At the end of every year I get asked for my albums of the year and I normally have a few that were maybe not expected but this year I’m afraid my choices are almost entirely predictable, though that of course does not mean they aren’t great albums.
Meursault along with Withered Hand are a band that deserve to be far better known. Yet again they didn’t let us down with this year’s album I Will Kill Again. Quite what is needed in these times of declining sales I’m not sure, but I do hope Neil Pennycook, who is the driving force behind Meursault, doesn’t settle for cult status when his songs deserve a much wider audience.
Speaking of which, Dan Willson, who is Withered Hand, should have an album out in 2018 and has built himself a good following with his two previous albums that bodes well, especially if he can find a bigger indie label to sign him after his most recent label decided to call it a day.
Another that didn’t disappoint was the Out Lines album Conflats. Any project involving James Graham of Twilight Sad and SAY award winner Kathryn Joseph comes with certain expectations, but it was all that might have been hoped for and more and indeed anybody wanting to see them live can do so in March at Summerhall.
Roddy Woomble took time off from Idlewild to release The Deluder and while I’m not a fan of the folkier stuff, this saw Roddy take a different direction and is well worth a listen.
Finally, among the big hitters there was a new Mogwai album Every Country’s Sun which has been accompanied by a series of gigs that has seen them play to large crowds all over the world.
I do have one lesser known recommendation: Smackvan released The Palace of Varieties, described by The List as “broodingly lo-fi”. Certainly the six songs are quite atmospheric which Michael Feeney’s weary vocals suit perfectly and while they may have been recording for over two decades with no more than moderate success, that doesn’t mean that their music is any less worthy. Definitely one to look out for.
Other bands that are big favourites both with myself and Avalanche customers and had albums out in 2017 were Public Service Broadcasting, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and The National. I feared at least one would let me down but I need not have worried.
As for 2018, along with Withered Hand there should be albums from Star Wheel Press, There Will Be Fireworks, Broken Records and Paul Haig, all of which I’m greatly looking forward to. Franz Ferdinand have a much-anticipated album Always Ascending out in February while Django Django’s new album Marble Skies is released in late January. With a Chvrches album due later in the year, 2018 is already looking like a bumper year for Scottish music.
Special mention should go to Peter Perrett, who some of you may remember as the singer with The Only Ones. Generally only known by younger folk for their seminal single Another Girl, Another Planet, they were one of my favourite bands from that time and it was great to see Peter release an album on Domino Records this year that really was reminiscent of those early days. Peter has a way with words that labelmates the Arctic Monkeys would be proud of and his album How The West Was Won is certainly one I would recommend to anybody.