So it took a while but I'm on track now, a post every week (or so) from now on...
It's traditional in music writing to have an end of the year round up of the songs/albums/artists that made an impression during the last 12 months. As by and large 2016 has been a real turkey of a year, deaths, politics and the demise of Teamrock have all left a sour taste in the mouth, but are we downhearted? Yes we are! So to add to the mood of gloom and futility these are the moments that brightened my corner of the forest.
Christine & The Queens - Chaleur Humaine:
So good I bought it twice. Once as a download after seeing "that" performance on Jools Holland, and again as a CD/DVD set on holiday in France when I realised how different the versions were. I know it has been out since 2014 in France but it was a 2016 release in the U.K. The mix of English & French lyrics, the melodies coupled to "hefty rhythm and bass line" and a sparkling production that only works on decent speakers or headphones. The Michael Jackson comparisons have more to do with dancing and trousers than the music which stands up without the sideshow. Best songs. Paradis Perdu, St Claude.
Bill Nelson - New Northern Dream:
A name you will hear a lot in this blog. I could just issue a blanket recommendation for all five albums Bill has released this year but this highlights the slightly whimsical dream pop aspect of his work with some of his best recent writing. Be Bop Deluxe fans who haven't encountered Bill since then should perhaps try the download only "Special Metal" as an easy starting point. Bill works in an almost stream of consciousness fashion and has maybe a dozen albums in waiting at any one time. Once you are hooked by this homespun beautiful music you will join those of us who rush to the computer to secure one of the 500 cds he presses of each release.
Fakear - Animal:
Fakear (a French DJ & producer) peppers his dance music with themes from flamenco to Africa & Asia. Rae Morris who sings on several of these pieces will be a huge star before long. The mix of influences and beats that is quite at home on the dance floor but also in the car or just for listening. Fakear who's maman calls him Théo Le Vigoureux says "I think we’re just beginning to see all the possibilities of electronic [music]" and this is the map of the new territory.
ABC's The Lexicon Of Love 2, a sequel not dwarfed by it's predecessor
Robin Trower's Where Are You Going To, much improved on his last album
David Bowie's Blackstar, I'm still getting to grips with this and will report back
And the rest was all old stuff I discovered during the year, of which more anon.