April 2022 Album of the month: Kurt Vile – “(watch my moves)”

This month was extraordinary in terms of new releases so I hope Jack White will pardon me for not selecting his very good new record…

Album of the month: Kurt Vile – “(watch my moves)” – Pop Rock – Kurt Vile has been a favourite of mine for many years now and I am looking forward to catching him on stage soon. He is probably one of these musicians not served by the recurring excellence of his music and indeed the formula is pretty much the same one record from one other, mixing a Pavement way of singing with an electric Neil Young guitar-playing. What makes this new record even better can probably be found on the cover where one can see a very relaxed crocodile-Kurt with his two daughters, enjoying family life during the Covid period.

Runner-up: Spiritualized “Everything Was Beautiful” – Pop Rock – If I were allowed to choose two records rather than one this month, then we would have two winners. But rules are strict here so apologies to Jason Spaceman for only making his new fantastic record my runner-up. I guess you all know the greatness of this band as they made one of the best records of all times in 1997. If you like punk, soul, psychedelic rock, gospel and krautrock, this record is for you! As an extra, I was lucky to catch Spiritualized on stage at the Round House on the 10th of May and they really get better each time I see them. Seeing six ageing rock musicians on stage playing their powerful and loud music so beautifully arranged by a choir of six young women was one of the best things I have experienced.

Also recommended:

Christian Lee Hutson “Quitters” – Pop Rock – Soft and Elliott Smith-influenced singer who also happens to be a Phoebe Bridgers collaborator.

Red Hot Chili PeppersUnlimited Love – Pop Rock – Our favourite L.A. musicians are back (with John Frusciante!) with a long and beautiful record.

Father John Misty – “Chloe And The Next 20th Century” – Pop Rock – Josh Tillman has never sang better than through these very nice retro songs.

Daniel Rossen – “You Belong There” – Pop Rock – It is hard to admit that Grizzly Bear currently are on hiatus but if it means getting such a beautiful record from their main singer, the pain will be easier to bear.

Fontaines D.C.“Skinty Fia” – Pop Rock – 3rd album from this Irish band and as good as their first two records.

U.F.A of the month! : Gus Englehorn – “Dungeon Master” – Pop Rock – The best WTF record of the year so far!

Lest we forget: album of the previous month – Nilüfer Yanya“Painless”

Everything I listened to in April ’22
The best of the year so far ; seven albums per month!

March 2022 Album of the month: Nilüfer Yanya – “Painless”

Like Jack Black would say in ‘High Fidelity‘, I will soon have five readers buy the album of the month…

Album of the month: Nilüfer Yanya – “Painless” – Pop Rock – I do not want to fall into clichés and love artists for what they are but this young singer / composer is everything I like about London. Nilüfer Yanya is as influenced by her Irish, Barbadian and Turkish origins as she is by growing up in London and listening to pop, indie rock and hip hop. Her first album Miss Universe’ was a real treat and one of our favourites of the year 2019. Although being in the same overall mood, this new release is even better and full of subtleties. No real genre in this record aside from excellence I would say. I was lucky to be at Rough Trade East on the 7th of March for the release of her new record and she is as good on stage as on record.

Runner-up: Midlake “For The Sake Of Bethel Woods” – Pop Rock – This new record was quite a surprise to me as the Denton, Texas band was on hiatus. This is obviously Midlake Mark II, i.e. without their former leader Tim Smith who left the band in 2012 but they are probably as good as they used to be and this new album is full of magnificent melodies.

Also recommended:

The Boo Radleys “Keep On With Falling” – Pop Rock – And yes, they are back! As expected, without Martin Carr, but listening again to Sice‘s voice is so great!

ElkynHoly Spirit Social Club – Pop Rock – Not much I know about this young artist apart that he is bearded and plays very moving songs.

Aldous Harding – “Warm Chris” – Pop Rock – Our favourite kiwi female singer is back with a splendid opus.

Gabriel Kahane – “Magnificent Bird” – Pop Rock – If you are looking for quiet and relaxing new music, this album is yours.

Denzel Curry“Melt My Eyez See Your Future” – Hip Hop – Best album so far from the Florida rapper.

