Well, it’s nearly the middle of February already – so it seems as good a time as any to wrap up this round up of the previous years best songs. They don’t call me The Timely Content Kid for nothing. Also some might call having 25 songs on a top 20 list something of a cop out. To which I have no real argument.
It was a great year for music though and I think this list demonstrates just how good. Especially since it was a year in which I didn’t find much time to delve into all that much hip hop – Busdriver and Milo narrowly missed the cut for the list but that was about it for my rap listening in 2015, bar a couple of L’Orange produced albums – and almost completely ignored what was by all accounts an excellent year for black metal. It was a year of Too Much Music and this, for better or worse, is how I spent it. And given how much fun I’ve had putting this list together I’m leaning towards, “for better.”
Part 20 of a 20 part rundown of my favourite tracks of 2015
“You fucked each other and dried out in the light of day/you must get in the car and drive/and wait for the moment you forget what day it is/and what you did not say.”
So ends She Calls After You, a vivid sketch of the afterglow and aftermath of a one night stand (or maybe a one last fling). Pete Simonelli’s spoken word pieces often come with a little sting in the tail but few are a simple and devastating as those last few words. “And what you did not say.” As a piece it’s defined as much by what it leaves out as by what it does say – the nature of the relationship is never made clear, the context of this short walk of shame is never outlined for us. All we know is that as a second person protagonist we’re, “less of a presence than an urge to be moving on.” That we have no choice but to leave and to try our best to shake the regret of leaving. It’s an exercise in weary fatalism that makes the act of quiet retreat sound as thrilling as a car chase, right before the searing guitars ebb away to set the stage for that cutting dénouement.
There are subtle layers of shimmering guitar that drip and glide like rain down a window before the crunch kicks in and it marches towards it’s churning crescendo. I sent my review on Echoes & Dust to guitarist Kevin Thompson who took issue with me comparing Enablers to Slint, pointing out that he’s been ploughing this furrow before they were even a thing. In my defence I find it baffling that people who rave about Breadcrumb Trail and Good Morning, Captain don’t spend their days screaming about the virtues of Enablers similarly narrative based post-punk/post-rock/post-whatever songs from the nearest available rooftop. But after several months with The Rightful Pivot since writing my review I’ve realised just how much they’ve evolved in the 12 years since End Note. It’s lazy shorthand I should probably be put to bed.
And so another year passes. As per tradition a large chunk of the internet spent the final month of 2015 seeking to make sense out of the ceaseless avalanche of music that descended upon us throughout the year by ranking the crap out of it. How else can we be sure that any of it meant anything it we don’t put our chosen records into a pile and demand that strangers look at it and agree that that our choices are indeed righteous? Where would humanity be without our ability to decree one thing to be better than another thing until we have a sufficient number of things to make a list? Why we’d surely be lost, flailing in the dark, forced to confront the futility of our endeavours.
Well fear not: today I can add my own list to the internet and stave off any such epiphany for a little while longer. My top 20 appeared alongside those of 60 other writers in Echoes & Dusts Record of the Year interactive jamboree. Which is a treasure trove of obscure gems one could easily get lost in until the next listing season is upon us.
A new Enablers record is as much a literary event as it is a musical one. On The Rightful Pivot the Slint-esque post-rock backing is the same as it ever was, but the spoken word vocals have a little more clarity and focus than previously. These 8 deliciously vivid vignettes may not sound much different to the rest of Enablers’ back catalogue, but then Enablers don’t sound much like anyone else either.