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Saturday Deluxe / 21 December 2019

Do you have time for ‘new’ music?


Soon it will be Christmas and as the year end approaches everyone starts to consider what their ‘albums of the year’ are.

I can tell you that over the festive period I will be publishing various SDE posts summarising some 2019 highlights, but I have to admit that when it comes to new albums, this year has been a bit of a struggle for me. I see people publishing lists of their ‘top 25’ new albums of 2019 and in true sitcom fashion end up spluttering into my SDE cup of tea. I’m struggling to recall 10 new albums I really liked.

Why? Well, I’m now in my fifties (13 days in, to be precise), have a busy family life (two teenage daughters), a demanding job (you know the one…) and can hardly find the time to listen to life-changing albums I’ve loved for decades, never mind checking out something brand new. And of course you have to factor in all the new box sets and deluxe editions that have come out – that it’s my job to digest. There are ‘previously unreleased demos’ to be listened to, 5.1 mixes to be ‘immersed’ in and so on.

SDE is primarily about reissues, so professionally it’s not exactly crucial that I stay abreast of new stuff, but I do like to try and keep my hand in and I would acknowledge that LOVING some new album, or discovering a fantastic new artist generates a buzz that is hard to beat. But with a shortage of valuable free time to properly listen to music, are you going to try to ‘get into’ the last Cranberries record or put on Innervisions? I’ve heard good things about that Cranberries album, by the way, but the reality is that it’s WAY down my list of priorities.

It’s rather like going to the cinema. If you only manage to get out with your other half once every couple of months, do you take a risk with the acclaimed but ‘challenging’ subtitled European drama or do just go and see the new Star Wars?* (*delete as appropriate and insert similar ‘franchise’ movie here).

Life changes. When I was young (late teens, and all of my twenties) music was everything. Yes, I was into The Beatles, getting into Neil Young etc. but there was so much more focus on the new, the current. In 1993 I was 23 years old and listening a lot to NEW albums like Blur’s Modern Life Is Rubbish, Crowded House’s Together Alone, Terence Trent D’Arby’s Symphony Or Damn, The The’s Dusk, INXS’s Welcome To Wherever You Are, Jellyfish’s Spilt Milk, The Auteurs New Wave, Duran Duran’s ‘Wedding Album’, Sting’s Ten Summoner’s Tales, Suede’s debut, David Bowie’s Black Tie White Noise (and The Buddha of Suburbia), Tears For FearsElemental, Manic Street PreachersGold Against The Soul, U2’s Zooropa, Bjork’s Debut, Paul Weller’s Wildwood, Sheryl Crow’s Tuesday Night Music Club, a-ha’s Memorial Beach and Nirvana’s In Utero. That’s some list and many of those records stayed with me for a lifetime. In terms of reissues, I remember enjoying The Police’s Message in a Box, and Prince’s The Hits/The B-Sides, but let’s be honest, the industry was almost 30 years younger than it is now and there simply wasn’t as much focus on the past.

Without wanting to sound like an old fart (failed, I know…), it’s impossible for me to imagine 2019 was full of such quality and variety. And even if it was, with virtually no music coverage on TV in the UK how do you find out about it? In theory, it’s never been easier. I had to physically BUY all those albums, spending £12.99 or more for a CD (I wasn’t earning much, so that was a big deal), but in 2019 you just open up Spotify (or another streaming service) and off you go. If I look at ‘new releases’ in Spotify today I find the following artists being ‘promoted’ at the very top: Stormzy, Popcaan, KAYTRANADA, Ms Banks, Sody, Camilia Cabello, Celeste, Bugzy Malone, Geko, French Montana, Jack Vallier etc. Okay, I know Stormzy, but in general my reaction is WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?

They are presumably connecting with millennials and generating massive amounts of streams via social media, youtube etc. I feel old. Nearly 30 years ago there was room for new and established acts in the mainstream pop charts. Suede, Blur, The Auteurs, Nirvana, Sheryl Crow were rubbing shoulders with Sting, U2, Duran Duran, INXS and Tears For Fears. ‘Old’ acts were still innovating, with U2 and INXS arguably producing some of the best records of their career between 1991 and 1993. It wasn’t a one-or-the-other scenario.

Last week, I read that a song called ‘Dance Monkey’ by an artist called ‘Tones and I’ had been at the top of the UK chart for 11 weeks!! The first female artist to spend more than 10 weeks at number one (Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ was at the top for 10 weeks). I had no awareness of what the UK number one single was, and had no idea that this one track had enjoyed a record breaking run. I HAVEN’T EVEN HEARD THE SONG, which maybe tells you everything you need to know. In the ‘old days’ massive chart runs (think Bryan Adams, Wet Wet Wet) were high in the public consciousness. People were talking about it. You’d moan in the post office queue or at the ‘water cooler’ at work about being sick of ‘that song’. The event became general knowledge, and a fact written on a future Trivial Pursuit question card. EVERYONE knew that ‘Love Is All Around’ was one week short of matching the 16-week run of ‘(Everything I Do) I Do It For You’. If you didn’t know, then hang your head in shame. Turns out ‘Tones and I’ is an Australian artist called Toni Watson. This is her second single and no one had heard of her 12 months ago. Sigh.

I’m not a complete old fogey. In 2016 I was really enjoying new music from Swedish musician singer and songwriter Skott. Her first few singles were amazing: ‘Porcelain’, ‘Amelia’, ‘Glitter & Gloss’ and ‘Lack of Emotion’. I’ve seen her live a few times. Nearly four years later and we’re still waiting for the first album and I’m starting to lose a bit of interest, to be honest. She was signed to Chess Club records in the UK, and even released a few seven-inch singles early on, but now seems in a rut of collaborations and constantly ‘dropping’ new songs. So even when – against the odds – you do find and engage with a new up-and-coming artist with apparent real talent – they still don’t deliver what you want. A 10-track CD or vinyl record that you can play.


SDE’s favourite new albums of 2019 list will be published in the coming week.

SuperDeluxeEdition.com helps fans around the world discover physical music and discuss releases. To keep the site free, SDE participates in various affiliate programs, including Amazon and earns from qualifying purchases.

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Wayne Olsen

Paul, it is the sixth day of Christmas, so it’s not too late to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2020. Thanks for all the great stuff you do!

Branny

In a word, no. Even though music is more accessible than it’s ever been it doesn’t seem as important to the younger generation as it was to me in my teens. There’s no TOTP or The Chart Show on a Saturday morning. Those shows along with the top 40 rundown were my main sources of discovering new music and from around 1979 to the late 80s the majority of my purchases were 7″ or 12″ singles which were played to death on a £50 1.5w per channel record player from Argos. I bought very albums at that point due to cost and my attention span rarely holding out long enough to get through an lp.

When I started working i bought myself a Jvc ghetto blaster and started buying cds. In the mid 90s I bought myself a Pioneer separates system which cost me circa £1500 and have continued upgrading over the years.

