heard on the wire

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.

Echobelly // Firefly

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I wasn’t as excited as many by the new fall LP, but there’s always something to be impressed with whenever Mark E Smith enters a recording studio. This is my second and final selection from New Facts Emerge. Let’s hope that Smith’s declining health doesn’t mean it’s my last ever selection.

The Fall // Fol de Rol

I was pleased to see that the Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever made The Guardian’s list of LPs that they’d overlooked this year; if only they followed the Heard on the Wire tumblr.

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever // French Press

Setting the standard for antipodean pop, Fazerdaze’s first full-length LP was undoubtedly one of the musical highlights of 2017. This is my second selection from Morningside.

Fazerdaze // Friends

So take off all your clothes
Jump screaming through the garden hose

Now that’s sound advice for a December morning in Connecticut.

Strawberry Runners // Garden Hose

This is the first of two tracks from Sweden’s It’s For Us to make this second selection, confirming Come With Me’s status as the outstanding LP of the year.

It’s For Us // Ghost Officer

Listening back to this list, it strikes me that there’s a considerable prevalence of female voices over shimmering guitars. Long my that continue.

This is another Swedish contribution.

We. The Pigs // Go Away

Meanwhile, Fazerdaze’s Auckland neighbours’ sole 2017 release, reminds us that there’s something stirring in New Zealand.

The Beths // Great No One

Not satisfied with fucking over our economy over the past 30-odd years, trading investment for tax cuts and, to put the icing on the miserable cake, dump us out of the EU, the baby boomer generation also seems intent on destroying my generation’s landscape by tearing down every decent building built since the 1950s — or so it seems. The upshot has been a surge in the interest in both modernism and brutalism, though the latter is to often taken to mean buildings that are somehow “brutal”, rather than naked concrete, or beton brut, where the term’s French origins lie. Whether that can protect what’s left of our legacy, as another brutalist classic is torn down, remains to be seen. I’m not optimistic.

However, and as if to illustrate my point about the marginal misappropriation of the world, Brutalism was the debut LP from Idles and made number two in _Louder The War’s albums of the year.

Idles // Heel

How low indeed‽

It’s for Us // How Low

»A festive fifty — part one

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