TEN REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL

A GUEST POSTING by JIM CHAMBERS

Hey JC

As requested! Hopefully you get loads of your readers doing this – I genuinely love your blog and hope you discover some new music to get you over blog fatigue.

Here’s my ten reasons to be cheerful – it’s been a good year for music – and there’s plenty of stuff to look forward to in 2018. In strange sort of way I’ve found my listening habits now are shaped by what my teenage daughter listens to – when i hear new music i often think she’ll like it and play it to her – so i’m sort of listening to stuff with teenagers ears if that makes sense. She sometimes says to me ‘Have you heard this?’ and it’s generally something that is brand new to her but is music from my youth – most recently The Cocteau Twins and The House of Love. Anyway, here’s ten songs – in no particular order – hopefully there’s some stuff here you’ve never heard of!

1. Confidence Man – Boyfriend (repeat)

One of the highlights of my summer was me, my wife and my daughter going bananas to this song in a packed tent. If this song doesn’t make you want to dance then I don’t know what would – it’s so good. They are the first band we saw at Glastonbury this year – in a small tent on the Friday morning – we got there super early and we were front and centre. I think it was the sweatiest I got all weekend – the whole tent was going crazy by the end and everyone left smiling. I guess FUN is a good way to describe them. I’m really looking forward to their album which will be out some time next year and I desperately want them to play in Brighton before they get too big. Honourable mention goes to another of their songs Bubblegum which is also great.

2. Waxahatchee – Recite Remorse

Now a band that my daughter doesn’t like. But it’s my favourite track off possibly my favourite album of the year. A change of pace from Confidence Man. It’s the song that they opened her show with when I saw them in Brighton earlier this year and I must have listened to it about 50 times in the next week. I guess I like it so much because it’s got a touch of Throwing Muses about it.

3. Hercules and Love Affair – Controller

Every time I play this in the car my daughter asks me if it’s Hot Chip – which is no bad thing in my (or her) book. Another song to dance to off another great album – it’s got Faris Badwan from The Horrors singing on it and although their new album isn’t bad, there’s nothing on it as good as this.

4. Nadine Shah – Holiday Destination

Here’s a musician that my daughter introduced me to – she wanted to go and see the support act LIFE on Nadine Shah‘s last tour so thought she might as well buy the album by the headline act to get the most out of the show – and I’m so glad she did.

5. Wolf Alice – Don’t Delete The Kisses

I saw them at Latitude a couple of years ago and immediately thought that they were a band my daughter would love. And boy, does she love them – she’s seen them live 3 times already this year including an in store gig where she met them. Anyway this song is wonderful – one of the things I like about Wolf Alice is their youth – this song perfectly captures that sense of uncertainty of falling in love for the first time. It’s full of hope and joy. And I’m really looking forward to shouting the lyrics to this whilst stood next to her when we see them in Brighton at the end of the month (as long as it’s not too uncool being at a gig with dad).

6. LCD Soundsystem – Call The Police

I was worried about this record. What if they messed it up? What if they should have stayed away and not spoiled their legacy? But they’ve made the best song of the year – it’s up their with All Our Friends – sheer joy. My daughter loves it too, obviously!

7. St Vincent – New York

A worthy addition to songs about New York. And it’s got a really good swear in it.

8. Future Islands – Day Glow Fire

A band I never get tired of – I’ve been a fan for years (I always feel I have to say that – I’d seen them a couple of times touring the albums before things went a bit silly after they played Letterman). This was my favourite new song when I saw them in Brighton earlier this year – but I was disappointed that they didn’t play it at Glastonbury. This is one of the albums that my daughter always grabs from my collection to play.

9. Les Amazones D’Afrique – Dombolo

No idea what this songs about. It’s great though. All I know about them is that they are a West African supergroup of women musicians. The album has a great sleeve and this song just makes me want to move.

10. Noga Erez – Off The Radar

Another one that I heard and I immediately knew my daughter would love. She’s still in a fury that the Brighton show on Noga Erez‘s tour was over 18s only. She’s got that MIA vibe about her – taking influences from all kinds of music and making something really fresh sounding.

