Archive for December, 2017

Slacker Shack’s Top Ten Albums of 2017

Posted in Lists, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2017 by dc

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It seems a fair few years since people were muttering about the supposed death of the album. If streaming has changed anything it’s been an increase in the variety of music people consume nowadays and the choice available. If 2017 is anything to go by the album format is still very much the heartbeat of top quality music in my book.

Over the past couple of weeks as I’ve listened back to dozens of albums from the past year I’ve noticed how varied my favourite albums of the year seem to be. From the urban magpie brilliance of King Krule‘s ‘The OOZ‘ and the concrete post-punk commentary of Idles‘ ‘Brutalism‘, to the quirky folk songs of This Is The Kit‘s ‘Moonshine Freeze‘ and the fresh electronic sounds of Four Tet‘s ‘New Energy‘. It’s been a vast and kaleidoscopic year for music in all it’s forms.

Astonishingly, my current favourite band, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, ended up releasing five albums (FIVE??), and in doing so put the work rate of most bands to shame. I loved all five albums too (and all 5 would be in a top twenty). Their chokka-block year started with ‘Flying Microtonal Banana‘, followed by ‘Murder Of The Universe‘ and then, ‘Sketches of Brunswick East‘, a brilliant jazzy collaboration with The Mild High Club. Then as December progressed and it looked unlikely they’d follow through on their promise of five albums in a year, the brilliant ‘Polygondwanaland‘ popped up out of nowhere and just yesterday they capped things off with another absolute stunner in, ‘Gumboot Soup‘. I’m off to see them in May and it’s been years since I’ve been as excited about a gig.

So, enough gassing, what’s the Top Ten look like?

Like this…

Four Tet – New Energy
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Polygondwanaland
This Is The Kit – Moonshine Freeze
King Krule – The OOZ
Kendrick Lamar – Damn.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Gumboot Soup
Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 3
Idles – Brutalism
Chad VanGaalen – Light Information
Spoon – Hot Thoughts

So, that’s mine, what’s yours?

Slacker Shack’s Top 20 Alt’ Tunes of 2017

Posted in Lists, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 25, 2017 by dc

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The world may have seemingly teetered on the brink of apocalypse now and again during 2017 but it’s been a pretty good year for music nonetheless. They often say that in times of bleak politics and social division great artistry shines, and whilst it may have been a fairly dull year at the cinema, it was a blockbuster year for TV and maybe even more so for music – or at least I like to think it was as I reminisce over the year gone by.

I love compiling a Top 20 list of tunes each year. I’ve done it since 2008 and it’s started to feel like a nice little time capsule collection and something that helps my middle-aged brain look back and absorb the year.

The ‘Slacker Shack Top Ten Albums of the Year‘ list will appear in the next day or two but in the meantime I want to jot down a handful of my musical highlights from the year:

  • The mighty King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard releasing four albums – and four great albums too – there are very few bands around at the moment who are trailing a blaze quite as fierce as these adventurous antipodeans
  • Another King – this time, Londoner, King Krule‘s album ‘The Ooze‘ – Gilles Peterson described it as the album that best sums up exactly where British music is at currently – it sucks in everything from classic London songwriters like Joe Strummer and Billy Bragg, to 90’s trip-hop, British soul and 2-tone – a real melting pot of brilliance
  • The return of Beck – whilst ‘Colors‘ is not as mindblowingly genre shaking as he’s been in the past, any Beck album beats 99.9% of the music it finds itself surrounded by and singles, Dear Life, Dreams and title track Colors were up there with him at his peak
  • The raw, fat-trimmed post-punk bellow of Bristol’s Idles and their cracking Brutalism album – there’s was something very 2017 about their sound and popularity
  • Four Tet’s ‘New Energy‘ album – it made me reminisce back to my days as a youth in the mid to late 90’s whilst simultaneously sounding like a modern blueprint for progressive electronica and IDM

There’s more of course – I could blather on for hours like a lonely Pitchfork writer with verbal diarrhoea. I could ponder why San Felu‘s ‘How To Build Windmills‘ EP didn’t get heard by as many folk as it’s excellence warranted. Or why I’ve not heard people waffle on about the brilliance of Wovoka Gentle, OCS, Landlady or Snail Mail as much as I should’ve. But I won’t 😉

So, without further-a-do here are Slacker Shack’s Top 20 Alt’ Tunes of 2017 – if you’re on Spotify, get streaming – if you’re not, sorry…