modern world.

Eight
Chris Carter ‘Chemistry Lessons 1’
Twenty five short electronic pieces- dance music, ambient, reflective industrial tracks, littered with found voices and shot through with melody. Brilliant and warm.

Seven
Jon Hopkins ‘Singularity’
Starting and finishing with the same note, a sort of cosmic joke, and between the two some of the year’s wildest techno and electronic tracks (especially the ten minute journey of Everything Connected) plus some very beautiful minor key piano pieces.

Six
Mr Fingers ‘Cerebral Hemispheres’
This record has been a bit overlooked I feel, a double album by one of the men who invented house music. He spreads it around on this in a multitude of styles and the peaks are very peaky. Acid peaks Techno peaks, Dub techno peaks. All sorts of peaks.

Five 
Spiritualized ‘…And Nothing Hurt’
If this ends up being the last Spiritualized album then Jason has finished it in fine Spaceman style. Bleak in places but well worth committing too and an album that rewards with repeated plays.

Four
The Lucid Dream ‘Actualisation’
They blew me away at Gorilla in September- I was expecting them to be good after the single SX1000 early on in the year but not that good. The album then followed it up in spades, a perfectly 2018 cut-and-shut job combining acid house, psych-rock and dub.

Three
Gabe Gurnsey ‘Physical’
The sound of a night out, late 80s drum machines, synths and some impressionistic vocals parts. Funky and sexy, and drenched in the smells of clubs- cig butts, dry ice, perfume and sweat.

Two
Daniel Avery ‘Song For Alpha’
Minimal techno, buckets of reverb and some lovely ambient noise, designed to be listened to from start to finish, packaged beautifully and utterly absorbing.

One
Wooden Shjips ‘V’
In a year when most of my favourite and most played albums have been electronic and dance music based the album sitting at the top of my list is the fifth lp from San Francisco’s rocker Wooden Shjips, setting out on a trip through their record collections (psychedelia, stoner grooves, krautrock) but done with a lightness of touch and some real earworm melodies. Ripley’s guitar playing and his tone are as good as anyone since the turn of the century. Why do I like this so much? It makes me happy.

Singles/remixes/e.p.s

There have been so many great songs, singles, remixes and eps this year that I could easily extend the length of this list but 40 seems like enough (and although his name appears all over the place below I have actually left some Weatherall tracks out of this).  There are probably things I’ve forgotten too that I’ll kick myself about next week. In the meantime here’s a second list…

40. Johnny Marr ‘Hi Hello’
39. audiobooks. ‘Dance Your Life Away’ Andrew Weatherall remix
38. A Certain Ratio ft Barry Adamson ‘Dirty Boy’
37. The Liminanas ft Peter Hook ‘The Gift’
36. Timothy J. Fairplay ‘An Introduction To Consumer Electronics’ ep
35. Field Of Dreams ‘Nothing Is Perfect’ original and Andrew Weatherall remix
34. Aphex Twin ‘T69 Collapse’
33. The Twilight Sad ‘Videograms’ Andrew Weatherall remix
32. Steve Mason ‘Walking Away From Love’
31. The Long Now ‘Restoration’
30. Underworld and Iggy Pop ‘Teatime Dub Encounters’
29. Echo Ladies ‘Overrated’ Robin Guthrie version
28. Daniel Avery/Jon Hopkins remix 12″
27. Hardway Bros ‘The Laser’ ep
26. Tracey Thorn ‘Sister’ Andrew Weatherall remix and dub
25. Factory Floor ‘Heart Of Data’
24. Lost Cat ‘Postcode’
23. The Vryll Society ‘Light At The Edge Of The World’ Richard Norris Dub
22. Gabe Gurnsey ‘Eyes Over’/Eyes Over Extended Dub
21. Bob Mould ‘Sunshine Rock’
20. Noel Gallagher and His High Flying Birds ‘It’s A Beautiful World’ Andrew Weatherall remixes
19. Ride ‘Tomorrow’s Shore’ ep
18. Roisin Murphy ‘Plaything’
17. Rude Audio ‘Rude Redux’ ep
16. Daniel Avery ‘Slow Fade’ ep
15. Woodleigh Research Facility ‘Heilige Siedhr’
14. Marius Circus ‘I Feel Space’ 12″
13. Craig Bratley ‘99.9’ ep especially Take Me To Bedford Or Lose Me Forever
12. Daniel Avery ‘A Quick Eternity’ Four Tet Remix
11. Mogwai ‘We’re Not Done’

Ten
Circle Sky ‘If I Let Go’
Richard Norris and Martin Dubka slipped this single out, a totally beguiling song from the heart of a very human sounding machine.

