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:-
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.