Sunday, 25 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 25: "Shut Up Kiss Me" Angel Olsen

My song of the year is this slice of country tinged perfect pop from Angel Olsen. The chorus is a joyus burst of love that I can't help but sing along too. I'll also admit there's been kitchen dancing at times too. During a year that has been shit on so many levels Shut Up Kiss Me put a smile on my face and that's worth a lot.

Happy Christmas everyone, I hope you all have a lovely day.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 24: "Featured Artist" Meilyr Jones

Meilyr Jones has been my artist of the year without doubt. The lyrics to this song, released back in January, seem prophetic as Meilyr has recieved a lot of praise this year and is surely on the cusp of breaking into mainstream consciousness. Featured Artist is one of my favourite tunes from his brilliant debut album.

Check back tomorrow to find out my Song of the Year. I know it's wrong to have an advent with a door on Christmas Day but I had 25 songs to fit in and forgot how this annoyed me last year (I'll trim it to 24 if you all remind me next year).

Friday, 23 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 23: "In Waves" Slow Club

This is just a lovely song. A gentle country guitar melody that backs Rebecca's sumptuous vocal and really lets her shine. I saw Slow Club play an in-store at Rough Trade and it was spell binding live too.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 22: "Breaking Into Aldi" Fat White Family

I've not been a close follower of the ongoing misadventures of the Fat White Family. I know they have a bit of a reputation as wild characters who have a tendacy to get naked during live appearances but I haven't seen them myself. Breaking Into Aldi doesn't feature on the Songs for Our Mothers album that came out at the start of the year but for me it's the best thing they've done so far. I imagine it captures the zeitgeist of post-Brexit Britain, assuming I know what a zeitgeist actually is, either way this is a blast of punk of energy.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 21: "Up To Anything" The Goon Sax

Some of my favourite songs of the year are by bands I know very little about. The Goon Sax are a trio from Brisbane featuring Louis Forster, James Harrison and Riley Jones. Up To Anything is the title track of their debut album and another slice of perfect pop. This is all the more remarkable as the band are all still in their teens. Louis is the son of former Go-Between Robert Forster but this is a band that seems more than capable of making their own way in the music business.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 20: "Wallflower" Martha Ffion

Claire Martha Ffion McKay is an Irish songwriter based in Glasgow and Wallflower is as perfect a pop tune as you're likely to hear. This was a proper ear worm and one of those songs that put a smile on my face everytime I heard it.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 19: "Someone To Care For" The Hayman Kupa Band

As opening lines go this one is up with the best. I also love the contrast between Emma & Darren's vocals. It's just a brilliant single and was my introduction to Emma Kupa, who's other band - Mammoth Penguins - I may have avoided due to confusion with the jazz influenced band GoGo Penguin. My brain often does this, especially when it comes to working out which bands I want to spend time with. I have since rectified the Penguin based confusion and discovered I am a huge fan of all Emma Kupa related projects.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 18: "I Shot All The Birds" The Blind Shake

The last few days have got a bit melodic so I think it's time for some proper noisey rock'n'roll. The Blind Shake are a punk trio from Minneapolis formed by brothers Jim and Mike Blaha. They are good friends with John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees fame and it was seeing them live supporting Dwyer's band that really broke them for me. They were blistering live and their subsequent album, Celebrate Your Worth, is one of my favourites of the year.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 17: "Dry Food" Palehound

Palehound are ostensibly the songwriting vehicle of singer & guitarist Ellen Kempner. I first heard them via the single Molly which has a corking noisey guitar riff that I like but it's the title track of the album that claims the number 9 spot in my songs of the year. Dry Food is a song I've found on loop in my brain thanks largely to it's lyrical refrain "You made beauty a monster to me, So I'm kissing all the ugly things I see". I think it nails the impact of a failed relationship in two simple lines.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 16: "Pool Party" Julia Jacklin

Julia Jacklin's debut album has been one of my sleeper hits of the year. A record I've enjoyed more and more with each play and is still on heavy rotation at Top 5 HQ. Her vocals remind me of Sharon Van Etten and this song in particular has a haunting quality about it I very much like.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 15: "You and I" Margaret Glaspy

Margaret Glaspy was a new name to me in 2016, You and I being the lead single from her debut album Emotions & Math. I love the fuzzed up telecaster guitar sound on this song. It sounds like it's being played through a fucked up amp which can only be a good thing in my book.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 14: "Pool Hall" The Wave Pictures

The Wave Pictures have released enough new music this year to have a Top 5 all to themselves. Pool Hall is from their second album of the year, Bamboo Dinner In The Rain and bemoans the fact that their local pool hall is being closed down and being turned into flats. They're a fabulous live band too, I saw them play a corking gig at XOYO in November after missing their tour earlier in the year.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 13: "Burn The Witch" Radiohead

I love this tune. I'm not so comfortable with Radiohead's more challenging electronic explorations and this felt like something of a return to the style of my preferred 'Head era. The video is great too, Camberwick Green was peak viewing when I was a kid, the combination of animation and alternative vibes is rather lovely.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 12: "Norms & Values" Slowcoaches