Nine
Lana del Rey ‘Venice Bitch’
This took the top of my head off a couple of months ago- ten minutes of lullaby vocals about being ‘fresh out of fucks forever’, of being together and apart, some gorgeous atmospherics and a stunning guitar part.

Eight
The Lucid Dream ‘SX1000’
Roland synths banged all the way up, bassline from ’89- acid house reinvention from Carlisle.

Seven
Amy Douglas ‘Never Saw It Coming’/Crooked Man remix and dub
Straight out of New York and remixed and dubbed out of Sheffield, September’s moment of  late autumn sunshine Balearica.

Six
Gabe Gurnsey ‘Ultra Clear Sound’
A direct and sleek single ahead of the album back in May. A proper heads up moment.

Five
Andrew Weatherall ‘Making Friends With The Invader’
From a two track 12″ called Blue Bullet, a long exploration of dub and guitar that I cannot get bored of hearing. The other side is pretty smart too.

Four
The Confidence Man ‘Out The Window’ Andrew Weatherall remix
Weatherall’s had another excellent year as this list shows and this remix is up there with his recent best, a gorgeous gospel/rave/steel guitar tribute to staying out all night and coming home as the sun comes up.

Three
Death In Vegas ‘Honey’
Ten minutes of sleek, seductive techno from Richard Fearless and Sasha Grey. What 12 inches of vinyl was made for.

Two
Circle Sky ‘Ghost In the Machine’
I thought If I Let Go was good but this one worked its way into me a few weeks ago and refuses to leave. Futuristic and cool as fuck, deep and light and magical.

One
Roisin Murphy ‘All My Dreams’
Roisin has blazed a trail through 2018 with four 12″ singles recorded with Maurice Fulton, eight songs designed to work on the floor, covering a bewildering array of electronic styles. If there’s a better song out this year that this one, I haven’t heard it. Massive drums and bass, experimental dance music but still with a foot in pop and some great juddering shifting sections where the floor seems to give way beneath you. By way of explaining Roisin sings ‘ridiculously sexy, this is ridiculous’. Ridiculously good. For good measure she directed four videos too and this one looks like good club nights feel.

Bagging Area End Of Year Review

Nope, I’m not entirely sure what is going on in the pictured Bagging Area either.

Albums
2017 seems to have been a good year for music. Making a list of 15 favourite albums was easy, an average of more than one a month- and in the end I got to 18. I’m sure there are loads of good albums I haven’t heard too. These are the ones that pushed my buttons the most.

18 Monolife ‘Sandalphon’
17 Peter Perrett ‘How The West Was Won’
16 The Charlatans ‘Different Days’
15 Hannah Peel ‘Mary Casio: Journey To Cassiopeia’
14 Steve Cobby ‘Hemidemisemiquaver’
13 Timothy J. Fairplay ‘Where Is The Champion’
12 The Replacements ‘For Sale: Live At Maxwell’s’ (30 years old but first official release)
11 Ride ‘Weather Diaries’ (especially Cali, which soundtracked the end of August perfectly)
10 Slowdive ‘Slowdive’
Michael Head and The Red Elastic Band ‘Adios senor Pussycat’
Mogwai ‘Every Country’s Sun’ (especially Party In The Dark, a number one in another universe)
Bicep ‘Bicep’
The Jesus And Mary Chain ‘Damage And Joy’

The top 5 are interchangeable in terms of positions, each one could be my number one in its own way.

Moon Duo ‘Occult Architecture Vol 1’ and ‘Occult Architecture Vol 2’.
Released a couple of months apart as separate but linked records, the flip sides of each other, the light and the shade. Vol 2 is as light and up as anything they’ve done and is a treat but the dark side of the Vol 1 is often its equal. Motorik drumming, mellifluous guitar parts, analogue synths- psyche rock with electronics, blissed out and dreamy.

