....has been, quite frankly, poor. very little in the way of anything new has been interesting or inspiring, with two of the albums i bought this year being very welcome re-releases.
i dare say that there are many out there who would point out some great stuff from the last year. well, i haven't heard it! by all means comment and advise on something i may well have missed, but otherwise here are my choices of five notable albums from the last year. you should all make the effort to have at least one or two in your collection!
starting with re-releases, and a presumably 26th anniversary edition of Welcome To The Pleasuredome was very much a welcome release. this classic album has been beautifully cleaned up, and the extras that come on the second disc are rather spectacular. it's all too easy for some (many) to forget that, under the hype and buzz of the mega selling singles Relax and Two Tribes Frankie were an excellent musical outfit fronted by one of the best singers of the 80s, if not the best. sure, a number of the extras on the second disc will appeal to us die hard fans only, but any lover of music should have this on the shelf and in the stereo.
the most outstanding re-release of the year, however, has to be the magnificent special edition of Bowie's Station To Station album. the album is legendary for being the one Bowie can barely recall making (in his own words) due to the amount of chemicals being consumed, but you'd never guess, so crafted and flawless it is. as well as yet another cleaned up version of the album (i now have 3 "different" remastered versions), the bonus here is a 2 CD set of his highly celebrated Nassau Coliseum gig from 1976. it's basically two discs of Bowie at his live performing best and has several mind-blowing perfomances; the airing of Life On Mars? here in particular being one of the best ever.
as for new music, the Manic Street Preachers followed up their celebrated 2009 album Journal For Plague Lovers with one called Postcards From A Young Man. in its own right, it is an above average album - of the tracks, only 3 are perhaps one you would skip, with the remainder being splendid listening. however, the Manics and their awful label managed to contrive to undermine the release, claiming it would be "one last shot at mass communication" and expecting it to be one of their biggest selling albums. it sold well, but not quite that well. the bizarre choices made around the album (not playing much of it on the tour to support it, releasing one of the weakest songs, Some Kind Of Nothingness, as a single which failed to make the Top 40) tended to undermine whatever it was they were actually trying to do for many of us fans. still, very much worth a number of listens, so if you don't have it, go get it!
in regards of undermining yourself, the odd behaviour of the members of "Madchester" supergroup Freebass managed to distract considerably from the release of their much anticipated album, It's A Beautiful Life. on the eve of the release of this album, bass legends Mani and Peter Hook engaged in a string of abusive messages directed at each other, and kind of signalled the end of the band before it had really began. this, as it turns out, is a great shame. i had expected the album to be a bass-heavy rock festival, and was surprised to instead discover it to be home to the mellower, flowery rock sounds of the Manchester scene. those who miss the days of indie bands making a melodic sound and getting some success with it should really check it out despite the nonsense between the band members.
finally, and perhaps the one of the three new 2010 recordings that you should give serious consideration to buying, we have A Lo Minimo by Nasher. i gave a pretty lengthy review of this album a few months ago on this blog (happy searching for it!), and nothing in the time that has passed has changed my mind about it. wonderful listening with not a bad track on it, no matter how big the current audience for it is it certainly deserves a wider audience than it probably has right now. if you like decent, proper music with actual instruments as opposed to sampled rubbish and talent show winners, purchasing this album and playing it shall not leave you disappointed.
well, there you have it. what with the boys and verk i shall admit time has not afforded me the chance to keep my finger on the pulse of all things music, but if i've inspired anyone to listen to just one of these, i've done a good job! and yes Dad, i know you won't wish to try any of them!
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!