On this third album, Adam Granduciel finally managed to make his miserable Dire Straits-ish textured roots-rock into something actually entertaining by dressing up as an extra-terrestrial barbarian warrior and singing about meat sandwiches.
Scott Walker & Sunn O))) - Soused
A renowned artsy singer-songwriter teamed up with a notoriously loud heavy metal band to collaborate on an opus that was so out-there it would take literally centuries for the world to fully comprehend their ground-breaking compositions. But that’s enough about Loutallica, let’s talk about Scott O))). The robe-clad drone duo did their claustrophobic rumble shtick while Scott “tunes are for numpties” Walker crooned words like “Behold. The hidden dance. Of the tree babies. Hi-ho. She goes. Upon heaving bump quilt. Contorted leper trim. Higgledy-baa-baa-never.” A thousand musos stroked their chins so hard that their faces actually started to flop out of themselves like Javier Bardem’s jaw in Skyfall.
Warpaint - Warpaint
Remember 2013? Remember how excited you were about the prospect of a second Warpaint album? What happened next? Warpaint? More like Bore-paint! Listening to Warpaint’s second album was like staring in jaded futility at one of those magic eye pictures, waiting for something to happen, waiting for something interesting to emerge out of that impenetrable, shapeless pattern. Nearly 12 months later, still nothing has materialized. Warpaint? More like Yawn-paint! One newspaper feature on the band screamed Warpaint on their new album: “Sexy was an adjective we’d use”. The only logical conclusion is that sex with Warpaint must be intolerably dull. Warpaint? More like Wartchingpaintdry!
Royal Blood - Royal Blood
Generic chuggy stoner riffs. A singer who sounds like Freddie Mercury. And an English drummer in a baseball cap. Dave Grohl is a big fan.
Lenny Kravitz - Strut
“Baby baby / STRUT! / Let me see you walk / STRUT! / Baby / Let your body talk / STRUT! / Talky-talky-talky / STRUT! / Walky-walky-walky / STRUT! / Something something move / STRUT! / Something something prove / Baby baby baby”
Perhaps he lost his real lyrics somewhere in that preposterous scarf.
Beck - Fawning Maze
MOJO magazine’s favourite album of 2002.
Scott Walker & Sunn O))) - Joust
An ambitious concept album based on the old codes of chivalry in medieval jousting tournaments. Over Sunn O)))’s signature guitar rumblings, Walker crooned tuneless phrases about knights, armour, horses and King Henry II of France. For extra authenticity, Walker held onto a jousting stick for the entire recording session and now has quite a poorly arm.
Swans - To Be Kind
What do we want?
The same loud dirging chords played over and over again while a misanthropist moans about lambs and lungs and shit and then actually pretends to be leader of the 1791 Haitian slave rebellion Toussaint L’Ouverture.
When do we want it?
For the next three hours or so.
Aphex Twin - Sigh-woe
Wire magazine’s favourite album of 1996.
Scott Walker & Sunn O))) - Doused
An ambitious concept album based on the cultural history of fire. Over Sunn O)))’s signature guitar rumblings, Walker crooned tuneless phrases about flint, gas, the sun, Satan, Prometheus and the Crazy World of Arthur Brown. For extra authenticity, Walker doused himself in lighter fluid, set himself on fire and experienced third-degree burns. Still suffered less pain than his listeners.
Sleaford Mods - Divide and Exit
“Fuckin’ rantin’ / I’m fuckin’ fuckin’ rantin’ / I’m fuckin’ ‘avin’ a rant here, yeah? / I stepped in a fuckin’ shit and it smelt a bit like a fuckin’ piss and there’s fuckin’ sick on the crotch of me fuckin’ jeans and fuckin’ snot all over me fuckin’ shitty shirt sleeve / fuck it / I’m fuckin’ ‘avin’ a rant here, yeah? / Fuckin’ fuckin’ observational reference to something from off of culture and shit / Spongebob Squarepants has got a nutrigrain bar stuck up his yellow arse, mate / fuck off John Cooper fuckin’ Clarke, you look like you’ve borrowed Paul McCartney’s bottle of fuckin’ hair dye, you frazzled old fucker / off me head I mistook the piss-bowl for a sink and now someone’s done a fuckin’ youtube of me washin’ me hands with pissy urinal cake, you c***”
Taylor Swift -1984
Swift’s 1984 was an ambitious concept album on which the Nashville country star reinvented herself as an anti-totalitarian socialist intellectual taking satirical dystopian pot-shots at nationalism, censorship and government surveillance. Set in the bleak near future, the dark electro-clash of opening track ‘Welcome to New York’ painted the Big Apple as a grim metropolis where citizens are indoctrinated into dancing forever, thus permanently prevented from using their individual brainpower or physical energy to enact social or political reform, with Swift’s robotic vocals serving to extenuate the dehumanising effects of urbanity. ‘This Love’, meanwhile, was a haunting minimalist ballad influenced by the likes Grouper and Christina Carter that dealt with the psychological after-effects of having your noggin shoved into a cage full of rats. 1984 proved such a powerful record that it single-handedly influenced Russell Brand’s decision to transform himself from a shoddy TV presenter, shoddy film star and shoddy jester into the horniest political activist since Martin Luther King Jr.
Scott Walker & Sunn O))) - Aroused
An ambitious attempt to create a post-millennial equivalent of Marvin Gaye’s sexually-charged masterpiece Let’s Get It On. Over Sunn O)))’s signature guitar rumblings, Walker crooned the kind of unrepeatable filth that would make even Prince blush. About as erotic as being trapped in Francis Bacon’s meat freezer while Edwina Currie from TV’s celebrity jungle gives you a detailed description of John Major’s grey discharge.
Future Islands - Singles
Did you see it? Did you see it on the telly? (Of course not, but did you see it on the internet after it was on telly?) Did you see him? Did you see what he did? He did a dance. A dance! While singing! Dancing and singing! Imagine that! This was Elvis’ Ed Sullivan performance for the WhatsApp generation. Wonderfully or depressingly so, it was literally the best thing that happened in the whole stupid year.