Andrew Weatherall ‘Qualia’
Over the last couple of years Weatherall has hit another purple patch, with releases all over the place- singles, remixes, albums, dubs… Qualia is an 8 track joy, synths and guitars over live drums and loops, buzzing and propulsive, determinedly European in sound and full of vim. And just when you think he might be  playing within himself, he throws in something like Soft Estates, a harking back to TLS’s minimal electro, or Vorfreude 2, with lounge backing vocals cooing over massive sounding drums and wiggly keyboard lines.

Jane Weaver ‘Modern Kosmology’
A hit of summer, psyche, folk, glam, kraut and pop all bound up in one ten song record.

Kelly Lee Owens ‘Kelly Lee Owens’
I bought this almost on a whim in Piccadilly Records at the start of the year (and it’s their album of the year). Kelly’s debut is a beautiful blend of woozy electronics, ambient textures with both pop and techno at its heart. The slow motion build of some of the songs contrasted perfectly with the rhythmic pulse of the others. Closing track 8, extended over nine and half minutes, is a trip into a dream world.

Singles/e.p.s/remixes 
Yes, there are quite a lot  of Andrew Weatherall records in this list. There are individual songs off all of the albums listed above that could make this list but for the sake of brevity I’ve kept it to stand alone releases. It starts with a summer holiday earworm courtesy of the daughter and the then latest NOw! compilation and ends with Aura by Bicep which, especially in its 12″ form, sums up everything that is great about electronic dance music.

35 Miley Cyrus ‘Malibu’

34 Gorillaz ‘Andromeda’
33 Paul Weller ‘Mother Ethiopia’
32 Lorde ‘Green Light’
31 Fort Beulah N.U. 3 one sided 12″ singles that I’m taking together- ‘1’, ‘2’ and ‘3’
30 Phil Kieran ‘No Life’ Roman Flugel remix
29 Trentemoller and Jenny Lee ‘Hands Up’
28 Confidence Man ‘Bubblegum’ Andrew Weatherall Remix
27 AMOR ‘Paradise’
26 Kid Wave ‘Everything Changes’
25 Doc Daneeka and Robert Owens ‘LUV UNLTD’
24 Calexico ‘Voices In The Field’
23 Konzel ‘Haptic Didactic’
22 Finiflex ‘Ta Ta Oo Ha’
21 Andrew Weatherall ‘Kaif’
20 Duncan Gray ft Sarah Rebecca ‘Erotica Nervosa’
19 Heart People ‘Voices’ Andrew Weatherall Remix
18 Nancy Noise ‘Kaia/Azizi’s Dance’ Remix e.p.
17 Phil Kieran ‘Find Love’ Andrew Weatherall Remix
16 Jagwar Ma ‘Give Me A Reason’ Remixes
15 Charlotte Gainsbourg ‘Deadly Valentine’
14 Andrew Weatherall ‘Kiyadub’ ep
13 Gulp ‘Morning Velvet Sky’ single/Richard Norris Remix
12 Justin Robertson ‘Numerical Discord Swap’
11 The Charlatans ‘Different Days’ Chris and Cosey Remix
10 Halina Rice ‘Drive’ single/Richard Norris Remix
9 Mark Lanegan Band ‘Beehive’ Andrew Weatheral Remix
8 The Early Years ‘Hall Of Mirrors’ Andrew Weatherall Mixes 1 and 2
7 Ride ‘Pulsar’
6 Bicep ‘Glue’
5 Alien Stadium ‘Livin’ In Elizabethan Times’ ep
4 Yello ‘Frautonium’ The Andrew Weatherall Remixes (4 of them but especially Warehouse)
3 Richard Fearless ‘Sweet Venus’
2 BP Fallon and David Holmes ‘Henry McCullough’ Andrew Weatherall Remix
1 Bicep ‘Aura’ 12″ Mix

Bagging Area End Of Year Review

I saw a thing on social media recently which said ‘nobody cares about your end of year review’. Possibly true. But it’s a blogging tradition and so here it is.

2016 has been a wretched year in so many ways but there’s been a real glut of good music from start to finish, from Bowie’s astonishing and difficult to listen to Blackstar (and death) in January through to the very recent album from A Tribe Called Quest (also marked by the death of one of its makers, Phife Dawg).

