December 28, 2022

HCTF's best of 2022 (20-16)

HCTF's best of 2022

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. Here Comes The Flood covers a lot of ground and it shows in this eclectic, final tally.

Today: countdown from number 20 to 16.

Please shop at your local record store. The folks who work there know their stuff. And most of the shores have a pretty good website where you can order your stuff. It might even be cheaper than the big ones on the 'net.

Buy directly from the artist, attend live shows and stop by the merch table. And be sure to tell your friends about that great new act you discovered. Word-of-mouth can't be beat as the prime source to discover new music.

Andrew North and The Rangers: Phosphorescent Snack

20 Andrew North & The Rangers: Phosphorescent Snack

Upbeat piano-rock with a healthy shot of jazz and swing, performed by players who have mastered their instruments and left their egos back home in order to listen and collaborate.

The band really gels when they play instrumentals, conjuring up an evening in a late night jazz club with Down the Pipes and Epiphone. With each band member pitching in with his peculiar set of musical influences Phosphorescent Snack offers a tight but loose set of tracks that celebrate the art of connecting as musicians, exploring old and new paths of combining improvisation and composed parts. Recommended if you like Phish and its offshoot, the Trey Anastasio Band.

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Winter: What Kind of Blue Are You?

19 Winter: What Kind of Blue Are You?

Creating a dreampop world where only her rules apply. Map not included.

She pulls the listener in into her musical world, a bewildering and beguiling game of a push and pull that will require many listens to get to the gist of it. What Kind of Blue Are You? is an album without definite answers, but that is irrelevant for this journey to her inner self. Feel free to make sense of it, or better yet, surrender to the flow, and be intrigued and pleasantly surprised.

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Ken Newman: What Am I Afraid Of?

18 Ken Newman: What Am I Afraid Of?

San Francisco musician speaks his mind by way of rock with plenty of swagger.

(...) brutally honest, but fun to listen to, a rare combination indeed. Newman goes against the grain by playing old school rock guitar and speaking his mind about what angers him and what bothers him. He chooses not to look away as the police officer was telling people to do after a fatal shooting (Nothing to See Here). His guitar is not a weapon as such, but it sure packs a punch.

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The Bullfight & Guests: Some Divine Gift

17 The Bullfight & Guests: Some Divine Gift

Dutch folk noir band raises the bar with superb lyricists pushing the limits of their musical capabilities.

Spoken word and poetry are not necessarily easy on the ears. In most of popular music the words are an afterthought, preferably with a catchy refrain. On Some Divine Gift it is the other way round, with the music as a vessel for the thoughts and musings of the man or woman at the microphone. Hitting the ground running with Barry Hay solemnly working his way through Ozymandias, the fabled sonnet written by Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1818, it instantly becomes clear that this an album that deserved undivided attention. (...) Nobody tells a guy like Henry Rollins what to do as a spoken word artist, so for I Know You the band latched themselves upon his words, to create the musical backing, even throwing in with some Morricone-inspired backing vocals.

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Spygenius: Jobbernowl

16 Spygenius: Jobbernowl

Power pop meets New Wave at a Canterbury scene garden party. And a splendid time is had by all.

If need be songwriter Peter Watts mixes it up with tongue-in-cheek wordplay, complimenting a French revolutionary about his new dressing gown (I Dig Your New Robes, Pierre!) and - in a similar vein - philosopher Foucault roams he streets of Swinging London, inspired by the lyrics of Roger Miller's England Swings. Maybe he hitched a ride with The Marvellous, Mendacious Time Machine?

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