This has been an odd week. For the first time since I started this there were a lot of records that didn’t excite me. I have spent some time this weekend wondering why and how and where and when this has occurred and (apart from the when) I’m struggling for answers. I suspect it is a mix of lockdown fatigue and coincidence but I’m looking at the list of albums and, in some cases, I’m struggling to remember which album was which.
So how do I score this week? If nothing else, people who suggested something should score higher than people who didn’t, even if their choice did, you know, kinda suck. That seems fair. And there were some very good choices too… so… oh sod it, let’s just do this…
Scoring one point Nightjar Press
Have you ever heard Live in Leuven by Jah Wobble, Jaki Liebezeit and Philip Jeck? It is possibly the worst thing I have ever heard, and I say that as somebody who has heard his own nose breaking, twice. Nightjar Press are one of the finest small presses in Britain. You should definitely go to their website and buy as many of their books as you can afford. But under no circumstances let them DJ at one of your parties.
The following albums receive five points each
My heartfelt apologies to Dan Carpenter (Johnny Flynn – Sillion) Slugger (January – I heard myself in you) jummo70 (Jerkcurb – Air Con Eden) Adrian Slatcher (Jefferson Starship – Blows Against the Empire) Sleepy (The Julie Ruin – Run Fast) George Sandison (Jim Noir – Tower of Love) Graeme (Jetstream Pony – Jetstream Pony) William Mallin (Jenny Hval – The Practice of Love) Aimee Parsons (James Arthur – You) and Graham Cox (Jakobinarina – The First Crusade) It’s not you, it’s me. Some of these albums probably require more listens (that they won’t get) or a less quarantined listener (good luck with that too). One is genuinely terrible (looking at you Slatcher) but avoided a worse score because short of buying logarithmic paper it was hard to scale anything accurately against Live in Leuven. Anyway, them’s the breaks, kids. Five points is better than nothing.
Seven points go to Dave Hartley
Dave picked Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds and, in the words of Marlon Brando as the voice of John Truckasaurus (celebrity voice impersonated) “You crazy car. I don’t know whether to eat you or kiss you.” It’s such a, dare I say it, gloriously stupid choice, that it couldn’t go without some (slight) reward even when it is obviously not as good as a lot of the stuff I gave five points to.
Since its serialisation in Pearson’s magazine in 1897, and its publication a year later, there have been a total of zero good adaptations of War of the Worlds. Just read the book, mate. Everything else sucks. Jeff Wayne’s take has a couple of very nice individual noises but apart from that it is gack, no more useful an interpretation of the source material than Rick Wakeman’s The Six Wives of Henry VIII is of English history between 1509 and 1547. And yes, I know, you all had a dad who played it in the car on long journeys, and that’s lovely, and dad’s are very often very lovely, but the album is hellish.
The following albums get ten points
Tom (Jurassic 5 – Quality Control) Desmond (Carly Rae Jepson – E-Mo-Tion) Miranda Whiting (Japan – Tin Drum) Donna Morris (Jeff Buckley – Grace) Saul Hay Gallery (Jaga Jazzist – What We Must) and Mallen181 (Joni Mitchell – Ladies of the Canyon) which shared a ‘yes, I can see why you picked that, nice one’ vibe but didn’t set my loins properly ablaze (if that doesn’t sound too forward).
11 points go to Hannah Hunt
for Blues Run the Game by Jackson C. Frank which would probably have scored higher if I wasn’t still scarred from buying the deluxe every-fucking-version-of-every-fucking-song double cd edition a few years ago, which proved to be, for me at least, a bit much.
12 points go to David Church
Who kind of cheated by picking more than one album (but he’s new so I’m going to forgive him and so are you, ok). One of his choices was ‘anything by Janelle Monáe’ which is, I’m just going to say it, far too vague an album recommendation BUT who got to listen to Tightrope this weekend and has two thumbs? This guy! OK, you need to imagine I’m pointing at myself with two thumbs. I’m… I’m trying to say I listened to Tightrope. Nest time just say “I recommend The ArchAndroid by Janelle Monáe”. Then I wouldn’t have to dock you points for being so darn nebulous.
13 points go to Chris ‘AKA’ Pet Idiot
Chris was very confident that So Alone by Johnny Thunders would win the whole thing, and at one point I thought it would too, because this is a cracking album, but then it didn’t, but it did get 13 points, which is pretty good, and hasn’t this sentence got a lot of commas in it, eh?
14 points go to Plashing Vole
Who went all proper highbrow with Untold Things by Jocelyn Pook, which I enjoyed very much. I don’t get a lot of composer recommendations, which is a shame. And let’s face it Johann Sebastian Bach was a guaranteed high score this week. Those cello suites. Blimey. Chef’s kiss emoji right there, am I right? Of course I am.
15 points go to Fat Roland
Who chose Vin by Janus Rasmussen which was, as so often with his choices, a very satisfying slab of lovely bloops. I enjoyed it so much I did a bit of research on it. Did you know it is named in honour of former Tottenham Hotspur cult hero Vinnie Samways who, in one of those strange coincidences that join us all together as a people, was the first person I ever met who owned two mobile phones.
16 points go to Em
Sorry, I should probably point out that the whole ‘he named the album after Vinnie Samways’ thing was nonsense. Sorry about that. Please don’t put me on Snopes or anything.
Anyway, Em chose Soft Sounds from Another Planet by Japanese Breakfast, which I think a lot of you would like very much indeed.
17 points go to Nick Rayney
Joy Formidable’s The Big Roar does exactly what it says on the tin (musically at least, the vocals are definitely not roared). From my (pretty basic) research into the novel it looks like some reviewers though the sound was actually too big, but I suspect they were just wrong.
18 points go to Mat Pringle
I have a small confession to make: I couldn’t actually track down Music for Tu Madre by J-Zone. Instead I listened to Fish-N-Grits and Pimps Don’t Pay Taxes and sort of extrapolated from there. Seems unfair to give an album I haven’t heard eighteen points but not when you compare it to, you know, everything else in the fucking world right now. You’ll get over it.
19 points go to Chris Bissette
Punk is a funny old thing, isn’t it. When it is bad it is absolutely shite. When it is good, oh my. Needless to say, 24 Hour Revenge Therapy is great.
And our winner, with twenty points is… Picky Bastards
Which is something of a surprise, at least to me, because on first listen I thought Crushing by Julia Jacklin was going to end up with all those five point albums that didn’t quite grab me. But there was something about Crushing that nagged at my subconscious. Something that said ‘have another listen’. So I did. And then I listened to it again. And then I listened to it another couple of times, to make sure like. I’m listening to it now. It’s bloody brilliant.