The Festive Fifteen 2017
Herewith markontour’s annual homage to John Peel – a round-up of the best songs released in the last twelve months, or at least the best that I have manage to hear at gigs, in record shops and, most frequently, on headphones at 35,000 feet. Available on YouTube and Spotify. Enjoy!
This song is SO good. I played about 10 times in succession on first hearing. Dark and catchy at the same time. Daddy G’s cameo is mustard (see ‘Wolf Alice and a New Vocabulary’).
They were the best thing at a new band night at the Roundhouse late last year, and I thought then that if everything turns out as good as their first single, ‘Rita Ora’, they will be brilliant. So far, so good. Catch them in a small venue while you can.
The best performance at Glastonbury 2017. Glorious rap about investing all one’s disposable income in buying music. No further comment necessary.
4. Heart of America – Margo Price
I wish I’d heard ‘Hands of Time’ in time to include it on the Festive Fifteen 2016, but the second instalment of Margo Price’s biography of mid-western love, loss, and politics, is just as good.
5. Baby You’re Out – Mac Demarco
I tried to see this slacker king in Cologne before COP23, but instead accidentally ended up as the only Brit in a bar showing Germany vs England. Luckily, this group of football fans were as blissed out as Mac Demarco’s music and barely registered my presence, so I didn’t even have to protest about being Welsh.
Guy Garvey has been rattling on about Jessica Hoop for years, but I only really got it with this year’s wonderful album. Clever & quirky, this track will give you an ear-worm, but in a good way.
7. A Little Uncanny – Conor Oberst
Like REM’s ‘It’s the end of the world (and I feel fine)’ but at a slower pace and making more sense. ‘A Little Uncanny’ features Mr Oberst’s loves and hates, from Jane Fonda to Ronald Reagan, and reflections on how they captured the zeitgeist. Performed with members of the Felice Brothers, apparently hanging out together in an effort to stay permanently wasted.
8. Continental Breakfast – Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile
How perfect is this pairing? Courtney and Kurt #2 sing about long distance collaboration, watching the waves from their respective porches, while sounding too stoned to ever actually get on a plane & perform together.
9. Cremated (Blown Away) – The Proper Ornaments
I remember reading an edition of Antiques Collector in the mid-1980s about proper ornaments in Edwardian Britain. The members of this Veronica Falls/Toy collaboration may have had similarly nerdy teenage reading habits, but don’t let that put you off this great song.
10. Elodie – Ten Fe
It sounds like something indefinable from 1980s & it has put a smile on my face on several trans-Atlantic flights this year. A markontour album of the week.
Serendipity & the Music Hall of Williamsburg combined to introduce me to this young Sydney band. There’s something of a riff from Billy Bragg’s ‘Sexuality’ in this great song from their debut EP.
12. I Can’t Bear to Feel Myself Forgotten – Laura J. Martin
This year’s Welsh entry. Laura J. was previously found playing beautiful violin accompaniment to Euros Childs and, like the former Gorky’s front man, Martin has such a warm personality that you can’t help liking her.
Catchy indie-pop, discovered during a wander at Port Meirion while my Festival No.6 friends were investing in flamboyant attire, and this song caught my attention from the main stage.
14. Take Me Home – Public Service Broadcasting
The cornerstone of markontour’s retirement plan is to join a Welsh male voice choir, an ensemble employed to great effect by PSB on their 2017 album about the decline of the coal-mining valleys of the motherland. The opening voice-over reminds me of Dylan Thomas reading ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales‘.
15. Kindling (Fickle Flame) – Elbow ft. John Grant
Perfect, beautiful and heartwarming. “The rush & the crush / And the call of “all aboard” / Fifty souls to a carriage / And I’m trying hard to be ignored / Then my telephone shakes into life / And I see your name / And the wheat-sheaves explode into gold / Either side of the train.” Here with additional John Grant.
16. King Tide and the Sunny Day Flood – Billy Bragg
The Big Nosed Bard From Barking on his best form since ‘William Bloke’ & crooning about climate change.
17. The Barr Brothers – Song That I Heard
The multi-talented Barr Brothers telling the tale of the Great Antonio. Sneaking in as an extra bonus track as I only saw them after the Festive Fifteen was technically finished.
One Response to “The Festive Fifteen 2017”
Happy birthday! Rishi
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