Well this was good timing. I'm writing this on the Sunday night following Slowcoaches album launch at The Lexington. Norms & Values was the first of their songs I heard, though I originally mistook the title for Norman Values assuming it to be some pun about a return to the medaeval dark ages. To be honest that says more about me, my poor hearing and apalling ability to pay attention to lyrics, than it does about Slowcoaches who are the latest in an exciting run of punk influenced bands to appear in the last couple of years. All you need to know is the album is great and they're flipping brilliant live. Go see them at the earliest opportunity.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 11: "Cannot Keep A Secret" Emma Pollock

Emma Pollock was previously a member of the magnificent Delgados, a band that helped rekindle my interest in music in the late nineties. Regretfully I only saw them live once but they were introduced on stage by John Peel ahead of a Sonic Youth / Spiritualized collaboration, so it was a memorable night. Cannot Keep A Secret is my favourite tune from her third solo album In Search of Harperfield which is definitely worth checking out if you've not heard it already.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 10: "Disappointed" Field Music

I love Field Music. Their latest album, Commontime, is a bit of an epic but it's full of quality tunes. Disappointed has flashes of Prince inspired pop amid the slightly off kilter sound of Wearside art-rock.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 9: "The Answer" Savages

This is a ferocious song and the first sign that Savages had stepped things up several notches from their debut album. I was lucky enough to catch them live a couple of times this year. They were great at The Roundhouse but the 8:30 am album launch they played at The 100 Club was simply stunning. I'm not sure if it was a lack of sleep or a lack of alcohol but they were in blistering form that day and left me wandering the streets of London in a bit of a daze.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 8: "Sweetest Girl" Eleanor Friedberger

I'm a big fan of Eleanor Friedberger's solo work. Her 2013 album, Personal Record, was one of my top five that year and her latest album, New View, is just as good. The video has Eleanor playing Sweetest Girl in a stripped down solo format that makes it starkly beautiful. The album version features more lush instrumentation that makes it one of the best pop tunes I've heard all year.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 7: "Gardenia" Iggy Pop

Iggy & Bowie both making my songs of the year list. I didn't really think about this as I was deciding which songs would make the cut but I'm glad my choices cover new artists still in their teens through to established legends approaching their seventies. Gardenia was the lead single from the Post Pop Depression album, Iggy's collaboration with Josh Homme.

Homme has something of the magic touch when it comes to collaborating and seems to have brought the best out of Iggy. One of my regrets of the year was not catching this band live on their short tour of the UK. The band, featuring Queen of the Stone Age's Dean Fertita and, more unexpectedly, Arctic Monkeys' drummer Matt Helders, sounded tight and seemed to have a lot of fun playing together.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 6: "It’s Your Love" Hannah Lou Clark

In an unexpected twist of fate today's musical advent artist is also doing a musical advent so go check that out on Twitter. I discovered Hannah Lou Clark when she played a support slot at a gig in Guildford at The Boileroom. This single came out several months after that live experience and has been a favourite ear worm ever since.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 5: "I Can't Give Everything Away" David Bowie

I'm still a relative apprentice when it comes to Bowie, though I've expanded my collection quite a bit over the last couple of years. This tune was the third single from David's final album, "Blackstar", released two days before his death. I was surprised by how affected I was by his passing, particularly on the day the news broke. "I Can't Give Everything Away" brings the album to an uplifting close even though the lyrics seem to be about not being able to let on that he is dying.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 4: "Tick" Weaves

Weaves are a Canadian band who, as with much of this list, I discovered through Marc Riley on 6Music. I still don't know a huge amount about them as I failed to catch them live when they were over for a short UK tour but I did read great things about those shows. Their debut album, from which this tune is from, is full of great quirky pop and I like it a lot.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 3: "Trouble" Girl Ray

Girl Ray first caught my attention thanks to Marc Riley though soon after this I caught them live supporting Meilyr Jones. Trouble is their debut physical single though they had a couple of other tunes out electronically earlier in the year. Definitely a band to watch out for next year.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 2: "Into The Darkness" Ultimate Painting

Something more mellow for day 2. This is Into The Darkness by Ultimate Painting. The band are Jack Cooper formerly (and possibly still) of Mazes and James Hoare of Veronica Falls. They're both talented songwriters but seem to have hit a particularly rich seam since joining forces and have released three studio albums in three years.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 1: "Castleman" Cowtown

2016 has been a dreadful year for many reasons and possibly that's contributed to my lack of top fivery but Christmas is fast approaching and it's time for another musical advent (whether you like it or not) featuring my top 25 songs of the year in reverse order.

Things kick off with a blast from Cowtown an amazing trio from Leeds that include Jon Nash from Hookworms in their number. This is Castleman a tribute to John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees with a familiar Oh Sees style twang to the guitar sound. There are two videos as one has better visuals and the other better sound.

The Xmas countdown begins.