Not quite albums of the month…. the ones that got away.

It may seem like there’s always a nailed-on candidate for our albums of the month. But there’s all sorts of reasons that an album may not be chosen as AOTM, way before we did the podcast, we were still having the same discussions and dilemmas. So why would it get derailed? Sometimes it’s as simple as the fact that we’ve already got it and have rinsed it before it could be chosen – Caribou’s Suddenly and Roisin Murphy’s Roisin Machine are both good examples of this last year – or sometimes there’s a veto from in the camp.

I think we can all agree that should time be taken again for Roisin, we’d have chosen her over Sufjan every time. But we loved it so much it sometimes feels like taking the less worn path (though Sufjan is hardly unlikely) is a better choice than choosing something everyone will love. Other times while one – or more – of us loves it, it’s pretty clear that it would be likely hated by the other. I know what I’ll be playing still in a year.

With Ep11 and April’s AOTM in question, this is a great example of that dilemma. @misterstory put me onto Menneskekollektivet by Lost Girls, a strange, ethereal collection of 5 tracks from Norwegians Jenny Hval and Havard Volden, that he brought to my attention as one of the 4 ‘new tracks’ up with Episode 10. 11 minutes of hypnotic music that’s part spoken word, part dancefloor chug, then in between meanders into the areas in between. I was half-captivated, half confused by it, but it definitely stuck in my head. And it pointed me to the album, which was just as off the wall, but just as beautiful. While it was in the mix for April, we also knew that it really wouldn’t be a ‘David’ album, and we weren’t sure it was a Nolan one either, and so it went to the cutting room floor. Which is odd as the album we chose – Genesis Owusu‘s Smiling With No Teeth – was just as ‘out there’ in many ways. But it just seemed to be an album which would be a choice that would land with the four of us better. Having said that, we chose Macca, and look how that turned out for Ep7!

Going a bit deeper into the album than even Joey has so far, Love Lovers is probably the standout of the 5 tracks (total: 44 minutes for, yes, only five tracks). A tribal beat that morphs into techno, as Hval’s spoken words then wailing notes and Volden’s chords drive the melody, until it breaks out into an epic peak. Carried By Invisible Bodies also weaves around, its chords de- and re-tuned throughout, a sort of woozy, disorienting melody that I’m still not sure if I’d ever have the cojones to play out anywhere. It definitely skirts the fine line between musical genius and pretentiousness, and no doubt knows that. But the artist background of Hval (and this being considered an accessible counterpoint to her solo work!) makes this less of a surprise when you delve deeper.

We could probably do a whole series of albums that never quite made it to a chosen each month – we don’t by any means have just those 12 albums in our lives each year – but this one definitely stood out. For every choice there’s always one that ends up on the floor. If I had time again, I’d have chosen Everything Everything’s Reanimator because – no diss to Yves Tumor, my EP3 choice – I’m still playing it, all the time. You live and learn. And that’s just choices in the last 6 months!

2021 should be a good year for music

With all 2020 gave us, music was one of the positives. From artists we have always loved such as Caribou and Run the Jewels, to artists such as Sault and Phoebe Bridgers planting their flag for a constant spot at the table to fresh new sounds like Troy Kingy, Khruanbin and Arlo Parks. 

As we wrap up 2020 there have also been some unexpected surprises; Paul McCartney, Black Thought and most recently Parallel by Four Tet. 

With a positive bounce in everyones step looking ahead to 2021 there is not only optimism in the air for things finding some normality around the world but also for new music. The hope being that many of our favourite artist have spent the last 12 months creating new material for us. 

So far we know the following artists are ready to roll: Arlo Parks, Bicep, Darkside, Foo Fighters plus a Madlib & FourTet collaboration which all should be solid. 

Plus unconfirmed but expect there will be new albums from Kanye West, Adele, Julia Stone, The Staves, Travis Scott and A$AP Rocky to name a few. 

Will 2021 meet our expectations? 

What are you looking forward to?

Top Albums of 2014

Singles done… now lets get to the albums:

Here are my picks:

Nick Mulvey – First Mind

For me this is my stand out album of the year for the pone fact it is what has been most listened to throughout 2014 and I still keep coming back to it.

Dilated Peoples – Directors of Photography

Hands down their best effort to date and the best thing that the world of Hip Hop has produced in 2014.

Future Islands – Singles

Hit my radar this year as an album of the month and took a while to grow on me. Infact it still is but I seem to find it getting better and better.

Caribou – Our Love

This lived up to all my hopes. Best album of the year… tough to say. Is in my top three though.

Chet Faker – Built On Glass

This was an un-epected surprise for me. Many sunny days were spent listening to this album over the summer.

Statik Selektah – #whatgoesaround

20 tracks jammed pack with some outstanding beats and MC’s. Even if Hip Hop isn’t your thing this is worth a listen.

Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow

Released early in the year this album had a big part of my listening time for the first half of the year.

Banks – Goddess

Did banks live up to all the hype around her? I’m not sure. Having her album delayed for almost a year didn’t help her cause. With that it may have been worth the wait though it seemed to sneak below the radar of many.

SBTRKT – Wonder Where We Land

I like it when and artist moves to the next level on their second album and this was the case with SBTRKT for sure. For me it lived up to expectations.

Erol Alkan – Fabriclive 77

I know this a a compilation but it had to get a mention. What a fantastic mix, worht checking out.

November Album: Caribou – Our Love

After last month’s SBTRKT album which brought very mixed reviews I have chosen to stick with a dance driven album and select Caribou’s ‘Our Love’.

This for me has been the most anticipated album release for 2014. I was a huge fan of his ‘Swim’ album and loved his in-between project under the alias of Daphni. The first single off the album ‘Can’t Do Without You’ was my summer anthem, soon followed by the second single ‘Our Love’.

This album has so many layers to it but as I want to hear what the rest of you think so I’m just going to hit on the main two for me:

1 – The music!! Structure wise, composition, production…. All I can say is OOOOFFFFFF! It’s all I hoped for and more. I have read a few articles saying that this album is more of a Daphni album than a Caribou album but I disagree. The Daphni releases are much more basic compositions than this album. Sure there must be massive influences from playing clubs and festivals for the last three years, but this isn’t a Daphni album. On swim I felt that he left you wanting more from a few of the songs and he has reached that point on this album. Some of the songs build and build which I love. Some bring you fully into their world. Once again, OOOOFFFFFF!

2 – The Lyrics. I listened to this album for about two weeks before even paying attention to the lyrics. Musically it is that strong. When I took the step to get into the lyrics this album then started coming across in a different way. For me this album is about love and relationships (in a very basic way). Compared to ‘Swim’ Caribou seems to have opened up much more which has aided his album structure for me. On ‘Swim’ I thought he gave us a taste and left it at that.

There is much more I could get into but I want to hear your thoughts on this.

Album of the year, possibly? I reckon it’ll be in my top three for sure.