1537 vs. 2014

Much careful deliberation went into this drivel you're about to read
Much careful deliberation went into this drivel you’re about to read

Welcome folks, welcome to the 1537 Enormodome for the world’s premier award ceremony*! A venue specifically constructed for this very purpose for me in the heart of a, mostly, extinct volcano in an undisclosed South American republic.  My guests here tonight number amongst them the very cream of the affordable end of D-list musical celebrities, together with a bunch of the very finest bloggers ever to be nice to me online who have been flown-in, blindfolded by my henchmen, from such far away locales as Fort Wayne IN, Glasgow, a whole host of different Canadian towns, Melbourne, Stroud and a host of other classified locations.  Again, though I would emphasise there is a strict dress code for these proceedings, no loungewear, bootlace ties or trainers permitted.

1.  The Pete Seeger Memorial Award for an ‘LP bought solely for gratuitous chewing-gum-on-boob cover’ goes to:

Scorpions – Love Drive

Yup those crazy Germans managed to retain their award from last year, which makes the Scorpions the first treble 1537 award winners in history.  As a result they retain the award in perpetuity and this category will now be retired.

2.  The Jack Bruce Memorial Award  for ‘the best-looking and put-together LP bought this year’.  This was a very hotly contested award this year and worthy contenders this year included Transmaniacon The Darkening Plain and Gonga Black SabbethHowever there was only going to be one winner right from the moment HMO very kindly emailed me to tip me off that an amazing LP was about to be released next week:

Warfaring Strangers: The Darkscorch Canticles

Effortlessly bringing together obscure proto-metal, role-playing and the sheer joy of made-up logos and graph paper, I’ve had so much fun from owning this album in 2014.  The music is great of course, and the sheer detail, enthusiasm, refinement and love Numero Group bought to this project is tangible throughout.  I’m still working on trying to afford the limited edition board game version too.

Darkscorch Canticles 01

Darkscorch Canticles 04

3.  The Lou Reed Memorial Award for ‘most titties on the cover of an LP bought this year’.

Now there has been some controversy surrounding this award in recent days as 2014 has been the worst year on record for nudity, umm, on record.  On an entirely serious note all of us need to contact our elected officials on this issue immediately, don’t assume others will do this for you as each of us has a responsibility for future generations to ensure that the noble art of upper torso nudity being used to sell records to teenagers and adults-who-should-definitely-know-better-by-now is preserved.  I believe it was Thomas Jefferson who said, ‘Let generations as yet unborn, rank our success not by material wealth and ease, but by the nipple count on our LPs’ **.

1537 2014 03 Blues Pills

I did consider letting Phosphorescent retain the award for a second year however a swift rule change, to allow drawn boobs, has enabled me to name Blues Pills as worthy winners this year.  Their self-titled debut LP features no less than 5 distinct knockers, via the excellent artwork of renowned 60’s psychedelic artist Marijke Koger-Dunham*^.  But will that be enough to catapult their album into the 1537 Top 10?

But now, we have the event of the evening the 1537 Top 8 9 10+1 Best LPs of 2014, I’ve bought a lot of vinyl this year and it was a hard call but these are the ones that I have spent the most time with and that have given me the most pleasure this year.

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1. Pontiak – Innocence

A brilliant LP, helped by the fact that it was released early and so I have spent a lot of time with it in 2014.  A very complete album and a real rural sounding one too, coming on at times like the Stooges’ hick cousins whacked on moonshine and at others like the Band heard on a cheap car stereo at make-out point.  Just brilliant by whatever measure you take, energy, songs, chops Innocence has them all.  Ignore my flippancy too, there’s real emotion in these grooves.

2. Shrine – Bless Off!

I know I’ve bothered you all about this one a lot recently, so all I’ll say is that it is a perfect mix of metal and punk that actually makes me wish I could grow my hair, learn to skate and abuse solvents safely.  For sheer 4 to the floor fun, The Shrine rule! I have head-banged more to this LP than any other new one this year.

3. Wildest Dreams

A really great late night album with an unlikely genesis in the form of LA-based English superstar DJ Harvey, who seemingly decided to take the Doors ‘Riders On The Storm’ as a jumping off point to make the kind of sophisticated, sounds-amazing-in-a-car, hazy night tunes people simply haven’t made since 1977.  One listen to ‘405’ or ‘Last Ride’ and you’ll be hooked, the ghosts of Steely Dan (circa Aja) look on.  The fact that it came on white vinyl together with a DVD movie about LA surfers sound-tracked by the album also counts massively in their favour.

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4. MFC Chicken – Solid Gravy!

What can I say that I haven’t said already by now? For sheer rock and rolled-up joy get the Chicken! Whether you want new dance crazes, saucy tales of lust or just a 1950’s rave up, Solid Gravy! is your man.  Lead sax man/vocalist and self-confessed Canadian, Spencer Evoy even let me interview him which was by far one of the best things I have done this year.  I gave my mum this LP, before I realised quite how rude it was and she loves it too – it’s cross-generational sensational!

