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Tracks and music from 2020 January 3, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

First up, any recommendations on contemporary classical, and/or jazz? For yes, every year it comes to this, a selection of (new) music that I’ve enjoyed throughout the year – and this year more than most music was a comfort. The familiar was familiar, the new was… new and offered some hope in a weird way.

Just to be clear though, this is not the ‘best’ in any sense. It’s just the music I liked, and that is a function of the music that I get to hear and that is a function of my own tastes blended with a number of external influences and the means by which the music gets channelled my way. More on that below.

A very tough year for musicians and those in the music business as testified by various efforts to work around the restrictions in new ways. Not sure how effective they were, or indeed when any of us will be at a gig again. But, for all that whatever support could be given, and the best support is in still paying artists for the music they make, was key.

But the splintering of the delivery of music, the effective eclipse of printed musical arbitrators, the sheer weight of music produced continues apace. I still am signed up to Emusic, though its selection has become incredibly thin. That said there’s a lot more jazz on it (hence the request at the foot of the piece) and that’s been an area I’m re-exploring slowly but surely. Bandcamp is great, but overwhelming in terms of what is available – and I’m not made of money. Oddly I reengaged with long deleted albums found online – that was definitely a function of the pandemic. Classic Rock magazine continue to bring, well, everything it can interview to the party. A recent issue had reviews for The Struts, Public Enemy, The Damned, Nils Lofgren, Ozric Tentacles and Blackfield amongst many others. I admire the range even if it does make one wonder what exactly is classic rock in 2020.

One thing about this year was the sense it was a year for deep dives. I listened to a lot of Bob Seger, and 70s/80s hard rock outfit UFO, and forgotten Australian new wave/psychedelia outfits like the Ups and Downs. Peter Hook and the Light and his revisiting Joy Division and New Order was a revelation. Swiss early new wave/techno outfit Grauzone likewise. Sonny Rollins – no less! And more. It’s strange, compiling this I started out thinking this wasn’t the strongest of years – and yeah, in some areas – metal/rock/punk it was quieter by quite some distance than other years (sure AC/DC dropped their umpteenth album only a few weeks back and it’s pretty good for a Brian Johnson era album, but does that exactly count?). But in others I realised there was a real energy. At this stage I know the channels my musical tastes tend to run along and how limited they can be. Electronica, a limited amount of what used to be indie, an increasingly folky tinge (albeit from an odd direction), a small number of old reliables, hard rock, heavy psych, call it what you will and some punk adjacent music. Throw in some jazz, a bit of ambient and that’s where I’m at. But I enjoyed a lot of the music from this year. And right up to this month was finding new stuff that I enjoyed as much or more.

So 2020? What are your selections for the year?

For myself let’s start with Jah Wobble and Youth, Keith Levine, Richard Dudanski  and Mark Stewart of the Pop Group and A Very British Coup which is an excoriating take on the Tories and Brexit which doesn’t once mention the ‘B’ word.

Small Island from firestations is a nice slice of motorik inflected pop which deals with much the same topic if in a more oblique way…

In a not entirely dissimilar musical vein here’s TRAAMS, the Greyhound.

This is lovely, a sort of update of the Velvet Underground / Lou Reed, and a very fine video from Coco and One Time Villain

SPC ECO have been producing shoegaze/dance inflected tracks for years now, but this is particularly strong…

And this I liked a lot, from BT of all people – 1 AM in Paris…

A complete change of tone, from the late Tim Smith’s Spratley’s Japs and Panixphere and a whole host of Tim Smith/Cardiacs adjacent folk and a gig from Brighton in 2019 and a classic version of Cardiacs Is This The Life?/Leader Of The Stary Skies at 01:40:12

And another Cardiacs adjacent outfit, A Sweet Niche with the extremely political Hungerstrike…

Extra Warm from upsammy taken from her debut album Zoom. Excellent album of electronica, great song…

Sticking with electronica, this is… playful. Miniature Magic from Plone…

Mentioned it before, from Hawkwind Light Orchestra’s latest, Dyna-mite…

And Scandinavian band Electric Hydra with a remarkably classic rock sound on this…

Really liked this song from Flat Worms… the album Antarctica is good but an intense listen…

And from Wire, a reworked song I think…

The Psychedelic Furs released their first album in an age and pretty good it was… particularly this track…

But this was even better… from John Foxx and the Maths and proof that this stage of his career is the equal of his first solo years…

Ike Release offered this, Television Sky…

Mentioned this too earlier in the year – still think it’s great… perhaps the most completely enjoyable album of the year for me, even if a lot of that enjoyment is rooted in its nostalgia quotient.

