2015: Music of the Year

As much as I love music and seeing music being performed live and sharing the music I like with people, it’s finally dawned on me that I actually suck at writing about it. I have no sense of how to describe how something sounds, and my working knowledge of terminology, or coming up with comparisons, or even placing bands or songs into subgenres, is pretty ropey. It’s a pain to write, it’s not entertaining to read, so let’s cut to the chase, and present – largely without comment – my favourite albums released this year.

1. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie and Lowell

I will just say something about this, out of all the gigs I saw this year (admittedly not many, but some good stuff at Glastonbury, Future Islands/Beck/The Strokes at Hyde Park, Garbage at Brixton Academy…), Sufjan Stevens at Royal Festival Hall was a highlight. Impeccably performed renditions of the latest album, but when Sufjan finally got chatting with the crowd, what could have been a beautiful but sombre occasion became filled with remarkable levity, cracking jokes, fluffing lines as he got the giggles. And to cap it off, a finale that made full use of the venue’s pipe organ filled the hall with a swirling rumble that felt like a UFO landing. Extraordinary and memorable.

2. Grimes – Art Angels
3. The Dø – Shake Shook Shaken
4. FFS – FFS
5. Hot Chip – Why Make Sense
6. CHVRCHES – Every Open Eye
7. The Go! Team – The Scene Between
8. John Grant – Grey Tickles, Black Pressure
9. Tame Impala – Currents
10. Lianne La Havas – Blood

And what with a music wrap-up be without one of my Viewing Gum Listening Posts? Largely compiled from my VGLP playlists, this bumper edition will hopefully in the grand tradition offer a little something for everyone. Stream below or click here.

 

 

And that’s not all, for in my occasional duty as resident DJ of GamerDisco, I also listen to a lot of chiptune, synthwave, video game remixes, soundtracks and more. And so I also compile a Spotify playlist with some of the best tracks that you might hear at our events. Please enjoy!

 

 

Advertisements

Viewing Gum Listening Post #25

Viewing Gum Listening Post 25, indeed. A quarter of a century’s worth of VGLP playlists is cause for some sort of celebration, and maybe if I had planned ahead a little better, maybe a best of the 25 playlists would have been a sensible way to do so. Ah well, not this time. Why not just go back through my playlists and make your own (he says as he realises he has forgotten to tag them all)? Instead, this one is a bit of a bumper selection, over an hour’s worth, including new tracks from returning champions such as Hot Chip, Blur, Tame Impala, Drenge, Everything Everything and more. Plus some slightly older but still worthy of attention songs that I only recently picked up on. It’s the perfect antidote to whatever ails you! Click here to listen, or stream it below direct. I love you all!

  1. Hot Chip – Huarache Lights
  2. Young Fathers – Rain or Shine
  3. The Dø – Opposite Ways
  4. Susanne Sundfør – Accelerate
  5. Blur – Go Out
  6. Everything Everything – Distant Past
  7. Drenge – We Can Do What We Want
  8. Saint Motel – Midnight Movies
  9. Breakfast In Fur – Portrait
  10. Sufjan Stevens – Should Have Known Better
  11. Dan Deacon – When I Was Done Dying
  12. Tame Impala – Let It Happen
  13. Danger Beach – Apache
  14. Emmy The Great – Swimming Pool

Viewing Gum Listening Post #23

Viewing Gum Listening Post #23, and the last of the standard playlists of the year. But fret ye not, for it is a doozy, with returning favourites from past installments, plus a few newcomers thrown in for fun. Next up will be my customary Songs of the Year (expect a couple of these to make an appearance) and Soundtracks of the Year playlists, but until then, enjoy VGLP23, as all the cool kids are calling it, by clicking here or streaming through the embed below.


  1. Kero Kero Bonito – Build It Up
  2. The Dø – Despair, Hangover & Ecstasy
  3. TV On The Radio – Careful You
  4. The 2 Bears – Not This Time
  5. Röyksopp – Skulls
  6. David Bowie – ‘Tis A Pity She Was A Whore
  7. Last Ex – Girl Seizure
  8. Museum Of Love – FATHERS
  9. Young Fathers – DIP
  10. Paul Smith & Peter Brewis – Old Odeon
  11. Mark Lanegan Band – Harvest Home
  12. Clark – Everlane

Viewing Gum Listening Post #21

This is it guys! This is Viewing Gum Listening Post Number Twenty One, or VGLP21 for short. Bit of a bumper crop we have for you today, with 14 tracks and clocking in at just over an hour, but it is richly stuffed. Indie rock from China, post-punk from Sweden, and minimalist moodiness from the very depths of space – for real! Newcomers, returning old favourites, and seemingly an obsession with hands, as they feature prominently on at least three album covers (plus one track has ‘fingers’ in the title, so clearly the theme for this edition). I’ve even been really clever and put Loudon Wainwright III’s song about finding a parking space, ‘Spaced’, with Jamie xx’s ‘All Under One Roof Raving’ which prominently features a sample from the TV show ‘Spaced’. And you probably thought no thought went into compiling these playlists.

Enough jibber-jabber, click here for sonic stupendousness or stream this mother below!

 

  1. Porter Robinson (featuring Urban Cone) – Lionhearted
  2. Basement Jaxx – What’s The News
  3. Interpol – All The Rage Back Home
  4. The New Pornographers – War on the East Coast
  5. Death From Above 1979 – Right On, Frankenstein!
  6. INVSN – Down In The Shadows
  7. Ebsen and the Witch – Dig Your Fingers In
  8. The Dø – Keep Your Lips Sealed
  9. Jenny Lewis – Just One Of The Guys
  10. Loudon Wainwright III – Spaced
  11. Carsick Cars – She Will Wait
  12. Spoon – Outlier
  13. Jamie xx – All Under One Roof Raving
  14. Spiritualized – Always Forgetting With You (The Bridge Song)

Viewing Gum Listening Post #2

Welcome to the second instalment of my Viewing Gum Listening Post Spotify playlists. Same as before, it’s a mix of old and new, home and abroad, classics and curios, but just a cross-section of some of the songs I’ve been listening to, well, since the last one. Give it a listen!

VIEWING GUM LISTENING POST #2

  1. The Dø – Dust It Off
  2. Dirty Projectors – Gun Has No Trigger
  3. Django Django – Hail Bop
  4. The Shoes – Time to Dance
  5. Hot Chip – Night And Day
  6. Air – Sonic Armada
  7. Dr. John – Kingdom of Izzness
  8. David Bowie – Black Country Rock
  9. The Clash – Hateful
  10. The Cribs – Come On, Be A No-One
  11. Squeeze – Up The Junction
  12. Rufus Wainwright – Out Of The Game
  13. Best Coast – How They Want Me To Be
  14. Keaton Henson – You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are

In other news, the latest edition of my Japanese music podcast Tokyo Soundscape has also just made its way online, so why not stick that on your portable music device and enjoy music from the likes of Base Ball Bear, The Polka Dot Fire Brigade, Sexy Synthesizer and a host of other acts with silly names. While you’re there, I also recommend listening to Nordorama, which has a host of great tunes from Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and the like.