U.F.A of the month! : Peter Doherty & Frédéric Lo – “The Fantasy Life of Poetry & Crime” – Pop Rock – Mixing the former Libertines singer with Daniel Darcs main collaborator was a good idea on paper but both men are ghosts of what they used to be…

Lest we forget: album of the previous month – Spoon“Lucifer On The Sofa”

Everything I listened to in March ’22
The best of the year so far ; seven albums per month!

February 2022 Album of the month: Spoon – “Lucifer On The Sofa”

There were so many records to listen to again this month but I succeeded to select the crème de la crème.

Album of the month: Spoon – “Lucifer On The Sofa” – Pop Rock – I must confess it looks I will never get tired of this band. It has been already five years since the release of their previous excellent Hot Thoughts album and there was maybe the natural instinct in thinking that was just another new Spoon album, not necessarily changing the face of music. It is so actually, i.e. another record from this great Austin, Texas band, not spontaneously giving all its beauties and subtleties from the first listening but the more it goes, the less you can get our mind out of these great songs. Welcome back gents!

Runner-up: Metronomy “Small World” – Pop Rock – Despite being one of the historically cherished bands of this blog, their album ”The English Riviera” being my 2011 album of the year, their latest albums since then sounded a bit samey to my ears. Joseph Mount had recently a few changes in his life, moving from France back to England, and the forced pandemic pause made him think about his music with a different angle. This can really be heard through this short 9-song album, more focused on melodies than on what was expected from the band. And these are amazing songs to listen to on stage!

Also recommended:

Cate Le Bon “Pompeii” – Pop Rock – Our favourite female Welsh artist is back with another very singular record.

Big Thief “Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You” – Pop Rock – A very ambitious double album from Adrianne Lenker and the boys.

The Delines – “The Sea Drift” – Country Soul – The best album to play to get relaxed after a long and stressful day.

Tears For Fears– “The Tipping Point” – Pop Rock – Releasing their Seventh album eighteen (!) years after the previous effort, Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith are again showing to the world that nothing compares to them when they are so good.

Johnny Marr“Fever Dreams Pts 1-4” – Pop Rock – Great 16-song album from the ageless Johnny Marr.

U.F.A of the month! : Alt-J – “The Dream‘ – Pop Rock – Gents, I am afraid you are definitely not a very good band…

Lest we forget: album of the previous month – Modern Nature“Island Of Noise”

Everything I listened to in February ’22
The best of the year so far ; seven albums per month!

Back to NYC… Kevin Morby & Hamilton Leithauser, Brooklyn Steel, 17th November 2021

I have been quite shy recently in terms of reviewing concerts and I guess the reason it that I subconsciously do not want to bring a jinx after everything occurring since the start of 2020… However, I must confess being (almost) back to normal in terms of gigs’ activity since the End of the Road festival took place in summertime. I was lucky to travel to the United States of America after the reopening of flights for non-residents… and attending a great gig in my beloved NYC. Brooklyn Steel is a quite new location, opened in 2017 in the iconic Williamsburg district and built out of a site which used to be a steel manufacturing plant, hence the name.

The concert was actually one of a kind as it was part of a US-only short tour, gathering artists having many things in common and playing with each other in all sets. The evening started with the beautiful voice of Americana singer Jess Williamson, supported on a few songs by the excellent Katie Crutchfield, better known as artist Waxahatchee.

Katie Crutchfield also happens to Kevin Morby‘s girlfriend and when the latter appeared on stage in a beautiful nudie suit, she also sang a few tracks with him. I had discovered Kevin Morby at the 2016 End of the Road edition and I must admit being a avid follower of him since then, putting regularly his records amongst my favourites. I found him really amazing that night and it looked to me he gains confidence in his art with time. His music is to me the perfect mix of traditional American music with an edge which is very modern and indie-rock influenced.

Last but not least, it was time for Hamilton Leithauser to come on stage and play his traditional happy/sad songs with one of the most beautiful voices of our times. He is the kind of artists I actually caught many times on stage either with his former band The Walkmen or as a solo artists opening for other bands, but every time I have a live experience with this musician, I am impressed by his dedication and the quality of his music. A great time in NYC and hopefully I will be back soon!

