December. The month Jesus invented for purposes of logging preference. Of a musical nature. Next week’s vote is for your favourite album of 2013 – hit me with your top four, in order, either here or at @lazerguidedblog. And this week, I sat here attempting to calibrate our favourite reissued LP of the last twelve months.
Actually, that’s not true. High Land Hard Rain was always going to top this particular poll – by quite the considerable margin, as events transpired. Roddy’s been touring everyone’s favourite Aztec Camera album this very week (I actually prefer, Love, but if there’s one thing we’ve learnt it’s that my contrariness is nothing if not reliable). There’s also more than enough words out there of a High Land Hard Rain nature, by writers far wittier and better looking than me. So instead of worshipping at the alter of Frame, you won’t be going far wrong by listening to the following…
X-Ray Pop / Pirate! The Dark Side Of The X
Originally released in 1985. On cassette. Limited to 100 copies. Back when releasing things on cassette, on a strictly limited basis, and in 1985 wasn’t the hipster thing to do. Re-released on the always excellent Finder’s Keepers label, Pirate! heads straight for the part of the brain that gets its rocks off on silly, short, sleazy, snappy lo-fi French synth-pop. So infectious it hurts, expect to find this sound-tracking an advert for ridiculously expensive perfume shortly.
Hailu Mergia / Hailu Mergia And His Classical Instrument
Another 1985 reissue. A slice of Ethiopian jazz-funk that at times sounds like three records playing simultaneously. Heady stuff.
Malcolm Middleton / 5:14 Fluoxytine Seagull Alcohol John Nicotine
Released for the first time on vinyl, with a shitload of extras by those nice folks at Chemikal Underground, Middleton’s début solo disc is as haunting as it is beautiful. Jackson C Frank if he’d been raised in Falkirk and popped too many downers.
Scott Walker / The Collection 1967-1970
This has been sitting on the shelf behind the counter at my local record store for a couple of months, goading me with its £80 price tag and its unearthly beauty. It’s nowhere near as expensive as that 47 piece vinyl Can boxset that’s been doing the rounds, so let me put it this way: if you don’t buy if for me for Christmas, I’m going to have to explain to the kids why Santa only came for me. Again.
Thanks again for all your votes – the full list of nominations will appear in the comments section, once I’ve typed the damn things out. And for next week, please don’t vote Arcade Fire – you know it makes sense.