Here we go – the end of last year is prompting me to post to this largely dormant blog with a few favourite albums of 2018. Let’s start with…
SOME INTERESTING CONCEPTS
Juliana Hatfield – Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John (American Laundromat)
I jumped for joy when I first heard about this and, although a teeny bit long, it’s tops. All your favourites are included, well all of mine anyway I don’t know what your favourites are actually – Have You Never Been Mellow, A Little More Love, Xanadu, Magic, Don’t Stop Believin’, and there’s others I’m less fond of that come out much better in JH’s hands than you might expect such as I Honestly Love You. Then there’s the ones that are OK but I could have done without (Please Mr. Please and Physical, in particular). But wait, there’s more – a few songs were held over for a bonus EP Deeper Than the Night and the super Heart Attack. Nice sleeve art too.
Angelique Kidjo – Remain in Light
That’s right – the Talking Heads album covered song-by-song but Angelique Kidjo. I couldn’t envision how this would turn out before I heard it, or, how damn well it turns out – it’s excellent and makes complete sense as the original album consisted of borrowed African rhythms. Kidjo doesn’t just reclaim them though, she reinvents them. Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On) opens the album strongly, Once in A Lifetime moves away from David Byrne’s twitchy vocal style to something more dancehall and Crosseyed And Painless has even more energy than the original.
Matt Berry – Television Themes (Acid Jazz)
I assumed, wrongly, that this would be a joke album. It’s great. Everything from the 70’s pop illustration sleeve art to the selection of themes is first class. The vocalist on Are You Being Served sounds very similar to the original singer, there’s The Good Life, The Liver Birds, Doctor Who and even the brief idents to London Weekend Television and Thames Television. A few of the themes would be better known to British ears than mine (Blankety Blank, Picture Box, Wildtrak, World in Action, Open University, but what I lose by a childhood in Australia I gain as I discover these. But how did Berry resist covering Robin’s Nest, The Tomorrow People, Angels and Follyfoot? Volume 2 please.
REISSUES (or archive firsts)
The Goodies – The Cricklewood Tapes (Network)
3 CDs of Goodies background music. Yes, about time. I believe there’s a long story about why this took so long to come out, probably the main reason being that the tracks were not intended to be listened to in this way but as an accompaniment to the onscreen action, but it’s here, so, hurrah! Well mostly, there’s no Needed or Run unfortunately as apparently these tapes no longer exist, but, there is a mountain of archive Goodies BGM here to explore.
Pet Shop Boys – Further Listening (Actually, Introspective, Please etc.)
Of course most of this has been released before, but it’s a great way to get hold of a motherlode of PSB material in one place. They also come with nice booklets that help to fill the hole left by the now defunct fan club.
Basil Kirchin – I Start Counting (Trunk)
First issue for this soundtrack of moody jazz and soft vocals. I’m even more keen to see the film now.
François De Roubaix – Daughters Of Darkness – Les Lèvres Rouges (Original Soundtrack)
First issue for this one too I think. Gorgeous, moody, spooky jazz.
Bobbie Gentry – The Girl from Chickasaw County
Criminally overdue. Essential.
Cavern of Anti-Matter – Hormone Lemonade (Duophonic)
Tim Gane’s project while Stereolab continue their hiatus (which, good news, is looking like it’s ending). Lots of long motorik fun. It’s super.
John Maus – Addendum
Anything was going to pale in comparison to 2017’s Screen Memories (and this does), especially an album of offcuts, but JM is always a must hear for me.
Cold Beat – A Simple Reflection
An electronic band from San Francisco discover (one of my favourite albums) Eurythmics’ In The Garden, get obsessed, understandably, and create an ep covering Eurythmics songs from around that time (although only 2 of the 7 are from ITG). Get it from Bandcamp.