RECORDS OF THE YEAR: what a palaver. I started off with about three and it's just grown, with three sub-sections. So you're not going to hear that much about any of them. If I was to be so picky as to have a favourite of the year it would be Trembling Bells. More often than not they haven't quite done it live, though they were right there at Cecil Sharp and for much of the End of The Road set, but there is nothing even slightly off about the album.
Never the biggest Czars fan, but John Grant's Queen Of Denmark is opulent and gorgeous and its lustre doesn't fade. 'Where Dreams Go To Die' is to die for.
It's been a five year wait for a new Miracle 3 album, though Steve Wynn has been busy in the interim. This and the shows bought it all back home. 'Resolution' nestles in quite nicely next to 'Amphetamine' and 'John Coltrane Stereo Blues'.
Wilderness Heart from Black Mountain. A highlight and a discovery at End Of The Road. Like Deep Purple were they on SST and a lot more besides. A band to make you jump in the air.
A psychedelic delight and aural kaleidoscope from the ubiquitous Carwen Ellis' Colorama.
Okkervil River provided the setting for what turned out as fascinating a mining of Roky’s cultural milieu and personal odyssey as Time Out Of Mind was of Dylan’s.
An album that celebrates a personal history that’s also a shared history. A deeply romantic set of songs that good-naturedly hymn the rock'n'roll archetypes, with the same joy in the best of England that infused Nikki Sudden and Ronnie Lane.
Two wilfully eccentric performers providing quite beautiful readings of their and our favourite songs.
The patently close-knit group, now definitely a group rather than a collision of talented individuals, bought us this new exploratory, celebratory collection, drenched in soul, recorded in the sympathetic air of Bearsville.
Richard Warren's Laments is a record imbued with a Memphis feeling, with a vibe similar to that aspired to by Primal Scream on Give Out But Don't Give Up but here perhaps bettered. While there was an immediate recognition of some of the influences , and touchstones being worked from, it took a few listens to latch on to how good it really is.
The Wolf People's Steeple is their first album proper. A tour de force of intelligent, ebullient, progressive music
A 2009 album in all but UK release date. Rowland was dead before the year began but Pop Crimes, the work of a questing, living artist, enhanced our lives in 2010.
Quite simply the purest country singer practising his art on these islands, and the finest.
Utterly reliable in his unreliability, teasing and questing, never far from that Tucson dryness, Howe Gelb wanders free through cities of Europe and a plethora of musical side-roads.
REISSUES & EXCAVATIONS: It seems that seldom a year passes without a new version of Buffalo Bill surfacing. This double vinyl set from Munster in Spain is the definitive version. With Rowland Howard’s death four of the participants are now gone but as the years go by this 1986 recording gains the respect it deserves. Among many things it should be considered the proto-alt.country record.
A five CD set of the legendary show celebrating the 5th birthday of the UK's greatest ever music magazine. Lovingly restored by Tony Poole. A beautiful package with sleevenotes from John Tobler, Pete Frame, Andy Childs, Tom Sheehan, Deke Leonard, and Nigel Cross (without whom).
A remarkable piece of archeology from Mark Linn. Recorded at Bradleys Barn in 1970. Riley Watkins and Gary Stewart as a rootsy Moby Grape.
We've been waiting for this on CD for a long time. The classic second Dream Syndicate album featuring 'Merrittville', 'Bullet With My Name On It', 'Daddy's Girl', and 'John Coltrane Stereo Blues'. Which cheeky sod asked Steve if there was going to be a vinyl version?
Los Saicos created a monstrous concatenation of trash, surf and beat music in Peru between 1965 and 1966 cutting twelve tracks before disbanding. They're all here and remarkable.
Iggy and James playing together again. Alive doing the needful. We can perhaps retire our Radar copies now.
TRIBUTE ALBUMS: The best tribute album since Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST. I'll leave the plaudits on this to someone else:
“A great world-weariness in the vein of Jackson C Frank and Tim Hardin...if it was the 60s he would undoubtedly be on Elektra” - Nigel Cross (Founding Editor – Bucketfull Of Brains)