1537 Pulp 01

Welcome folks, welcome to the third annual 1537 awards.  These awards are often eagerly anticipated by the artists, industry and press alike and seen as a good indication of the Grammy and Oscar awards later in the year*.  After the lavish displays and pre-award entertainments of the previous few years I thought I’d tone things down a bit for our new age of austerity and sombrenecessityness, so it’s just me sat here in last year’s tuxedo, eating peanut butter on toast, drinking lemonade and solemnly typing this, like I mean it (man).

The Lemmy Memorial Award For the Rudest LP Cover Bought This Year:

Again, another disappointing year for nudity, suggestiveness and outright rudery being depicted on record covers.  The second-best I could manage were a pair of amusingly fake ones on the cover of The eagles of Death Metal Zipper Down, but luckily 2015 was the year I found 1994’s Blood Orgy Of The Leather Girls, in all its’ deviant glory.  The appeal of the LP cover was described, by no less an authority than, umm, me as ‘four be-weaponed chicks standing atop the body of a supine dude on the cover, the lady on the left with the clear plastic pasties and Hitler moustache being a particular draw for me’.  I feel the great man himself would approve.

Blood Orgy 01

The Philthy Animal Taylor Award For The Best Looking & Put Together LP Bought in 2015:

Some great LPs of thisteryear and yesteryear were purchased, in strict order we have:

Pond Man It Feels Like Space Again.  I was hipped to this by my Antipodean chum Mr V. Connection.  I loved its primo psychedelic riffing on the Big Brother & The Holding Company cover and I have always had a thing for die-cut covers.  Oh, the music is pretty fab too!

But the winner is … (drum roll please) … Ian Gillan Band Clear Air Turbulence, because of the rather far out picture of a spaceship by, the immortal, Chris Foss.  I was so pleased to make this find in my dad’s record shop, even if the music is pretty dodgy in places.

But now for the main event.  The Primo Evento.  Numero Uno Eventissimo.  Dos Eventsos Primososs.  The 1537 Top 58 9 LP’s of 2015.

1.  The Biters Electric Blood.  I’ve been waiting for a good commercial rock LP to come along and seduce me for years now; Electric Blood spotted me across the bar, winked at me, bought me a beer and before I knew it, had made a man of me outside in the car park, before ignoring all my calls afterwards.  Shades of pop punk, glam Bowie, Thin Lizzy and even some Cheap Trick, all stirred up to make a really fizzy rocktail.  I’ve had more fun with this album this year than any other new one and every single time I’ve played it Mrs 1537** has asked me what it was.  If you like life, cheap thrills and fun buy this record, if you don’t then I don’t want to be your friend, but buy this LP anyway.

Biters Electric Blood 03

2.  Locrian Infinite Dissolution.  A complete impulse buy late at night on the Relapse Records website, on silver vinyl (natch).  WOW!! A proto-ambient-death metal post-rock extravaganza, just like grandma used to bake.  Like the cover art suggests, glacial and cold are the words I’d use to describe this, razor cold.  Infinite Dissolution was a precise, exacting, calculated assault on your senses and simply does not sound like anything I’d ever heard before.  The perfect album to soundtrack a nuclear winter, or maybe just a strontium spring.

Locrian Infinite Dissolution 04

3.  Bad Guys Bad Guynaecology.  Man, I’ve been waiting for this album for years without knowing it.  It’s ferocious, funny, heavy, soulful and damned clever, all they’re lacking is a talkie bit in the middle of one of their tunes and I could die contented.  Bad Guynaecology makes me happy and let’s me know that I’m not out here alone – well worth the outlay, if you ask me.  The fact they were kind enough to give me an interview and an amusing one at that, only makes loving this record even better.  But don’t take my word for it, Zack likes ’em too!

Bad Guynaecology 04 (2)

4.  Ufomammut Ecate.  Inaugural winners of the 1537 Best LP of 2012 with Oro: Opus Primum, the Mamms^ came back this year with an album that was just MORE.  More spacey, more atmospheric, more heavier (?!), more metallic, more Italian-space-stoner-doom.  You want quiet bits vs. loud bits? you want a desperate (space) plea for the intervention of Goddess in mortal affairs? you want great cover art by Malleus? you just need a blissful crushing? then listen on.