My buying habits have changed too. My purchases of new music have been in decline since the start of the century and I now mainly buy stuff from the 70s and 80s that I missed first time around along with box sets of my favourites which with remastering and a decent system are taken to a whole new level compared to when i was a teen.

Time is another constraint too. I have a 12 yr daughter who has a fair few extra curricular activities so family time takes up a lot of spare time. When you finally get around to that album you bought a couple of months ago you then realise that it was actually a couple of years ago when you bought it, not months.

I’ve never stopped buying cds and have accumulated a decent sized collection and it does contain a hell of a lot that i have never got around to listening to. Retirement is only 7 years off so my plan is one day per week solely dedicated to a musical catch up. In the future that may or may not comprise of new music. Who knows?

David

While busy living life, I noticed I was now in my mid-60s. As a kid, my parents listened to Mel Tormé, Tommy Dorsey’s Orchestra, Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, and a “new” artist they both discovered, Johnny Mathis. Then Elvis and The Beatles came along. OMG my mom was horrified how awful, loud, rude, disrespectful these “acts” were. Suddenly my music all sounded like “yeah, yeah, yeah” to them. My sister and I were forbidden to listen to that “crap” in their presence.
Fast forward to 2020, and music discovery has gotten more complex. We now have so many more artists, genres of popular music that cannot possibly get exposure on just one radio station, TV talent show, late-night appearance, night club, music service, or stream. We must seek out other avenues like live performances, social media, YouTube, Amazon or other web site’s samples and other internet resources, numerous public radio programs, as well as our friends, family, and coworkers. To paraphrase Peter dB, I have always maintained a “toe in today’s music; a foot in the past” to not become musically clueless like many of my friends who are stuck in the past. So, it’s no surprise that one commenter hadn’t heard Boyz II Men’s “End Of The Road” which was the top song of 1992; #1 for a record-breaking 13 weeks (when it bumped off Presley’s “Hound Dog”/”Heartbreak Hotel” for that long-held honor), or “I’ll Make Love to You” in 1994 which spent 14 weeks at #1 on Billboard. These were played all over top 40, R&B, and AC radio back in the day. If one lives in a vacuum or doesn’t exert the effort to expose yourself to current music, and tolerate tunes you don’t particularly like, you won’t discover anything new.
For those who believe music industry charts will just “go away”, you’re fooling yourself. Charts are the barometers to measure the success of current songs and albums being “worked” by the music industry. Without these sales and promotional tools that reflect airplay and sales, industry tastemakers will have no guide as to public consumption and taste. Realize that each industry chart is compiled by radio, video, club, and streaming airplay by different key reporters with record sales and streams often factored in using some complex algorithm in many cases (like Billboard, which has changed several times since its inception). This is just a sample that may not reflect your channel or station; it also doesn’t include TV appearances, radio & TV commercials – where publishers whore out your favorite songs to sell products, as well as PA systems at public venues that might accidentally expose one to new music.
Enter today’s newest performing sensation: Toni Watson, known professionally as Tones and I, a 19-year-old Australian busker who was discovered a year ago. Her hit “Dance Monkey” has reached #1 in over 30 countries; spent 21 weeks at #1 in her home country; a record run at #1 in the UK; and even hit #9 in the US. The song reminds me of an annoying ditty like “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep” that will become an ear worm once you’re exposed to its diabolical plot to control your consciousness. Perhaps it will just be another one-hit wonder – like recent smashes like “Baby Shark”, “Gangnam Style”, or “Harlem Shake”. I can only imagine how Elvis assaulted my parents’ ears, as they were musically narrow minded.
Let’s face it: most of the albums mentioned in these comments won’t ever appear on the numerous charts as they appeal to narrow tastes, are unlikely to get airplay, or are obscure because of lack of promotion & exposure by their respective labels. That doesn’t mean you won’t like them. It will take your effort to discover them.
To quote Mick Jagger from Mother’s Little Helper, “what a drag it is getting old”. He outta know.

TheMisnomers

Great article! I even spent the time to read the whole thing. There is certainly a different era of music in our midst but I feel like it’s akin to the 50s when singles were king and producers ruled the hit parade. It’s all cyclical I suppose.

Danny

Yes I also have time for new music. Here are 5 albums i loved this year.

1. All Mirrors by Angel Olsen
2. Quiet Signs by Jessica Pratt
3. The Curse by The Spyrals
4. A State Of Flow by Ishmael Ensemble
5. Cross Record by Cross Record.

Also I would recommend the brilliant https://aquariumdrunkard.com/ website for keeping up to date with new and old music alike

Its my second go to website – after SuperDeluxe of course!

(oh and my own little tumblr tries its best too… https://woodencup.tumblr.com/ )

Timmy the Dog

A very interesting post with some great responses. I unfortunately also find myself “Time poor” so when I do have the time to play an album, that’s a whole album for the album experience, I am more lightly to play something I love from the past that I just haven’t had time to play. When I read this post for the 1st time a few days ago I had “Heroes” by Bowie on & it still blows my mind. It made me think about what I have actually bought this year that is new? The only person who impressed me was Sharon Von Etten so I bought her album “Remind me tomorrow” & I loved it & it’s one of my most played albums of the year. I have the new Nick Cave album but have not have the time to give it the hopeful respect it deserves. This made me realise that I’m just not interested in new music because so much of what I’ve heard has just been shite. Music has to find me. I’m not going to actively go looking but instead I will go back in time & buy a CD of something I’ve previously missed. I’ve not long bought “House of the Holy” by Led Zep & “ Paul’s Boutique” by the Beastie Boys. I can appreciate that I’m a Gentleman of a certain age now & maybe this post does make me sound like an old fart but Hey ho, I’m happy with my choices. I can appreciate the noise around Billie Eilish, yes it’s different & good on her for being successful but I don’t like it. But, I’d rather that than what a recent look at the album chart revealed, dripping wet farts & Christmas Turkeys. Happy New Year everyone & keep up the great work Paul.

Fred

No new artist for me since 6 or 7 years. (Lindemann if considered as new artist) .. I’m gay, 43, no children,a collection of 4000 cds… I have no time for new music and i’m not interested by new artist… I prefer discovered old music that i don’t know… I listening 3 or 4 albums per day because I don’t watch TV… Vive les reissues….

michal

As a foreigner living in London I can only say: yes, British music scene is not cool any more. Probably there are more interesting acts in Poland now than there are in UK. I reckon the 90s were fantastic but then, from the 2000s everything started to implode. Obviously it correlates with every government that has been in power since. New Labour and Tories destroyed your country on so many levels but the damage is most tangible for the youth. If you live in a city when average house costs 0,7 million pounds, the rent for studio is like 1200£, your student debts = 40K you don’t think about having a year off (to perhaps embark on something new and subversive) or simply being a creative person for some time, you just have to start earning money at the earliest opportunity. By voting conservatives this year it is you – the boomers (aka useful idiots) – who made it even worse. That neo-liberal roller will keep on ravaging conditions for all of these new and potentially exciting musicians, painters, film directors that could emerge in a future. And you are moaning the music scene is dead in UK. It is dead, so is your capital – totally gentrified and less and less exciting with each passing year.