January 2022 Album of the month: Modern Nature – “Island of Noise”

…and Helloooooo to you, 2022! With a beautiful album by the way…

Album of the month: Modern Nature – “Island Of Noise” – Pop Rock – A record with such a beautiful cover cannot be bad for sure but Modern Nature‘s new album is even better than its cover. It was actually released as a very limited edition for the happy few late last year but it has just been released globally on streaming services so I will allow myself to cheat a bit. ”Island of Noise” is the kind of record you want to listen again and again, afraid of missing all of his subtleties. Modern Nature is the brainchild of Jack Cooper, formerly of Ultimate Painting and the more it goes, the better his music is. I will dare to compare this album with the best ones of late-period Talk Talk as I felt sometimes the same need in slowing the tempo and playing with silence. A beautiful record you will cherish all year long.

Runner-up: Eels “Extreme Witchcraft” – Pop Rock – Eels are the perfect example of a band you take for granted. There is no denying that one loses the sense of excitement for a band which has kept on releasing record for close to twenty five years now but I must confess buying all their records with the reinsurance of meeting old friends again. This new opus is amongst their best ones and we should all recognize the singular genius of Mark Everett.

Also recommended:

Cat Power “Covers” – Pop Rock – From Frank Ocean to The Pogues, another record of very personal interpretations by the unique Chan Marshall.

Elvis Costello & The Imposters “The Boy Named If” – Pop Rock – Another fantastic record by the great man and his acolytes!

Yard Act – “The Overload” – Pop Rock – Debut album by this young band from Leeds, mixing the urgency of today’s youth with a post-punk classicism.

Silverbacks – “Archive Material” – Pop Rock – Sophomore album from this Pavement-influenced band of young musicians from Dublin and Paris.

Pedro The Lion“Havasu” – Pop Rock – With his beautiful and warm voice, David Bazan gives us his story of Havasu, a weird American city where he spent a portion of his youth

U.F.A of the month! : The Weeknd – “Dawn FM” – Pop Hip Hop – Not a bad album per se but despite a few listenings, I did not succeed in getting into Abel Tesfaye‘s new record.

Lest we forget: album of the previous month – Neil Young & Crazy Horse“Barn”

Everything I listened to in January ’22
The best of the year so far ; seven albums per month!

End of the Road festival – 2nd to 5th, September 2021

Those familiar with this blog probably understood that End of the Road festival is my favourite moment of the year. After months of uncertainties for reasons we all know and cancellation of the 2020 edition, all fans of this special event were delighted to get confirmation that it would go on as expected. There were of course a few cancellations here and there and the organisers had to re-think the line-up but those who were invited to join made this year’s edition as great as the previous ones. The 2022 edition has just been confirmed earlier in the week so I though it would be the right time to review the 2021 one.

Day 1 – Thursday 2nd September 2021

And here we were again, surrounded by millions of people, starting with the traditional Thursday evening warm-up. The first gig is always an emotional one and I was delighted to see a young band from London lead by Sam Akpro. Finishing Day 1 with Stereolab was also a delight and their mix of British Pop, Krautrock repetitive groove and French influences has always made them apart.

Gig of the day: Kikagaku Moyo. They are an amazing psychedelic Japanese band and I guess the picture below illustrates what they are better than words!

Day 2 – Friday 3rd September 2021

Cape: tick ; beanie hat: tick ; light chair: tick. Ready to spend once again a few hours in a beautiful and friendly environment, surrounded by music lovers! I managed to catch seven concerts that day and they were all either very good or great. From discoveries like London-based African ensemble Balimaya Project, rising folk artist John Francis Flynn or jazz drummer Sarathy Korwar to new sensation Arlo Parks or again female Welsh singer Lonelady, they all made that day a special one. Specific mention of course to Damon Albarn who joined the line-up a month before and gave us a few songs from his new album which was not released yet at the time plus a few Blur classics.

