1. Idles - Brutalism
This is the best album of the year for so many reasons it would take pages and pages to explain. Let's say that it's one of the strongest album ever done in history, linking the most exhuberant and intense music you could imagine with the most moving and interesting lyrics ever written and the most crazy and exciting live shows ever seen. It's the band I was waiting for since I heard Third World War, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, the Fall, Future of the Left and more recently Sleaford Mods and Peep Tempel. All these are or were great bands that made some great albums, but this album has this little something the others had not. I don't know how they will manage their success, musically and lyrically, but with this album they have offered one of the milestone in rock music. "Mother" is moreover one of the greatest song ever done. You can read an interview (in French) of Joe Talbot, singer and lyricist of the band that I did with my babe here.
2. Unsane - Sterilize
Always great to see a band that you love maintain their level of exigence and their quality standards. Better if, like Unsane, they still increase it. Not that the tracks (I don't call them songs) are better, they are always good, based on the same paradigm, but here the production is stunning. Loud and heavy, they never sounded better. And on stage, they are still one of the most intense and abrasive band to see. So, without Idles, they would have won the first place.
3. Pile - A Hairshirt of Purpose
Long I was sure this LP would be my fave of the year. But actually my mood changed, less introspective, angrier, and therefore Unsane and Idles were more in accordance with it. Anyway, this album is a thrill. Complex and simple, a real musical oxymore. This is maybe their best. Rick Maguire is nothing less than one of the greatest singer songwriter this planet had on its ground. Long live to them.
4. Julia Julian - In Group / Out Group
Most Top 10 year lists are quite narrow in musical styles. Not mines. For the last 45 years I listened to so many styles it would be a shame to be limited to one in such lists, although I must admit that some have my preferences. Usually not this lo-fi independant pop but when it reached genius like this one, impossible to resist. This is the album I listened to the most often this year. Actually I used to run while listening to him (or listen to him while running). How can I say to motivate your curiosity? That rarely I've found something of the Ray Davies meets Jonathan Richman meets Bid genius anywhere else than in the young man leading this band. Hope he'll keep this path and offer us (buy it anyway) more in the near future.
5. Jackson Reid Briggs and The Heaters - When Are You Going To Give Up On Me So I Can Give Up On Myself
Not often over the last 35 years I could say I loved a punk album. So many were attributed this genre, so few deserved it. But Jackson Reid Briggs deserves it and this album is the best punk musical thing I heard since the glorious punk period. It's urgent, direct, dynamic and angry. You get out of here like a shirt from a washing machine: all clean. Sad the next one, released some months only later (maybe too soon) was much weaker. But this one is a killer.
6. Fleshpress - Hulluuden Muuri
This band is finnish but not finished at all (easy but I couldn't help to make it). Their music is a sort of sludgy Neurosis equivalent and this last album a distorted muddy flow that drowns you for the best. I was not expecting such a noise flood. There are no much competitive bands in this category, and if you dig what I described above, this LP is for you.
7. Shimmer - Shimmer
Can't really say why this album seems to me so important and why I like it so much. Words are missing (remember I'm French and not English fluent speaking) to describe the music that this band from Portland is proposing. Others say sleazy, elastic, groovy, scorching, fury. I'd say it never gives you what you expect and this is the reason why you listen to it again and again, although it's sometimes painful. The vids are to watch too. Similary weird. This album is definitively an important feature of the year.
8. Sparks - Hippopotamus
Although based on the first track released (the eponymous one) I was expecting a more experimental (à la Lil' Beethoven) album, and although the production is rather too much manistream compared to the more solid and rock stage versions, this album stands high in the Sparks discography with some wonderful songs (of course the title track and "Edith Piaf" but also "Scandinavian Design" or the funny "When You're A French Director" with Leos Carax singing). All in all, it's a great "retour en forme" (let's speak French for a while). We had, my babe and me) the privilege to talk to them for an interview (in French again). They were delicious and kind. You can read it here.
9. Peter Perrett - How The West Was Won
This album is better and worse than what I expected from my favourite singer songwriter (yes it is, those who come here may have seen that given the number of stuff I uploaded from him on this blog). Better since it was not sure he was still able to rivalize in songwriting with his glorious past. Most songs are great and that's a great emotion to see that time and drugs have not altered his genius. Better too cos' without the fantastic trio of Only Ones musicians (Mike Kellie died this year but the project was anyway not planned to be with them), I was a little bit anxious of the result. Worse cos' the production is here again mainstream, commercial, US-inclined, giving an americana flavor (I don't like at all this flavor) to the whole. When you listen to the songs live, you regret the production options but that was maybe required to reach a wider audience. Finally, this is an album that will stay close to the heart although it could have been so much better.
10. Batpiss - Rest in Piss
Let's finish with this (once again) Australian band (after Peep Tempel and Jackson Reid Briggs, it's a land of great bands) that seems quite obsessed with pee, me too so it's OK. Their music belongs to the noise style à la Amphetamine Reptile with a Big Black touch but they are much more varied than this narrow description. Actually they cover a large spectre of style and they provide (with Unsane) the best noise record of the year so far. Don't miss this gem if you like music with balls and ovaries. Or piss off.
So now, let's hope the next post will be a new upload record and that I will be able to announce that all past material has been re-up somewhere. May 2018 see the reborn of this blog.