As we come to it's climax, what sort of year was 2016 like? (For music we mean - everything else was pretty much hide-behind-the-sofa stuff).
2016 certainly wasn't a renaissance one for British guitar songs, as another 12 months slipped by without the much longed for Oasis reunion, but whilst the brothers feuded theatrically solo artists of one persuasion or another vied for most of our attention.
Band-wise, there are some notable omissions from this list - Radiohead and Metallica in particular flew the flag for maudlin and angry blokes respectively - whilst Frank Ocean and Beyonce still managed to cut a respectable amount of edge despite their god-like statuses. The most interesting moments however remained off the beaten track as these ten contenders show: from sparkling, assured pop, arty soundscapes to the reinvention of seemingly exhausted genres, great things and little respites were hidden in nooks and crannies well worth becoming lost in. 2017 will be better.
Continue reading: Andy Peterson's Top Ten Albums Of 2016
Whatever the handle, be it called dream pop or chillwave, recent fascination with the apparently disposable culture of the late twentieth century has known few boundaries since it emerged towards the end of this millennium's first decade.
Wild Nothing is Jack Tatum and vice versa: live it/they are a real band, but with Life Of Pause we get to focus on the results of a creative process involving just him, himself and him. Having taken almost four years to follow up his previous album (The well-received Nocturne) it might've been possible to hear the sound of either a new, suspicious radicalism to his work, or alternatively old ideas being stretched too thin. Instead however the Virginian has not only uncorked a fresh set of vintage inspirations, but notably upped his song writing game too.
This obsession with the infancy - and innocence - of the first digital age and it's frequently unprocessed emotions has previously captured the imagination of outfits like Foster The People, Cut Copy and Neon Indian to name but a few. Such has been the glut of material in fact that the reality for Tatum was that he needed to burrow himself into an elevated space to differentiate, one which in the discovering he uncovered a new realm of authenticity and fresh sense of purpose. This redemption came in the form of working with Devandra Banheart producer Thom Monahan, whilst an inspirational spell in ABBA's old studio offered validation to his muse, proving one man's restlessness is sometimes better than four people's compromise.
Continue reading: Wild Nothing - Life Of Pause Album Review
Plus Katy Perry gyrates on 70 year-old man and Asaf Avidan's new all swinging and all shaking video!
A Week in Videos… Gary Oldman AND David Bowie in one video? It’s happened, with the Thin White Duke revealing his controversial new video for his comeback album’s title-track, The Next Day. There’s plenty of blasphemous imagery going about, with Marion Cotillard's character receiving the stigmata on her hands and Bowie himself looking like Jesus Christ, as various decrepit clergy men enjoy a sleazy bar with all the ill-reputed sorts that usually occupy such a place. See what you think.
Vampire Weekend’s new album’s pretty great and this single off it is pretty great too. This is just the lyric video so not too much happens visually however, it gives you a chance to hear one of the lead tracks from their album Modern Vampires In The City. With the anticipation surrounding that album's release, and the generally decent feedback given to the album so far, it is expected that the band will perform particularly well on the album charts.
The one-man lo-fi project that is Wild Nothing just keeps going from strength to strength. While last year's 'Nocturne' long player heralded a more beat-laden approach for Jack Tatum than the C86 inspired song structures of predecessor 'Gemini', 'Empty Estate', his first release of 2013 takes him another step further towards completing his mission of touching on every musical genre known to man.
Written and recorded over a ten-day period in January of this year after Tatum spent weeks listening to Brian Eno and David Bowie in search of divine inspiration. The seven pieces of music that make up 'Empty Estate' draw from a wealth of ideas and sounds, several of which embrace new territories as those familiar with Wild Nothing's previous output will testify. Tatum admitted in a recent interview that he'd become bored with the concept of being a musician and playing the same songs live every night, which also probably explains the cross-pollination at the heart of 'Empty Estate' and its all-inclusive palette.
Whereas 'Nocturne' seemingly dealt with the inner Prince lurking inside Tatum's locker, 'Empty Estate' fulfils the notion that while most certainly being a jack of all trades, Wild Nothing's creative force is well on the way to mastering them all too. Opener 'The Body In Rainfall' might take a leaf from the How To Write Standard MOR manual as ordained by George Harrison and assorted members of Fleetwood Mac were one to exist, but on closer inspection there's a whole lot more bubbling away under the surface than just radio friendly pop born out of a 1970s fixation. "Tell me what you think of me?" asks the diminutive Tatum over a guitar that cries tears of joy rather than weeps solemnly. As a lead track one would expect the rest of the EP to follow suit in uniform-like fashion, that they don't speaks volumes for its creator.
Continue reading: Wild Nothing - Empty Estate EP Review