1. Dean Wareham, Dean Wareham
Dean Wareham has never let me down – from Galaxie 500 through to Luna, Dean & Britta to this, his debut solo album. My fave tracks include: “Love is Not a Roof [Against the Rain]”, “Happy & Free” plus his stellar cover of a song called “Heartless People”.
2. Wigout at Jagbags, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
I hadn’t heard a Malkmus/Pavement record since 1993’s Crooked Rain. This one took my fancy. He’s still writing great lines that stick eg. “I don’t have the stomach for your brandy, I can hardly sip your tea” [“Independence Street”]. Just like Tattoo You, side two has the best songs, cue “Cinnamon and Lesbians.”
3. Lost Colony, William Tyler William Tyler’s instrumental EP includes a cover of Michael Rother’s “Karussell”
4. Barragán, Blonde Redhead
Incredible production, great songs.
5. Held in Splendor, Quilt
Boston three-piece. They nearly died in a van smash earlier in the year. They also released a great record.
6. Life Among the Savages, Papercuts
At the zoo, Papercuts aka Jason Quever’s not the lion, he’s the ocelot. In the fruit bowl, he’s not the kiwi, he’s the orange. At the carnival, he’s hardly the Kamikaze ride, more the laughing clown. But who doesn’t like oranges, ocelots or putting ping-pong balls into a wide-open mouth?
7. Gon’ Boogaloo, C.W. Stoneking
Paul Kelly reckons C.W. has spent some time making deals at the crossroads. Or just woodshedding for six years. Inspired arrangements, great backing vocals, this album is his best, a genuine surprise.
8. Fearful Wiggings, Dave Graney
I love “Country Roads, Unwinding”.
9. Slide By EP – Jonathan Wilson
Wilson attacks Arlo Guthrie’s evergreen Woodstock Nation anthem – ‘Coming into Los Angeles’ – like he’s got Dylan’s Rolling Thunder band behind him, and the violin lead works a treat. There’s more covers in The Great Society’s ‘Free Advice’ and Bob Welch’s Fleetwood Mac-era cosmic shuffle ‘Angel’, recorded live at Seattle’s KEXP.
10. The Velvet Underground 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition / The Complete Basement Tapes
The Velvet Underground combines the Grey Album, VU and 1969 Live into one uber-desert island package. The Complete Basement Tapes had me at “Wild Wolf”.