Album of the Year 2015 – Part 2

Tim Badger writes……

My wife has been doing wonderfully well since her accident she is recovering brilliantly and is now able to hop around the house on crutches with the dexterity of gazelle on amphetamines. It is I think slightly embarrassing that here I am on the afternoon after the afternoon before at 4.10pm just about to get out of bed because I have had a ‘slight headache’.

She has won an award, the clever thing. It is some women in business thing, and as I slowly drag myself down the stairs, clutching onto the bannister for near life, like a newly walking child, she is sitting in the study (I say study, I mean small tiny spare box room), typing her speech up. She has been reading a book by a chap called Max Atkinson, who writes about the use of three-part lists in speeches. Why am I telling you this, well all will be revealed.

The night before ended with S-WC and I listing our Top 15 albums, the last 40 minutes or so of this were a ferocious argument about whether or not we were going to allow EP’s into the list. In the end I relented, we had yet to reach a decision on the Top 5 – I mean we know what they are – but not in what order. Side One of this compilation will be the tracks from 10 to 6 and where I can remember I’ll add what parts of the conversation that decided that. obviously I’ll embellish it make me sound cool and to make S-WC sound like Brian Blessed on Botox – which by the way is exactly what he looks like.

I head into the study I intend to give my wife a kiss and tell her that I am sorry for being such a lightweight. I am 48 years of age and I really should know by now that drinking the best part of a bottle of rum, six pints and three glasses of wine (I think) is not the greatest idea in the world. I remember telling my taxi driver telling me that “I was absolutely fucking shedded’ I have never used the word ‘shedded’ in my life before. I hang my head with shame.

My wife is typing away, she has her back to me, suddenly she stops and holds up one hand. Then she starts speaking “Before you step one foot inside this room, darling, you must a) Shave, b) Shower and c) Clean your teeth. Not necessarily in that order”. This reader is the three-part list I referred to above. Delivered with style and authority, the word ‘darling’ has never been said with such menacing threat. I turn around and creep back along the corridor to the bathroom.

Half an hour later I am sitting on the couch in the study cradling a cup of tea like it was my last possession. At least I am washed, shaved and my mouth no longer feels like it has a couple of angry wasps having post break up sex in it. Actually you remember that bit from Itchy and Scratchy (the cartoon within a cartoon on the Simpsons) where Scratchy (he is the cat, right?) gets his tongue pulled out by Itchy so it goes right to floor and the some dynamite gets put in it and then lit – rolled back up and his head explodes, that’s how I felt earlier on.

My phone rings it is S-WC, of course it is, he chuckles down the phone at me as I groan about my head and the last hours events. At least it sounds like his hangover was just as bad as mine. I end up inviting him round for lunch tomorrow so we can finish off the list.

It is tomorrow and S-WC are I are laughing about the Christmas Do, neither of us have been into work since then – both having sensibly taken the rest of the week off, but we understand that there is some scandal involving at least one high-ranking manager, a park bench and a ‘lady of the night’. This cheers us massively.

So here are the five we did decide upon on the evening.

10. Kagoule – ‘Urth’

Up until about six weeks ago Kagoule were the best band I’d never heard of. Within the first 60 seconds of ‘Urth’ you’ll get the picture. It’s all knotted guitar riffs and stuttering drum beats. They sound like the Smashing Pumpkins or the Pixies but hail from Nottingham. It is a thrillingly confident debut. We argued about Wolf Alice again at this point, as S-WC drunkenly slurred that this was ‘one of two debut albums, better than Wolf whatsit’.

mp3 : Kagoule – Glue

9. Braids – ‘Deep In the Iris’

Another female fronted band, and another band from Canada. I think more than half of the records in our Top 20 are female fronted. This is definitely the gloomiest record of the year but never has gloomy sound so enthralling, songs about rape, break up, female objectification all wrapped up with this wonderful vocal and in ‘Miniskirt’ it houses one of the best tracks of the year – I think S-WC posted that earlier in the year so here is something else by them

mp3 : Braids – Taste

8. Viet Cong –‘Viet Cong’

“It’s a stupid name, then again I was once in a punk band called ‘Cock Ring’ so I am hardly one to talk”.

