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2017 – Miami

July 5th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Music · No Comments · Music

When I decided to write about one track from every year of my life I don’t think I realised how bloody old I am – it turned out to be a bit of an epic chore, but the end is in sight now. By that I mean that I am nearly caught up, not that it is all over; despite cancer’s best efforts it appears that I should have a good few years left now. Anyway, 2017, what a year!Either there was a lot more new music out this year, or I was getting better at finding it. I suspect a bit of both. All too often I was coming across stuff I really liked and discovering that it was a few years old and I had never heard it, or I thought I was discovering new bands only to find that they were on their third album, so I made a conscious effort to keep my ears open more and did a few things as routine to make that happen:

  • Before throwing away a music magazine like Q I would go through the review section and if there was anything I hadn’t heard that sounded ike it might be interesting I would have a quick listen on Spotify. Of course I would have to hang onto the magazines for a couple of months before doing this because they always review things that are not out yet.
  • On Spotify I would go into the ‘New Releases’ part of ‘Browse’ every week or so and try out anything that caught my eye. I would also go into the ‘Discover’ part and see what the recommendations were.
  • Also on Spotify, if I was listening to anybody new to me that I liked, I would go to the artist section and look at the ‘Fans also like’ bit of that.
  • I changed radio stations. Previously I listened to Absolute Radio 70s a lot, but would sometimes listen to Radio 6 Music if I was on a car journey in the afternoon. I started listening to Radio 6 Music a lot more and only put on the 70s station to go to sleep to.

As a result of that, and what was probably a good year anyway, I found more new music to listen to in 2017 than I had for a long time.

Of course there were still releases from old favourites: Depeche Mode, LCD Soundsystem, another David Gilmour live album, yet another Yes live album, Amadou & Mariam, Sparks and a Lindsay Buckingham/Christine McVie collaboration. And Kraftwerk re-released everything again as the 3-D Katalog. There was even a new album from Chuck Berry. It didn’t sound very contemporary, but was very enjoyable. It was his first new album since 1979 and he died a couple of months before it came out, so it was quite noteworthy anyway. Black Grape popped up with a new album, 20 years after their previous one, and it was a cracker. Not to be left out, Blondie had a new album as well, Pollinator, which was the best thing they had done for ages.

2017 was the year I discovered Sleaford Mods when their album English Tapas was released. I had seen the name in the music press but just skipped over anything about them because I wrongly assumed they were a mod band. I spent a large part of the year kicking myself for missing out on them over ten years.

Another scene I got into a bit late was grime. Of course there was the Stormzy debut album Gang Signs and Prayers, but also Bugzy Malone with his King of the North album/EP, inclding the excellent Bruce Wayne. Keeping up with the newcomers, Dizzee Rascal had a new album out too.

Public Service Broadcasting continued to impress. When I read that they had basically done a concept album about the history of coal mining in a Welsh village I was a bit wary, but Every Valley turned out to be a masterpiece.

Of the newer generation of artists, I was really taken with Nadine Shah, Father John Misty, Jane Weaver, Ibibio Sound Machine, Idles, Thundercat, and Snapped Ankles.

Throw in the Prophets of Rage project, the Brix & The Extricated debut album, new albums by Damian Marley and Kele Okereke and a brilliant album by Jah Wobble, there was a lot going on, but one track anaged to stand out above all of that – Miami by Baxter Dury from his Prince of Tears album.

Bxter Dury does look a bit like his old man, and sounds a lot like him, but the music is much more lush and consistent than the Blockheads records. He also shares his father’s love of words so the songs often grab you with a completely unexpected phrase. The music is quite hypnotic with some lovely basslines, and best of the lot is Miami, which I still listen to a lot even 2 years later. There is just something about the mix of repetitive bass, overlaid with strings, and the threatening spoken vocals. I really can’t understand why, when music like this was out there, everybody seemed to spend the year listening to Ed Sheeran instead.

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