My year in music, at least so far


I remain wedded to the CD format, but these days I stream music first, then purchase the physical discs of those new releases that captivate me. Consequently, in alphabetical order, here are the year’s CD acquisitions to date (except Counting Crows, which as yet is streaming only).

Bill Champlin … Livin’ for Love
Cheap Trick … In Another World
Counting Crows … Butter Miracle Suite One (EP)
Crowded House … Dreamers Are Waiting
Foo Fighters … Medicine at Midnight
The Hold Steady … Open Door Policy
Middle Kids … Today We’re the Greatest
Mogwai … As the Love Continues
Shame … Drunk Tank Pink
Sleaford Mods … Spare Ribs

It’s hard to pick favorites at this juncture, but my top three thus far would be The Hold Steady at number one, then Middle Kids and Sleaford Mods.

(You may not have heard of Middle Kids. It’s an Australian band, and the album is simply great.)

The preceding all are 2021 releases. I am determined to avoid becoming mired in the past, so each year I strive to load up on new music, firmly implant it inside my cranium, and listen to the tried and true from days gone by as an occasional caloric treat, not daily sustenance. Besides, the new music thus assimilated in the present becomes future guilty pleasures.

Noting this, an honorable mention: I only became aware of the British band Nothing But Thieves in February, beginning with Moral Panic, last year’s album, then dipping into previous releases Broken Machine (2017) and the band’s debut Nothing But Thieves (2015). Consider this my new favorite band, at least for the moment.

Of the albums I’ve enjoyed but not yet purchased, here are the leaders.

Arab Strap … As Days Get Dark
Nick Cave & Warren Ellis … Carnage
Cloud Nothings … The Shadow I Remember
The Coral … Coral Island
Mick Fleetwood and Friends … Celebrate the Music of Peter Green
James … All the Colours of You
Neil Young & Crazy Horse … Way Down in the Rust Bucket (Live in 1990)

And, to conclude, albums I’ve given at least two full-length listens. A few of these will move up, and others will fall off. If I’ve detected nothing memorable after two listens, or been given some reason to believe that subsequent attention will pay dividends, I make note of the record for future reference, and let it lie.

Sleater Kinney … Path of Wellness
The Mountain Movers … World What World
The Lounge Society … Silk for the Starving
Billy Gibbons … Hardware
Modest Mouse … The Golden Casket
Cavalcade … Black Midi
Wolf Alice … Blue Weekend
Liz Phair … Soberish
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds … Back the Way We Came (greatest hits)
Django Django … Glowing in the Dark
Fleetwood Mac … Live (circa 1980s; expanded release)
Matthew Sweet … Catspaw
Paul Weller … Fat Pop
The Dead Daisies … Holy Ground
Grouplove … This Is This
Goat Girl … On All Fours
Mammoth WVH
Teenage Fanclub … Endless Arcade
Van Morrison … Latest Record Project, Volume I
Weezer … Van Weezer
Dry Cleaning … New Long Leg
Aaron Frazer … Introducing
Kings of Leon … When You See Yourself
Rise Against … Nowhere Generation
The Pretty Reckless … Death by Rock and Roll
TV Priest … Uppers
Dinosaur Jr … Sweep It into Space

Still coming in 2021 are albums by Lindsey Buckingham, Chvrches, Parquet Courts, Phoenix and Manic Street Preachers. I know that my beloved Manics will finish near the top of my chart, but beyond that, who knows?