Bubbling under my ten – Bicep, Sleaford Mods, Mac De Marco, Girl Ray, Jane Weaver, Jen Cloher, Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile, This Is The Kit – all great but I listen to them as whole albums and haven’t got a favourite track off any of them.

Anyway

enjoy

xxxjim

GUESS WHO’S BACK???

A GUEST POSTING by SWC

Ten Reasons to Be Cheerful

I was sitting in a sports bar in Concourse D at Charlotte Airport, North Carolina waiting for a flight back to the UK. I am sat watching the Cleveland Indians win their 21st consecutive ball game (beating the Royals in the 10th Innings 4 to 3) – slowly munching on a plate of Nachos and sipping a Miller Lite (yeah Miller Lite, shut up, it’s quite nice) when the tannoy strikes up “Flight 245A to London Heathrow is delayed by four hours”.

Four Hours.

Oh come on British Airways – you could nearly walk to London in that time. Sort of. What have I ever done to you? I’ve caught six flights with you in the last four months, every single one of them has been delayed and on one you lost my bag somewhere near Istanbul which is still lost now. There was a picture of me in that bag that is now being used as currency in a Turkish prison somewhere. Probably. That’s your fault you buggers.

I know it’s a first world problem and I should quit my moaning because I’m lucky. I’ve just been on a work paid trip to New Orleans, I’m healthy, happy, incredibly good looking, and I have a lovely family who will be delighted to see me when I get home in the next fifteen hours. I sigh, I stop moaning.

I sink back into my seat. I realise that I’m tired, I’m bored, and the salsa on the nachos has given me a slight bout of heartburn but I smile and get on with the wait. I then realise that I am smiling directly at a man across the bar and he is looking uncomfortable about it. I stop smiling and fish out my ipod from my bag. I’ve barely listened to music over the past four months due to being busy at work and not having a blog to write everyday – honestly, new albums from LCD Soundsystem, The Jesus and Mary Chain and Kendrick Lamar have arrived and I barely listened to any of them.

So before I left the UK I created a playlist of music released in 2017 that I have purchased, downloaded, stolen and barely listened to – about 400 tracks in all.

On the flight over I didn’t listen to any music because I watched Boss Baby and them for some reason the remake of Dad’s Army and then fell asleep.

My plan was to listen to this playlist on the flights and to reacquaint myself with what has been going on this year musically, to find some inspiration because if I’m honest I miss writing, I miss the fun of a blog, I miss the pointless compiling of lists telling you what I think are the best 50 songs that feature the weather in their title (Number One Happy When It Rains – obviously). I miss raving about how brilliant a new band is, I miss stealing other people’s ideas and claiming them as mine.

I’ll let you into a little secret, there is a chance that the WYCRA team might be reborn, because by the time you read this, Badger will probably be back from Australia, KC (now KT) will be back from honeymoon (Vietnam – a train ride from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh) and my workload will have reduced. I mean it won’t be WYCRA it will be called something else – but we have spoken about it – Anyway…

I pull out the iPod and the battery is low, it is giving me the little apple sign – bugger, it has switched itself on and had a wobbly, my fault for not locking it. It’s going to be a long four hours. My smile is reducing.

I wander over to the gate where I need to be – there is a bright shining light and choir of celestial squawking and I look over and see a long thin table full of plug sockets and ipod docks. I look up to the ceiling (where airplane fans there is a full scale model of a Bellanca 14-9L Crusair hanging – see above) and mouth ‘Thank You’ and the spirit of Biggles salutes me and flies off….

I plug in and get comfy, I press shuffle on the playlist and relax….

The four hours fly by (in the end it was three and a half hours in fact), there has been some brilliant music released this year and here are according to me the ten finest musical releases of the year so far, in reverse order and to be honest it could have been a Top 100 because it doesn’t include stuff by bands like Alvvays, The Shins, The Horrors, Fucked Up, Middle Kids, Communions and countless others. You are very welcome.

TEN

Rockabye Baby – Joey Bada$$ taken from ‘All Amerikkkan Badass’.

