So this is the seventh set of choices that I’ve fired out into the listless void, being as how we’re seven years old now. Sometimes I get pelters for it. Most of the time no-one notices. Does a list of great music make a squall of feedback in the forest when no-one is there to hear it? I don’t know, and neither do you, and that’s OK. It’s all OK.
2017, then. Been a funny sort of in-betweeny year for music, especially at the more extreme end of things. It may be that everyone has sort of retrenched back to the (given the kind of music I listen to) bedroom when faced with a barrage of populist nonsense. Even the lang cat’s resident superstar DJ, Mike Barrett, has refrained from punting whatever Soundcloud-derived disco nonsense usually makes up his playlist of the year (hi, fellow kids!) so I can’t even post that as a balancer. Let the record, show, then, that these are the lang cat’s records of 2017, and let anyone who disagrees write their own damn blog.
- Godflesh: Post Self – this isn’t a nice record. At all. But it is a worthy successor to what was my entry into industrial noise stuff (1989’s Streetcleaner). This doesn’t last long when it goes on the office stereo; like an angry, pop-loving meerkat, Shona is up there with a ‘what the fuck is THIS?’ and before we know it it’s EDM again.
- Lana Del Rey: Lust For Life – I really like Lana Del Rey, and the fact that it winds up Linda is only a bonus. Guilty pleasure on the list.
- Prophets of Rage: Prophets of Rage – one of the gigs of 2017 (see below) and so one of the records too, but only just. The singles are great; the rest…well, with any luck they’ll play Like A Stone with the empty mic again.
- Sólstafir: Berdreyminn – so we hit the first of the Nordics. Sólstafir apparently means ‘crepuscular rays’ which sounds like a Celtic Frost song and I’m all about that, and Berdreyminn means ‘Season of Mist’. But it’s Icelandic so it could mean ‘my jam sandwich has hair in it’ and none of us would be any the wiser. The good news is this is such a good, atmospheric, blackish post-metallish, not-surish sort of record that it doesn’t really matter.
- The War On Drugs: A Deeper Understanding – this is in here because Steve puts it on the office stereo quite a lot and I always like it when he does. I’m not sure I’m qualified to say much more than that.
- Yorkston Thorne Khan: Neuk Wight Delhi All-Stars – listen, any time JY puts a record out it’ll be on the list – we owe him our name after all – but this one is lush. Last year we had Everything Sacred which was great, but this amazingly odd and beautiful collaboration between folk, jazz and Indian classical musicians is just amazing. One of the gigs of the year too – watching Suhail sing Sufi Song will go with me to the grave.
4. Paradise Lost: Medusa – I’ve loved Paradise Lost since Gothic in 1991. Even their inevitable and – let’s be honest – shite electro records have been good, for a given value of ‘good’. This is the best PL record since Shades of God in 1992. 25 years, seems fitting. A total belter. Looking forward to the gig in February too.
- Mogwai: Every Country’s Sun – I’m not sure Mogwai can make a bad record, but judging by this year’s effort we’ll not find out for a while. Weirdly, every Mogwai record is sort of the same, but it evolves too. Another great gig (at the barn that is the SSE Hydro) and a classic Mogwai record to back it up; that’ll do me. The second half is better than the first.
- Myrkur: Mareidt – this folk / black metal one-woman powerhouse from Amalie Bruun is new to me this year, and has knocked me sideways. It’s great atmospheric black metal mixed with really remarkable Icelandic folk music, and what comes out is a) virtuosic and b) pretty barking mad to be honest. There are a couple of iffy moments – spooky little girl vocals on one song which need an editor to get the red pen out – but that’s not enough to spoil the rest. Totally different and captivating. Imagine an Icelandic black metal All About Eve and you’re sort of there. If you like that sort of thing.
- Kreator: Gods of Violence – this just snuck into 2017, being released in January. In common with some of the rest of this list, I’ve loved Kreator since 1989’s Extreme Aggression, and this is simply one of the German thrash legends’ best. It’s my most listened to record of 2017 by a stretch. Try Satan Is Real, Totalitarian Terror, Army of Storms or Side By Side, and tell me that German battle thrash isn’t exactly what the world needs.
GIG OF THE YEAR
A tie. Can’t distinguish between the incredible rush of Prophets of Rage at Brixton Academy, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds taming the SSE Hydro. Been a great year for gigs.
WORST GIG OF THE YEAR
The National. Usher Hall. I left halfway through.
And that’s it. Should you give a damn, you can stick your own in below.