And the 10 best albums of 2013 are …

Albums2013… probably not these, above. Well, they might be. Who would know? Who am I to judge?

Any “best of” list is, of course, completely arbitrary (“worst of” lists, on the other hand, are highly scientific), so you can take from my own list what you will. I have to say there wasn’t an album that smashed it out of the park for me this year.* Plenty of good stuff, but nothing I’d choose to have with me if I were stuck on a desert island, like Paul’s Boutique or Revolver (or a distress radiobeacon).

Anyway, here goes. Continue reading

China flashback: metalheads and mohawks

I recently read about a John Cage composition for organ called As Slow As Possible, a piece of music that is currently being played live in a church in Germany. The performance began in 2001 (though the first actual chord wasn’t struck until 17 months later) and will take 639 years to finish. The next scheduled change of note is in October this year.

And I thought: that’s about as slow as my book on China is coming along. Continue reading

Favourite albums of 2012

“You mean you actually liked that album?”
“This list sucks!”
“What sort of top ten doesn’t include album X by artist Y?”

Those are the kinds of gormless responses you’ll often find posted under lists of the year’s best albums on music websites. No wonder Pitchfork doesn’t bother with a comments section…

At the risk of being pelted with virtual tomatoes, then, here’s my personal top ten for the year (in random order). These are, plainly and simply, the new releases I played more than any others. (Click on each cover for a YouTube taster.) Continue reading