heard on the wire

A festive fifty — part five

Any self-respecting blog would conclude its annual review within the eponymous time span. I’ve overrun; what with New Year and that small matter of a trip to Bruges, the fifth and final part of my “festive” rundown of 2017’s top 50 tracks has had to wait.

So, and without further idleness, here are the last 10 records, in no particular order save the final — and to my mind surprising — choice, my record of the year.

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A festive fifty — part four

Music per se is ephemeral, it exists as a unique or, in the case of contemporary pop music, standardised collection of sound waves. Ten years ago and before, that wasn’t really a problem, as everything was embedded in some form of constant, soild object, be it a record, CD or tape. We could touch and feel _and _hear “our” music.

For almost everyone under 30, to pick an arbitrary age-point, this is an alien concept. Music is ethereal, it’s no more ours than the air. This rarely presents a problem; if you have bandwidth you have more music at your fingertips than you could ever possibly listen to. It’s overdose and you become reliant on computers to generate playlists and recommendations, which ironically seem to trap you in a walled garden defined by genre and “people who also liked…”.

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A festive fifty — part three

The last time I put together a list such as this was sometime around the and of 1994 and it comprised two C90 cassette recordings of my favourite songs from the previous couple of years. I still have the tapes. Boo Radley’s magnificent Giant Steps and Nick Cave’s finest LP, Let Love In, figure strongly.

Ironically, given the advances in technology, pressing play and record and pause between switching records was probably less time consuming than this: typing, retying, finding links, cutting and pasting. Maybe next year I should just burn a couple of CDs and post them out to anyone who wants them.

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A festive fifty — part two

Part two of this musical trip through 2017 begins with the return of a band tarred unfairly at their nineties peak with the britpop brush, but who never fitted that white-male–football–laddish–English model.

There’s a justified expectation of reformed bands that they won’t linger for too long on the new material. However with Sonia Aurora Madan as captivating as ever, guitarist and songwriter Glenn Johansson delivers an impressive set of new tunes that confidently overshadow the back catalogue. Play loud.

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A festive fifty — part one

The year draws to a close. A blogger stirs, thinking, perhaps, that there’s still someone listening. And ironically on a day when a lost voice keeps him at home, he finds his voice once more.

And thus an attempt to plug the large gap in this year’ postings and collect fifty songs from the year that deserve to be heard or re-heard and may just enrich a life here or there.

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Speakers sparkle and headphones shimmer

I was asked to do a Spotify playlist; I don’t do Spotify. Chiefly I acquire almost of my music from Bandcamp; Bandcamp doesn’t do streaming playlists.

But Playmoss does. And not only does it let the discerning curator curate from Bandcamp, it mixes with Soundcloud and You Tube. It’s a discerning curator’s dream. It’ll even do Spotify, if you’re that way inclined (but you have to really hate musicians to go that far).

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We come from the same place

Synonyms for moribund: at death’s door, at the end of the rope, declining, done for, doomed, expiring, fading, fated, going, mortal, mortally ill, on one’s deathbed, on one’s last leg, one foot in the grave, passing, perishing.

Some of those may be a little extreme, but that’s basically what’s become of this blog of late.

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A love that lasts all time

Today I went into a record shop and scanned the rack of leftovers from Record Store Day. Therein I briefly considered spending £27.99 on a remastered version of a record I already own in its original version.

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Back to school

School starts again tomorrow, which means that the flow of music onto these pages will necessarily slow to a trickle.

But tomorrow leaves just enough time for a round-up of some of the tunes that have brightened some of the many grey days we’ve had recently.

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Something for Mama

Much was made in 2016 of the tenth studio LP by Teenage Fanclub and while Here is doubtless a fine record, I struggled to work up the same enthusiasm as reviewers who appear to have been unequivocal in their universal acclaim.

And that’s slightly odd. Because I really like The Great Leap Backward, the second LP from fellow Scots, Bubblegum Lemonade. And if ever a band sounded like Teenage Fanclub, then it’s Bubblegum Lemonade.

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heard on the wire is a blog about music old and new, but mostly new. It occasionally uses 21st century file formats that may not be supported by 20th century web browsers. For best results use Safari or Chrome. And If you like the music posted here, please think of the effort and expense that has gone into making it and consider buying a copy of your own.


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