* Obviously occasionally a miracle can happen, like this year with Michal Kiwanuka’s mind-blowing new LP.

Chris Weeks (@popintherealworld)

It’s interesting, my experience is the polar opposite of yours. There’s so much new music out there I want to try I don’t have time for classic albums. Just trawling the end of year lists and reviews has lined up for me so many records to try including Crumb, Drab Majesty, Geowulf, Levitation Room, Orville Peck, Porridge Radio, Rose City Band, The Japanese House and many more. I have no idea if they’re good or not. Some will be a disappointment, most will be well worth a listen and a couple may become lasting favourites. None of it will chart; most will not be heard on mainstream radio. Finding the jewels though – that’s still a big part of the pleasure intake from music. (And I should say, I’m 58!)

Alan Mitchell

Born in 71, laid in 85, long hair rocker by 90. I can honestly say i rarely, if ever, listen to the music i was growing up with. The odd bit of Maiden if the wife’s out, 80s hits if she’s in the mood, Prince every now and then. Chris Rock’s theory doesn’t always hold up.

No, for me, my collection is primarily made up of music from the sixties, seventies and tens. Lots of funk, soul, rock and folk. War through to Father John Misty, Lindesfarn through to Jon Hopkins, Sergio Mendes through to Yuna. Keep on trying to broaden my mind with real music both old and new. Keep on getting called a music snob. I’m cool with that ;)

Loads of comments here with most people I’d say trying to push themselves but up against the barriers of age and new ways of discovering and listening. For the young they can now focus on the genres they like and explore them to a far greater degree than we ever could. It comes at the cost of variety i guess and makes the old system kind of collapse. For the majority of us older folks I’d argue we find ourselves left out of the loop. I’m also cool with that. I’m never gonna live long enough to hear all the music i should have let alone should be. We’re all very lucky i guess in that respect.

Anyway, Merry Christmas Paul and to you all and it’s only 365 days until Christmas!

(i also had a birthday this year),
Al

Jim

Hi Paul, only a few years younger than you and I also adored those albums from that awesome early 90’s period. What a great era! I also find it increasingly difficult in this modern age to discover new albums/artists when there’s limited time left (in life!) to enjoy the classic albums you already love. As for 2019 though, two Australian artists I highly recommend are Thelma Plum and Sampa The Great. Sara Bareilles was another favourite, Brittany Howard, The Specials, Cage the Elephant, and Weezer. the Harry Styles record is also great pop. Merry Xmas!

Charlie Cooper

I don’t know. I’ve been happily playing the Tones and I song since September. I love it, much better than the Whitney Houston song. And I’ll be 40 years in 4 months. And no, I didn’t know that Love is all around was about to beat Bryan, and I certainly won’t hang my head in shame because of it (but I trust you were joking there). And that comes from someone who was a huge Bryan fan back then. Does it matter it’s her second single and no one knew her 12 months ago? No, not to me. Sigh (don’t think you were joking there).
I think it is normal to look back at the music you listened to as a teen and think nothing will ever come close. I do that too. But at the same time as buying the latest Pink Floyd/Bowie/Beatles reissue (trust me, I have them all), I try to pick up new music. Less than I used to, and often with a more muted emotional response the I would have had as a teen. But I think that also comes from the fact that, as you mentioned, buying a cd took some saving as a teen, while now money is less of an issue.
Yes, I stream. But only music I’m not sure I’ll like and that I’ll buy when I do like, or music I already own in a physical format. Much to my wife’s dismay, and my kids’ amusement, I have a vinyl/cd collection that runs to a couple thousand items. And that gets added to weekly. So I can sympathize with some of your sentiment but definitely not all.

gregtk

51 year old guy with wife 2 teenagers and the crazy schedules that involves.

1. Get out to see live music – no excuses!
2. Support the artists you discover and like.
3. Do not for one second entertain the notion of ‘the good old days’.

Paul

I completely agree. There are so many great new acts appearing all the time, it makes for a lot of excitement and variation.

If I was being incredibly petty I’d argue that there are too many solo singers and not enough bands, but that says more about me than the scene. That probably explains why I like WH Lung and not Katy B.

New music is still as exciting as i remember it used to be – and as much as i enjoy 5CD box sets of albums from the 80s or 90s, an album from a new band and an accompanying tour where tickets cost just £10 or so (rather than the £75+ “enjoyed” by some artists) makes new music a massive pull for me.

I usually drag my wife along to see many of these new acts, and she enjoys them as much, sometimes more, as I do. That’s the power of great music.

Poptones

It’s a great discussion with lots of interesting comments.

I replied late saturday night to the poster who was inquiring about The The and didn’t see it published. No big deal but if you can find it and publish it, that would be cool.

Btw kudos to the one who mentioned Swans album “Leaving Meaning”. It’s indeed a good album. Michael Gira and the Swans are one of my favorite bands ever. Their previous album “The Glowing Man” is probably the album I listened the most the past 3 years.

Merry Christmas !

Mike the Fish

Happy Christmas, Paul.

Klaus

Thanks for all your work and the insight on your thoughts and Merry Christmas to you and your family too, Paul.

Just started listening to some of the suggestions that fellow readers made in this thread and can so far say that “Tones And I” is decent pop music like there always has been in the past 65 years but certainly nothing world- or even mindchanging and the 6-track-EP i found on Napster has some better songs than the current No.1 hit. I especially like the track “Johnny Run Away”.
After that i checked out “Songs About People Like Myself” by The Bad Dreamers which certainly does a good job in sounding like it was made in the 80s but the question stayed with me why i should listen to that and not right away to Nik Kershaw, Howard Jones and whoever else they might be influenced by.

Will check out some more suggestions in the upcoming week and then maybe post again with my thoughts on what i listened to.

Billy Dojcak

Only 2019 new music I hear is what my 13 year old daughter plays. When she realizes I’m listening she shuts the door or turns it off til I leave. I was never that bad, my door was always shut.
She probably doesn’t know I’ve always listened. Probably since I was born.
I love to hear something new. Shazam is always on when I go out. Sadly, I usually can’t get past whatever single is playing, but maybe it’s always been like that.
I used to buy loads of singles, but it took something extra to buy the album. Hopefully the album would would be great as well? By the time of my late teens there were several hundred singles in my collection 7″&12″, but maybe 50 albums.
I didn’t buy any 2019 albums for myself. Far more box sets than normal, thanks Paul. So I’m spending a lot of time listening to remastered ancient history that sounds so much better. Many complain about the new version sounding different, but pop in your original 1986 cd pressing and you’ll be thankful you are in the future present.

Btw, have a happy whatever you celebrate!

SimonH

Apart from all the hideous brick-walled remasters. New isn’t always better! Many original CDs are absolutely fine, you just need to turn them up:)

Bob McCartney

I still anxiously await new music from my favorite bands and actively seek out new music.
Love the new Jenny Lewis and Belle and Sebastian.
Thanks to this site, I have fallen head over hills in love with The Cardigans – Long Gone Before Daylight.
I don’t buy like I used to, but the local library is my new best friend.
In the car a lot and walk for exercise so lot’s of chances to dig into new or new to me music.
Thanks for the required reading, awesome site, Paul.
Happy Holidays to All!

hedley

I’m 65 now and current musical taste has passed me by. I have bought Bruce and Mould and Beck and Hawley but my 2019 looks like wallowing in the past as I have become more and more SDEcentric

In May I did wander over to Meadowbrook in Rochester to see The 1975 play. A band full of energy generating excitement for their youthful audience and giving me the sense of joy I once felt when I saw The Faces and the Who and heck that date night for Emmylou Harris and the Hot Band.

There was a world of difference being a bank clerk and spending every last available pound on a new release, hiding Country Life on the train because of its naughty cover or dropping at B&O stylus down on London Calling for the first time and realizing what they had done

Right, this old fellow in Detroit wishes you and your readers a very Happy Christmas and a celebration of your faiths and beliefs

Lee Lewell

You have two teenage daughters, talk to them about Music! stop wallowing in the past. There is and always has been, good and bad music so mix it up a bit…
it’s easy now with streaming so make use of it

Mad Earwig

I am equally happy discovering something new or wallowing in the feel good vibes of something you know and love…

This year is quite mixed ; I have enjoyed new albums by Bob Mould, Pelican, Hawkwind, Rammstein, Goo Goo Dolls, Lloyd Cole and two lovely live albums by Radio Massacre International.
The re-issued REM Monster set was better than expected, enjoyed the Stone Temple Pilots reissue of ‘Purple’ and the Beatles stuff was cool but unsure I will play it often.

Played at hi-fi shows around the world are Tedeschi Trucks Band and their new album is very, very good, equally, I found the latest Joe Bonamassa albums too samey (great guitarist, needs a singer)

I discovered another Led Zeppelin bootleg called ‘Cabala’ which I am loving that along with new ‘Live Trax’ series Dave Matthews live albums which I find I leave on and enjoy from front to back.

I was disappointed in the Neil Young album the new one from Cold, and both albums from Guided By Voices (who I normally love) the Who album is okay.
Sadly for me, no new music from Buckethead (gws) or Steve Vai.

I think 2020 will be interesting, a confirmed new Pat Metheny album and rumours of Jimmy releasing some ‘official’ Zeppelin live shows.

They say its the deepest of all art forms and I think I concur.

CAB

I recently came across Tedeschi Trucks Band doing one of the Tiny Desk gigs on YouTube.
Really enjoyed it. She’s got an absolutely fantastic voice and the band are superb.

Jan

Interesting piece Paul.
Having a 13 year old and Radio 1 in the car keeps me vaguely close to the charts. I can confirm there are some great pop songs about. Probably a stronger case for the likes of the NOW series to exist, so we can buy these tracks in a physical form.
Keep on keeping on.

Alan Mitchell

That Scottish comedian was talking to whoever was hosting the Radio 1 chart show at the time and was saying how great it must be to present the nation with the greatest and most popular songs each week in a tradition that had been going on for decades.

He then said… “Of course the only way that job could get any better was if anybody actually gave a ****.”

It made the audience laugh and I’m sure she probably wanted to despite looking uncomfortable ;)

Larry Davis

Interesting topic Paul…I used to follow the charts religiously up until a year or two ago…now they are absolutely disgusting…very very few current chart acts are my cup of tea…4 being Billie Eilish, Lizzo, Taylor Swift & Camila Cabello (I call her the American Cheryl, she came out of the US X-Factor girlgroup Fifth Harmony)…I don’t listen to radio except Sirius XM, can’t stand what’s mostly popular, HATE mainstream music mostly, espesh mainstream country, electronic, R& B, hip-hop…it’s either a big blur or dull & boring…I find out about GOOD new music by magazines like Rolling Stone & UK mags like Q, Uncut, Mojo & Classic Pop…and I keep up with new releases on sites like Pause & Play…also I go to concerts and the opening acts are usually good & I use their slots for discovery purposes…I also use other year end lists to discover an overlooked album or one that passed me by…part of the problem is digital only releases, where if you don’t see it in a store or can’t hold it in your hands, it’s not a physical item, and it’s almost like it doesn’t exist in the first place…I have a decent amount of 2019 titles in my collection, so going over it all for 2019 copyright dates and making my yearly lists…about to start doing it…oh one last thing, I go on the Outlaw Country Cruise (not regular country, but Alternative Country/Americana, more like country punk rock & roll) and I discover killer cool new music on there…next one leaves like in 5 weeks after Christmas…so excited!!

Mathew Lauren

I forgot to mention (as far as new-ish surround-sound), I “found” the band, RIVERSIDE in 2019.

“Love, Fear and the Time Machine” RE in 2016 as a:
Cd/dvd-a (5.1 @24/44.1). I got it this summer for ~$15

and the successor album:

“Wasteland” RE in 2019 (just received for ~$21.99) as a: 2 Cd/1 audio DVD-V (DD 5.1, only). Note: it’s really a quad point one mix.

Both come as digipaks.

I enjoy the music, but note: these aren’t SW, ES or AP-style surround-mixes, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah to ALL!

Ryk

Just listening to Dance Monkey and am surprised at the similarity to Gin Wigmore (who has been around for some time, is from NZ, and is great!), although Tones and I are bit more high pitched

SimonP

Some 2019 albums I bought and liked (and some of which have already been mentioned by other readers with impeccable taste :-D )

Karen O & Danger Mouse – Lux Prima
Mixhael Kiwanuka – KIWANUKA
Joseph Arthur – Come Back World
David Gray – Gold in a Brass Age
Jeff Tweedy – Warmer
Ezra Collective – You Can’t Steal My Joy
Teskey Brothers – Run Home Slow
Big Thief – UFOF (2 albums in 2019 but this is the better of them)
Black Keys – Let’s Rock
Bruce Springsteen – Western Stars (both versions)
Bruce Soord – All This Will Be Yours
Rival Sons – Feral Roots

Honourable mention to the Raconteurs. Their 2019 album was a rather patchy but had some good tracks on it.

The Thorn

I’m with you, Paul. I don’t know where these artists are and how they can rule the charts yet apparently get no exposure through regular channels.

