Evilchili's Album of the Year! (Long)
Sweet Zombie Jesus what a year for new music. I bought more 2018 releases in 2018 than I have bought new music in a long while. Partly this is due to blatant cheating: John Zorn and Brian Eno both released massive box sets, and They Might Be Giants dropped three albums (!), two in December. But also surprising releases came from places I didn't expect: a new
Spiritualized record! A new David Byrne record! Dead Can Dance! Dirty Goddamned Computer! Oh, and a lost Coltrane record, because down is up and up is down.
2018 is remarkable for another reason, too: artists at the top of their game *decades* in. Sloan, TMBG, Yo La Tengo, David Byrne and Paul Simon all turned out records as good as anything they've ever done. At this point I don't expect
Sloan to ever record a bad *song*, nevermind a bad record.
But my pick for Evilchili's Album of the Year goes not to any reliable stalwart companion, but to a New Zealand four-piece whose rise to the top of my list was from first listen utterly inevitable. The Beths' debut, Future Me Hates Me, clocks in at just 39 minutes but packs a tremendous sun-drenched power-pop wallop. It ticks all my boxes: boy-girl harmonies, loud guitars, sad, clever lyrics on major chords (and handclaps provided by Yrs Chili). It is,
simply speaking, my favourite record this year and possibly of several years.
Here's my complete Top 10:
01 the Beths - Future Me Hates Me
02 Janelle Monae - Dirty Computer
03 Aphex Twin - Collapse EP
04 Metric - Art of Doubt
05 They Might Be Giants - I Like Fun
06 Sloan - 12
07 CHRVCHES - Love is Dead
08 Subsonic Eye - Dive Into
09 St. Vincent - MassEducation
10 Busdriver - Electricity is On Our Side
David Byrne - American Utopia
Paul Simon - In the Blue Light
They Might Be Giants - the Escape Team
They Might Be Giants - My Murdered Remains
Dead Can Dance - Dionysus
Yo La Tengo - There's a Riot Going On
John Coltrane - Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album
Brian Eno - 77 Million Paintings (Music for Installations)
the Herbalizer - Bring Out the Sound
Ben Caplan - Old Stock
Spiritualized - And Nothing Hurt
Elvis Costello - Look Now
Gnostic Trio - Netzach (John Zorn: Book Bari'ah Vol. 7)
Secret Chiefs 3 - Malkhut (John Zorn: Book Bari'ah, Vol. 10)
the Orb - No Sounds are Out of Bounds
The Who, or what's left of them, have a new record on the way. Lead single sounds like old farts playing The Who songs, which tracks.
09 Endless Hopeless Bleak Dispair [WRECKLESS ERIC]
10 Drink! [THE POGUES]
11 My Man [THOMAS DOLBY]
12 Older [THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS]
13 Mink Car [BURT BACHARACH]
14 Wicked Little Critta [MR. BUNGLE]
15 Finished With Lies [JONATHAN COULTON]
16 She Thinks She's Edith Head [THE CARS]
17 Working Undercover For the Man [CAKE]
#MinkCar turned 20 this week, so I thought it a fine time to review my theory that They Might Be Giants have written all your favorite bands' best songs they never wrote, and I can prove it to you with the tracks on this record. BEHOLD!
01 Bangs [THE MONKEES]
02 Cyclops Rock [THE PIXIES]
03 Man, It's So Loud In Hear [NEW ORDER]
04 Mr. Xcitement [BECK]
05 Another First Kiss [COUNTING CROWS]
06 I've Got a Fang [THE RESIDENTS]
07 Hovering Sombrero [THE BREEDERS]
08 Yeh Yeh (cover)
long time Tom Waits collaborator Larry Taylor has died. I knew he was in Canned Heat and played with Beefheart, but this is one *hell* of a discography:
Daevid Allen died in 2015, which I knew. What I didn't know is that he told Gong to keep going, and nominated Knifeworld's frontman Kavus Torabi to replace him.
They released a record earlier this year, and to my delight it's a pretty excellent Gong record.
Since @evilchili brought up the birthday of this album, here's a nice breakdown of some of the recording techniques and equipment behind Portishead's "Dummy"
Warning: contains lots of ads
Since Mint Records (seminal canadian indie record label) has popped up on bandcamp I’ve been poking through their catalog and discovered dumb.
dumb sits somewhere on the intersection of Dead Kennedys, Devo and The Evaporators, which is a fine place to site in my opinion.
I am really enjoying the Spielbergs. noisy stadium anthems played in a phone booth. Puts me in mind of Frightened Rabbits.
The Center Will Not Hold is great. Annie Clark's presence is everywhere, and I suspect in a few years time we'll be talking about That Clark Sound the way we talk about Eno's sonic washes. #np
Life on Mars is one of those songs that makes my breath die in my throat. This version, from the Hours tour in 1999 is really something, though Mick Ronson's arrangements on the album version are unmatched.
I do love that this one closes with the synth sound from Thursday's Girl -- anchors it in time as much as Bowie's hair.