Because Of You, We Survived the Cold of Winter Snow
By Cian Ó Cíobháin
1. Edward Williams - The Sex Life Of The Fern
Strange tune title? Perhaps … but not when you realise its context. It’s from the soundtrack to David Attenborough’s 1979 BBC series ‘Life On Earth’.
2. John Martyn - Head and Heart
Achingly beautiful loves song from John Martyn’s 1971 classic LP ‘Bless the Weather’.
3. Shelleyan Orphan - Beamheart
Caroline Crawley, the lead singer of Shelleyan Orphan, sadly passed away some months back. I was familiar with her vocal work on This Mortal Coil’s LP ‘Blood’, but had never taken the time out to explore any of her back catalogue, outside of her contributions to Ivo-Watts Russell’s 4AD super-group.
4. Perfume Genius - Mr Petersen
Taken from Mike Hadreas’ debut LP from 2010, this is a song about a teacher he had in his formative years, who had a major influence on him, but later committed suicide.
5. Shiny Two Shiny - Moment To Moment
Thanks to Mary Maguire for introducing me to this band. Based in Liverpool, they released 1 album and 2 EPs in the mid-80s.
6. The Strange Walls - Grey To Red
‘…. Won’t Last’ by New York-based The Strange Walls on Alrealon Musique is one of my albums of the year.
7. Worldbackwards - (Leaving Me) Now
Minimal wave quartet from London who initially only released their music on cassettes (there are four of them, all C60s).
8. Peter Gordon & David Van Tieghem - Winter (feat Kathy Acker)
Peter Gordon is the bandleader of Love Of Live Orchestra, a multi-genre downtown New York collective that has counted Arthur Russell, David Byrne, Arto Lindsay, Phillip Glass and Laurie Anderson amongst its members. He sent me a thank you email VIA his publicist for playing this one so often on my radio show this year.
9. Thomas Leer - Private Plane
Amazing debut single from 1978 from Thomas Leer.
10. Lives Of Angels - Imperial Motors
Lost classic from husband/wife duo Gerald and Catherine O’ Connell, taken from their 1983 album ‘Elevator To Eden’. Shades of Can, Suicide, Depeche Mode, New Order.
11. Rollers/Sparkers - Kodiak
They’re from Dublin, they are responsible for my album of the year - ‘Interior Ministry’ - and by album, I mean a coherent collection of amazing songs that make complete sense in the way that they’re sequenced on the LP.
12. Let’s Eat Grandma - Eat Shiitake Mushrooms
I believe that this precocious teenage girl duo from Norwich are still in school (only aged 16-17 when they wrote this) and yet…. how on earth did they come up with possibly the best pop-song of 2016?
13. Scraps - Dreams
Brisbane’s self-styled ‘dehydrated disco queen’ released a corker of an album - called ‘TTNIK’ - on the always essential Not Not Fun label this year.
14. Blood Orange - Desirée
This was my highlight from ‘Freetown Sound’, an album which features more great female vocalists, many who previously were unknown to me.
15. The Paradise - In Love With You
Made by Alan Braxe (who had a hand in Stardust’s ‘Music Sounds Better With You’ with Thomas Bangalater and ‘Intro/Running’ with Fred Falke) with Romuald Louverjon back in 2003, I have Mike Smalle to thank for introducing me to this 6am afterparty classic.
16. Ruby & The Romantics - Baby Come Home
Akron, Ohio R&B 60s group who became big in Belgium when this one became a staple on the Popcorn scene.
17. Liz Damon’s Orient Express - 1900 Yesterday
Debut single from Liz Damon’s Hawaiian band came out in 1971 but I have my truelove to thank for introducing me to it recently.
18. Cocteau Twins - Half-Gifts
20 years ago the Cocteau Twins released their final album ‘Milk & Kisses’ and when it came out I recall many of us being completely besotted with this song. Liz Fraser’s biographer speculated that songs from this period may be about Jeff Buckley, but the lady herself has neither confirmed or denied this.