Mind you, most of those channels aren’t what they once were: music stores are far and few between, music mags are gone and music video stations don’t play videos.

So where are these new artists getting their airplay, then?

I have no idea.

I’m a music collector, who has been at it for over 25 years – it’s not like I’m a casual listener. I explore all the time, go deep into the artists I discover and love, …etc.

But I’m as baffled by the new music scene as you are.

You’re not alone.

Post scriptum: As a side-note, not to diminish the value of your upcoming list, but, I always wondered why anyone would bother to try to compile a “best of” list for any given year.

Who has possibly heard every single album released that year anyway? Inevitably, that list is questionable, as the author may have missed some key ones along the way and may have to constantly update the list for the rest of their days.

I prefer to simply put together a list of the best albums I’ve heard that year. Heck, if I’ve only heard Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumors’ now, then it makes the cut. Doing it this way stacks the greats of ALL eras against one another, anyway. I prefer it.

Paul

A great idea. I discovered Nick Drake’s Five Leaves Left earlier this year, thanks to a recommendation from a work colleague.

Rumours is a fabulous album. Almost perfect. I’m probably up to around 6 different copies of it now.

Norman Reid

Thanks very much for all your valued info this year, Paul, and a Merry Christmas to you too. Like you, I am also in my fifties and new music doesn’t really hit the spot, not like it used to anyway. Except……. Weyes Blood – Titanic Rising, that’s, for me, as good a new album I’ve heard in years, and I’m a rocker at heart. Her voice is really special, I think.

Fogarrach

First album, Beatles live at the Hollywood bowl
First singles, Kate wuthering heights and blondie Dennis.(50peach in HMV Renfield st Glasgow.
Was vinyl person, am now cd person.

Loved/love the beach boys pet sounds box. It was an early one yet I’m Not sure it’s been bettered. With a special mention to the early two cd version of tusk.

In recent boxes, reviewed here, I Don’t like the way live and studio stuff is mixed up, for me it’s two different evenings. Cynic might think it padding.

Fave Christmas song, cliff Richard little town.
Tatsuro yamashita, Christmas Eve is nice.

Boxes to buy. Superdeluxeeditions to hope for…..
It has to be Talk Talk

Kevin from Edinburgh

Well, at Xmas time, where you stand on this is probably reflected in the Xmas music you listen to/enjoy. I still really enjoy – and hear, everywhere, it seems – the Xmas songs from the 50s to the 80s. Memorable Xmas music made since 2000? That’s quite difficult.

But then everything changes, and not always for the better. I do like the line in GM’s ‘December Song’ (which I suspect is a 2st century recording…..) about how Xmas is a time when you ‘can believe in peace on earth’, and ‘watch tv all day’. As someone who is around George’s age, I know exactly what he means by the tv reference, and just how special it was to come downstairs at 9.00 am, turn the tv on, and be able to watch something. Priceless memories, indeed. Today, the tv is on all day long, and I’ve a choice of dozens of channels . Is it better? No,
I don’t think it is, in many respects. The 24/7 nature of TV, like the availability of everything musical via streaming, appears to promise everything, but ultimately – for me, at least – delivers much less. Let me watch Johnny Weissmuller in a decades-old, b & w movie, and ask for Architecture and Morality on lp for Xmas, and I’ll be very happy. Allow me everything, when
I want it, and it loses much of its meaning.

Happy Christmas everyone.

K

RJS

An interesting article. I’d never heard of Tones and I either until a couple of weeks ago. I don’t think the charts will be around much longer. In the days of “trending” and playlists on steaming sites, the charts seem irrelevant. I still seek out “new” music but it almost exclusively from the past. The best thing I’ve heard all year is an Azerbaijani vocal jazz album from 1978. Of the very few releases from this year that I’ve heard, I’d recommend Kit Sebastian’s rather lovely debut album.

Francois

New music is all over the place, new sounds are much more difficult to find or to like. I think I and most of the people who are reading this site have listen to so much music, most of which were new sounds at the time, that it takes a lot to “surprise” let alone interest us.
There are good “not so old” bands but they, for most the most part, sound like what someone has done before. Maybe not much better, but that someone what the first to do it, so they will be those we will want to listen to more than the latest “inspired by” band.
The French streaming service I have subscribed to tells me that my top listens this year are “Lotus” by Soen, “Slow Motion Death Sequence” by Manes, “Fear Inoculum” by Tool, “Wasteland” by Riverside, “Live at the royal Albert Hall” by Steven Wilson, “All one tonight disc 2” by Marillion, and finally.. “Communique” by Dire Straits.
That is a lot of new music, by a bunch of not new artists, but trying to listen to “stuff” by “new bands” is ofter tedious and boring.
As for the charts, they are made for teen ager, we are not the target for the people who manage these singers/bands, and nobody tries to hide that. But that is exactly the same as it was when I was 14 and listening to George Michael while my parents asked me what this crap was.
After reading through what you wrote Paul, I took a self made test and checked how many songs from the top 10 (most streamed songs and artists in 2019 on the streaming platform I use) I knew. It turns out I knew 9 out of a 100, none of which I could bear Listening more than 20 seconds. All “urban music” without music and a lot of stupid lyrics barely understandable sung the s’exact same way by some guy or girl whose voice is so tuned they all sound alike. But my 10 year old knows nearly all of them..
As long as I find enough music for the 3 to 4 hours a day I’m with music, all like of all it, it doesn’t matter if it is 6 months or 60 years old. I enjoy it, and if that means as I am an old fart, let it be..

Gary

Personally, I’ve found that as I get older(I’m 57) I’ve found that I’ve become musically more introverted. To quote Huey Lewis, I know what I like. Hopefully, today’s youth have the same enthusiasm for music that I had from the 70s onwards. Unfortunately my enthusiasm has dwindled as years have progressed, not for the music of my youth which is still wonderful, but for newer music that to my ‘experienced’ ears carries a similar impact. In the absence of such, the deluxe box set fills a void that hasn’t been enjoyed since hearing some releases first time round. You could call it nostalgia but I think music brings with it a very personal attachment that you never quite shake off. The box set with its associated demos, alternate mixes etc is, to varying degrees, a great thing. Certainly there is an amount of ‘ripping off’, it’s the nature of retail but at the end of the day you pay your money as you wish. Enjoy the music, enjoy the ownership if you don’t play them, thanks to SDE for all the updates, the gems of info, the near misses, all the times my wallet simply couldn’t cope (despite my salivating) and lets hope 2020 produces some gems that will inspire as some of my favourites do!

