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’

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Away Again

A quick turn around and I’m off again, with the family this time, down to the Dordogne in South West France for the next couple of weeks, stopping off in the Loire for three nights on the way back. It’s looking good.

I’ll leave you with a couple of songs to speed us on our way and to keep you happy. Rikki Turner’s new band The Hurt released a cracking song a few months back, the moody and epic Berlin. The new one is a cover of Nico’s One More Chance and is a stately throb.

The new Hardway Bros ep Pleasure Cry is one of my records of the year thus far. This song, Argonaut, was written specifically by Sean Johnston to be played on the boat at Croatia’s Electric Elephant Festival. It starts off like Weatherall’s mix of Come Together and then heads off into the sunset putting its arms around you and doing a little dance.

And just so’s there’s some screaming guitars and drawled vocals here’s J Mascis and The Fog covering Teenage Fanclub’s Everything Flows with Mike Watt on bass. It then diverts into Pavement’s Range Life and The Ruts’ In A Rut. Is it any good? Of course it is. It is seven minutes of good.

Pleasure Cry

I’ve given the vintage photographs thing a rest recently- become a bit of a cliche innit? But this Jacques Henri Lartigue picture from about a century ago of a woman sunbathing and rewinding the gramophone is pretty special.

Sean Johnston’s Hardway Bros return with a four track 12″ of proper dance music, the sort that should be heard in the dark backroom of airless nightclubs or outdoors somewhere as the sun goes down/comes up. The ep’s title track is this song, vocals by Sarah Rebecca, is a sultry groover with a dirty bassline and takes that old house music plus sex vocal thing and sends it out of your speakers and into your ears/loins. Cymbals tap away, kick drum thumps, ‘my legs are like butterflies…this is my pleasure cry’.

Chase The Bush

Oooh, this is a dancefloor stomper with the chug in full effect from Sean Johnston’s Hardway Bros. Some of squiggles are messing my central nervous system up a little. Turn the lights off, get someone to flick the lamp on and off really fast.

React

Do you want a record for your party? This is the one I’m recommending today, a massive dance record made in a giant rave machine and released into the world last month. Split Secs featuring Alona remixed to perfection by Sean Johnston’s Hardway Bros.

Lovin’ Arms

I just discovered this. Out Cold are the side project of Cherry Ghost’s Simon Aldred. This belting Hardway Bros remix from 2013 has a thumping kick drum to go with the soulful vocal and sounds like the sort of record you end up dancing to in a car park in the dim light of morning when there’s nowhere else to go but you don’t want to go home. Obviously as a forty five year old I don’t do this kind of thing anymore.

A Wednesday In June

It’s Wednesday. It’s June. Here’s a brace of marvelous chuggy, post-acid house groovers that seem to come from the darkest corners of small back rooms filled with dry ice and sweat, a pair of dancefloor tracks from two artists well familiar to this blog. First up Edit Service 58, a re-working of something or other by Hardway Bros. Spaced sequencers, intense, a ride to the sun, free download.

Second is Dim The Lights, a filthy, bleepy, beat heavy affair from Richard Norris, pushing all the settings all the way up.