Gig of the day: Hot Chip. I was expecting an overwhelming time with Hot Chip, a band which could be described as the New Order of our times (or again the British LCD Soundsystem). Whatever the description, they are an amazing band on stage to dance to and their setlist was awesome, including two covers of choice (The Beastie Boys”Sabotage” and Bruce Springsteen‘s ”Dancing In The Dark’‘).

Day 3 – Saturday 4th September 2021

As one knows, Saturday is usually the most tiring day of the four, hence the need for energic bands! I must admit that it was so indeed, either with personal favourites like Penelope Isles, Jane Weaver or again new comers Squid. Sunderland’s Field Music were also invited again and once more the Brewis brothers did not disappoint, mixing classic British rock with Steely Dan influences. I was also super excited to catch Radiohead‘s Jonny Greenwood presenting his beautiful movie soundtracks with classical musicians but I must confess this was maybe not the kind of atmosphere I was looking for to finish the day so I once more enjoyed the majesty of Sleaford Mods. The more it goes, the more I like their records and stage presence.

Gig of the day: The Comet Is Coming. Led by saxophonist extraordinaire Shabaka Hutchings, this band is his more experimental one amongst the many projects he has. With his two compadres Maxwell Hallett on drums and Dan Leavers on keyboards, their music is a mix of jazz, dance and drone. It may look like a weird recipe but it works really well and they really were on fire that day.

Day 4 – Sunday 5th September 2021

…and eventually, it had to end again with final day. Seven concerts again on Sunday leading to a total of twenty four gigs in four days. Not that bad although there were a few choices to be done and I missed artists such as Arab Strap, Black Country New Road, Vanishing Twin or again John Grant. But no regrets at all as spending my Sunday with female solo performer Billy Nomates, folk skilled-guitarist Jim Ghedi, hip-hop MC Pan Amsterdam or Manchester band W.H. Lung was really enjoyable. The very singular music of King Krule or the fascinating beauty of new band Dry Cleaning could have made them both my gig of the day but a young lady was above them all that day.

Gig of the day: Little Simz. I was looking forward to finally catching Simbi, alias Little Simz on stage as I have been a major fan of her music for a few years now. She stepped on stage like a really unique performer, dressed with enlightening black and white clothes in front of a row of fantastically-gifted musicians. I am not sure what made her different but to me, this concert confirmed she is really one of the current greats.

Something for the weekend – Episode #53 – The Go-Betweens “Oceans Apart”

Back to popular demand! And for a new start, let’s review a great LP from one of our favourite Aussie bands.

The Go-Betweens – “Oceans Apart 2005

For those not familiar with The Go-Betweens, they were an Australian band formed in Brisbane, Australia, based around core members Robert Forster, Grant McLennan (both singing and playing guitars) and Lindy Morrison (on drums). They released nine albums between 1981 and 2005 and basically spent their musical career in London and Australia, trying to get the commercial success they would have deserved…but never achieved. The story of the band is a sad one with the too-early passing of co-composer Grant McLennan in 2006, which meant the end of this beautiful entity. Robert Forster remains very much active though and definitely got new dynamics recently, releasing great records and playing fantastic gigs. He also released a nice book in 2017, writing his vision of the band and paying a wonderful tribute to his late friend and music partner. They were very much present in the indie rock late 80’s London music scene and Everything But The Girl‘s Tracey Thorn recent book about her friendship with Lindy Morrison is also recommended; it is called ”My Rock’n’Roll Friend” and gives a different side of their story…

Released in 2005 as part of what specialists call the second phase of the band after they reunited, ‘Oceans Apart‘ is their ninth and final album for reasons mentioned above. I remember that fans were a bit disconcerted when the album came out as the sound was probably a bit more muscular than before…although all things are relative and this is not The Go-Betweens go metal! Reviews were really good though, which made me want to listen to this record again. Not an inch of disappointment I must confess: I played the first track and here you go, you are immediately in a perfect world for music lovers: the harmonies, the subtleties of the songs, the beautiful and moving lyrics and probably the most important of it all the quality of the melodies. Their come back in the 00’s was a real thing to treasure and the tragedy they faced makes things even sadder when one thinks about the way they could have last for a very long period of time. And one more thing: with 6th track “Darlinghurst Nights“, may Robert Forster have written his best song ever? A record (and a band) to absolutely re-discover.

