Albums of the Year

My selection for Album of the Year 2018 was not, perhaps, chosen from the greatest year for new music in recent times.   In fact I seemed to spend the first half of the year catching-up on some 2017 albums that, somehow, passed me by.  Maybe this was due to our trip to the other side of the world to see our Grandkids in Australia, and their Mum & Dad of course, which spanned November last year into February this year, meaning that I missed my usual year-end trawl of the CD racks here.

Never mind, I thought, I’ll be in Australia’s largest City, so I can do it there – somehow forgetting previous experiences.  Sydney is an anachronism.  It is really modern and vibrant on the surface, and very easy to get around either by Ferry or Bus.  The bus drivers often have their own beatbox playing as they travel along, the only problem being their selections seem to be totally stuck in the ‘seventies and ‘eighties.  The record shops are similar – rack after rack stuffed with multiple copies of classic albums, but far less that’s current.  Not that it’s a bad era to hear, you just yearn for an up to date surprise from time to time. Continue Reading

When it came to reviewing my Album of the Year 2017 , I concluded that it has been an average year overall for the music industry.  No blockbuster albums (unless you count the ginger-haired phenomenon with the tiny guitar, of which more later), no major new artists, just a year of business as usual in the mainstream.  Which has meant more time to explore the margins, and to unearth some little gems from their hiding places.

For those of you new to this, the 55th, annual wander through my contemporary musical experiences, I have selected a personal album of the year ever since I started buying vinyl in the early 1960s.  For the featured albums, the self-imposed criteria are that I must have a copy in my collection that has been purchased during the year, the album’s UK release date has to be in the year being reviewed, and the list can contain no compilations or live albums.  Other than that, it’s pretty-much open-house.   During the ‘seventies, this singular personal choice evolved into a small-circulation printed newsletter on some of the year’s releases for selected friends, including a top-three, through a wider-circulation email in the ‘nineties that contained a top ten, to ultimately, in 2006, this annual blog.    Continue Reading

Album of the Year 2016

My New Year’s Resolution for 2017, after a second virtually blogless year, will be to return to writing for pleasure more regularly – a task made easier by the departure from our lives of the near two-year long threat of someone building a shed at the bottom of our garden – something that will be covered soon, but not in this blog.  Because the subject matter here is far more pleasurable – my Album of the Year 2016

For my new readers’ benefit, I have selected a personal album of the year ever since I started buying vinyl in the early 1960s.  During the ‘seventies, this singular personal choice evolved into a small-circulation printed newsletter for selected friends, through a wider-circulation email in the ‘nineties that contained a top ten, to ultimately, in 2008, this annual blog on my musical experiences throughout the year.   For the featured albums, the criteria I use are that I must have a copy in my collection that has been purchased during the year, the album’s UK release date has to be in the year being reviewed, and the list can contain no compilations or live albums.  Other than that, it’s pretty-much open-house. Continue Reading

aoty15

I couldn’t believe it when I realised that this will be my first blog in a year! Such has been the saga of the past fifteen months, which started with a broken arm, then continued via various other distractions, some good, others not so. However, throughout the year the musical backdrop has been consistently good, so here is my review of the year, finishing with my choice of Album of the Year 2015

The first two purchases for the year were carry-overs from 2014 which, had I been aware of them at the time, would have definitely both made it to the shortlist. Someday World by Brian Eno and Karl Hyde is a wander through an electronic landscape that is much more accessible than some of the former Roxy Music keyboard man’s ambient efforts over the last ten to fifteen years. Maybe it was the collaboration with Underworld’s frontman that created this infectious album which almost demands to be played regularly. Continue Reading

A belated Happy New Year everyone, and my apologies for not blogging for more than six months – a long and convoluted story for another time. So to more important business, the slightly-belated selection of album of the year 2014 – and what a difficult choice this has been.

There are good years and better years, but 2014 was exceptional, witnessed by the CD racks groaning under the weight of more annual purchases than I have made in many a long year and all, bar a few minor exceptions, valid contenders for the shortlist. Added to that were some omissions from 2013 that would have been considered had they come on the radar earlier. Continue Reading