Ufomammut Ecate 06

5.  Songhoy Blues Music In Exile.  I know, I know, there’s a Malian LP in here every year, but maybe I’m just an easy mark, I just can’t help myself when I’m faced with bands who are just clearly so in love with the sound of the guitar; a band who are fighting back despair with joy and life-affirming melody; a band who really do have a worthwhile story to tell us.  I defy anyone with a soul, half a soul even, not to grin and shuffle about a bit listening to the track ‘Soubour’.  This is exactly why that bloke invented electricity, you know the one.

Songhoy Blues Music Exile 01

6.  Ecstatic Vision Sonic Praise.  Another silver vinyl Relapse Records 25th anniversary release, this is the sound of an indeterminate number of freaks flying their freak flags high and free; very high and very free in fact.  A great tip-off from Mr Hubner, this LP is precisely what the world has needed since Lemmy left Hawkwind, a groovy, strung-out electric coda that sounds eerily like the effects of Martian drugs on the human nervous system.  Whether you’re cruising the galaxy, flashing through uninhabited systems at light speed, or merely orbiting your parent’s basement approaching terminal velocity then, my little stoner, this is right up your third eye.

7.  White Hills Walks For Motorists.  This was released so long ago, it could almost be 2014, or at least that would be the case if this beauty didn’t sound so much like 2015 to me.  The best gig I went to all year showcased this for me perfectly.  White Hills went for an external producer for the first time and added a large quotient of bass power to their trademark space rock, the likes of ‘Automated City’ slunk along rather seductively, meshing perfectly with the epic widescreen inter-galactic ballyhoo of ‘Lead the Way’.  Great album, very nice people too.

1537 v 2015 02

8.  Mbongwana Star From Kinshasa.  Probably the most acclaimed LP on this list, this band from the Democratic Republic of Congo, teamed with an Irish DJ have produced a bunch of sounds almost like no other I have heard in all my years of WOMAD-ing.  To pinch a line from a review I read, it can be a disorientating experience, like plunging yourself straight from a plane into an African marketplace.  There is a wonderful, organic flow and feel about From Kinshasa a bit akin to letting yourself relax into a river current.  The guest spot from 1537-faves Konono No.1 is also very welcome.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I was still playing this LP and discovering new corners to it in another 10 years^^.

9.  Night Flights Vol.1.  Okay, so this came out in December 2014 and I am bending the rules a bit here, but then again I am omniscient.  An expansive, gorgeous (mostly) analogue synth voyage between the stars by the man from Carlton Melton, it sounds like it’s cover looks and that really is no bad thing; especially on yellow vinyl.  This has been a record I’ve listened to all year-long.

1537 v 2015 03

So those are the releases I’ve spent the most time with and those which have just given me the most fun this year by far.  A couple of new old friends in there along with a whole bunch of new bands for me to watch out for, nostalgia wasn’t really my thing this year at all^* .  2015 was definitely the year that the vinyl finally ate my brain, which on balance was a good thing.

1537 v 2015 04

The committees deliberations were lengthy
The committee’s deliberations were lengthy

Best of the old stuff I bought was Blue Öyster Cult Secret Treaties – man why has no-one ever told me how good they were? I thought you were supposed to be my friends! This is genuinely one of the best LPs I’ve bought in years, I sang the whole of ‘Career of Evil’ in the shower this morning.  The other real find for me was a reissue of Le Tigre from 1999, their strident, bouncing blast of a debut album, feminism has never sounded so groovy.

But that’s enough nauseating self-indulgence from me, normal service will be resumed after the commercial break.

620 Down (Still)


*in that I have a proud 100% record of not anticipating any of them, ever; particularly not the Oscars.

**the exacting immortal high Empress of Rock.

^as we fans call ’em.  Well, me and my mate Steve anyway.

^^but don’t take my word for it:

^*I’m afraid I didn’t even rate the new Star Wars movie very highly, although I am already quite fond of BB-8

56 thoughts on “1537 vs. 2015

  1. I completely forgot about how mad I was that I couldn’t find that ‘Blood Orgy of the Leather Girls’ album anywhere on the internet. Damn you! Now I’m pissed off all over again!