Format: CD Bought in: 2005 To be noted: The band did not really enjoy commercial success but can now be considered as one of the most influential of its time. Rating: 9.0/10

Best albums of 2021 – Top 25

I swear this introduction will be short and that I will not mention The Thing too much… However, it is quite difficult to get rid of the white elephant in the room. Let me just mention that, like millions of music lovers, I was relieved and delighted to be able to attend gigs again. Not sure it will stay as such for long but every concert is a blessing. Attending my beloved End Of The Road Festival early September was by far my favourite moment of the year. I am also urging you readers not to be 100% digital and support your beautiful local record stores. There is probably one close to wherever you are reading this blog from, managed by passionate people, happy to share their favourites artists and records.

I literally listened to thousands of new albums or reissues this year and I must confess the choice was really hard amongst my Top 5. They all are fantastic pieces of music…as the other 20 records of this selection. Jazz, soul, noise, indie rock, metal, MPB,… all genres are represented so why not start going to your local records store and buy one of them in vinyl or CD?

#1 Low “Hey What”. Released in: September 2021. Wife and husband Mimi Parker and Alan Sparhawk, better known as rock band Low have long been favourites of this blog. I know I am not the only one to think so and Robert Plant in particular is a huge fan of them. What makes this record very interesting and quite overwhelming as far as I am concerned is the way they have been working on the sound structure. Maybe being without a bass player following Steve Garrington‘s departure from the band gave them a kick in the ass. A bit like Radiohead for instance, their eagerness to keep on looking for something new in their art is an admirable thing. Let me also add that seeing Low on stage is a tremendous experience that you may want to live. Not the kind of record to play on for faint-hearted but an overall experience you might cherish forever. RECORD OF THE YEAR!

 #2 Nick Cave & Warren Ellis – “Carnage”. Released in: February 2021. I must admit being originally quite wrong as I was not sure about the quality of this record when it was released. Catching these two great men on stage at the Royal Albert Hall made me realise this album was a masterpiece and a real grower I must say. I guess I do not need to praise Nick Cave and how he succeeded in having an amazing career throughout all the projects he has been involved. On this album though, he is on par with soul mate Warren Ellis who is an amazing musician and formidable force. Once more, probably not the kind of record to play at a party but what an incredible piece of music it is…

 #3 Goat Girl – “On All Fours”. Released in: January 2021. From London, Goat Girl helped us get a great start of the year 2021. I must confess this record got better with every new listening and the way those young girl improved from their first album is impressive. There is a sort of ‘je ne sais quoi’ in this album which made it different from current modern productions and simultaneously very much of its time. Your new favourite band?

 #4 Dry Cleaning “New Long Leg”. Released in: April 2021. I read this year a very funny article mentioning that when you name your band Dry Cleaning, it really means you are out of names! Jokes aside, the debut album from another London band will probably make you want to be on stage or at a rock venue so good their music is. The real differentiator though can be found in Florence Shaw‘s vocal performance…well more precisely her way of talking as you will not find a single sung note on this record. I was lucky to catch them at End of the Road Festival and they really are one the best bands I have seen in recent times.

 #5 Little Simz – “Sometimes I Might Be Introvert”. Released in: September 2021. Simbi, what did you do? You are an extraordinary musician and performer and I was ready to name your album Record of the Year but I thought it was a bit long sometimes and that a couple of tracks were probably too much. Do not stop here though as when it is good, it is really awesome and every music lover should love her art. Her previous 2019 ”Grey Area” album was also extraordinary and this young lady is here to stay.

 #6 Arlo Parks  “Collapsed In Sunbeams”. Released in: January 2021. Another debut from a London artist and another incredible piece of music. From French and Chadian heritage and born in London, Arlo Parks gave us what it is to be a young black lesbian woman in our current times while making her songs universal and beautiful, with the kind of melodies one could sing while taking their shower.

