Chris T Popper has been with MM from the very first post. Every year he produces his own list of favourite tunes and here are his selections for 2019. This year he was helped by Stan the greyhound. Next year I’m hoping we get Stan’s choices…
10. She Keeps Bees – Kinship
Never got bored of that opening drum groove. Backed up by Jessica Larabee’s smooth intonations it’s aural ketamine for the ears. Her voice really is something special, giving the song an affecting, unique quality.
9. Water Music- It Ain’t Over…
As time went by I got proper gripped up by this tune. It’s dreamlike; alternating between the plaintive wonderfully sparse vocal to a splendid guitar pay-off three quarters through. ‘Everyone’s a leader but no one’s got a plan’ warbles Matty Barker, the creative force behind Water Music. Which seems to nail it, the year 2019 summed up in 9 words.
8. DJ Shadow (feat Rockwell Knuckles, Tef Poe, Daemon) – Urgent, Important, Please Read
Over Shadow’s gnarled chords and clashing drum breaks, Rockwell Knuckles, Tef Poe and Daemon take turns to administer the warnings. Angry and bleak it also feels kind of uplifting which is what makes it so interesting for me. Buried inside is a glimmer of hope, somewhere. A properly brutal record when played loud, which is always an added bonus.
7. Baxter Dury – Slumlord
Every time I sit down at the laptop to write about this song I play it, quite loud to be fair, to help my creative juices flow. Transfixed I listen to the whole song and by the end I haven’t written a single word. Just listened to it. Again. Baxter Dury has a way with words, a sort of analgesic to the unremittingly dull male solo artists currently filling the airwaves. Baxter’s world is shadowy betting shops, dodgy landlords, grimy comedowns and all the other type of things I readily relate to.
6. Lightning Dust – Led Astray
From the album Spectre, their first in four years comes this absolute gem. I’ve kept an eye on Lightning Dust since I heard I Knew, which I think was 2009ish when LD were more of a side project for Amber Webber and Josh Wells. Since the beginning Webber’s vocals have had me under a bit of a spell and the arrangement on Led Astray feels utterly flawless, including some groovy tremolo guitar. This year’s earworm for me, just couldn’t get it out of my noggin.
5. Siskiyou – Unreal Erections///Severed Heads
Another four year hiatus for Siskiyou’s Colin Huebert before releasing this mini epic. Whatever is happening in those four years seems to work. There is a sense of wretchedness to the whole song which appeals to my darker inclinations. Although half way through it almost gets upbeat with a wonderfully maniacal ‘ha ha’ thrown in for good measure. It ends up feeling quite playful, horns blaring out but… but… it still feels like it’s simply masking the futility of it all. Echoes of one of my favourite artists Howling Owls, which is as big a compliment as I can pay.
4. Hideous Sun Demon – Cheap Association
A deep bassline coupled with a sneering Australian accent is right up there on my list of ‘musical triggers I like’. It’s one of those tunes that hits you square between the eyes at first listen. It’s so damn accessible I was singing along with the ‘Mac DeMarco’ bits from the get-go. With each passing year I find myself getting a little more cynical and disappointed. When I do, I just put this on and I instantly know someone else understands.
3. Sleaford Mods – OBCT
I’m in a love/hate relationship with Sleaford Mods (mainly love) and this song encapsulates the problem. The authenticity of what you carp on about. Well everything changes and you can’t be a gobshite forever. Cognitive dissonance with a kazoo. And Fearn’s banging bass line which is guaranteed to get my jaw grinding along. Favourite line of the year is Williamson’s guilty admission ‘You know, now I just fantasiiiissse in a house 3 times the sizzzzzze… of my old one’ A belter of a tune and probably the song I have played the most this year.
2. Dry Cleaning – Magic of Meghan
Tackling the complexities of the UK’s relationship with Meghan Markle using a belter of a guitar lick (just like Meghan ‘it’s a smasher!’) and Florence Shaw’s superbly droll narration this is perhaps the only lens to view the chaos through. Considering recent events I like Meghan more and more. Maybe she’ll bring down the monarchy. Fingers crossed.
1. hd hausman – a modern weight
So my favourite song of the year… Many a time my greyhound Stanley has pricked up his ears as I whistle the whistling bit from a modern weight for the 9,000th time. He fucking hates this song now. It never grows tired to my ears though. The catchy melody shimmers about your lugholes with multiple layers of instruments and Liam Palmer’s brilliant vocal combining to make a song so packed with emotional punch I can get a bit teary. And I have no idea why. The power of music eh. Stan still hates it though.