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 4 of a 20 part rundown of my favourite tracks of 2015
I only ever apply Moon Duo in small doses. They’re much like Ripley Johnson’s (current? Former?) day job Wooden Shjips in that they tend lock into a guitar and organ freak out so willingly that their records all sound about the same. It’s a potent groove when they get into it but unless you’re spending your days in a weed addled fog it does get tiresome. And if you are: good for you. I’ve had moments listening to them at their most indulgent in entirely the wrong context and thought to myself, “it must be nice for this not to sound terrible.”
But now and again Moon Duo nail that one groove so well I can’t ignore it. I am not a man known for dancing in public – occasional ill advised 7th pint foray to the dance floor notwithstanding – but Night Beat always grabs me, starting at my shoulders and working it’s way downwards. I caught myself swaying at the Tesco self-service checkout the other day – I came dangerously close to breaking the age old rules of British reserve and visibly enjoyed myself in public. Without the aid of alcohol no less. Which would not do.
Also I was carrying a worryingly phallic looking butternut squash – I didn’t want to lose myself in the rhythm in case I opened my eyes and found myself accidentally waving it suggestively in the face of the young girl in the queue behind me.
Everyone knows that famous Einstein quote about repeating an action and expecting different results. It gets bandied around a lot these days – I blame Far Cry 3 and it’s desperate flailing for profundity. But I’m guessing Einstein didn’t listen to much psych rock. If he did he’d know that sometimes if you keep hammering away at the same template the results will go boring-boring-boring-gold. Moon Duo are one of the few bands I’m willing to wade through all the dull unsuccessful attempts to find the moments that prove ol’ Johnny Relativity to be wrong. He may have done alright with science but he knew fuck all about writing a psych rock banger.
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.