5. Earthling Society – England Have My Bones

A complete impulse buy because I liked the LP title that really paid off for me.  The sticker on the record mentions space rock and Krautrock motorik but this album is a damn sight more than that.  Earthling Society use a really interesting, very creative palette to paint their music with, we get interesting ambient sound washes, Eastern stylings and a brilliant rocky cover of Alice Coltrane’s (already brilliant) ‘Journey Into Satchidananda’, along with tribal percussion and spacey whooshes. I hear new things every single time I spin this LP and I’ve really been playing it a lot recently.

6. Lonely Kamel – Shit City

I came to mock, but stayed to rock.  I bought this late one tipsy night^ you can see my train of thought – Norwegian, stoner rock, swear words, misspelt dromedaries, blue vinyl limited to 100 copies world-wide … pathetic how easily my eye can be turned by a hot floozy of a record like this! You know what though? Shit City was one of the very best rock LPs I heard in 2014.  Slightly punky and sweary at times, bluesy at others; most of my favourite bases covered. Some great playing but mostly just some really great feeling rock.  Anyway you have to buy an LP with a track on it called ‘Seal The Perimeter’, don’t you?

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7. White Hills – Glitter Glamour Atrocity

One of my favourite bands for a goodly while now especially live, but their last two LPs have only sporadically thrilled, this one hits the mark exactly.  It’s a re-release of an old CD-R I think (they have an absolutely labyrinthine back catalogue) and it just sounds AMAZING, just perfect production.  It also helps that there’s a good amount of variation here between face-melting psych guitar freakouts^^ and more contemplative and more experimental workouts.  Nice cover (I love you Ego Sensation!) and great blue vinyl doesn’t hurt their cause either.  Just don’t get me started on missing them at the Liverpool Psych fest this year.

8. Blues Pills

I resisted this LP for a long time, until late one night etc. etc. Yup, a double picture disc version swayed me … I’ve always been fond of the cover art.  There is not a single jot of anything new here at all in these grooves and yet somehow that doesn’t stop this being a totally irresistible LP.  Elin Larsson’s voice is an absolute treat, Janis Joplin comparisons are a bit wide of the mark for me she has a cleaner, technically better voice, but her vocals are not the only trick on show the band play it brilliantly.  Again this is no criticism but you really feel like you are rediscovering this album, rather than hearing it for the first time it all sounds so classic and right because the song writing is top-notch.

9. Tinariwen – Emmaar

Not a great year for African releases for my money, very understandably given the various political situations occurring – people have more on their minds than stimulating jaded old bloggers.  Tinariwen decamped to Joshua Tree, CA to record Emmaar and 1537-fave Saul Williams adds a little voice to the opening track.  This is a more stately, more sombre-sounding album than their last few, sacrificing some of that mighty burning blues power for contemplative effect.  Still no-one conjures those wide-open widescreen desert vistas better for me, as the excellent cover photography shows they found somewhere in their US travels that was not so very dissimilar to home, Josh Klinghoffer guests on three tracks too.  I love Tinariwen unreservedly and having 3 bonus tracks on the vinyl doesn’t hurt their cause any in this neighbourhood.

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10. Off! – Wasted Years

We’ve taken our DeLorean straight back to 1982 and we’ve found ourselves in some Californian hell-trap punk toilet listening to the hottest hardcore mob in town.  This is just a great no-frills fist-in-the-face punk experience and any band which features Mario Rubalcaba on drums is going to be amazing.  Off! don’t do subtlety and that’s absolutely fine by me, I’ll make do with ferocity instead.  Raymond Pettibon cover art and songs called ‘Death Trip On The Party Train’ just seal the deal for me.

11. Holy Mountain – Ancient Astronauts

Frighteningly hairy heavy space rock from Glasgow, played as though the very devil himself was after the mortal souls; ’nuff said. My bad mood LP of the year – always made me rage a bit, before getting cheery again.

 1537 2014 04

So there you have it, nauseatingly self-indulgent I know, but hey welcome to my world (again).  Those are the new ones I’ve spent my time with this year.  There are a lot of other good ones, from bands I like a lot, but these are the ones that have really stuck with me.

Out of all the old stuff out there that I’ve picked up on this year a couple really stand out for me, Helmet Betty which I can’t believe I only heard for the first time this year, the Manic Street Preachers Holy Bible box set (1LP, huge booklet, 4 CDs, toenails from each band member – with certificate of authenticity) and best of all two brilliant electronic LPs that JHubner73 hipped me to:

Z Visions of Dune – the soundtrack that the novel (not the Goddamned film!) truly deserved and Rudiger Lorenz Invisible Voices, which is what you get by crossing a German pharmacist with a whole bunch of home-made synthesizers in 1983; somewhat left field melodic/mystic genius.

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So there you have it folks, it only remains for me to wish you all a Happy New Year from my escape capsule, as I release the flesh-eating slugs into the auditorium purely for my own unholy amusement.  Mwah-ha-ha-ha!!

487 Down (still)

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*as voted for by the readers of Award Ceremony Monthly magazine two years running. True story.

**I just like the word ‘titties’, it makes me giggle.

*^of ISB and Move LP covers and Apple offices in London fame.