S-WC is very drunk, he tells me about Cock Ring, they played three gigs, one at a festival in Stoke Newington, London, where they got bottled off, then split up on stage during a gig in Godalming.

Godalming is the birth place of punk rock. Viet Cong are being forced to change their name, and are yet another Canadian band. They formed from the ashes of post punk pioneers Women and you know what it sounds a bit like Echo and the Bunnymen circa 1981. Kind of.

mp3 : Viet Cong – Continental Shelf

7. Hooton Tennis Club – ‘Highest Point in Cliff Town’

“Another ridiculous name” our boss states, he was with us until the end; S-WC is very hard on the boss, he is trying to bond with us.

S-WC chips in, “There are very few bands with the word ‘Club’ in their names that are shit”. The boss says “what about Bombay Bicycle Club?” S-WC takes a massive gulp of his rum and ginger beer (it is as disgusting as it sounds), and says without irony:-

“Brilliant band”.

Even when he is drunk, I can’t tell if he is joking or not.

mp3 : Hooton Tennis Club – Jasper

6. Lonelady  – ‘Hinterland’

A record I wanted in the Top Five (and is fourth in my personal list). This is a record that is meticulously perfect. It was recorded at the artists home which overlooks a motorway flyover on the outskirts of Manchester. The voice of the singer is infectiously wonderful. S-WC states that at Glastonbury this year, their show was the highlight of the entire festival, before adding apart from ‘Run the Jewels’.

mp3 : Lonelady -Bunkerpop

So that was the ones we agree on. Now we have five albums (well four and one EP) in front of us and a small discussion.

5. Ought – ‘Sun Coming Down’

Canadian band…Yawn… Ought make indie rock that sounds like how walking round an unknown city makes you feel . Nervous, anxious, occasionally hostile, yet wonderfully vibrant, different and exciting. Its bloody wonderful and you know what it sounds a little bit like The Fall.

mp3 : Ought – The Combo

4. Dan Deacon  – ‘Glass Riffer’

A few years back Dan Deacon made one of the greatest records of all time. It was called ‘America’ and no one bought it. This year, he made a record almost as good and again hardly anyone bought it. This is simple stuff, one bloke and some electronic stuff. The result is a glowing tribute to electro pop.

mp3 : Dan Deacon – Feel the Lightning

3. Yung – ‘Alter’

The record that sparked the great EP debate of a couple of days ago. S-WC puts his case simply as this:-

” ‘Nobody Cares’ is the best single track released this year, it’s the greatest three minutes of guitar music to come out of Denmark ever and very nearly the greatest guitar song made this decade, if the Libertines made this record instead of the godawful bilge they churned out at the start of the summer we would be making Peter Doherty out to be some sort of fucking god”.


mp3 : Yung – Nobody Cares

2. Hop Along  – ‘Painted Shut’

Another minor argument, S-WC thinks this is the best record of the year, I say it’s the second best. We actually had a tie with the points so let my wife decide and she sided with me. Obviously.

Its kind punky, kind of folky, a bit like Bright Eyes if they were fronted by a women who can actually sing. Its very nearly the perfect record and entirely brilliant.

mp3 : Hop Along –Horseshoe Crabs

1. Courtney Barnett – ‘Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I just Sit’

Just astonishing. The most lovely song on this album is one about house hunting. “Depreston”, it’s called—a quiet little ballad that just kind of submits itself to the noise around it. It’s the details that make this album so compelling, even down to the safety rail in the shower. Then she tells us how much it would cost to rip the whole house down again and again.

mp3 : Courtney Barnett – Depreston

And that is that.

Sorry I have gone on a bit….Oh and in a blatant bit of self publicity, our blog ‘When You Can’t Remember Anything’ is kind of up and running again….Please check it out. Google Wycranything and you’ll find it. (or just click here)


JC adds……I wasn’t quite expecting this to arrive so soon after Part 1 and it’s therefore had to be squeezed in ahead of what was originally intended to be today’s posting which will now appear 12 hours later than planned.



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.

Its 3pm.