Jan 21, 2022

Best Songs of 2021

What makes a great song? Of course it's totally subjective, but for me watching Get Back last year rammed it home. Start with a strong melody, add in some emotional depth, hopefully some meaningful lyrics. But most of all great songs are centred around the traditional sounds of guitar, drums and piano. Whilst most of today's charts are full of truly unlistenable music. Mainly because the melodies are poor and the production drives the very soul out of the music. A band today that does all the things I like is The War on Drugs. Their new album was fantastic and my favourite song on the album was 'Living Proof'. A serene ode that I loved from the very first time I heard it. Also featuring highly in my list was a song I played a lot after hearing it back in January. 'Second Sight' by Buck Meek was a song that I never tired of. Plenty of great songs I loved in 2021 with The Hold Steady returning with an absolute banger and new songs by Lucy Dacus and Lala Lala also quite wonderful.

1. Living Proof-The War on Drugs
2. Spices-The Hold Steady
3. Second Sight-Buck Meek
4. Garden-Dinosaur Jr.
5. Sun Blisters-The Natvral
6. VBS-Lucy Dacus
7. Walking at a Downtown Pace-Parquet Courts
8. Eraded-Ty Segall
9. Diver-Lala Lala
10. Valentine-Snail Mail
11. Scratchcard Lanyard-Dry Cleaning
12. Our Side Has to Win-Godspeed You! Black Emperor
13. Lumberjack-Tyler, The Creator
14. Pin a Wing Above the Door-Spencer Krug
15. Dancer in the Dark-Current Joys
16. Air-Aeon Station
17. Johnny Caravella-Damien Jurado 
18. Thumbs-Lucy Dacus
19. Back to the Middle-Modest Mouse
20. Flames and Flat Tires-Squirrel Flower 
21. Sekwar-Liars
22. Latter Days-Big Red Machine
23. Silverfish-The Felice Brothers
24. Whisper-Ty Segall
25. Long Distance Conjoined Twins-Home Is Where
26. Law of Averages-Vince Staples
27. Balcony Man-Nick Cave & Warren Ellis 
28. Hug From a Dinosaur-Torres
29. Old Skin-The War on Drugs
30. Queens-Aeon Station 
31. Like I Used To-Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen
32. Gone-Painted Shrines
33. Gold/Rust-Hand Habits
34. Hey-Low
35. Candle-Buck Meek
36. Michelangelo-Cassandra Jenkins
37. Science Fair-Black Country, New Road
38. Family Farm-The Hold Steady
39. Hardline-Julien Baker
40. Kinney-Rostam
41. Inferno-The Felice Brothers
42. Traffic!-Katy Kirby
43. April Fool-Hana Vu 
44. I Get High-Boy Scouts
45. New Moon-The Natvral
46. Leaves-Aeon Station
47. I Met The Stones-Dinosaur Jr.
48. Serena's Kills-Spencer Krug
49. American Honey-Current Joys
50. Stay in the Car-Bachelor
51. With a Guitar-The Dodos
52. Thirstier-Torres
53. Pictures-Ty Segall
54. Color of the Pool-Lala Lala
55. Unsmart Lady-Dry Cleaning
56. Hesitating Nation-Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
57. South Loop Summer-Hospital Bracelet
58. Juniper-Katy Kirby
59. Public Storage-Hana Vu
60. Bloodless-Claire Cronin
61. Jimi & Stan-Strand of Oaks
62. Wheels Roll Home-The Antlers
63. Samurai Sword-Chad VanGaalen
64. Carnage-Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
65. I'll Go Running-Squirrel Flower
66. Clean Air-Hand Habits
67. In Color-My Morning Jacket
68. Sad Cowboy-Goat Girl
69. Hot & Heavy-Lucy Dacus 
70. Blackstrap-The Besnard Lakes
71. Long Lost-Lord Huron
72. Stories-Sarah Neufeld
73. High in the Grass-Sleater-Kinney
74. Celing Granny-Mogwai
75. Aquamarine-Hand Habits
76. The Last Man on Earth-Wolf Alice
77. Faith Healer-Julien Baker 
78. Cut the Field-Colin Miller
79. Shelter Song-Iceage
80. Annie-The Dodos
81. Rare to Wake-Shannon Lay
82. That River-Margo Cilker
83. Lil Fade-Vince Staples
84. Charlotte-Boy Scouts
85. Back to Oz-Sufjan Stevens & Angelo de Augustine
86. Other You-Steve Gunn
87. The Slinfold Loop-K.D.A.P.
88. Silver Roses-Rose City Band
89. Hideaway-Wavves
90. From the Back of a Cab-Rostam
91. Pale Horse Rider-Cory Hanson
92. Helena-Damien Jurado
93. Naked-Current Joys
94. Rang Dizzy-Ryley Walker
95. Posing for Cars-Japanese Breakfast
96. The Spirit Of-Cloud Nothings
97. Mighty Soul-Langhorne Slim
98. Thousand Oaks-Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
99. Dandelion-The Peacers
100. The Pet Parade-Fruit Bats