^Will I ever F****** learn?! Apparently not.

^^royalties are in the post JHubner73.

47 thoughts on “1537 vs. 2014

  1. So very sorry I’m just now seeing this. The holiday was a big blur and I seem to have missed this beauty of a post!

    There’s quite a few here I need to investigate further. I can’t believe I forgot to include Glitter Glamour Atrocity on my list. One of the best reissues of the year for sure, and some of the best packaging as well.

    I’m thrilled I could share my love of old, obscure synth music with someone who could appreciate it.

    Carry on, 1537! Carry on!

    1. No worries, I’m just a vey needy man with an enormous, yet very fragile ego!

      Glitter Glamour really cheered me up this year, such excellent production.

      But thank you, you really hipped me to great stuff this year.

      1. Was Holy Mountain the band with the 20 minute tracks? I remember you telling me about a group and I checked it out and liked it, but I’ve lost brain cells since then. You quite a few records I need to look into. Some great album covers this year, too.

      2. No theyre punchier than that, that may have been Blown Out -they just missed out.

        You know i totally forgot about War on Drugs? That’s the type of genius I am. It faded a bit for me as time wore on, but it should really have been in there around 6. Dimwit!

  2. OFF!! You know, that was in my tops of the year list. WHAT A RECORD! Hot damn. I want the Tinariwen badly, and I still need the Shrine. Also BEWBS! Never enough bewbs.

    So if you got the MSP box set, am I taking that LP of your Grail list at the KMA, or are you still wanting the original?

    1. Let’s face it, we all want ’em all. I love the Off! It’s such a solidly great LP and I love Pettibon so much too. If I was an eccentric millionaire I’d buy all our chums everyone’s year end Top 10s.

      The MSP one I want is Lipstick Traces, very rare over here, is it too much to hope there might be one in a Canadian yard sale one day?

      1. I love all three OFF!erings released so far. I’ll bet they’d all fit on one CD for the car… holy hell that’s a great idea! If I have time today I am gonna try that!

        Apologies, no idea why my memory said it was that MSP you wanted on the grail list. Obviously, I did not go and actually check the list before I posted the comment. Sigh, it’s so hard to get good help these days! No matter, with the way things go for me around here, I’ll find that LP sooner or later and it’ll be winging its way to you before you know it. .

  3. Cool list, glad the Blues Pills got a mention. I really like the artwork, it’s very mammorable! I saw them at Hard Rock Hell last year, if you haven’t seen them live then you have to. Fantastic.

    1. Cheers! I resisted Blues Pills as long as I could, a friend saw them in Manchester recently and raved about them live. I’m powerless to resist picture discs with knockers on them, even drawn ones – I don’t want to analyse that too closely!

  4. A most intriguing list, sir. Loads there that I haven’t heard (all but Holy Mountain, Tinariwen and Shrine (via your earlier postings about that record)) so I’ll need to get investigating!

    Top marks to Marijke Koger-Dunham and Blues Pills, though – that may just be the first album I check out …

    … for the music, of course.

    1. … obvs, painted bewbs having no sway over you clearly!

      Thank you – I think you’d really like #1,3 and 5. Trust me I’m a doctor!*

      *in an entirely fictional sense.

      1. Sensational!
        Is it the newest edition? I enjoy how the new versions keep tossing out some of the old to make room for the new & still keep it at the magic 1001 number.
        So I suppose a few of the ones I’m going to be listening to from the original edition are no longer must hear – ahh well!

      2. It is the newest one and it now lives in the downstairs toilet, my venue of choice for quiet contemplation and reflection.

        How can you say ‘you no longer need to hear that record before you die?’ – some nerdy type needs to compile a list of the LPs that have fallen from grace that way.

      3. Nerds eh? I bet he even alphabetises and counts his LPs!

        Can’t believe they dumped Britney, Xtina & Destinys Child off the list – bit of a pro-dude bias going on there.

      4. Who does that!
        Although note-for-note, Britney’s album isn’t the strongest, if it’s the 1001 you must hear (as opposed to ‘best’) it’s hard to deny her impact, for better or worse, on pop culture

  5. Bewbs! And yay for Scorpions – regular winners of my “Best Album Cover with a Doberman Staring Lovingly at a Man’s Cock Award”

    Sentimentality wasn’t enough to land AC/DC in the running then?

    Interesting list. Loads I’ve not heard of! I did investigate Blues Pills but they just didn’t do it for me. And Shrine have got shite on their shoes so that’s a big no-no.

    1. Ha! That cover really weirds me out, it’s the reason I’ve never bought it.

      It’s the greatest list ever in the history of that post – true story! I’m surprised you don’t know Holy Mountain as they’re from Glasgow – you sure you’re not related to at least one of them?

      1. I do know Holy Mountain. Heard a little bit of their stuff. Sounded good but just never got round to checking them out any further. If I bump into any of them in the Co-Op I’ll demand a promo!

    1. Thanks Mike! I like to think I’ve used that award this year to highlight a very concerning drop in LP nudity … and so I can keep typing the word ‘titties’ and giggling until the ‘T’ key breaks!

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