This is a time of looking forward. To the familiar artists that will return. To the new artists that will be discovered. This year, like any other, comes with a wish list. Some albums will never materialise. Others will slightly disappoint. A few will remain life-long friends. Fingers crossed for the latter. In no particular order, apart from alphabetical, my 2018 wish list includes new releases by Alela Diane, Anäis Mitchell, Bill Callahan, Caitlin Harnett, Cat Power, East River Pipe, Field Report, First Aid Kit, Jacob Golden, Jenny Lewis, Jessica Pratt, Jim White, Jonathan Wilson, Laura Veirs, Lewis & Clarke, Pearl Charles, Phosphorescent, Pinegrove, Richard Edwards, The Delines, Vetiver, Wooden Shjips, Wye Oak and the artist formerly known as Young Man.

And yet, there is a special place in the 2018 wish list for a new album by Kramies (pronunciation to be determined). With rumours going back at least a couple of decades, there are unconfirmed reports that an album is finally on its way and that Ireland had some part to play in it. We wait with fingers crossed, though we have learned not to hold our breath. The hard way. In the meantime, here’s a wonderful feature by Shon Cobbs and his Behind The Scenes colleagues from Denver. It features Kramies answering questions and sometimes asking them too. Plus a lot of laughing.

Pinegrove – Elsewhere


The mighty Pinegrove have just made available a live album. Most of the tracks come from their award-winning release, Cardinal. Well, it should have been an award-winning anyway. With songs full of wistful lyrics. “I keep going over it over and over, My steps iterate my shame, How come every outcome’s such a comedown?”. And all played in a wonderfully raggedy, sometimes slightly punky style. It was one of last year’s highlights. Whereas Cardinal included a little banjo and even the plaintive sound of old-time pedal steel, Elsewhere features no fewer than three guitars and the ripple of keyboards. So, there’s a nice variation on some familiar Pinegrove favourites. And recorded with hundreds of gigs already behind them, the wonderfully raggedy playing is down pat. For those who, like Pinegrove, experience the world as a sequence of “solipsistic moods”, both Cardinal and Elsewhere are both highly recommended. As a bonus, all the proceeds from sales at their bandcamp site are currently going to the Southern Poverty Law Center.