Saturday, December 02, 2017

My Music in 2017 - Albums - Part 1

Right then, the time for year-end lists is with us once again. This led me to consider that it is my twelfth year of doing such things. The first was posted on 10 December 2006 and that was just three months after starting this blog. It was also before I started attending music festivals. It was to be the driving force for that, and attempts at music photography soon followed.
That list of ten albums from 2006 is here.

The rules have changed little since: there will be several lists of albums as well as other categories. All entries in each list are alphabetical by artist and inclusion in a first list does not imply that I regard these releases to be superior to those in a later list of the same category.
Why do I do this? The answer to this question, which I have been asked surprisingly often, is that it serves to crystallise my thoughts on all the music that I have heard in the past year. That is more important than ever. I don't have exact numbers but I am in no doubt that in 2017 I have listened to more music than in any previous year. That includes approximately 150 live acts.

Music by artists that I have seen live at some time or another continues to have a profound effect on my listening habits. To make that point this list consists only of albums released in 2017 by artists that I have also seen live in 2017.
The reverse is also holds true; I have made an effort to see a number of artists in 2017 as a result of falling for their music in recorded format. John Moreland is a very good example of that. His LP 'High On Tulsa Heat' was on this list last year. The follow-up 'Big Bad Luv' is on this one and therefore here he is...

John Moreland, Garden stage, End Of The Road Festival, 2 September 2017.
  • Angel Olsen - Phases
  • Courtney Marie Andrews - Honest Life
  • Holly Macve - Golden Eagle
  • Hurray For The Riff Raff - The Navigator
  • John Moreland - Big Bad Luv
  • John Smith - Headlong
  • Otis Gibbs - Mount Renraw
  • Pumarosa - The Witch
  • Rosie Hood - The Beautiful and The Actual
  • Stevie Parker - Blue
Less than an hour later...

Courtney Marie Andrews, Garden stage, End Of The Road Festival, 2 September 2017.

I guess it is fair to say that I have rather indie-traditional leanings in the music I favour but in fact I have listened to a surprising amount of pop and electronic music this year too. I'm neither proud nor embarrassed about that.
The highlight is possibly that the last few years of political turmoil have re-energised the whole gamut of narrative music based on protest, hardship and (voluntary or otherwise) displacement.

My first attempt at seeing Pumarosa live, at Truck Festival 2016, was entirely successful. Taking photos was not however, thanks to a tetchy memory card. With a new memory card and as it happens a different camera I fared somewhat better in 2017.

Pumarosa's Isabel Munoz-Newsome, Walled Garden stage, Green Man Festival, 18 August 2017.

John Smith, Tipi stage, End Of The Road Festival, 2 September 2017.

If there is a curve-ball it is the inclusion of 'Phases' by Angel Olsen because it is in a sense a compilation. My reason is this. I first saw her live at Green Man 2014, knowing next to nothing of her or her work, and was blown away. In great part by the music but also by her faintly diffident approach. Three years on, and after the release of 'My Woman' in 2016, she returned to Green Man in 2017. I was interested to see what might have changed. Quite a lot to tell the truth and much as I expected to be honest. Totally amazing and still playing that 1979 Gibson S-1.

Angel Olsen, Far Out stage, Green Man Festival, 18 August 2017.

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