December 29, 2020

HCTF's best of 2020 (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. Most of them have a website where you can order your stuff. Buy directly from the artist, attend live shows when it's safe to do so again. Educate your friends. Word-of-mouth can't be beat as the prime source to discover new music.

Middle Blue: Weird Funk in Small Bars

15 La Cerca: A Nice Sweet Getaway

Alternative rockers go down a dark road and discover their inner ambient musician.

Echo, delay and reverb were put to good use to create an atmosphere that is not particularly safe or soothing. They point to the dangers that are hiding in the great wide open, with pulsating rhythms and swaths of guitar that are both welcoming and issuing a warning.

» Full review

Middle Blue: Weird Funk in Small Bars

14 Tomer Krail: Held In Quiet Parenthesis

Breakup albums are a dime a dozen. Great breakup albums are extremely rare.

As a subject matter for an album that's nothing new - any serious collection of music has at least one shelf for "breakup" albums, but Krail has turned his anger and pain into a fetching batch of tunes. He pulls out all the stops in the superb Summer Solstice (Blue Fish Wailing) - he is stuck on a cruise boat and he needs both a Zappa-esquet and a borderline hard rock solo to deal what that. By using the same motifs for Held, In Quiet and Parenthesis, the three tracks that gave the album its title he tied the music together to make clear that this is a record that should be enjoyed as a whole.

» Full review

Middle Blue: Weird Funk in Small Bars

13 Jumble Hole Clough: Bassoons and Women's Coats

Musical explorer extraordinaire with a soft spot for the arcane and overlooked things.

This album turned out not to be only about the current state of things. His sense of humour got the better of him in the end and his deep knowledge of English art and culture seeps through as well. Did John Ruskin ever play a granite marimba? In his universe it is perfectly plausible. In fact, he refers to the lithophone: "a musical instrument consisting of a rock or pieces of rock which are struck to produce musical notes". Bassoons and Women's Coats works on two different levels: as an adventurous collection of softly played avant-garde and as an invitation to fire up a search engine to find out more about the stories behind the titles of his instrumentals

» Full review

12 Deleyaman: Sentinel

Dark wave steeoed in literature that digs deep, but does not show off.

Melancholy prevails throughout the album, so it is fitting that they walk slowly through the fields and find the lake where "everything has been said. Of ancient myths to darkest hours" in Deer on the Run, before signing off with the realisation that true freedom does not really exist. We are all born Slaves. Deleyaman take it slow, with hushed warnings that may be to high-brow for the average music fan, but will be noted by anyone who loves literature and poetry. Adventurous folk music that transcends the concept of borders or genres.

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11 The Sideshow Tragedy: After the Fall

Fallign down and getting up thanks to the power of rock 'n' roll. Resonator guitar included.

After The Fall is about a man trying to get back on his feet after a nasty spin. It nearly put an end to the duo as well, but thankfully Singleton decided that he needed his music as a means to survive. The chorus of The Lonely One sums it up nicely: "My teeth are loose in my head My gums are bleeding my breath smells like death // Won't take no medicine no doctor prescribes // But that's ok cuz you know I ain't ever gonna die". The unitiated may think it is long lost Lou Reed song, which is actually a compliment for his razor sharp lyrical ability to use plain language to harness his emotions

» Full review

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