John D

Great blog article again Paul – this site had become my go to place over the last 12 months.
I was a hardcore Prince fan until his passing in 2016 – his output of music/bootlegs and live concert consumed me and kept me busy – but since his passing I’ve really found love of other music again. As well as dipping back – Hendrix/Kate Bush/the Police box sets etc, and with the advice of this site Stephen Duffy and the Lilac Time, I’ve also found some great present albums and artists, courtesy of BBC6 and various music mags. At 54 it’s great just to enjoy and love music, whatever era style it maybe. Have a great Christmas Paul and everyone, and here’s to a superdeluxe2020!

cosmo castanza

It is a very different world to the one I grew up in.
In my imagination , the internet and mass of music television channels should have made so much more music and new artists in particular available without having to tunnel to the centre of the earth to find it.

But this is not the case.
Why for example is there not a music channel that is akin to the Old Grey Whistle Test expanded to 24/7 showcasing live acts hour after hour after hour.

If you flick around the music channels , firstly you hit more adverts than songs , and then it is the same 200 songs over and over again , and they are mostly awful.

But the young people don’t appear bothered My adult children do not buy music as they do not buy newspapers . They do however look at their phones constantly for another 30 second hit of the puerile garbage the internet hooks them to ……and my children work in IT , Education and Physics .
Oh well rant over , now where is my cd of 2112 :)

Not That Joe Walsh

As someone of similar age with similar tastes in music, here’s where my head is at: I like the list of music you listened to in the 90’s, half of which I picked up and enjoyed back then as well. The other half is unfamiliar and I will look into now! That will be my “new music”!

Scott

Back around 2012 I fell into a new artist renaissance. I discovered there was an underground New Wave revival, which was triggered when I saw a band called The Chevin blast out a brilliant song on Letterman called ‘Champion’. I immediately thought of early Simple Minds and U2, and I had chills.

I started investigating other artists either suggested by iTunes or YouTube and found a good amount to love; Austra, Wild Nothing, The Good Natured, Future Islands, The Mary Onettes, Kindest Lines, Blouse, Trust, Kitten, Foreign Resort, White Lies, Terror Bird, Two Door Cinema Club, Wolf Parade, I Am In Love, School Of Seven Bels, DIIV, Vuvuvultures, City Calm Down, Villa Nah.

It seemed like a gorgeous time of beautiful melodies, catchy hooks, color and character was back in, and I still love some of the songs and albums I discovered then as much as some of my favorite timeless New Wave classics. Problem was, it wasn’t to last for various reasons. First, back in my early teens I was exposed to all the UK oddness via MTV when they had no other videos to play in between Rod Stewart and Pat Benatar. Each day was a new discovery until around 1985. But with this new wave of New Wave, it required research and sampling. There wasn’t a TV station to turn on in the background that would give you sound and vision of these new and exciting bands, and it would have to continuously be a job to seek out these sounds.

But not too untypical of the New Wave era, follow up albums by some of these newcomers were often a let down. In their effort to “grow”, some of them disowned their original sound (Blouse, Two Door Cinema Club, Kitten), failed to find commercial success and were dumped by their label (The Good Natured), became more generic and/or adult contemporary (Future Islands, Wild Nothing, DIIV, Austra), or just broke up (Vuvuvultures, and maybe some others). But I’m grateful to have had that fleeting period of new music excitement. I just don’t see it happening again.

chazfromtoronto

Hi Paul,
Firstly let me tell ya that I have never enjoyed an article as much as yours, as yet on SDE.
Yeah, so I’m a granpa as well but we have something what the young folkies lack today; a serious knowledge of the original music that has evolved into today’s music.
which brings me to the title of your article: Do you have time for ‘new’ music?
No (with a !)
Why is that?
Because generally most of todays music is a (sad) repetition of the music i too grew up with, and as such i would rather listen (again and again) to the original recordings by those pioneers, among my fav all-timers being:
The Beatles – Abbey Road (bought the vinyl in 1969 followed by the 8-Trk and cassette and later succumbed to the many many remastered issues both on CD and vinyl and finally a month ago i purchased the 5.1 mixes on Bluray! And I’m still lovin’ it!)
Jimi Hendrix – “Live” On The Killin’ Floor
Deep Purple – Machine Head
Santana – Abraxas
Dr Hook – Bankrupt
Amazing Rhythm Aces ‎-Stacked Deck
Melanie ‎– The Good Book
Joe Cocker ‎– Mad Dogs & Englishmen
Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice ‎– Jesus Christ Superstar – A Rock Opera
Bob Dylan – Desire (for the sheer brilliance of additional musicians Scarlet Rivera and EmmyLou Harris)
Steppenwolf ‎– Slow Flux (for John Kay’s brilliant political messages)
Queen ‎– A Night At The Opera
Pink Floyd – The Wall
The Eagles – Hotel California
all the above being my desert island discs if you will. And it must be further noted that all the above are recordings which can be played in its entirety, without having to take the needle of the groove.
With the 5.1 technology made available for some classic recordings, i also obtained Machine Head, Abraxas and A Night At The Opera, of which the latter is simply asounding in 5.1!

Of course the 80’s brought us some amazing recordings from the likes of New Order, Tears For Fears, Blondie, Duran Duran etc etc which cannot be ignored but that’s for another day.
As far as todays music goes, certainly there are some musicians even today who are original in their recordings. As for me, since the early 90s, two bands come to mind: Pearl Jam and Nirvana.
I certainly hope to read more of your articles in the near future.
Merry Christams and Happy Hanukkah!

Seikotsi

Just a few years younger than Paul here. The only ‘new’ artist that I’m really into is Charlie XCX. Others I can listen to but I don’t really feel compelled to do so (e.g. Algiers and Kendrick Lamar) but Charlie XCX cannot do anything wrong for me. I like her voice, her music, her use of auto tune which I fail to appreciate in any other artist, and her semi-awkward look and persona. The Play2 ‘mixtape’ is one of the best albums of this century for me. And I do listen to new music by old artists too (toto, Mike and the mechanics, depeche
Mode, etc)

Ken

Like most middle-aged music fans I too am struggling to find any value in the commercial music the youngsters seem to enjoy.In the 60’s,70’s,80’s and 90’s the top 40 singles chart seemed culturally relevant and diverse,yet the equivalent in 2019 just seems to be fill of irrelevance and be totally unrelateable to my age-group.Also odd how old songs seem to appear in this modern singles chart at Christmastime,yet never at any othertime.The top40 singles chart and the diverse music business’s output seems to have parted company i.e the music that never dents this chart seems to posses all the variety and musicality older folk like me find interesting,while the music that fills this chart is utterly dull and unmemorable to my age-group.There seems to be two totally separate music industries.One for the over-40’s and one for the under 20’s.And they do not seem to overlap in anyway.

wahmbeck

Hi,
here are the points from Germany :-)

1. Bruce Springsteen – Western Stars
2. Bear’s Dan – So That You Might Here Me
3. Deichkind – Wer Sagt Denn Das (german rap/electro group)
4. Michael Kiwanuka – KIWANUKA
5. Coldplay – Everyday Life
6. Kummer -Kiox (german rap/rock musician)
7. Two Door Cinema Club – False Alarm
8. Tyler, the Creator – IGOR
9. Billie Ilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go.
X. Black Keys – “Let’s Rock”

…and a Special mention to this two superb boxes
> Pink Floyd – the Later Years
> Prince – 1999 Super Deluxe Edition

Kevin Tanswell

Fascinating discussion.. for what it’s worth I am 63 and have been buying vinyl since 1963 (The Beatles – I Want To Hold Your Hand 7″ being my first purchase). I still get out to as many gigs as I can, always a thrill to discover an exciting new band in a small intimate venue.. though I was very much into the prog / psychedelia of the late 60’s / early 70’s (Welsh acid-rock band Man being a perennial favourite), my life was changed through seeing the Clash on the White Riot tour in 1977, still the best gig I’ve ever experienced and hugely influential in informing my musical sensibilities to this day. I still firmly believe the thrill of experiencing a new young band with fire in their bellies beats all else when it comes to live music.

