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Best Of 2015 - 2016 Eric




ARTIST: Best Of 2015 Eric

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Background
Despite a health issue early on, 2015 turned out to be a wonderful year both personally and professionally. Musically, I was really impressed with artists of a certain age and period collaborating with younger musicians and pushing boundaries beyond expectations with exciting results. Two of these releases made this year's list and although I have no interest in Jeff Lynne's ELO, I still need to catch up with the lauded Cats in Space and the solo from Elbow front man Guy Garvey among other CD's which I just didn't have time or money (!) for. My best of 2015.


Year In Review

Tame Impala - Currents
After two albums of 60's inspired psychedelic bliss, Australia's Tame Impala move into the 80's synth pop territory. Nice.

Steve Wilson - Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Wilson keeps going from strength to strength and this one's a beauty. With all the press and adoration he receives from the prog community, I'll leave it at that.

John Howard & The Night Mail - S/T
The year's biggest surprise, John Howard put out a classic album in 1975 called 'Kid in a Big World' and should have been the next Elton John but it was not to be. Thankfully he's returned and has lost none of his glammy pop sensibilities. This is a winner that I keep coming back to.

Blur - The Magic Whip
The kings of Britpop return with a masterwork of Bowie styled rock and roll. Now if we can only get Jarvis Cocker and Pulp back in the game.

Nicholas Godin - Contrepoint
I've been a fanboy of Frenchman Nicholas Godin's Air for years, starting with their ELO-ish debut 'Moon Safari' but his first solo album is sheer Bach inspired genius. More please.

Todd Rundgren/ Emil Nikolaisen/ Hans-Peter Lindstrom - Runddans
His previous album 'Global' was a disaster but here Todd teams up with two young Norwegians and comes up with one of his most innovative albums since the heydays of Utopia.

My Morning Jacket - Waterfall
I've never heard anything prior from these cosmic country rockers but what a wonderful album this is. Rustic, modern and uplifting, probably the most played album on this list.

Julia Holter - Have You In My Wilderness
I always gravitate to arty female singer songwriters like Kate Bush, Laurie Anderson and St. Vincent but this year's pick is Julia Holter. A beautiful album of Baroque pop, she's definitely a name to watch.

FFS- S/T
What a great combination-post punkers Franz Ferdinand and Sparks. It's a terrific set that's witty and melodic. Fantastic!

Mercury Rev - The Light In You
While their contemporaries The Flaming Lips seem to be floundering with confusing releases and a misguided association with Miley Cyrus, Mercury Rev's first album in several years is a masterpiece of modern American progressive pop that's absolutely charming with a wintry Disneyesque quality.


In Summary
And last but not least..

Best Reissue
The Beckies - S/T
A long overdue rerelease of former Left Banke Michael Brown's final pop statement and the Shooting Star connection is the cherry on top.

Best Compilation
Tracey Thorn - Solo: Songs And Collaborations 1982-2015
80's Sophisti-poppers Everything But The Girl's early albums were top drawer and this comp makes available lead singer Tracy Thorn's harder to find solo stuff. Heck, even Soft Machine's Robert Wyatt is on here.

Best Film
Love & Mercy
Saw a lot of movies this year but the Brian Wilson biopic 'Love & Mercy' topped them all. John Cusack and particularly Paul Dano does a remarkable job capturing Wilson at his sensitive and creative best. A must see, Beach Boys fan or not.


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Comments

#1 | Explorer on January 02 2016 00:40:03
An eclectic choice Eric, Todd`s 'Global' is far from a disaster IMHO, but I`ll always cut him some slack, the bloke is a genius after all!.
Your choice of movie is one I would like to see but I`ve not got round to watching it as yet. I`ve always thought that John Cusack is awful in pretty much everything he does, I`ll never forgive him for 'High Fidelity', I`ll give it a shot at some point, but probably behind the sofa with my eyes closed.
#2 | machoman on January 02 2016 18:01:19
As relevant as ever Eric, and a source of discoveries. I didn't know about FFS and I think I'll investigate about it. It should also be the case for the Mercury Rev one.
#3 | Eric on January 02 2016 21:51:39
Thank you! It was a great year for new sounds. @Malcolm- totally agree on Cusack, but this film is worth seeing. Got for my girlfriend for Christmas on DVD because she loved it so much. Tip, a former member of 'Song of Times' era Starcastle shows up in the brief concert clip at the end. He is Wilson's drummer these days...
#4 | englandashes on January 10 2016 22:24:02
Yep, picked up Tame Impala just over Xmas, while picked up lots of The Sparks back catalogue over the last year, i keep listening to bits of FFS, but not actually brought the thing, maybe just take the plunge. The Mercury Rev seems to be worth investigating, echo your thoughts with My Morning Jacket.
#5 | Eric on January 10 2016 22:59:45
Cool! Yes, thanks for the plug. A great album.

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