Jan 17, 2022

Best Albums of 2021

Today I would like to have a look back on music in 2021. Sadly for the first time ever in my life I wasn't able to see an international artist. Hopefully that will be remedied in 2022. But thankfully there was still plenty of great music released to keep me going. Without doubt my favourite album released last year was by the Montreal collective Godspeed You! Black Emperor. There is truly no other act like them on earth. Their singular focus on making music that is monumental and important is only matched by their commitment to social justice. Last year we received new music by veteran acts like The Hold Steady, Modest Mouse and Low, proving they are as vital as ever. My favourite new 'discovery' was Current Joys and my favourite debut album was from The Natvral. Both acts did what I love. Hooky, guitar driven songs with great melodies. And my late edition to my Top 40 was December debut release from Aeon Station. This is truly a great album that I have had on constant rotation. My last thought is that in the last two years music has been hit hardest as any industry. So if you can, please buy some music by an artist you love rather than just stream it.

1. God's Pee at State's End!-Godspeed You! Black Emperor
2. I Don't Live Here Anymore-The War on Drugs
3. Voyager-Current Joys
4. Observatory-Aeon Station
5. Open Door Policy-The Hold Steady
6. Harmonizer-Ty Segall
7. Home Video-Lucy Dacus
8. From Dreams to Dust-The Felice Brothers
9. Carnage-Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
10. Tethers-The Natvral
11. Planet (i)-Squirrel Flower
12. Two Saviors-Buck Meek
13. Fading Graffiti-Spencer Krug
14. Thirstier-Torres
15. Hey What-Low
16. I Want the Door to Open-Lala Lala
17. A Beginner's Mind-Sufjan Stevens & Angelo de Augustine
18. Fun House-Hand Habits
19. New Fragility-Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
20. Superwolves-Matt Sweeney & Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
21. Cool Dry Place-Katy Kirby
22. The Golden Casket-Modest Mouse
23. Changephobia-Rostam
24. Public Storage-Hana Vu
25. Little Oblivions-Julien Baker
26. World's Most Stressed Out Gardener-Chad VanGaalen
27. Heaven and Holy-Painted Shrines
28. Doomin' Sun-Bachelor
29. New Long Leg-Dry Cleaning
30. The Apple Drop-Liars
31. How Long Do You Think It's Gonna Last-Big Red Machine
32. The Monster Who Hated Pennsylvania-Damien Jurado
33. In Heaven-Strand of Oaks
34. Grizzly Peak-The Dodos
35. Vince Staples-Vince Staples
36. Bloodless-Claire Cronin
37. Valentine-Snail Mail
38. As the Love Continues-Mogwai
39. On All Fours-Goat Girl
40. Sweep It Into Space-Dinosaur Jr.
41. Influences-K.D.A.P.
42. Pale Horse Rider-Cory Hanson
43. Pohorylle-Margo Cilker
44. Detritus-Sarah Neufeld
45. Green to Gold-The Antlers
46. Path of Wellness-Sleater-Kinney
47. Long Lost-Lord Huron
48. The Shadow I Remember-Cloud Nothings
49. The Besnard Lakes are the Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings-The Besnard Lakes
50. For the First Time- Black Country, New Road

Jan 15, 2022

Favourite Films of 2021

Like most things in life 2021 was still a fractured one because of the global pandemic. As vaccines rolled out the world started to feel a little more normal and films were being released more regularly. Then when Sydney shut down in late June we were deprived of films for a while. But we finally got back on track and in the end the year turned out pretty well for film. The biggest event for me was finally seeing the much delayed Dune. Saw it on the biggest screen possible and what an event that was. Also very pleased to finally see the latest from Wes Anderson. The French Dispatch was wonderful and another film that was delayed from 2020. As usual there were some wonderful films released early in 2021 with Minari being a personal favourite. But my favourite film of 2021 without doubt was the latest from the extraordinary Paul Thomas Anderson. Licorice Pizza opened in Australia on Boxing Day and it did not let me down. Just a truly superb film with great characters, dialogue and music. A wonderful way to finish off the year. 

1. Licorice Pizza
2. Minari
3. The Killing of Two Lovers
4. Promising Young Woman
5. Quo Vadis, Aida?
6. First Cow
7. Dune
8. The Worst Person in the World
9. One Night in Miami...
10. Nine Days

Jan 14, 2022

Best Live Shows of 2021

Well if you thought my 'Best Live Shows of 2020' was short wait until you see this one. 2021 began well with hope the pandemic was subsiding. Live music was coming back and even though borders were closed to international artists Australian artists were back and pleasing audiences. By April things actually felt normal again. I went to two shows at the newly refurbished Enmore Theatre and they were both wonderful. Classic rockers You Am I were a sight to behold and The Avalanches thrilled us with mostly material from their latest album. Sadly in late June the Delta wave hit and Sydney was effectively shut down for four months. Now as we turn the page to 2022 I hope for a return to live music and hopefully international artists touring again.

1. The Avalanches @ Enmore Theatre
2. You Am I @ Enmore Theatre