heard on the wire

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.

This is not meant to be definitive list; there is too much music for that to be possible. And I make no apologies for the almost complete absence of electronic or black music in the list; it just hasn’t been on my radar this year.

So, and in no particular order, this very personal “festive fifty” begins with a band who provided us with the finest record of 2011 but haven’t scaled those height since. Still, their latest LP, The Echo of Pleasure has its moments, not least, this.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart // Anymore

How better to follow that with a slice of country-tinged pop — or pop-tinged country — that presages a new LP due out next year‽

Legends of Country // Anything But Country

Next up, a track from the long-awaited return of the Popguns (who also released some fantastic demo recordings from 1988).

The Popguns // A Beaten Up Guitar

Fazerdaze’s Morningside is an LP that doesn’t quite deliver as a sum of its considerable parts, so it’s perhaps a little surprising that four of those parts have made it into this list. This is, logically, the first.

Fazerdaze // Bedroom Talks

Any year be without the Fall is a considerably poorer one, musically speaking. Mark E Smith battled considerable ill health to bring us the band’s 31st studio LP on four lovely sides of 10-inch vinyl. The best of them was side 1, which provides this list with two of its finest moments.

The Fall // Brillo de Facto

Augmenting the Popguns’ contribution to this list is the Brighton band’s side-project, The Perfect English Weather, which distills the talents of Simon and Wendy Pickles into something sounding very much like the perfect record for this time of year.

The Perfect English Weather // Christmas in Suburbia

From the best LP of the year, the band name and title says it all.

It’s for us // Come with me

From one Swedish band to another.

Hater // Common Way

They say he was a master of medical mimicry
It’s safe to say he knew his way around a suppository
It was a crime against human ability
A dedicated follower of fashioning misery

Was there a better lyric in 2017?

The Holy Orders // Dedicated Follower of Fashioning Misery

And we conclude part one with the title track of a lovely EP from Tokyo’s Cattle. Why did you say goodbye?

Cattle // Sherbert


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