An Imaginary Compilation (Of Sorts) – 2015 Part One
“You are a fucking wanky hipster, all you need is a stupid beard, a sleeve tattoo and a ridiculously camp hat and you would be the complete picture”.
Badger and I are arguing.
We have been drinking all afternoon in a stupidly overpriced hotel bar in downtown Exeter for today is the day of our Office Christmas Party (one lemonade, one pint of cider, one bottle of Becks, two glasses of wine and a Captain Morgans and coke – £28).
Our office Christmas party is an occasion where a bunch of people who don’t really like each other go out for a meal and some drinks and what Badger calls ‘enforced jollity’. Sure the managers try and make them fun – this year the theme was ‘Christmas Hats’ – Badger really pushed the boat out, he is wearing a New York Mets Baseball Cap bedecked with the faintest piece of tinsel – me, I am wearing a Christmas Pudding hat that lights up when you press a button on top of the leaves. It cost me £6 and every time I look at it I feel ashamed.
A few years ago, the theme was ‘dress as your favourite London Tube Station’ – but this isn’t really talked about much as a guy called Simon decided to come as ‘Cockfosters’ and used the least imagination possible.
The managers also set a team quiz – which descended into a violent and quite sweary argument between two females – the question – “who had a Christmas Number One earlier, Shayne Ward or Rage Against the Machine?” (Clue: It wasn’t RATM).
For those of you who are interested, I am victim in the verbal assault mentioned above and for the record, the reason why we are arguing is that we are trying to list the best 20 records of the year – in order to write 2 more imaginary compilations for JC – listing them in reverse order.
The reason I have been called what I have is because I said that Wolf Alice’s album wasn’t as good as it should have been. It is about 6pm and after five hours of drinking we have decided to discuss our lists, simply because we are bored of taking the piss out of work colleagues hopelessly trying to pull. We were ‘lucky’ in that our party was occurring at the same time as a local hairdressers and for an hour, watching desperately uncool, slightly overweight middle men aged trying to crack on to Exeter’s equivalent of the Sugababes and Little Mix is brilliantly entertaining.
What follows are the albums that came 20th to 11th on our list – the next list of ten will come next week I hope. I’ve also typed most of this with a hangover, no need to thank me.
Last year we did this and our Top 3 were exactly the same, so normally this works quite well, but this year we have some massive differences – hence why some albums are lower than they should be.
So here are the first Ten (from Number 20 to Number 11)
20) The Districts – A Flourish and A Spoil
Basically The Districts are kids with guitars that went into a studio and came out sounding like a cross between My Bloody Valentine and Dinosaur Jr. They are a bit raw, a bit ramshackle and live they are less polished than Peter Doherty’s bathtub, but on record, they sound terrific.
mp3 : The Districts – 4th and Roebling
19) Metz – II
One of the few records that Badger and I disagree on. I think this is great he thinks it is not. Take it from me, Toronto’s Metz, sound exactly like the noise a mud wrestling bear with a huge headache would make if you stole its picnic basket. Strangely addictive.
mp3 : Metz – The Swimmer
18) Wolf Alice – My Love is Cool
To Badger this is the best debut album of the decade, for me it is the record that the Duke Spirit never quite made. Either way it has some belting tracks on it, ranging from grunge to pop and back again.
mp3 : Wolf Alice – Fluffy
17) Beach House – Depression Cherry
One of two Beach House records to get a release this year and the second record already to feature that was released on a resurgent Sub Pop Records. Beach House are almost perfect, the have this knack to sound like they are whispering each song into your eardrum.
mp3 : Beach House – Sparks
16) Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly
“You, sir, are a pasty faced indie obsessive who needs to embrace hip hop and realise that Thom Yorke, Johnny Marr, Mark E Smith, and Miles Hunt will never make a record as good as this”.
I was quite angry with how low he’d rated Kendrick that I downed a Captain Morgan’s in disgust. I was to regret that around 5am this morning.
mp3 : Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta
15) Beach Slang – Broken Thrills
We were both late arrivals to Beach Slang. I played it to Badger a few weeks back on the way back from a gig we went to in Bristol. It sounds like The Replacements if they were fronted by the singer from Gaslight Anthem. This album combines their first two EP’s and its frankly incredible.
mp3 : Beach Slang – We Are Nothing
14) Everything Everything – Get to Heaven
“Your round” Badger says.
I’m not sure it is, my head hurts, most people have left – our hipster boss is now also wondering what we are doing with our pads of paper and a couple of iPods. Badger threw a pencil at me when I dissed Thom Yorke about ten minutes ago. So I’m going ignore the fact that he crossed out Waxahatchee at 14 and put Everything Everything in its place.
mp3 : Everything Everything – Zero Pharaoh
13) Speedy Ortiz – Foil Deer
“You like you female fronted bands don’t you?, although this is a good choice”
This is our boss speaking – he has just got a round in so we are humouring him. He is also being deliciously nasty about one of the team who is brown nosing his boss so much that she can practically see his tonsils. I think the fact is that most of the best records this year featured a female singer. For the record, I don’t think he had heard Speedy Ortiz until he listened to this on my ipod.
mp3 : Speedy Ortiz – Ginger
12) Shamir – Ratchet
I never got Prince, but Badger did, and when he says“this record is better than anything Prince ever recorded” he means ‘LISTEN TO THIS’.
Badger is not often right about music, I mean he rates Doubt by Jesus Jones as one of the greatest records ever made – but on this occasion, he was bang on the mark. Shamir’s debut record is simply wonderful. We both nod and finish our drinks – finally an agreement.
mp3 : Shamir – On The Regular
11) Jamie XX – In Colour
Our bosses favourite record of the year, that is because he is a hipster who pretends that Star Wars is his favourite film of all time, when its obviously its Top Gun.
True time, we wanted this higher but we put it 11th – because we can’t agree with the boss – its flies in the face of our Bolshevism and we can’t have that. In reality it is an astonishing record, and in Gosh Jamie XX has one of the best tracks of the last few years.
mp3 : Jamie XX – Gosh
The taxi dropped Badger off at home around 11pm – it was not even a late night. I look behind me as the taxi drives away to see Badger fall into a hedge. I smile, it’s been the best Christmas Party for a while. Even if I appear to have inherited a horse shaped balloon (no idea at all where that came from).
I phone Badger – his wife answers, he’s not up yet, she says.