My favourite 50 LPs of 2016

Odd Box has released 7 LPs this year. Asking me to rate those is an impossible task. But each of these 7 albums deserve to be mentioned in any self respecting blog post considering their favourite releases of 2016:

City Yelps – City Yelps Half Hour
Giant Burger – Giant Burger Forever
The Wolfhounds – Untied Kingdom
Nervous Twitch – Don’t Take My TV
T-Shirt Weather – Pig Beach
T.O.Y.S. – Sicks
Wolf Girl – We Tried

I shan’t include them in the run down below. But rest assured these are great albums and deserve to be heard by all.

Here are my ‘other’ favourite albums of the year.

1 Helen Love – Smash Hits (Alcopop!)
2 Chook Race – Around The House (Tenth Court)
3 Strobes – Brokespeak (Blood and Biscuits)
4 David Bowie – Black Star (ISO RCA Columbia Sony)
5 ANXIETY – S/T (LA VIDA ES UN MUS DISCOS)
6 Evans The Death – Vanilla (Fortuna Pop)
7 WIREHEADS – Arrive Alive (Tenth Court)
8 Witching Waves – Crystal Café (Soft Power)
9 Cate Le Bon – Crab Day (Drag City)
10 Palomica – Petito (Fika Recordings)

11 Ela Orleans – Circles of Upper and Lower Hell (Night School)
12 Moor Mother – Fetish Bones (Don Giovanni Records)
13 The Pooches – The Pooches (LameO Records)
14 Dog Chocolate – Snack Fans (Upset The Rhythm)
15 Eleanor Friedberger – New View (Frenchkiss Records)
16 The Wedding Present – Going Going (Scopitones)
17 Ulrika Spacek – The Album Paranoia (Lefse Records)
18 The Goon Sax – Up To Anything (Chapter Music)
19 Helena Celle – If I Can’t Handle Me At My Best, Then You Don’t Deserve You At Your Worst (Night School)
20 Flowers – Everybody’s Dying To Meet You ‎(Fortuna Pop)

21 Guppy – One Day We’ll Laugh About All This (Self Released)
22 Garden Centre – Garden Centre (Self Released)
23 Swimming In Bengal – Garden Of Idle Hands (Lugubrious Audio)
24 Jherek Bischoff – Cistern (The Leaf Label)
25 Porridge Radio – Rice, Pasta and Other Fillers (Memorials of Distinction records)
26 Tricky – Skilled Mechanics (False Idols)
27 Trust Fund – We have always lived in The Harolds (Self Released)
28 Pixies – Head Carrier (Self Released)
29 Meilyr Jones – 2013 (Moshi Moshi Records)
30 Half Japanese – Perfect (Joyful Noise Recordings)

31 Kid Canaveral – Faulty Inner Dialogue (Lost Map)
32 The Real Numbers – Wordless Wonder (Slumberland)
33 Tacocat – Lost Time (Hardly Art)
34 Cowtown – Personal Romance (The Audacious Art Experiment, Hot Salvation)
35 Candy – Waiting For U (Z Tapes)
36 Jenny Hval – Blood Bitch (Sacred Bones)
37 PJ Harvey – The Hope Six Demolition Project (Vagrant Records)
38 Martha – Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart (Fortuna Pop)
39 Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book (Apple Music/Self Released)
40 Darren Hayman – Thankful Villages Vol.1 (Rivertones)

41 Megaflora – Redwoods (Everything Sucks)
42 Modern Baseball – Holy Ghost (Run For Cover)
43 Goat – Requiem (Rocket Recordings)

This year there have been a lot of notable EPs including 4 on Odd Box that deserve a mention. In alphabetical  order:

Aquarium – Luxury Water Jewels (X-Kalay)
Bad Vibes – Demo 1 (Bandcamp/Self Released)
The Bellamys – EP (Odd Box)
Bruising – I Don’t Mind (Beech Coma)
Deerful – Home EP (WIAIWYA)
Hodad  – EP (Odd Box)
G.L.O.S.S. – Trans Day Of Revenge (Sabotage Records)
Maybe Don’t – Maps/Traps (Bandcamp/Self Released)
Nancy Sin – Room For Rent / Again and Again (WIAIWYA)
Pale Kids – Home By Nine (Frux Tapes)
Rainbow Reservoir – Coco Sleeps Around EP (Odd Box)
Renick Bell – Empty Lake E.P. (UIQ)
RKSS – Cut Off EP (Alien Jams)
Scrap Brain – Demo (Bandcamp/Self Released)
Tough Tits – Hairless EP (Drunken Sailor Records/Frux Tapes)
VAN-illa – Scoop (Bandcamp/Self Released)
Whitebelt – The 100 Club Series (Odd Box)
Young Scum – Zona (Pretty Olivia Records)

As always. I have probably forgotten loads of things and there are few more recent records that I have yet to hear so they can’t be on the list even though I think I might like them a lot. That’s the nature of these damn lists.

