December 29, 2019

HCTF's best of 2019 (15-11)

HCTF's annual list of the 20 albums that will be in regular rotation for many years to come. As per usual many genres are represented. This blog covers a lot of ground and it shows in this eclectic, final tally.

Today: countdown from number 15 to 11.

Please shop at your local record store, buy directly from the artist, attend live shows. Don't block anyone's view with with your phone (better still, switch it off altogether). Shut the fuck up while the band is playing. Educate your friends. Word-of-mouth can't be beat as the prime source to discover new music.

15 LOGOUT: N91°

Subdued and mysterious storytelling.

With minimalistic electronics gentle swaying throughout N91° is a modern day folk record, a fairy tale an journey rolled into one. After he has paid tribute Portugese poet Fernando Pessoa with the delicate wordplay in the avant-ambient song Pessoan Odyssey the album finally makes its to its destination namesake. It is up to the listener if anything of this actually happened. The record is a true desert island disc, with no set rules, making it impossible to pigeonhole. A bewildering trip through the mindset of a kaleidoscopic musician and poet.

» Full review

14 The Blue Yellows: Kitchen Sessions

Home made playful and fun indie rock.

Eccentric, funny, tongue-in-cheek vaudevillian garage rock. with enough musical references to keep the music geeks at bay, like the Take Me Tot The River bit in Spiral Dive. Singer Jonathan Tarplee is an old fashioned balladeer turned indie rock musician, but the band's secret weapon is Emma Alcock with her uncanny knack for syncopation on both accordion and keyboards to give the music an off-kilter quality that make the songs jump up and down in a good way.

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» Full review

13 Billie Williams: Hell to Pay

Funky blues rock as a vessel for empowerment.

All anger and politics aside she is powerful singer, who can bring the house down and commandeer the spotlights amidst the members of her kick-ass band. Hell to Pay is entertainment with a message. She doesn't take shit from anybody, but she knows damn well that, in order to get people to listen to the words, getting them to dance and singalong as well is a sure fire recipe to capture their attention.

» Full review

12 Ronan Conroy: The Moment Is Gone

Intense, in control, and bottled anger

He takes it all in with a leisurely pace. The music for Cordite is as smoldering as its subject matter and You're So Cruel is an accusation captured in piano driven college rock. Anger, My Love is a rant, pushed center stage by a swirling guitar motif that is part grunge and part progressive. The real surprise is his countrified rendition of Psalm #40, where he makes the lines "may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace" sound like a declaration of regained self-esteem.

» Full review

11 Tullycraft: The Railway Prince Hotel

Next level indie pop for the cognoscenti.

(...) an uncanny for crafting quirky songs filled with off-kilter hooks, with references to both the obscure as well as the mainstream - Goldie and the Gingerbreads quotes Paradise By The Dashboard Light. (...) The Railway Prince Hotel is filled with upbeat, rambling garage tunes that will get many a listener spin the wrong foot. Is there something wrong with the rhythm? Well, no actually, but it's a kind of free-flowing music, jagged and lo-fi while they take the piss at pretty much anything. Think a mix of XTC, The Velvet Underground, Jonathan Richman and the Decemberists.

» Full review

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