Albums Of The Year

All of these have spent time on the Bagging Area turntable and/or car stereo…

David Bowie ‘Blackstar’// Andrew Weatherall ‘Convenanza’// Dinosaur Jr ‘Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not’// Unloved ‘Guilt Of Love’//Aphex Twin ‘Cheetah’// A Tribe Called Quest‘We Got It From Here…’//Beyonce ‘Lemonade’//Tim Burgess and Peter Gordon ‘Same Language, Different Worlds’//Toy ‘Clear Shot’//Underworld ‘Barbara Barbara We Face A Shining Future’//Echolocation ‘Empire Blood And Bones’//Sordid Sound System ‘Lux Exterior’//Cavern Of Anti- Matter ‘Void Beats’// Steve Mason ‘Meet The Humans’//Frank Ocean ‘Blonde’// Baltic Fleet ‘The Dear One’//Pete Astor ‘Spilt Milk’//Cobby and Porky‘Cities Below Future Seas// and the much played round here swansong from Iggy Pop ‘Post Pop Depression’

As well as all of these the three that have given me the most repeated joy are…

Woodleigh Research Facility ‘The Phoenix Suburbs (And Other Stories)
Beyond the Wizards Sleeve ‘The Soft Bounce’
Factory Floor ’25 25′

But the most jawdropping album has been a compilation which included new recordings along with old, mixed together perfectly, making something new that was a meditation on life, love, loss and death, and that is David Holmes’ Late Night Tales. So that’s my album of the year.

As a sampler for those that haven’t heard it it opened with Barry Woolnough’s tribute to his wife who died of cancer, a 7″ single on Moine Dubh…

This is Sung Sung’s spooked out cover of 10cc’s I’m Not In Love (not a song I previously particularly liked but this is just wonderful)

And this was a one take vocal performance by BP Fallon to his friend Henry McCullough (a pair of Weatherall remixes are due next year).

E.P. Of The Year

Hardway Bros (Sean Johnston) released a four track e.p. in the early summer and I can’t think of three songs that have sounded any better on one piece of vinyl than Pleasure Cry, My PNO and especially Argonaut. The sound of my summer. Still doing it in December too.

Songs Of The Year

Drew’s songs of the year from last Saturday crosses over with mine in many ways- our 2016 Venn diagram has a big overlapping section. Here are 24 songs from 2016. No rankings, think of this list as a suggestion of the order in which these songs could be played…

Steve Cobby and Rich Arthurs ‘Bushfarmer’
Cobby and Mallinder ‘Tumblefish’
Primal Scream ‘100% Or Nothing Dub (Bobby Selassie And Primal Jah)
David Bowie ‘I Can’t Give Everything Away’
Wussy ‘Ceremony’
Pete Astor ‘Really Something’
Paprika Kinski ‘Kids Of Your Crime’
Iggy Pop ‘Gardenia’
The Hurt ‘Berlin’
Unloved ‘When A Woman Is Around’
The Liminanas ft Peter Hook ‘Garden Of Love’ (Lundi Mouille Mix)
Warpaint ‘New Song’
Woodleigh Research Facility ‘Taqiya’
Massive Attack ‘Ritual Spirit’
Andrew Weatherall ‘The Confidence Man’
The Xx ‘On Hold’
Beyonce ‘Hold Up’
Beyond the Wizards Sleeve ‘Diagram Girl’ (BTWS Re-Animation)
Craig Bratley ft Danielle Moore ‘Play The Game’ (Andrew Weatherall Remix)
Circle Sky ‘Reveal’
Daniel Avery ‘A Mechanical Sky’
Death In Vegas ‘You Disco I Freak’
Andrew Weatherall ‘Ghosts Again’ (Scott Fraser Ghosts In The Piano Mix)
Hardway Bros ‘Argonaut’

This Is My List

Here is my list, self indulgent as Drew says, but fun to do. I’ve enjoyed more new music during 2015 than any in recent years. These are the albums and songs/singles that have struck a chord with me and that have stuck with me since their release.

Albums

12. Mbongwana Star ‘From Kinshasa’
Traditional African forms coupled with electronics. Still startling.

11. Mick Jones ‘Ex Libris’
Vinyl only, six track instrumental.

10. MonoLife ‘Phrenology’
The skull from Hull with some cracking old school dance music.

9. The Orb ‘Moonbuilding 2703AD’
A return to form, four very long pieces full of ambient buzz.

8. Le Volume Courbe ‘I Wish Dee Dee Ramone Was Here With Me’
Contains two of my favourite songs of this year- The House and Rusty.

