Ian Lamont From The Nightfly’s Best of 2017

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Davy Kehoe, Short Passing Game (Wah Wah Wino)

I couldn’t believe that a man called Davy Kehoe would pass up the opportunity to name his debut album “Says Hello” and I also could not really believe my ears when I heard this record first. It’s such wild music, and I guess it could sound quite abrasive, but knowing Davy a bit better now I think it’s probably more a kind of playfulness, an imagination running wild. It manages to really capture a specific feeling of being in the middle of an exhilarating musical space/moment where every tiny gesture has a consequence within that framework, and testing out those boundaries.

Dirty Projectors, Dirty Projectors (Domino Records)

This is sort of the opposite thing to Davy’s kind of music. It’s meticulously composed with mega-ornate arrangements and lyrics that seems to fairly transparently relate to the main dude of the band, Dave Longstreth, breaking up with one of the other members, Amber Coffman, although Longstreth denies this is the case (“A song isn’t a newspaper… It might feel direct, but it’s not. [Dirty Projectors] would be pretty fraudulent autobiography. It’s more like a kaleidoscope, or some kind of cubist fantasia. It’s not real life, even if it feels like it.”). I suppose this is here because I love the way Longstreth makes music and the way he sings. He’s one of my favourite musicians and I think I’ll probably always be interested in hearing what he does.

Protomartyr, Relatives In Descent (Domino Records)

There’s probably a good bit of recency bias in this, but I’m still really enjoying listening to this and their gig in Whelan’s was excellent. They looked like a human version of Gill from the Simpsons backed up by three lads from a video store, which I can get behind. My friend Danny described them as – more pitched them as – “The National for people who don’t have a subscription to The New Yorker”. I texted him back later that week saying, “Protomartyr album = 10 versions of Skip Tracer. That’s a good thing.” Then he said he preferred their earlier stuff. Typical Danny.

Joni Mitchell, Court & Spark (Asylum Records)

I was already a proselytizing Joni Mitchell fan, and was already a fan of this record but at some point a few months ago I was having the urge to listen to Court & Spark back-to-front over and over and over again, every day of the week. It was feverish. I can’t get over how good Joni Mitchell is at describing what it feels like to be 1) a human in general; and, 2) a particular type of human who thinks about the world too much.

Charles Mingus Sextet featuring Eric Dolphy, Take The “A” Train (Blue Note Records)

I stumbled on this clip from a European tour that Mingus undertook around April 1964. This performance is from Oslo I think. I watched this clip every day of the summer, to the extent that I can’t help but feel like the surge in views I was responsible for may have caused the footage’s “owners” to notice the upload and take it down, ridiculous as that sounds. I was even getting to know the comments on the original YouTube clip that I watched. I ended up trying to listen to everything this particular line-up of Mingus’ band did on that tour.

There’s so much going on here. I love the lads all hollering and laughing during the piano solo. Mingus heads off to the jacks when Dolphy takes his amazing solo. There’s some palpable creative tension there. Dolphy was staying in Europe after the tour and leaving Mingus’ band, and then Dolphy was dead a couple of months later in horrible circumstances and Mingus was heartbroken. So much going on and the lads are all so fucking cool. It’s wild and it sounds like so much fun to be that good at playing an instrument.

Listen back to The Nightfly here.

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