Probably at odds with many of the posts here, but I think 2019 has been a golden year for new bands…. I haven’t heard a much better debut album in my lifetime than Fontaines DC’s ‘Dogrel’. The Murder Capital’s ‘When I Have Fears’, though clearly in thrall to Joy Division and their ilk, is another fully formed debut. There is a wealth of new talent coming through… Black Country New Road, Squid, and Dry Cleaning being just three bands worthy of investigation.

Other 2019 notables for me would include Kate Tempest, Angel Olsen, Heather Woods Broderick, The Comet Is Coming, Julia Jacklin, Richard Dawson, Michael Kiwanuka, Fat White Family…there’s plenty of good new music to embrace out there.

Then travel further afield to explore a booming Australian music scene… King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, and Courtney Barnett clearly being prime examples… but honourable mentions to the likes of the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, Tropical F*ck Storm, Jen Cloher, Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Grace Cummings, Amyl & The Sniffers too.

I was a an ardent fan of NME in its heyday, discovered so much new music thanks to that publication’s tips.. nowadays I’m more likely to discover new music through independent record-shop recommendations.

I still treasure my old vinyl, 60’s through to the 2000’s, always a joy to fire up a classic like ‘Hot Rats’ or ‘Marquee Moon’, but I maintain there’s still much to love about new music today. A new album that bridges the generational divide and wouldn’t be out of place in the psychedelic 1970’s has just crossed my radar.. on Oh See’s frontman John Dwyer’s Castle Face record label (a recommendation in itself), may I wrap up by proposing you give this LP a listen… ‘Nightmare Forever’ by Nolan Potter’s Nightmare Band. My Christmas gift to you all!

hamicle

Great post! There’s always plenty of decent new music out there, by old and new artists, to discover. Charts, Radio 1, etc, are not the be-all and end-all.

Chris Bashuan

Hi Richard,

You have said it all. Most of the records you mention have found their way into my collection. I’m nearly 50 and have been buying music since 12. I think this decade might be the best so far, if you scratch the surface. No point talking about the pop charts because that’s just click bait nonsense for advertising revenue alone. But if you listen to R6 (I guess you might) there’s no end of beautifully written and produced music.
Geowolf, Oh Sees, Floating Points, Aldous Harding and Richard Dawson. All albums I bagged last weekend, everyone stunning.
If you have not caught Dwyer live yet, do it. Possibly the most exciting gig I’ve been to for a long while. Quite a staggering unit.
Happy new listening year to you.

DaveM

I am 55 and quite simply listening to R6 (which I thought was aimed at the stuff I like including new) on occasion, I find really hard work. There seems to be too many genres pushed that I cannot stand and certain DJs like the olden days who prefer hearing themselves rather than the music.
But this year has seen some remarkable albums that I thought in advance wouldn’t be that great. Infact they are so good I have failed to decide which is best and couldn’t put a Rizla between them. They are:
Leonard Cohen – Thanks for the Dance
The Flaming Lips – The Kings Head
Neil Young – Colorado
The Who – WHO
Mercury Rev – Delta Suite Revisited
Michael Kiwanuka- KIWANUKA

Stuart Wright

Agree that daytime R6 is near unlistenable – however Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone (Sunday eves) and Freak Zone Playlist (Very late Sat) have a huge range of discoverable music rather like John Peel in the old days.
Otherwise best source of new music is the good old Spotify Release radar and, going strong for more than a decade now, the annual Rough Trade Counter Culture compilation CDs which always have a lot of very good new underground and indie stuff.
My favourite new band of recent years has been the Canadian indie /jangly/pop band Alvvays – they actually do catchy songs with great hooks and smart lyrics (remember those?).
Happy Xmas.

Rashers

Interesting to know how many of us are out there – 50-ish grew up in the 80s, miss the great pleasure of digging for new music.
2019 was a good year for new music (2018 was horrible), and some old reliable artists released great records. I have included my list below. However – if every record from the last 10 years vanished, and I bought a lot of them, it wouldn’t be any great loss to fans from the 50s to the 2000s.
Records of the year:
Lana Del Rey – Norman Fucking Rockwell
Weyes Blood – Titanic Rising
David Crosby – Here If You Listen
Jesca Hoop – Stonechild
Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka
Fontaines DC – Dogrel
Angel Olson – All Mirrors
Richard Dawson – 2020
Leonard Cohen – Thanks for the Dance
Sturgill Simpson – Sound & Fury
Foals – Everything not Saved will be Lost – Part 1
Tool – Inoculum
The Murder Capital – When I Have Fears
Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow
Iron and Wine & Calexico – Years to Burn
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen
Bruce Springsteen – Western Stars
Pernice Brothers – Spread the Feeling
New Pornographers – In the Morse Code of Brake Lights
Steve Mason – About the Light
The National – I am easy to find
The Comet is Coming – Trust is the Lifeforce of The Deep Mystery
SEED Ensemble – Driftglass
Black Midi – Schlagenheim
Elbow – Giants of All Sizes
Jenny Lewis – On the Line
Branford Marsalis Quartet ‎– The Secret Between The Shadow And The Soul

Enrico G.

This year I bought:
– 2 CD+DVD/BR by Porcupine Tree;
– Sgt. Pepper’s SDE;
– Steven Wilson’s Home Invasion BR;
– 2 Bob Marley’s live albums;
– Saxon’s The Eagle Has Landed 40;
– It’s Alive 40th Anniversary boxset.
All the new music I listen to everyday on Virgin Radio is not worth buying it, IMHO.

Mathew Lauren

Spot on, Paul!

…though I have no INSERT for the cinema, these days.

My $.02, as far as new MUSICAL acts, though:

GRETA VAN FLEET

They are the only musicians who currently, consistently hold my interest — wonder if they’d be interested in a 5.1 RE campaign?

Stephen Scott

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Nowadays my annual top 10 list is made up of the only 10 CD’s I’ve bought from that year. Sometimes I don’t make it to ten and I buy on average 250 CD’s a year.

