Friday, January 06, 2012

Wot no album of the year?

2011: it's been and gone. I haven't kept a list of albums that might be considered "of the year", because the passage of time frequently proves my snap judgments to be wrong, and because I am not good at keeping lists. (I am good at starting them.) Most of the records that have caught my ear have been mentioned in these pages. Those I don't think I have acknowledged, but which deserve a nod (and which I have spent actual money acquiring), include the new albums by Kate Bush ("50 Words for Snow") and The Necks ("Mindset"); "Replicas", by Oneohtrix Point Never; "Helplessness Blues", by Fleet Foxes; Gillian Welch's "The Harrow & The Harvest"; "As The Crow Flies", by The Advisory Circle"; David Kilgour's "Left By Soft"; and "Sketches From the Book of the Dead", by Mick Harvey. This last one doesn't seem to have gotten much recognition at all, which is a shame, because it is really very good, in a typically understated way. There is a particular strain of Australian music which I am too close to to be able to articulate sensibly, but which this album, I think, taps into. Nick Cave's loss is our gain. As an example, here is "October Boy":

"October Boy" is, it would seem, Harvey's farewell to Rowland S Howard. The film about Howard, "Autoluminescent", is showing at the Arc Cinema on 11 February. See you there.