7. Steve Cobby ‘Everliving’
It could have been ‘Revolutions’ as well. Both a full of sumptuous electronic tunes and ideas.

6. Gwenno ‘Y Dyad Olaf’
Perfect psychedelic pop sung in Welsh (except for the one sung in Cornish).

5. Crocodiles ‘Boys’
Dirty, sexy, brash guitars from San Diego. If you haven’t heard Foolin’ Around, go and listen to it right now.

4. Moon Duo ‘Shadows Of The Sun’
Loads of uptempo two chord motorik psyche but with In A Cloud they had one of the year’s most beautiful, almost Balearic guitar moments.

3. Sexwitch ‘Sexwitch’.
Six covers recorded by Natasha Khan, Toy and Dan Carey. The intense stomp of the Middle Eastern songs take some beating and Natasha’s vocals are superbly focused while also slightly unhinged. Possessed and obsessive.

2. The Charlatans ‘Modern Nature’.
Recorded after the death of drummer Jon Brookes, a band back on form and determined to celebrate life with some of the best, soaring songs of the year- So Oh and Come Home Baby especially.

1. Jamie Xx ‘In Colour’
A history of dance music from house to grime, emotionally charged from start to finish, with moments of ecstasy, clarity and genuine beauty. I’m still playing it from start to finish.

Singles/Songs
The hand and influence of Mr Weatherall is all over this section. That’s just the way it’s been this year. Both lists show I’ve been veering far more towards dance/electronics this year. A top seventeen for no real reason.

17. Noel Gallagher ‘In The Heat Of The Moment’ Andrew Weatherall Remix
It came out last year online but was released on vinyl in April. Glorious remix.

16. Dubrobots ‘Forever’
This Cardiff based producer sent me two versions of this massively dub influenced song. Still rattling my ribcage.

15. Public Service Broadcasting ‘Gagarin’ Richard Norris Remix
The album did nothing for me but this remix, full of Spanish acoustic guitars, sent Yuri to Ibiza.

14. jennylee ‘Never’
Warpaint’s foxy bassist with an early 80s single that pushed the right buttons.

13. Gwenno ‘Chwyldro’ Andrew Weatherall Remix
Further, stranger, slower.

12. Unloved ‘Guilty Of Love’
David Holmes’ new project taking in 60s/70s filmscores with a girl group vibe. Also had two long dubby Weatherall remixes.

11.  Vox Low ‘Cast Upward Through the Waves, A Ruby Glow
Strange stuff from a French duo finding weird spaces between rock and dance.

10. Heretic ‘Pollux’ Andrew Weatherall Remix
I’m getting repetitive strain from typing those three words- this one took early New Order and merged it with some sparse electronics and a spooky vocal refrain.

9. Timothy J. Fairplay
Timothy J released several superb four track e.p.s this year, full of vintage synths- Songs Of Prison, Love And Columbium, No News From New York. Take your pick. Together they’d make a potential album of the year.

8. Paresse ‘Rosita’.
Super smooth stuff from Scandinavia. Wraps your ears up all warm.

7. Haunted Doorbell ‘Unconnected Thoughts On Jacking’
I’m cheating here- Fairplay again, this time with Matilda Tristam. Four outstanding instrumentals joining the various dots. The e.p. and title track gave us the song title of the year. Beautiful Sheffield is exactly as it sounds.

6. Patti Yang Group ‘I’m Ready’
Chris Rotter, Matty Skylab and Patti Yang with a thumping piece of hymnal house. Do you want a free download?

5. Jamie Xx ‘Loud Places’ John Talabot‘s Higher Dub
I posted this last week. It’s stunningly good, reworking an album highlight into something else with mesmerising, euphoric peaks.

4. C.A.R. ‘Glock’d’ Asphodells Remix
Super glam stomp, a massive wobbly bass, dirty guitars, French accented vocals; the sound of the future.

3. Sinkane x Peaking Lights ‘Mean Dub’
This ten minute dub version of Yacha was the sound of my summer. All four tracks on the reworked dub e.p. were top quality stuff but Yacha is something else entirely and from somewhere else entirely too. Fast dub.