 #7 Joel Culpepper – “Sgt Culpepper”. Released in: July 2021. For some reason, Joel Culpepper‘s album has been out of all so-called specialists’ end of the year lists, which is quite difficult to understand I must say. He has been present on the London hip-hop and music scene for a while now but ”Sgt. Culpepper” is actually his first proper LP. I personally had the same emotion as when I discovered Terence Trent d’Arby in 1987 and ”Tears of a Crown” was my favourite song of the year. What else do I need to write to make it one of your favourites?

 #8 Anthony Joseph  “The Rich Are Only Defeated When Running For Their Lives”. Released in: May 2021. Another gorgeous album by one artist I have been following for a long time now. A Trinidad-born poet, Anthony Joseph has always been very much involved in the history of his island and the way his ancestors were treated. He is as engaged and committed as usual but this time with an amazing bunch of soul and jazz musicians. I recently missed him on stage but my local correspondent confirmed to me that he is an artist to catch live.

 #9 Mogwai  “As The Love Continues”. Released in: February 2021. From Glasgow, Scotland, Mogwai have also been doing incredible music since 1997 and French series aficionados probably know them through music scores (”Les Revenants” or the ”Zidane” movie). One often has a tendency to take things for granted when they are great and I must confess I lacked of bit of attention to Stuart Braithwaite and his band. If you are not familiar with this band and keen in discovering fascinating instrumental music, they are yours.

 #10 Villagers  “Fever Dream. Out in: August 2021. Let us stay in Gaelic landscapes and go to Dublin, Ireland for Conor J. O’Brien‘s new record, alias Villagers. I was not that huge a fan at the start of their career but I think they went from good to great when Conor started to regularly collaborate with Paul Weller. Their new record is an exercise in subtlety in lyrics and music atmosphere and it also gets better with each new listening.

Cruising high in the sky; the next 15!

  • 11. Damon Albarn“The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows”
  • 12. Kenny Garrett“Sounds From The Ancestors”
  • 13. Caetano Veloso“Meu Coco”
  • 14. Lump “Animal”
  • 15. Makaya McCraven“Deciphering The Message”
  • 16. Sleaford Mods – “Spare Ribs”
  • 17. Neil Young And Crazy Horse – “Barn”
  • 18. Kings Of Convenience – “Peace Or Love”
  • 19. Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony Orchestra- “Promises”
  • 20. Teenage Fanclub – “Endless Arcade”
  • 21. The Weather Station – “Ignorance”
  • 22. Genghis Tron – “Dream Weapon”
  • 23. Mastodon – “Hushed And Grim”
  • 24. The Black Keys – “Delta Kream”
  • 25. Elbow – “Flying Dream 1”
As every year, you may want to peruse the albumoftheyear.org website, which aggregates all lists from magazines, radio shows, stores, etc…but really this blog’s list is all you need (and its related playlist)!

December 2021 Album of the month: Neil Young & Crazy Horse – “Barn”

It looks we reached the end of another year, didn’t we? Well, let’s finish it then with an old friend…

Album of the month: Neil Young & Crazy Horse – “Barn” – Pop Rock – For the second year in a row, we are lucky to get an excellent record from one of the greats in December, which is traditionally a rather deserted month in terms of releases. I was of course referring to Paul McCartney‘s excellent album and the least one can say is that Neil Young’s latest is one of his best of the 21st century. Mainly played and recorded in a …barn near the Rocky Mountains with young men Nils Lofgren (70 years old) on guitar, Billy Talbot (78) on bass, Ralph Molina (78) on drums and Neil Young (76), this record is the perfect article for those who like country-side Neil and grungy Young. The sound is as rough as one would expect but with a touch of subtlety probably coming from Nils Lofgren who is one of the most undervalued guitar player, despite him being a member of Crazy Horse and the E-Street Band! Thank you also to Daryl Hannah for such a lovely picture on the cover of the record.

Runner-up: Moses Sumney “Live From Blackalachia” – Angel Music – I know I am a bit obsessive about this young man but I guess I need to recommend his art again and again for those not familiar yet. This is a live album so obviously not really eligible for the best records of the year but it is a perfect introduction for newcomers. Enter his world and yours could be different. Trust me, it happened to me a few years ago…

Also recommended:

King Buffalo “Acheron” – Stoner Rock – Second album of 2021 from this great Rochester, NY band.

