2023 – The Writers View

The Photographer’s had his say so here’s the scribbler’s view of the last year. Have a look what he thought below.

Album’s of the Year

Oxbow – Love’s Holiday

I described this as ”It’s ‘intense, full of spikiness and harsh sounds. Immediate, try doing something else while it’s on, and on occasion, beautiful, calm and crystal clear.’ It’s an expression of love from a band I never expected an album of songs about love from. It’s brilliant.

Speakers Corner Quartet – Further Out Than The Edge

This is a fantastic slice of British Jazz, it sounds like right now and will continue to do so for years to come, it’s got influences from all over but in the end, it’s just wonderful to listen to

Various Artists – Spectrum – 10 Years of Cruel Nature

I could have filled this list with Cruel Nature recordings, they have released a mass of cassettes this year and woefully I have only covered a fraction of them. This though is essential, when I reviewed it I said ‘you get any number of drones, static bleeps and washes, jazzy drones, high static drones and impenetrable noise drones. Rolling muffled techno beats, periodic odd jazz percussion, grindcore battering drums and fuzzy relentless beats. There are synths, guitars and what sounds like a tuba. In fact you get pretty much every type of thing that Cruel Nature have released. So from folk to grindcore, from jazz to techno and from drones to, erm, static.

Debby Friday – Good Luck

Debby Friday got single of the week in one of our reviews in the pub evenings, I summed up the album with ‘This is an immense slice of throbbing, bass driven squelchy electronic music that just about keeps up with DEBBY’s vocal which switches from slides from seductive, pleading, sexual, tense and drenched with sweat. It’s an album to be played at extreme volume in packed decadent clubs to drive the clientele into an absolute frenzy.

Mandy, Indiana – i’ve seen a way

The music was recorded in a variety of locations including a shopping centre and cave. This reflects in the sound and emotions inside the music. Making it lighter and darker as it moves forward. An excellent electronic construction.

Matters – Echolocations

I said ‘The music is wonderful, it’s like standing in a flower filled field and watching the sun rise, like a space walk outside in the void as the stars sparkle outwards forever. It’s atmospheric and emotional in the best way. I really like it.

Mowgli – Gueule de Boa

I said ‘It’s jazz, but as most of you will switch off and click away from this when I say that I need to say that you don’t need to fear this. It has far more in common with the Butthole Surfers than Sun Ra, although there are similarities between those two anyway.
It’s a wild ride through the darkness. A cool groove through the stars and it is as mad as a box of frogs.

Black Mekon – Neat

To my shame, I never reviewed this one, I should have done. It’s loud distorted broken rock’n’roll and to be honest, you should know that already

Boris and Uniform – Bright New Disease

Just listen to the first song. Insanely heavy guitars layer upon layer, slow steady skipping drums and bass with a seething vocal which at any moment you expect to disintegrate and when it slips into true hard core half way through it blows you away. I am never entirely sure which band is spurring the other on, but however they created this, it doesn’t matter, it’s an exercise in rage and noise.

Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam – Mortuary Pantomime

I said ‘The best moments on a sunshine frisbee sunshine album is when the restrained sound suddenly lets go and the cut loose. They just go and they lose it all in the music. There are moments of plaintive loss and heartache, moments of pure fury and bright shiny laserbeams cutting through the lot.’

The Rollocks – Up The Rollocks

I said ‘The Rollocks look like Johnny Thunders, that isn’t a problem, everyone should make more of an effort to look like Johnny Thunders, I certainly did when I was their age. However they don’t sound much like Thunders, they sound like a fuzzy, bass driven swinging guitar grooving monster, spoiling for a fight and swigging whiskey. They sound like rock’n’roll always has, like they give a damn about stuff you haven’t even thought of, like they have forgotten what sunshine feels like and burning the candle at both ends is a way of life.

Thee Acid Tongue – Kinky Liquorice

I said ‘This is what happens when you have been a punk since the beginning, you carry on making music, ace music that spins out from all the punk, glam, stomping loveliness you’ve watched and absorbed and you produce great releases like this. This is as much the spirit of 76 as the feeling of being thrown around at the front of an Idles gig. It’s adrenalin fueled gravelly noisy singing and guitar and a rock solid backbeat and bass holding it all together. The burp at the start of Monkey at Sea is perfect but the best track is Lorraine, all yearning, lost love, hope and despair’

Tim Hecker – No Highs

I said ‘TThis is beautiful. To my ear it’s the best thing he’s produced so far. It is a sculpture of sound waves. It glistens and shimmers, it’s like water falling through a canopy of pine needles onto a dry, brown forest floor. It’s nourishing and refreshing, like standing in the rain on top of a tower block. There’s no surprises, no jumps around, it flows, it moves forwards at whatever rate Hecker decides for that moment. The sounds differ but together they are utterly coherent and right.’

Yo La Tengo – This Stupid World

I’ve drifted in and out of listening to Yo La Tengo over the years, never a abnd I’ve raved about more that I listened to them when people played them me and appreciated them, but this album had me hooked from the first note, excellent.

Raye – 21st Century Blues

Sometimes the accolades and awards are deserved, this is an excellent album, a slice of hip hop, jazz, and blues. Wonderful

Gigs of the Year

Ben Sadler & Anna Palmer – Birmingham Supersonic Kids Gig
Godflesh – Birmingham Supersonic Festival
Oxbow – Birmingham Supersonic Festival
Taqbir – Birmingham Supersonic Festival
Dez Dare – Coventry The Tin
Loop – Leeds Brudenell
Gnod – Birmingham Castle & Falcon
Colossloth – Coventry The Tin
Panda Bear and Sonic Boom – Coventry The Box
Goat – Birmingham The Mill
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – Leicester Academy 2
Mogwai – Birmingham Academy

Special Mentions…

Anyone who’s read, messaged, liked a post or encouraged us in any way, thanks

All the people who have sent us stuff to listen to or gigs to attend and write about, we can’t do them all but again, thanks

Just Dropped In Records for feeding our addiction to records

Any of the bars we’ve used to loudly and drunkenly review singles

And finally to the long suffering photographer who has the joy of accompanying me on our never ending geriatric delinquent journey into noise.

Words by Adrian Bloxham, photo by Martin Ward.

Adrian Bloxham

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *