2020 stopped us all in our tracks which has made music so much more important. Below is a round-up of the best tunes of the year from me, all of which you’d have heard on the radio show.
Daniel Avery & Alessandro Cortini – Illusion of Time
This sounds just so incredibley moving when you’ve put some headphones on and all is still, it gives me the same emotions I had when I first heard Loveless all those years ago. The blend of melody and distortion is magificent. However just like some of the Valentines work this does not travel well via an FM or DAB radio so I haven’t played it on the show as much as I’d have liked, it doesn’t stop it being possibly my favourite tune of the year.
Winter – Here I Am Existing
One of the best debut albums of the year came from Winter, Endless Space (Between You and I) captured the spirit of the Cocteau Twins, Stereolab and Melody’s Echo Chamber to make one of my favourite albums of the year.
Sonic Boom – Things Like This (Just A Little Bit Deeper)
His first solo album in 30 years and it felt like he’d never been away, every bit as good as his previous work, All Things Being Equal was a great album.
Andy Bell – Love Comes In Waves
It’s really easy to forget that we had a gloriously hot summer this year and this track dropped right in the middle of it. The perfect soundtrack to a hot summer day with a top video too. If something good came out of lockdown it was Andy Bell’s debut solo album, and one of the standout moment was interviewing him for the show, you can listen again here.
Kelly Lee Owens – Night
Combining dreampop and minimal techno, Kelly Lee Owens’ followed up her debut album with a solid collection of tunes including this track. Listening to her album for the first time via a group Zoom call with Kelly was another standout moment from a quiet year.
Thurston Moore – Hashish
Thurston was back with his best solo album this year, it’s easy to forget that a large part Sonic Youth’s back catalogue is now over 30 years old yet his music still sounds relevant.
The Radio Dept – You Fear The Wrong Thing Baby
The band started the year stating they’ll release a track a month, I’m sure a small matter of a pandemic got in the way but we still got a scattering of brilliant new tracks from the band this year.
Dean & Britta – The Carnival Is Over
Alongside playing a whole host of online gigs, Dean & Britta released their Isolation Tapes album which was a compilation of tracks they’d performed during those gigs. Alongside that was a cover of The Seekers which is the track that resonated with me. I’m guessing it’s because this was a song I’d hear as a young child when then world felt a much safer place than today. Britta’s vocal performance on this is exceptional.
Andrew Weatherall – Unknown Plunderer
From the early ’90s Weatherall had played a large part in the musical landscape, he may be known for his dance music and production on Loaded but his music crossed all genres. He was just as likely to be playing at Sonic Cathedral as he was at Fabric. This track was released the week he died in February and featured Andy Bell from Ride on guitar. May he rest in peace.
bdrmm – Push/Pull
A massive leap-up from those early singles, Bedroom was the fully formed album many Shoegaze fans of old had been waiting for.
Maps – Something New (The Other Two remix)
This remix stopped me in my tracks, whilst the original is great Gillian and Stephen have taken the song somewhere completely different. This may be a new release but it also feels nostalgic with some early ’90s sounds, if I had to state a favourite remix of the year it’d definitely be this. It also got me listening to The Other Two’s music again.
Let us not forget those Tim Burgess Listening Parties that helped us all reconnect over music, I’ve joined many of these and always found them to be inspiring, I can’t remember how many albums I’ve ordered during them.
Here’s to 2021 being a much better year with less political division, no pandemic, good health and plenty more amazing tunes!
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