2. Pearl’s Cab Ride ‘Sunrise’ (MonoLife Extended  Trip)
A Humberside funk and soul sixpiece taken on a long trip by MonoLife- trumpet, distorted vocal, two note bass, drifting but always moving forwards. Beautiful.

1. Mike Garry and Joe Duddell ‘St Anthony: An Ode to Anthony H Wilson
This came out in August, an emotional tribute to Mr Manchester set to Joe Duddell’s Your Silent Face inspired strings, full of Mike Garry’s poetic references to the city and its sounds. All proceeds go to The Christie so if you haven’t bought it yet, there’s another reason to do so. Almost inevitably, there’s a Weatherall remix on the other side (which isn’t too shabby either. In fact it’s very, very good). Still prone to move me after umpteen listens.

2014: A List

This is my list of the stuff I’ve enjoyed most this year. There is nothing objective about rating or comparing music, any Best Of… can only be subjective.

Albums
There are two compilations that have taken up some of my listening time in 2014- Kompackt’s ‘Total 14’, two discs of electronic tunes from the Cologne based label, with a high hit rate. The Time And Space Machine’s ‘The Way Out Sound From In’ was a compilation of Richard Norris remixes that worked like a proper album and sounds adventurous and open minded. I liked the Ellis Island Sound album- a bit world music, a bit Talking Heads and Brian Eno. The Amazing Snakeheads ‘Amphetamine Ballads’ is a menacing, swaggering rock ‘n’ roll record shot through with hard drink, quiffs and cigarettes. Hollie Cook put out her second album ‘Twice’, ace Prince Fatty reggae with Hollie’s gorgeous and intimate voice. My top five, at the time of writing, looks like this.

5. Aphex Twin ‘Syro’
It might not have broken new ground but as a set of electronic sounds it was as good as it was unexpected.

4. Neneh Cherry ‘Blank Project’
Raw, honest and stripped back. A proper album.

3. Pete Molinari ‘Theosophy’
Totally retro- good songs, well played and sung, a cut above.

2. Warpaint ‘Warpaint’
I started listening to this back in January and haven’t got bored of it yet. Dreamy, stretched out grooves with the songs hidden somewhere inside.

1. Jane Weaver ‘The Silver Globe’
A month ago I had only just heard of the Jane Weaver lp. It’s been on my turntable more or less ever since. David Holmes and Andy Votel produce. The synths are cosmic, the singing beautifully English, the arrangements fantastic.

Singles/EPs/Remixes/Internet Only Releases/Etc

I don’t know what has happened to guitar bands this year. Many of them sound very hackneyed to me. Or maybe my tastes have just narrowed recently. Most of the sounds that I’ve had on repeat since January have been from the dance music end of things. I loved the Death In Vegas ‘Gamma Ray’ 12″,  really intense and absorbing techno. Several remixes buttered my toast- Khidja’s trippy ‘Mustafa’ as remixed by Timothy J Fairplay and Richard Norris’ ‘Freaks’ re-done Hammer horror style by Ivan Smagghe. I bought Maurice and Charles’ ‘I, Carpenter’ on 12″ on a whim and it throbs darkly with Escape From New York samples. I posted an Andrew Weatherall remix top nine last Saturday- the Julian Cope One Three One band Dayglo Maradona ‘Rock Section’ Remix (only on white vinyl novelty fans) was the best. The Hardway Bros four track 12″ from last month (Sleaze) has been on heavy rotation recently.
My top five goes like this

5. Warpaint ‘Disco/Very’ The Time And Space Machine Remix
Rolling, sexy, trippy dance rock.

4. Junior Fairplay ‘Sugar Puss’
Let’s party like it’s 1992. Breakbeats and Korgs. On one sided purple vinyl.

3. Tim Burgess ‘Oh Men’ Peaking Lights Remix
Stunning, driving, electronic reinterpretation of Tim’s country song.

2. Friendly Fires and The Asphodells ‘Before Your Eyes’
A two track chilled, cosmiche collaboration from the St Albans threepiece and Weatherall/Fairplay. This one came in a lovely thick sleeve and on orange vinyl and the A-side especially is superb.

1. Frank Ocean, Diplo, Mick Jones and Paul Simonon ‘Hero’

The Frank Ocean, Diplo, 50% of The Clash collaboration came out on the internet as a tie-in with Converse. It is a sort of hip-hop, doo wop, punky soundclash that sounds joyously great, while Frank sings about the experience of being a black man in modern America. The only thing wrong with it is at two minutes and forty six seconds it is over too quickly.