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Kaminari -Nineteen Japanese Garage Monsters

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This record confuses me. It sounds like it’s 19 long lost 60s nuggets of Japanese garage rock/pop. But from the quickest glance around the internet it seems all of the bands on this compilation are NOW bands. I.E. currently active and new. For this it’s a strange listen. Because it’s unashamedly looking backwards to an old sound but it’s done with such vim and vigor that you can’t help be swept up in the stompy garage goodness.

Unless it really is a collection of long lost 60s gems. Which I don’t think it is. Either way I really like it. Indeed the presence of Theee Bat suggests current bands as I saw them in London a few years ago.

This LP came out on Groovie Records  of Portugal at the tail end of December 2015.

DRINKS – Hermits on Holiday

I’ve had this record for about a month now. It keeps working it’s way back to the top of the listening pile. When so much music is here one minute and gone the next, it can take a special record to warrant repeat listens. This is record is special.

DRINKS are Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley (White Fence) and that was not a huge selling point for me. I like some Cate Le Bon stuff (not really a fan, though) and I don’t think I’ve actively heard White Fence. But I heard a song from this record on the radio and liked it enough to take a chance. I’m glad I did.

‘Hermits on Holiday’ is not like anything else I’ve heard in 2015. It’s fizzes with invention whilst remaining a fairly accessible listen. Sitting somewhere between post-punk and out there prog leanings this record is a hard one to classify. Stand out songs for me are the mesmeric ‘Cannon Mouth’ and the meandering ‘Split The Beans’.

Like I said, I am continually drawn to this record. There are a few moments where I think the pair would have benefited from a little self editing (Tim, Do I Like That Dog? – really tests my patience) but for the most part the free flowing approach on ‘Hermits on Holiday’ works really well.

Grubs – It Must Be Grubs

Grubs are a three-piece with a bit of a DIY pedigree. They feature Roxy Brennan (ex-Trust Fund, Two White Cranes and Joanna Gruesome), Owen Williams (Joanna Gruesome) and Jake May. Their debut record ‘It Must Be Grubs’ sees the light of day on joint release on Tuff Enuff and Reeks Of Effort. More good pedigree – both these labels are doing really good things and tapping into a very vibrant DIY scene in the UK.

The record is a swift and brief. But don’t let the brevity count against it. Sometimes knowing when enough is enough is a tricky thing to get right and  with 9 of the 11 songs coming in under two minutes it’s something Grubs do with aplomb. This is a blink and you miss it exercise in delivering exquisite pop songs – each song is a potential ear worm.

Early online song ‘Dec 15th’ is present and it’s still one of the catchiest things I’ve heard in many moons. The layered off-kilter vocals lift the song higher than should be feasible. Elsewhere Roxy takes lead singing duties. Her voice is always emotive and the off-kilter back up singing from Owen somehow works. I feel like it shouldn’t but his deadpan delivery is the perfect fit. Grubs dish out short bursts of full throttle DIY pop and you could do a lot worse than investing some time and cash in this record.

Wireheads – Big Issues

The cassette ‘Country Space Junk’ from Wireheads that came out at the tail end of 2014 became a fast favourite here at Throw The Dog A Bone. A whiff of psychedelia and lo-fi leanings. A lot of experimental leanings.  Fast forward 9 months and the band now have a full length out on Australian imprint Tenth Court. It’s not exactly what I was expecting. It’s a more straight up record. It’s still worth a listen, though.  My copy landed this week. And it’s been an instant ‘hit’. The band sit somewhere between the band that I heard on that first tape and the rest of the Australian jangle-core bands vying for a place on my turntable.

The record seems to have been recorded in the USA by a rag tag bunch appended to the core members Dom.T and Liam. Read the liner of the record for the full story. That’s right, buy this fucking record and be done with leeching it from the internet. Some guitar was added by original members over Skype. This is the future folks. For a band in flux and the way the record was conceived it’s a remarkably cohesive listen.

Seconds

Seconds have just released one half of a split on the always reliable Scottish label, Soft Power. I caught the band live this week at New River Studios in North London and they were very good. They kinda reminded me a little of Slum of Legs – but a more stripped back post-punk version with a dash of Sons and Daughters thrown in. Maybe it was the synth/keyboards that made me think of the Slum of Legs comparison. Either way, Seconds were engrossing live. And their half of the split release is equally good. Check this band out.

I’ll come back to Joya another time. For now I just want to listen to Seconds a lot.

Sauna Youth – Distractions

Sauna Youth have recently released their 2nd LP. ‘Distractions’ (Upset The Rhythm) is a potent mix of fizz bomb punk riffs and catchy-as-fuck songs. The vinyl record comes with a lovely printed (A4) lyric booklet. Lead single ‘Transmitters’ is a sure fire hit. Check the video above if you want proof.  Elsewhere the songs are just as sharp and punchy. There are a couple of spoken word songs with sparse musical accompaniment that give the listener a break from the wonderfully relentless guitar attack. But really, this record is all about adrenalin and not letting the listener off the hook.

This is a bloody great record.