In no particular order, Paul Hawkins recaps some of his pop cultural highlights of the year so far...
Kieran Hebden and Steve Reid - Tongues (Domino)
This album of as-is, found and created sounds, percussive timing that ain`t four to the floor product placed industry stockingfiller stomp - can't tick that box. But I find it is subtle, unequal, not middle of the road, not familiar, not NICE (I hate that word), verging on an uncomfortable dialect... a different slang language ? Maybe.
Kathleen Haskard - Don`t Tell (Howlin` Hound)
...blessed with the lateral insight to pluck the beauty out of the brackish backwash. Relationship dynamics are turned inside out, meanings spun on their head, political warlord threads teased, de-lacqered and laid out naked in the street. Pregnant silences are decoded and given resonance....
Linton Kwesi Johnson's spoken word performances.
Relevant and powerful then and now.....
muzik of blood
all tensed up
in di bubble and di bounce
and di leap and di weight drop
(excerpt from Bass Culture)
Archie Bronson Outfit - Dart For My Sweetheart (Domino single)
Dark, yelping, brooding and driving. Play at maximum vloume.
Cold Bleak Heat - Simitu (Family Vineyard).
Colossal slabs of mulched wilderness stalking a tribe of wind turbines.
SJ Esau - Wrong Faced Cat Feed Collapse (Anticon).
A large fucky chest of folksonic understatement and claustrophobic musical creativity.
The Aliens - Astronomy For Dogs (Petrock).
At last, Gordon Anderson gets some recognition for his art, vision and madness.
Chris Salewicz - Redemption Song : The Ballad of Joe Strummer (Faber & Faber).
"Joe's fine on my book. The day before I came to the US on my book tour I had a dream in which Joe seemed to be about to punch me on the nose. But as his fist grew nearer to me, it unfurled and he put a spliff in my mouth."
Sonny Smith - Fruitvale (Belle Sound).
A beautiful album full of astute observations and immediate characters, Fruitvale soon becomes an intimate stage, the scenery and the vehicle to evoke the San Fransisco area of Oakland the album is loosely based upon.
Charles Stuart - (The taxi sex longplayer...) The Man Who Likes Watching (Slowfoot).
I must mention The Charles Stuart plus kick ass band live experience - cool as fuck, noises I ain`t ever heard from a guitar and an album thats a perfect soundtrack to have 4 am sex in a taxi to.