Just to get you warmed up. Within the first two minutes of this, Joey has jumped down your throat and called for a revolution and hollered ‘Fuck Donald Trump’ at you. Incredible, incendiary, seething hip hop from the greatest American Rapper that isn’t called Kendrick Lamar.

NINE

Percolator – Charly Bliss taken from ‘Guppy’

So I’m going to say it. Ok. Here goes. ‘Percolator’ is three things, firstly it’s the greatest song ever to have a kitchen appliance in its name, secondly it’s the greatest song by a band with a ‘name’ name since ‘Seether’ by Veruca Salt and thirdly, this, this three minute blast is what the words ‘bubblegum pop’ was invented for. There I feel better now.

EIGHT

Modern Act – Cloud Nothings taken from ‘Life Without Sound’

Which is pretty much the title of this piece summed up in music, a triumph call to arms. Confident, bold and yet slightly fragile. Quite easily the greatest moment of Cloud Nothings career so far.

SEVEN

Fade – Waxahatchee taken from ‘Out of the Storm’

‘Fade’ is a beautiful song. It comes at the end of the album, an album about heartbreak, and righting lots of wrong things. Then ‘fade’ comes on and it’s your own heart that breaks, well more melts, I suppose, as Kate Crutchfield tells you in a whispery vocal that she is “Walking Away” – it’s a compelling and intimate release.

SIX

You + Me – Public Service Broadcasting taken from ‘Every Valley’

The new Public Service Broadcasting album is a stroke of genius, the piece de resistance is this, right in the middle of it. A glorious, dreamy duet with Lisa Jen Brown of Welsh band 9Bach in which we hear the voice of PSB’s WIllgoose for the first time. It’s a ruddy delight.

FIVE

Hymn for an Average Man – Algiers taken from ‘The Underside of Power’

Algiers are a difficult band to pigeonhole. What they are a devilishly clever band, ‘The Underside of Power’ is their second album and mixes funk, gospel, rock and R&B with a healthy slab of fury and noise. ‘Hymn for an average man’ takes aim at Trump voters with the aid of a skipped record sample and a sombre sounding piano and it is just stunning.

FOUR

Planet – Four Tet ‘Single

I had stopped thinking that Four Tet could surprise me. I mean I knew that any new record would be incredible, but I didn’t expect this. Seven minutes of breathy vocals, thumping percussion, some synths and then this weird mesmering string thing plucking away in the back. Astonishing and the best use of a stringed instrument in a dance record since ‘The Private Psychedelic Reel’ (yes it does I’ve just checked it).

THREE

Arc of Bar – Japandroids taken from ‘Near to the Wild Heart’

You can almost hear the conversation in the recording studio “Hey Dave, you know what’s been missing from rock music over the last 70 years?”. Silence. “Songs about mosquitos”. Yup. A Seven minute tubthumping rock anthem about mosquitos (and other things) and you know what. Its totally brilliant.

TWO

Call The Police – LCD Soundsystem taken from ‘An American Dream’

“We all know this nothing” sings James Murphy. You speak for yourself young man. For me, and with a nod to the chap below, this has been the single most important musical release in the last four years. A big bold stadium rock sized anthem made just fucking perfect with a shamelessly liberal ‘borrowing’ of the melody from ‘Procession’ by New Order. Oh man. Every time I hear this I end up grinning like a chimp let loose in wool factory.

ONE

Humble – Kendrick Lamar taken from ‘Damn’

Sorry to be so utterly predictable but Damn Indeed. ‘Humble’ is incredible, a rapping masterclass, just heads and shoulders above everything else that is around. Not only is this the best single of the year, ‘Damn’ is also the best album of the year too, and that even features U2 for God’s Sake.

So there we have it and I’ve not even mentioned Run The Jewels, Spinning Coin, Swimming Tapes, Whiskey Stain, The National or Taylor Swift.

SWC

JC adds….I was going to keep this back till December in line with my request for postings that look back on the year that was for music.  But I couldn’t resist.  He’s been missed hasn’t he?