Written by Liz Buckley

Arts

7 Wonders of 2015

Liz Buckley’s back at the 7 Wonders helm and this time she’s talking songs of the year. Hooray.

close-up of a 'play' buttonNew Order (featuring Iggy Pop) – Stray Dog

New Order came back this year with one of the finest albums of their career, and they did it without the supposed signature sound of Hooky’s bass. You know he will be bloody furious. ‘Newcomer’ (it’s been four years) Tom Chapman fits his shoes effortlessly and is so good at being in New Order, he even joins on songwriting duties too. There isn’t a dud track on the album but my personal favourite is Stray Dog featuring Iggy Pop’s deep mahogany, unpressured-by-time speaking voice. It has all the gravitas of Iggy’s guest appearance on Death In Vegas’ insanely danceable 1999 hit Aisha and, if you excuse the Peter pun, has a hell of a hook.

Sadly my love for the track was slightly compromised when my friend Chris walked into the room just now and asked, “Is this Leonard Nimoy?”

Foals – What Went Down

Kicking off their new album with the biggest song they’ve ever written was a brave move from Foals and paid off in spades; I can never wait to begin this record again from the beginning the moment it finishes. It has a brasher, louder edge that finally captures their live sound, and there’s something really charming about singer Yannis screaming a line as cute as, “YOU’RE THE APPLE OF MY EYE.” He goes on to boom, “When I see a man I see a liiiiar” and my friend Ian sings this as, “When I see a man I see Aaliyah” which can never be unheard. So that’s your issue now too.

The Dead Weather – I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)

I’m a huge fan of The Kills. I’m a huge fan of Jack White. I’m a huge fan of The Raconteurs and I quite like Queens of the Stone Age. The Dead Weather feature Alison from the Kills, Jack White on drums, Little Jack Lawrence from the Raconteurs and QOTSA’s Dean Fertita on guitar. They are even better than the sum of their parts and I love this single more than I love you. (Ed’s question: but does she love it more than our new tunes-picker Vicky Warburton?)

Richard Hawley photo by Eddie Janssens, via Wikimedia Commons.

Richard Hawley photo by Eddie Janssens, via Wikimedia Commons.

Richard Hawley – I Still Want You

Richard Hawley’s been adorable for years now. It’s madness, but I don’t think he knows how to stop. He made The Longpigs likable pigs, he made Pulp even better when they seemed in no need of improvement and his solo albums are universally loved by anyone who’s partial to a black quiff and a retro guitar. He’s loyal and loving to his family, his band and his crew in a way that makes you wish you were invited for Christmas, always crediting and referencing them whenever is due. Or even when not particularly due.

His sense of humour is also pure Vic Reeves club comic, never failing to entertain. Even his 2015 tour merchandise features old fashioned Halford’s-style tins of Richard Hawley-branded car sweets and bottles of Sheffield’s famous relish. Richard, this may be your seventh studio album, but we still want you, and always will.

Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian at Best

The first single from Courtney Barnett’s debut album is like an old friend to me already but I’ve just looked and it’s only been out a few months. Her vocals have great delivery and never disguise her Australian accent, which all adds to the witty tone of her self-deprecating lyrics. She set up her own record label (Milk!) a few years ago in order to release her first EP and she recorded a Birthday Party cover this year… What I’m saying is I really want to be her friend.

Deerhunter – Snakeskin

Listen at your peril – you’ll never leave this song. Infectious, cyclical and funky as hell, it has all the grinning, beaming, finger-clicking charm of Primal Scream in their halcyon days with the folk-rock cool of Lambchop. The video, on the other hand, you’ll be able to leave in a heartbeat – terrifying.

Father John Misty photo by Matthew Tosh, via Wikimedia Commons.

Father John Misty photo by Matthew Tosh, via Wikimedia Commons.

Father John Misty Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for two virgins)

Father John Misty is almost too clever for his own good. When Ryan Adams covered Taylor Swift’s album 1989 this year, Father John Misty responded by covering Ryan Adams covering Taylor Swift. In the style of the Velvet Underground. Like a one-man improv group drunk on power.

He’s a modern star, both reacting against and produced by the internet generation – the more he loves you, the more he trolls you. He at once has the most charisma of anyone I’ve ever seen on stage while laughing at you for thinking so.

He’s also so naturally witty he actually has a short break in his live set these days to take questions from the audience. A young kid asked him at his recent Shepherd’s Bush show, “Will you be my Dad?” and FJM responded, “It would be a shame if I invented time travel only to use it simply to out-game your father.” Someone on the front row was holding his LP and he signed it, while crowd-surfing. Without being asked.

Father John Misty is a hero. Or a cover of a hero being a hero. I’m not sure, but definitely a hero on some level. Or not, cos he’ll hate that.

@liz_buckley

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Written by Liz Buckley

Department manager at an independent record company. Liker of Frank Sinatra and Nick Cave. Very sudden laugh. Pasty but tasty. Quite tired.