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.
Me oh my would you look at the time? It barely seems like five minutes ago that I was publishing the second 2015 playlist back in July and yet here we are rounding up quarter three in the only way I know how – with an oddly paced and overlong playlist. Time flies when all the songs you listen to are 10 minutes long.
This one, I feel, sums up my obsessions of the year about as well as a 25 track playlist possibly could – there’s plenty of meandering kraut-flecked psych (Giobia, Carlton Melton, Hills, Domovoyd), some hybrid black metal strangeness (Hope Drones, Locrian), a touch of monolothic fuzz-drenched doom (Windhand), a bit of awkward post-punk indie fare (Ought, Self Defense Family) and a fair bit of straight up rock n’ roll (Indian Handcrafts, Greenbeard, The Sword). For whatever reason these are the sounds I’ve gravitated towards. I’m inclined to believe it’s been a great year for these kinds of things and I’m just doing my solemn bloggers duty in telling you all about it. But it could just as easily be the result of a chemical imbalance of the brain or the lingering after effects of my first foray into wine making causing my senses to skew towards these odd sounds. Who can say? I’m no sciencematician. ‘m just a humble maker of playlists.
There’s also some stuff which bolts together a few of my genres of choice into something else entirely (the post-metal/doom/spoken-word-babbling-about-wizards of OHHMS, heavy psych band Herbcraft finding a groove that sounds like something from a crate diggers funk compilation, the odd surf-noir of La Luz) and a couple of songs from outside my wheelhouse that somehow wheedled their way into my consciousness – like the lushly orchestrated modern soul of Natalie Prass or the deadpan slacker indie pop of Courtney Barnett. Something for everybody you could say. You’d probably be wrong – but you could say that.
Canadian stoner-ish rock duo Indian Handcrafts have taken 3 years to put together a sequel to their debut record Civil Disobedience for Losers. Frankly that’s too damn long – the world may not be short on big dumb rock bands but there aren’t many who can match these guys for gleeful riff-based silliness. So was it worth the wait? As ever you’ll have to head over to Echoes & Dust to find out.*
*or you could listen to it yourselves I suppose. But then you’d never know how many different ways I’ve bastardised the word ‘riff’ this time.