    1. Thanks Geoff, I like to rock it old skool with the whole paper and pen thing, next year I’m thinking I may just go back to carving my deliberations in a stone tablet, using traditional implements.

      I love that Le Tigre LP, before it got reissued the price was way too high for my pocket though.

  2. At least three of these albums frighten me too much to even check then out. Especially the Unfomarmot. Although their name is familiar… have you mentioned then before?

    And I’m way too aroused by the Hitler lady to investigate that album. Slippery slope.

    But an otherwise fine awards ceremony!

    1. You big scardey cat! Just be grateful my Val Doonican 3LP retrospective remix box set (in a tote bag) didn’t make the final countdown.

      I’m not playing the marmot game with you anymore!

      I wonder if you need a Churchill lady to defeat your obsession?

  3. Bunch of great records there, but I’m more interested in the very fine space pulp image shenanigans. More of that please.

    Seriously, though, Walks For Motorists, Ecate, Music In Exile, Sonic Praise are all in my Discogs basket waiting on that moment where I’ve had a glass or two of wine. My finger has hovered over the relevant button once or twice when I’ve been up during the night, but I finally bought a couple of albums I’ve long been after (one of them being another inspired by your bloody words!) so they’ll need to wait.

      1. I don’t think you are, but, it being the middle of the night and all, I’m willing to accept your empty apology!

      2. How dare you question my insincerity! The Lanegan Houston album almost made it too, I just haven’t heard it enough times yet, I think.

      3. Unsurprisingly it’s one of my top albums this year. Quite possibly top. It was just what I was looking for after Phantom Radio.

  4. Clear Air Turbulence a bit dodgy? A mighty fine album in my book, even if it does wander away from the usual Gillan fodder, great jazz/funk influences at times!

  5. Wow. Just wow. I read this and I’m gonna read it again. And then I’m gonna use it as a shopping list. Thanks! I’m glad 2015 was so happy for you! I mean, it’s always happy when vinyl eats your brain! With sauce!

      1. If you were a lottery winner, they’d have to do a Where Are They Now show on you, one year later, and they’d find you in a warrne of LPs shelves, with the good headphones on, grinning ear to ear…

      2. My lovely wife? Jeez, I have no recollection of that one … they’ll just have to make do with Mrs 1537! (checks over shoulder nervously)

  6. Excellent to see your list show up.

    I couldn’t quite break into that Locrian, so I’m going to try again. Just need to find my in. And that Ian Gillian Band? Is that Ian Gillian or Stryper? I also plan on posting about that White Hills. One that didn’t make my initial list as it got lost in the shuffle of 2015. Such an excellent left turn for them. You get bonus points for including Night Flights. December 2014 is practically January 2015.

    That cover photo…pure genius.

    1. Thanks Mr H and in particular for the Ecstatic Visions LP – I play it more and more, if 2015 was a bit longer it may well have made it to #1.

      I think it’s unfair that bands who release LPs in December, like Teeth of the Sea this year, get to miss out on a chance to be on my list. I owe it to them all.

    1. Thank you, thank you, have another can of Skol 1080 on the house.

      Yeah, sorry about the sick, I must have had a bad pint … of meths.

      The Songhoy Blues are as wonderful and life-affirming as a glint of sun on the water.

    1. Thanks Bruce, that’s kind of you. I like to make an effort.

      I think you’d love the Night Flights album, try the Spotify link for it. Man, it does feel like space again!

  7. Hey, I have told you how good Blue Oyster Cult were. I’ve visited four of their albums and put them on my ‘Honourable Mention” list of Other Great Metal Influences, but you have to go way back in history for that one. Still, very good read, I’m going to have to check out some of those African bands.

  8. Ian Gillan Band! Yes, one of the best album covers ever, and one that people remember even if they can’t remember what band it was. Chris Foss — how odd the world would have been if his designs for Aliens were used. Or Dune!

    1. I hear you. Funnily enough I bought a big book of Foss’ art after buying the IGB – all those sci-fi covers I remember my parents having. He really is my favourite.

Leave a Reply