De:Tuned continued their release of interesting tracks from their archives, in various forms. This from DE:10.10 – Humanoid — sT8818r (Plaid Remix). Actually this is a bit of a cheat since the release date is 2019/20. But hey…

And this from Arch Garrison is very fine. Again another Cardiacs adjacent group and a fantastic album too.

Wrote about Dry Cleaning only a few weeks ago. So let me leave you with an ear-worm…


1. 6to5against - January 3, 2021

Some interesting stuff here..

For me, te digital age has just made me realise more and more how much music is out there, and how much of is great. So I don’t know about picking the ‘best’, but two things I’ve come across that I really enjoyed are:

Put together by a DJ called Common. I know nothing about but that I’ve really enjoyed it, and it exists within the intersecting Venn diagrams of my and my son’s taste.

Also this, by Swimmers Jackson. Straightforward guitar pop, which is normally on my won’t-listen-to list, but somehow found a way through…


6to5against - January 3, 2021

Also, does anybody else listen to these guys on mix cloud? Always entertaining, and encyclopaedic…


WorldbyStorm - January 3, 2021

Wow, that’s great. I’ve heard good things about Common. Swimmers Jackson sound good too. And that Mixcloud is brilliant. Cheers for those.


2. sonofstan - January 3, 2021

Very little new music seems to have found its way in this year. One discovery was an artist who’s only about 2 years younger than me, and who has been making music since the ’80s, so a bit late…
Bill Orcutt was once part of Harry Pussy, a noise outfit from Florida, moved west, took a break from music in order to stop being poor, then returned as a solo – largely – guitar player. His sound is somewhere between John Fahey and Derek Bailey: he plays with a 4-string guitar, usually a beat up old Kay acoustic, and generates an interesting racket. I realised that I once owned the same guitar, and went on a wild goose chase to see if i could get it back (no luck)


Apart from that, some cassettes on Fort Evil Fruit, out of Cork I think, including a great one by Davids Donahue and Lacey.


WorldbyStorm - January 3, 2021

Those are both great leads too. Thanks SoS. I love hearing new directions to take up. One of the few good aspects of the pandemic has been that the space to listen to music has opened up.

Liked by 1 person

3. WorldbyStorm - January 4, 2021

Mark Riley’s Best, Better and Bestest lists up now… some great tracks on them.


4. Liberius - January 4, 2021

First up, any recommendations on contemporary classical, and/or jazz

A few on the contemporary classical side from FUSE in Amsterdam (watched it yesterday), a snow themed work from Norway’s Arctic Philharmonic and something much weirder from SWR in Germany.

As to best of 2020 (new me in 2020), a late entry to this for me was Kangding Ray’s EPSILON which vies with Victoire by Irene Dresel & Délice from Le Peuple de l’Herbe

Liked by 1 person

5. Liberius - January 4, 2021

I think the spam filter might not have liked the amount of links to youtube I put in that comment…

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - January 4, 2021

Thanks a million Liberius. Very impressive, particularly Asheim, the SWR piece and Irene Dresel!


6. DJ John Spart - January 5, 2021

#10 Art of Algebra – Criminal Ground [Self-Released]

#9 Waldo’s Gift – Hot Pursuit [Black Acre Records]

#8 Vincenzo Ramaglia – La Parole 2 (Venetia Snares Remix) [PEM Records]

#7 OTTO – Rain Jacket and Shorts [Clam Day]

#6 Bicep – Atlas [Ninja Tune]

#5 Elles – WRTRGRER4A [Naive]

#4 Overmono – Everything U Need [XL Recordings]

#3 Hologram Teen – Cosmogatto (Andrew Claristidge Remix) [Ransom Note]

#2 Avalon Emerson – Rotting Hills [AD 93]

#1 For Those I Love – I Have a Love (Overmono Remix)


WorldbyStorm - January 5, 2021

First up it’s genuinely great you’re back 🙂

Secondly that’s a fantastic selection so many thanks. 1 through 4 are particularly great as are 9-10. 8 perhaps the one I’m not keenest on. But all really solid. Got to admit of the last perhaps Hologram Teen is the one I like best of all on two run-throughs. And 4 (Overmono) too, particularly when the washes of synths come in.


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