Here’s my best-of-the-year Pt 2: The Antipodes
Once upon a time Liverpool, or San Francisco, or Seattle was at the centre of all that was good musically. Now, everything has gone south. Australia and New Zealand are currently where it’s at. So much so that they’re worthy of an end-of-year list all to themselves.
The Phoenix Foundation – Give Up Your Dreams
This was a band that sounded like they were enjoying themselves. Loaded with irony, it didn’t come much better than ‘Bob Lennon John Dylan’. On the Pono version you can even hear a reference to Han Solo. How topical.
Holy Holy – When the Storms Would Come
An instant classic. The four songs at the heart of the album – ‘A Heroine’, ‘History’, ‘If I Were You’, and ‘You Cannot Call …’ – should be played on repeat to anyone who thinks that guitar-based rock is a thing of the past. Au contraire, Holy Holy are a band of the future.
Nadia Reid – Listen to Formation, Look for the Signs
There’s an unassuming quality to Nadia Reid that belies the confidence of the songs on her recent album. Moving through various styles, the constant presence is her voice, which is clear and lovely.
Lost Ragas – Trans Atlantic Highway
Packed with slightly mournful, but beautifully played songs, Trans Atlantic Highway was a revelation. Think of The Byrds relocating to modern-day East Nashville. Well, it’s even better than that.
Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
What best-of-2015 list does not feature Slacker Barnett, you may ask? Well, there’s a good reason why. Great hooks and erudite observations of everyday and not-so-everyday life from the clever one who always sits at the back of the class. And all delivered in a refreshingly local accent.