Madmess “Rebirth” – Psychedelic Rock – Indeed, with ‘m’ and not ‘n’, from London and plenty of beards and long hair!

Jeff Parker – “Forfolks” – Post Folk – A beautiful quiet guitar album from a musician who is one of those collaborating with Makaya McCraven on his awesome recent album.

Paul Weller – “An Orchestrated Songbook” – Classic Rock – This is the release of the streamed Barbican gig which occurred earlier in the year. Beautiful.

Bill Callahan & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy“Blind Date Party” – Pop Rock – What do you think happens when two of our favourite singers invite cool guests for a bunch of covers?

U.F.A of the month! : Arca – “iii / iiii / iiiii ” – Electronica – Four albums in a few days (three in December) from eccentric Venezuelan transgender artist and sometimes Björk collaborator. It goes from the unlistenable to the pure genius (often in the same track!) but this is never boring.

Lest we forget: album of the previous month – Damon Albarn“The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows”

Everything I listened to in December ’21.
The best of the year so far ; seven albums per month!

November 2021 Album of the month: Damon Albarn – “The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows”

Another awesome month for music lovers, celebrating this time one of the greats.

Album of the month: Damon Albarn – “The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows” – Pop Rock – It is always difficult to judge a new record by an artist who has been with you for a long period of time. Do we listen to their new projects and records because we know them or would we have the same approach and excitement if they were to be newcomers? I personally think so, as my motto is to ‘listen without prejudice’ so I guess/hope it works on both sides. Although I was quite neutral regarding projects he recently had, it looks this new record is an amazing one. Music and lyrics are very subtle and perfectly reflect the sort of happy melancholy felt by Damon Albarn while in Iceland or on the Western British coast line (amazing photos by the way). Probably a classic album…which I was lucky to recently test live on the 12th of November at Rough Trade East.

Runner-up: Makaya McCraven “Deciphering The Message” – Jazz – Makaya McCraven is an extraordinary drummer and his origins already tell a few things about the man and his appetite for experimentation (born in Paris from a American drummer dad and a Hungarian folk singer mum). Blue Note has offered him to rework a few tracks of their classic and incredible catalogue by using samples but also recreating music with a few fellow excellent young jazz musicians. The description of it all may appear worrying but I really suggest you listen to this album ; you will then enjoy the inventiveness and extreme musicianship of it all.

Also recommended:

Curtis Harding “If Words Were Flowers” – Soul Music – Old school soul music new record in today’s world by beautiful American singer with attitude.

Aimee Mann “Queens Of The Summer Hotel” – Pop Rock – Aimee Mann has always been a favourite of this blog and she delivers the goods with her new movie-inspired album.

Courtney Barnett – “Things Take Time, Take Time” – Rock – This is the new release from Australian Courtney Barnett, another favourite of ours. She is as good as usual in terms of choosing titles for her records, although her new music is a bit less lethal than her previous albums.

Idles – “Crawler” – Punk Rock – An excellent new opus from one of the best British bands of the last ten years.

Elbow“Flying Dream 1” – Pop Rock – Guy Garvey and his crew just released an unexpected new record, produced and written during pandemic times. You will not find a better band, balancing popular melodies with an inventive mindset. If not done yet, you should really listen to Guy Garvey’s finest hour, available every week on BBC6.

U.F.A of the month! : Abba – “Voyage” – It is well known that there are a few people amongst the best ever music specialists (Jim Derogatis or Michka Assayas being both of them for instance) who really like Abba and their so-called tremendous pop music feeling. I am not one of these people and I must even confess really hating their music, although I guess the four of them are probably nice people. So what about this new record released around forty years since they disbanded? Well, probably the worst thirty seven minutes of music I had to listen to since the start of the century. Avoid at all costs!

Lest we forget: album of the previous month – Caetano Veloso – “Meu Coco

Hours of music ; everything I had to listen to (including Adele, Abba and Julie Armanet ; the horror!) to offer you this nice selection.
The best of the year so far ; seven albums per month!