Alan Mitchell

I don’t follow the charts. I’m 48 and it’s not aimed at me. Pop music and youth are like peas and carrots. Not saying i don’t mind the odd song i may hear. Dance music i no longer enjoy either. I gave up house and techno toward the end of my twenties (club culture for me was a big thing but certain elements became a problem). I was left in a musical void.

But then i discovered 6music and Mojo and several years ago fell in love with LPs and found the money to start getting into hifi (Naim fan). Also the Green Man Festival has cemented itself as my little slice of heaven. For the artists I’ve found myself reading about and drawn to it’s perfect.

My allowance each month is split between old vinyl and new (and interest free payments for new hifi gear!). My modest collection is made up mainly of old, as for £50 you can walk away with a few, whereas £50 on new will get you two. Occasionally I’ll opt for a new cd as they’re so much cheaper.

But 2019’s new music? Checking my discogs list… Warmduscher, Squid, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Black Country New Road, Olafur Arnalds, Sharon van Etten, A Winged Victory for the Sullen, TVAM, Floating Points, Santigold, Sleaford Mods, Mega Bog and The Comet is Coming. I also bought the Howard Jones one. Thought i best add an artist that people have probably heard of :)

So none of those artists are going to appeal to the majority of radio 1 listeners and none are ever gonna show up on a radio 2 playlist either. But they are all real musicians, playing real music (okay, so not the Sleafords) with a passion. The new wave of British jazz is made up of young musicians who have grown up with grime and the like and that now finds its way into their music and attitude and hopefully inspires others to reach and strive.

At 48 I’d like to be watching Top of the Pops with my grandkids and either grinding my teeth or tapping my toe but those days have passed. Hopefully though my love of music will catch their interest at some point and one of them will start to dig through my collection. Fingers crossed they fall in love at some point with Sign o the Times, Rumours, Abbey Road and The Kick Inside or artists like Field Music, Courtney Barnet, Parquet Courts or White Denim.

Anyway I’ve run out of steam now and the dog needs feeding so best i get up.

Merry Christmas my musical friends and a peaceful New Year. Al.

Neil Parnell

Paul…its tough i know,,,im the same age as you:.::i run a label so its part of my job to know whats new and exciting out there…one recommendation i would say though from 2019 as a fan of dep mode/tears for fears etc..:These New Puritans LP inside The Rose…sounds looks like a modern update of both

Auteur55

Inside the Rose is my album of the year. I adore it. They don’t seem to be part of the cool club though and are routinely ignored now by the press and end of year lists and they are one of the few artist pushing music into new places.

Also the ever reliable Tindersticks put out yet another great record this year.

Neil Parnell

it did make quite a few end of year lists i saw…they are doing a special show at the barbican…i can’t wait…i can see them going down a similar route to talk talk…every record getting more and minimal

Brendan

One of the benefits of being an unrepentant college radio guy, now in the back half of my 50th year, I have not paid attention to what was in the charts since 1988 or thereabouts. Among the new music that caught my money this year:

1) Skee Mask, Iss004 (EP)
2) Ex Hex, It’s Real (LP)
3) Charli XCX, Charli (LP)
4) Peggy Gou, Starry Night (EP)
5) Vampire Weekend, Father of the Bride (LP)
6) Hemlock Ernst, Back At The House (LP)
7) Gary Clark, Jr., This Land (LP)

And a few more. There is good new music to be found, but you do have to hunt for it. And you have to, for the most part, ignore the charts.

Gareth Jones

I make myself a “top tracks” compulation every year that fits onto a CD. I usually have a shortlist of 3-4 hours and have to whittle it down to 79mins. I guess l’m an exception. Much as l love this website, l spend far more time checking out new music than reissues.

I do a monthly show on the John Peel-inspired online station Dandelion Radio and we’re basically encouraged to play as much new music as possible. I’ve yet to find a month where it’s been a struggle to find enough good new tracks to fill my 2 hour show. Granted, a lot of it unsigned artists on bandcamp who might make slightly “difficult” music rather than commercial chart artists.

But if you don’t have the time or interest to wade through all the zillions on bandcamp artists, then the Friday 30-track ‘Release Radar’ on Spotify is generally genius. It picks 30 new tracks they think you’ll like, and usually around 90% is right up my street.

Also still worth buying a monthly mag like Q or Mojo and wading through the reviews pages each month. Despite featuring a lot of older artists in their articles and interviews, l’ve discovered plenty of great new artists by reading a Mojo review then listening on Spotify.

You’re right about no.1 hits these days though. I’ve still not heard the monkey song!!

Wayne Olsen

Great article. I used to trade Top 15s with my friends every year, and I compiled them a few years ago. I think I stopped when I was just putting the latest albums by people I liked. This is not a retrospective list but my actual at the time #1 albums:
1964: Beatles 65. 1965: Rubber Soul. 1966: Revolver. 1967: Sgt Pepper 1968: White Album. 1969: abbey road. 1970: Jesus Christ superstar. 1971: every good boy deserves favour. 1972: exile on Main Street. 1973: goodbye yellow brick road. 1974: in too much too soon (NY Dolls). 1975: captain fantastic. 1976: songs in the key of life, 1977: never mind the bollocks. 1978: David Johansen. 1978: London calling/the wall. 1980:double fantasy. 1981: east side story. 1982: imperial bedroom. 1983:war. 1984:unforgettable fire. 1985: hounds of live. 1986:Graceland. 1987: Joshua tree. 1988:Brian Wilson. 1989:flowers in the dirt. 1990: goo. 1991:candied. 1992:automatic for the people. 1993:Jesus blood never failed me yet. 1994:if I were a carpenter. 1995:the bends. 1996:a different class. 1997:Ok computer. 1998:this is my truth tell me yours. 1999:what are you going to do with your life. 2000;smile (Jayhawks). 2001: all about chemistry. 2002:the last broadcast. 2003:sumday (grandaddy). 2094:absolution. 2005:funeral. 2006: just like the family cat. 2007: the good the bad and the Queen. 2008; in rainbows. 2009: the resistance. 2010: the suburbs. 2011: king if limbs. 2012: the 2nd law. 2013: reflector. 2014: morning phase. 2015: drones. 2016: black star. 2017: is this the life we really want?

Quante

I love that you couldn’t split London Calling / The Wall at the time. Could you split them today?

I used to play my brother’s copy of London Calling with side 1 getting the most play by a mile. Side 4 rarely got a look in. Isn’t that how many lps are played? – you go to your favourite side for ages and eventually get around to getting into the rest of the album.

The Wall was (is) amazing. I spent hours listening to it at night on headphones from my home recorded cassette, complete with a scratch / click all the way through the guitar solo on another brick in the wall part 2. The production, sounds, songs and performances were so absorbing. Thirty five years later I got a lot of pleasure from the band demos disc on the immersion set.