Bagging Area End Of Year List

This is my list, based on what has been played the most this year in the Bagging Area bunker, that was released this year. Judging by many of the names it looks like it could have been put together in 1991 and probably won’t have too many surprises for those that read this blog regularly. I really don’t seem to have stuck with new stuff by new artists this year. Two of my most played pieces of vinyl in 2013 have been Kolch’s Der Alte and Glass Candy’s Warm In The Winter, but both came out last year. I have gone for a dozen records (albums, singles, eps, ‘internet teasers’), plus a book.

Thirteen. Morrissey ‘Autobiography’
As Davy said, his best work for ages. Too much on the court case but the first half is superb. Far better than it could have been and full of music. And people he’s fallen out with.

Twelve. David Bowie ‘The Next Day’
But especially Where Are We Now, just as it was so unexpected. And so good.

Eleven. Two re-issues (cheating I know but it’s my list)- The Clash ‘Sound System’ and Bob Dylan ‘Another Self Portrait’.
Once you strip away the lovely ephemera and trinkets from The Clash box set you are left with the best re-mastering job I’ve heard. And the Dylan thing was a brand new look at some previously unreleased or unloved songs, beautifully played and sung.

Ten. Peter Gordon and Factory Floor ‘Beachcombing’.
Fifteen minutes of sound waves, rippling synths and Balearic loveliness.

Nine. Steve Mason ‘Monkey Minds In The Devil’s Time’. If only because in Come To Me and Fight Them Back Steve Mason released two of the year’s most affecting, emotion-laden songs, but in two very different ways.

Eight. Johnny Marr ‘Upstarts’.
A glorious upbeat guitar pop single from Mr Marr. The rest of the lp’s pretty good too.

Seven. Primal Scream ‘More Light’.
The more I lived with it, the better it got. Their best lp in a decade and though sprawling and heavy, it’s got depth, soul and invention, and they sound like they care again. Well done to David Holmes for the production job. It’s Alright It’s OK- the festival song it’s OK to love.

Six. Warpaint ‘Love Is To Die’.
New album in January. This is the best kind of advance warning- slinky, groovy dance rock from four girls who know exactly what they’re doing.

Five. Jeremy Deller ‘English Magic’ ep,
I love this- Voodoo Ray remixed by JD Twitch and Optimo. Steel drums, house piano, oh ooh ooh oh oh a ha yeah.

Four. A bagful of Andrew Weatherall remixes.
Emeliana Torrini’s Speed Of Dark, Jagwar Ma’s Come Save Me and Baris K’s 200. Spaced out dance pop, with dub basslines, indie -dance, eastern dance house. Taken together almost thirty minutes of far out bliss. But most of all the stupendous remix of Moby and Wayne Coyne’s Another Perfect Life. Still not out on vinyl. Why? Write to your MP now, start a petition, call the Omsbudsman. It’s a disgrace.

Three. Daniel Avery ‘Drone Logic’
Electronic music, techno and ambient and acid and all the rest, aimed the dance floor and the headspace. The last few songs are close to perfection, the first few will make you move your feet.

Two. my bloody valentine ‘mbv’.
What still gets me about this record is the sound- the way that some things sound dead close and some sound dead far away and how much thought has gone into this. How no one else sounds anything like mbv do. new you is beautiful. And wonder 2 is the sound of a helicopter taking off at a drum and bass night,  twenty years ago and today, simultaneously. Don’t know why he’s abandoned capital letters but with this record he can do what he likes.

One. The Asphodells ‘Ruled By Passion, Destroyed By Lust’.
Simply my most played album of the year- twelve tracks mixing up dub, early 80s punk-funk, John Betjeman, and acid house. Easy to lose yourself in, full of invention and the joy of repetitive music, I played it nonstop at the start of the year and I’ve been coming back to it ever since. Lovely packaging with the vinyl. As a companion piece the remix album was a beauty as well. It’s about time Weatherall and Fairplay took it out on the road.

