I didn’t listen to a lot of new music in 2015 as I spent most of my spare time listening to The Beatles, the Led Zeppelin remasters and David Bowie’s 1970’s catalogue. Of the new music I came across special mention goes to Courtney Barnett’s Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit, as well as Le Butcherettes’ A Raw Youth. I was also pleasantly surprised at the quality of Neil Young’s latest release from his extensive archives, Bluenote Café. It’s worth having for the searing versions of Ordinary People and Crime in the City alone. I’m waiting with baited breath to see if he releases a recording of his 1993 tour with Booker T. and the MG’s.
For all the wrong reasons the band of the year has to be Eagles of Death Metal. Their ordeal at the Bataclan is a first in the history of rock music and let’s hope it’s the last. They’ve been a long time favourite of mine, and in Jesse Hughes they have one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most charismatic front men. It is very sad that they have come to the fore in these dreadful circumstances but if any band has the songs to make people have a good time and feel good it’s them.
I was having a Christmas pint with my friend and former english teacher Padraic Gilligan the other evening and he asked me if I’d ever compiled my favourite 50 songs. So here it is on the Spotify playlist below. If I put it together tomorrow it would be completely different. I only included one song per artist, otherwise the Beatles and Teenage Fanclub would have had ten songs each, though I did allow songs from solo careers: For instance I included one song from Husker Du but also songs from the solo work of both Bob Mould and Grant Hart, as well as one from Mould’s Sugar project. Incidentally there’s no song from Neil Young as the selection of his material on Spotify is poor, but I would definitely have included “I’ve Been Waiting For You” in my top 5.
First on the list is Steve Earle’s Devil’s Right Hand and if any song illustrates his incredible gift it’s this one. The overall feel of the compilation is very much alternative rock with a good dollop of americana and punk thrown in for good measure. Anyway I hope you enjoy it. Happy Christmas everyone!