Chris Philpott works for a hospitality company called Orange Door that provides music (well, “music” – its mostly of the Nicki Minaj/Justin Bieber/Katy Perry/Ed Sheeran variety) to bars, restaurants, etc (by day) and writes the On The Box TV blog at night – he also plays in a corporate covers band up in Whangarei (lead vocal, keyboard) and has been playing bass guitar since he was 12. Here are five albums he’s loving right now…
1 – Deftones, Koi No Yokan: My unequivocal favourite album of 2012 has been on repeat in my car (and in my house) since it came out. I actually have quite a long history with the Deftones: their first album, Adrenaline, was gifted to me back in 1996 and I fell in love, moshing around my bedroom to 7 Words and learning the bass parts to One Weak and Bored. I’ve been a fan since. Though I have to say that the last couple of years have been their most exciting; I think Chino Moreno and co. are making the best heavy music on the market right now, between 2010’s Diamond Eyes and this, Koi No Yokan, an album which is dynamic, which goes in a number of different directions and embraces a range of styles, and which is as exciting to listen to now, on my 200th listen, as it was on the first. Sheer brilliance. Highlight Track: Leathers, Rosemary.
2 - SJD, Elastic Wasteland: My second favourite album of the last year, Elastic Wasteland is the kind of record that you pop on while cooking your dinner, only to find yourself, not even forty minutes later, staring out the window and intently listening, while you ponder your own existence and a solitary lamb chop sputters away behind you. This may have happened to me. And I mean all of that as a compliment; Mr Donnelly’s Songs From A Dictaphone was a classy collection of tracks, but I think Elastic Wasteland actually improves on it – there is a real mood here, a vibe that only a great songwriter can convey. And musically, I think Wasteland takes bigger risks than both Dictaphone and Dayglo Spectres, but it results in a much bigger payoff. Highlight Tracks: These Are The Names, Hypnotised By Roads.
(By the way, my third favourite of 2012: Tame Impala’s Lonerism.)
3 - Radiohead. Kid A: Sure, I wish Radiohead had delved more into The Bends at their recent show – but, on the plus side, their electro-centred set list has made me look back at that experimental-electronica period between OK Computer and In Rainbows (my two favourite Radiohead albums). Probably the best from that era is Kid A, a gloomy record which is distractingly good; you can’t focus on anything else when it plays, only the music. Plus, it gets bonus points for making me say something to the effect of “What the f**k is this s**t?!” when I first heard opening track Everything In Its Right Place back in 2000, even though I now think it’s a near-work of genius. Well played, Radiohead. Well played. Highlight Tracks: The National Anthem, How To Disappear Completely.
4 - Plan B , The Defamation Of Strickland Banks: He isn’t a great singer, and Defamation doesn’t boast a terribly unique sound – but, damn, if this isn’t an enjoyable fifty minutes or so. It says something about the congeniality of soul music (and funk, though there isn’t too much of that here) that even a pretty mediocre version of it can make for a fun time. Highlight Tracks: The Recluse, Writings On The Wall.
5 -The Antlers, Hospice/Right Away - Great Captain!. The Church Of The Good Thief: Okay, I’ve managed to sneak six albums onto this list. You got me. This is a pair of concept albums that my girlfriend recently turned me onto: the first, by The Antlers, is the brainchild of songwriter Peter Silberman, who uses minimalism to tell the story of a hospice worker and a terminal cancer patient. The second, by Right Away, Great Captain! (a solo project by Manchester Orchestra singer Andy Hull), is the third part of a trilogy set in the 1600s, about a sailor who busts his wife cheating with his brother. I don’t normally go for concept records, as I don’t really have the patience to sit and analyse song lyrics in depth, but I have really enjoyed these two (though I think that is more to do with the music than the concept itself). Is it lazy to admit that I prefer knowing the concept ahead of listening? Because I do. Highlight Tracks: Bear (The Antlers), When I Met Death, I Wait For You (Right Away, Great Captain!).