Beglammered (Justin Robertson’s Deadstock 33s remix)

Bagging Area End Of Year Review #3

List time.
I did think about not doing a list but couldn’t help myself, partly because when I sat down and started to make a list I realised that I’ve listened to a reasonable amount of new music this year, surprising myself somewhat. At blogs where more than one person contributes or yer proper music magazines there always seems to be an attempt to get some balance into their end of year lists- here at Bagging Area there’s just me so there’s not so much balance, just a list of 40 songs, singles and albums that have had repeated plays through my record player/cd player in the kitchen/car stereo/mp3 player between January 1st 2012 and yesterday. I couldn’t get my head around ranking them so they’re in alphabetical order, rather than any attempt to say which is the best.

Andrew Weatherall- Masterpiece (compilation)
Cat Power- Cherokee (album track)
Chuck Prophet- Play That Song Again (album track)
Clock Opera- Once And For All Andrew Weatherall Remix
Daniel Avery- Movement Andrew Weatherall Remix
Daniel Avery- Fabric Live 66 (compilation)
Dexys- One Day I’m Going To Soar (album)
Django Django- Django Django (album)
Hollie Cook and Prince Fatty- The Dub Goes On (album)
Hooded Fang- Tosta Mista (album)
Jack White- Love Interrruption (single)
JD McPherson- Signs And Signifiers (album)
Jimmy Cliff- Guns Of Brixton (ep track)
Johnny Marr- The Messenger (album pre-release)
Le Carousel- Lose Your Love Andrew Weatherall Remix
Lightships- Electric Cables (album)
Madness- Death Of A Rude Boy Andrew Weatherall Remix
Mark Lanegan- Ode To Sad Disco (album track)
Orbital- Wonky (album)
Paul Weller- That Dangerous Age (single)
Public Image Ltd- This Is PiL (album, well most of it)
Public Service Broadcasting- Everest (single)
Public Service Broadcasting- Everest The Centaurs Remix
Public Service Broadcasting- The War Room (mini-album)
Savages- Husbands (single)
Scott Fraser- A Life Of Silence/A Life Of Silence Timothy J Fairplay Remix (12″)
Slighter- Our Own End (single)
Tim Burgess- Oh No I Love You (album)
Toy- Dead And Gone (album track)
Toy- Dead And Gone Andrew Weatherall Remix
The Horrors- Moving Further Away Andrew Weatherall Remix
The Kills- Pale Blue Eyes (ep B-side)
The Orb and Lee Perry- Presents The Orbsetter (album)
Timothy J Fairplay- The Final Reel/The Final Reel Andrew Weatherall Remix (12″)
Tindersticks- The Something Rain (album)
Underworld- Rez High Contrast Remix
Various- Isles Of Wonder London 2012 Opening Ceremony (compilation)
Various- On The Road (Original Soundtrack)
Various- Treasure Hunting (compilation)
Viv Albertine- The Vermillion Border (album)
Wooden Shjips- Crossings Andrew Weatherall Remix (ep)

All of which shows that about 25% of my list for this year were by this man (I did think about having a separate Lord Sabre list but decided against segregation)

And a fair few others there were connected to him. So here’s your song, released on thick vinyl back in January this year-

Wooden Shjips Crossings Andrew Weatherall Remix

Cavernous dub production, clattering drums, filthy bass riff, reverb heavy vocals, trippy disco noises, long enough to lose yourself in; from a man having a third (at least, maybe fourth) purple patch.

As a bonus, this is how to cover a Velvet Underground song you’ve heard covered any number of times before and make it exciting again- the guitars in this recording are why people still pick up a stupid piece of wood with six strings on it and try to make it sound good.

The Kills Pale Blue Eyes

This time last year we’d bought our tickets for The Stone Roses at Heaton Park, probably half expecting they wouldn’t make it even that far. What I really didn’t expect was that on a Wednesday evening in May I’d be standing in Warrington’s Parr Hall in a crowd of only a thousand waiting to see them at a free gig- and the outpouring of emotion from both band and audience that night, and the songs, will live long in my memory. This clip shows them playing Benicassim in July.

Still not sure about Ian’s choice of tracksuit tops. It’s worth noting also that they have maintained a total media blackout- not a single interview that I’m aware of. Shane Meadows’ film of the whole thing is scheduled for release next year. Part of me is half expecting them to release a new song or single without any warning on Christmas Day or something. Whether you like them or not, approve of their re-union or not, they’ve managed to pull off some complete surprises and more power to them.