A.) Florence + The Machine would have won everything in 2015, and that would have made for a pretty repetitive blog post
B.) 2016 was such a weird year it required a different approach.
I remember writing in my diary at the end of 2015 'Well, thank God that's over' or words to that effect, little knowing the horrors 2016 would bring, and indeed, 2017...
One last thing:
Because I didn't do a list in 2016, the rule I'm working to is: If it was released in 2017, or if it was released in 2016 but I didn't hear it until 2017 then it's OK to include it.
Favourite article of the year to write (By me): Women and music festivals, again (The F-Word)
Expect to read more on this issue, and related issues, in 2018.
Favourite article of the year (Not by me): What I learned from a year of dumpster diving in Australia (Medium)
You will be staggered by this... really staggered, and possibly inspired as well.
Favourite tattoo of the year: This one from The Studio in Manchester
Such a collision of difference reference points, and no one else will have one like it. Genius.
Favourite disclaimer of the year: Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, Duke of York Theatre, London
Favourite foul mouthed ear worm of the year:
A tie between St Vincent's 'New York' and Peking Duk/Icona Pop's 'Let You Down', both of which feature copious and enthusiastic use of the f word.
Favourite anti-Donald Trump song of the year:
Grace Mitchell 'Kids (Ain't Alright)' did it for me in the end, conveying as it does a real sense of bewilderment and 'What the fuck just happened?!'. That said, favourable mention (obviously) goes to Arcade Fire and Mavis Staples for 'I Give You Power', which they had the foresight to release on inauguration day.
Favourite double edged single of the year:
Natasha Kmeto, 'Pour Down/Free For Tonight'
Side A: Full on rainbow coloured lust on the dance floor
Side B: An equally killer dance anthem but with the underlying razorblade in the floss that it was a song pointing to the fragility of LGBTQI spaces
Favourite breaking artist of the year:
The New York duo more than punched above their weight this year, with an impeccable debut album and strong singles. Their tours in the US are now headliner tours and are getting longer and longer. Let's hope we see them in the UK soon.
Most fully realised psychogeographic album of the year:
EMA, Exile in the outer ring
A dystopian postcard from the US mid west.
Most eerily prescient album of the year:
This is a tie between Kate Tempest's Let Them Eat Chaos and Father John Misty's Pure Comedy. The former hinted, in various ways, at a number of societal factors that were all about to converge in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster, whereas the latter clearly signposted the warning signs of a US that had just elected Trump president.
Favourite video of the year:
Georgia, 'Feel It'
Favourite 'Where the hell did that come from?!?' album of the year:
Kelly Lee Owens, Kelly Lee Owens, as signposted by Piccadilly Records.
Favourite gig of the year:
A tie between Gothic Tropic at The Castle Hotel as part of the Manchester leg of Dot To Dot, 26th May 2017 and Honeyblood at Gorilla, 21st December 2017 (review currently in progress, stymied by Christmas...)
Band to watch in 2018:
They provided strong support to Honeyblood at Gorilla on 21st December and are a Manchester duo who used to be known as Bernard & Edith and now appear to have renamed themselves after a mancunian Chinese restaurant. They sound a bit like Kate Bush fronting a dark wave band... Am expecting good things. 'Flames' is out now.
Albums of the year:
15) Wolf Alice, Visions Of A Life
14) Jesca Hoop, Memories Are Now
13) Bully, Losing
12) Rews, Pyro
11) Pink Milk, Purple
10) Zola Jesus, Okovi
9) Kelly Lee Owens, Kelly Lee Owens
8) Noga Erez, Off The Radar
7) Honeyblood, Babes Never Die
6) Wild Ones, Mirror Touch
5) Helen McCookerybook, The Sea
4) Gothic Tropic, Fast or Feast
3) St Vincent, MASSEDUCTION
2) Overcoats, Young
1) XX, I See You
Songs of the year:
I have made a Spotify playlist of these songs, but Helen McCookerybook's most recent album is not available on Spotify so I have included a link to the song on YouTube instead.
20) Grace Mitchell, 'French Becky'
19) Halsey and Lauren Jauregui, 'Strangers'
18) London Grammar, 'Truth Is A Beautiful Thing'
17) Rews, 'Miss you in the dark'
16) Daughter, 'Burn It Down'
15) Beth Ditto, 'Savoir Faire'
14) Wolf Alice, 'Beautifully Unconventional'
13) Bipolar Sunshine, 'The Scientist'
12) Noga Erez, 'Noisy'
11) Georgia, 'Feel It'
10) Honeyblood, 'Sea Hearts'
9) Lorde, 'Liability'
8) Wild Ones, 'Parathesia'
7) Helen McCookerybook, 'Big Brother'
6) XX, 'Replica'
5) Overcoats, 'Nighttime Hunger'
4) Gothic Tropic, 'Stronger'
3) Natasha Kmeto, 'Pour Down'
2) St Vincent, 'Los Ageless'
1) Miya Folick, 'God Is A Woman'