So 2016 has finally dragged its sorry arse out the door, and I don't think there are too many people who are sad to see it go. The year started with the loss of David Bowie back in January, and the grim reaper didn't let up after that, taking a host of famous people and several hugely influential musicians including Prince and George Michael, who seemed to go way before their time. I was personally saddened by the loss of a couple of people from my favourite bands, namely Jon Bunch (Reason To Believe, Sense Field) and Jody Taylor (Strain). Truly heartbreaking events and a reminder that life is tough and not fair.
In slightly less shocking circumstances, Bane called it a day after more than twenty years as a band. I had optimistically bought a ticket for the last show in June, but couldn't bring myself to overcome my fear of flying in order to actually go. I watched a video and it looked great, but it still seems odd to think that Bane is no more.
Outside of the world of music, shit got just as messed up. First up the UK voted to leave the European Union, which nobody really expected (even the fools who ran the 'Leave' campaign) and then, not to be outdone in the field of piss poor decision making, the citizens of the United States of America voted Donald Trump to be their next President.
God only knows what the implications of these choices will be in the future, but already we've seen the £ drop to the lowest value against the $ that I have ever known, which has in turn made records significantly more expensive for me. I've already had to decline some amazing records that, pre-Brexit, would have been affordable. And talking about not getting records, did I mention that I had a whole lifetime of record collector's bad luck in one go when a parcel of 98 records that was sent to me vanished in the post? The contents represented five months of purchases, and not actually receiving them then severely impacted my blogging activity for the rest of the year, meaning that 2016 was the least active year for this blog since I started back in 2008. To prove it, here's a graph of my annual post count by year, clearly showing this year's drop off:
I lost a few new releases in that lost parcel at the end of April, and after a couple of months of not really buying anything, when I did start getting going again I was still getting stuff delivered to my friend in the States, which I still haven't had sent on to me due to basically being shit scared of the postal service. This means that I barely actually received any new releases on vinyl this year. That said, I did receive a couple and I downloaded a few more, so in time honoured tradition I can still just about manage to scrape together a list of my favourite new releases from 2016...
MY FAVOURITE 2016 RELEASES
This picture shows my favourite releases of the year, whether I received physical vinyl copies or not:
In random order, these are the records in the picture:
Descendents 'Hypercaffium Spazzinate' LP - The first LP since I've been into them, this didn't disappoint one bit.
Dinosaur Jr 'Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not' LP - Until today I actually thought the name of the LP was 'GET a Glimpse...', but have just realised it is actually 'GIVE a Glimpse...'. Whoops!
Magic Circle 'Journey Blind' LP - I think technically this may have come out in 2015, but given the vinyl didn't ship until this year I'm counting it as a 2016 release.
World Be Free 'The Anti Circle' LP - a hardcore supergroup, if there is such a thing. This is a cool record and a collector's dream.
For Pete's Sake 'In Faith And Loyalty' LP - a really interesting record which looked interesting too. Sadly the singer, Peter Amdam, also shockingly passed away this year way too young. RIP Peter.
Ignite 'A War Against You' LP - I didn't actually manage to buy a copy of this, and nor did I go see the band play in London. I'm an idiot on both counts.
Burn 'From The Ashes' 7" - new releases from old bands are always shit. This one was not.
Nails 'You Will Never Be One Of Us' LP - this band is monstrous. I didn't manage to get a copy due to there being too many colours and my being too indecisive.
Devotion 'Headspace Astronaut' LP - again, I didn't pick up a copy as I found out about this release too late, but I played the shit out of it regardless.
Praise 'Leave It All Behind' LP - possibly THE best release of the year, so not sure why I'm listing it this far down, but again I failed to get a copy due to being far too slow.
Angel Du$t 'Rock The Fuck On Forever' LP - nowhere near as good as their first LP, but still catchy as hell. I have a copy coming to me soon, in theory.
TOP PICK UPS
Despite having a pretty unlucky year and losing 98 records to bad luck, I did still manage to pick up some nice items. The highlights were:
Kinda funny that the majority of this list is test pressings considering I didn't used to be interested in them at all. At the start of the year I thought I was going to pickup a an average of one test press per week, but then 26 of the damn things went missing in the mail in one fell swoop. I can't be bothered to count how many I actually ended up with, but regardless of the quantity, the quality was definitely more than I could have hoped for.
STUFF I LISTENED TO A LOT
Even though I didn't actually acquire many physical records this year, I still listened to a lot of music. Aside from the releases listed above, and the 20,000+ songs I already own in one format or another, I spent a lot of time this year listening to these:
ALL - everything! I'm on the verge of saying that I prefer ALL to Descendents at this point
Tad 'Inhaler' & 'Infrared Riding Hood' LPs - the major label albums from the early 90s which I had never heard before. Both rule.
Dwarves 'The Dwarves Are Young And Good Looking' LP - I bought this when it came out in and thought it was shit. But after seeing them live this year, I tried it again and it's actually pretty good.
Union 'You Fell For It' 7" - I picked up a copy of this earlier this year (haven't received it yet) which got me to spinning it again for the first time in a LONG time.
Further Seems Forever 'Hide Nothing' LP - this LP features Jon Bunch on vocals. I've never heard anything else this band did, and am not really fussed, but it was good to hear Jon's voice over some new (to me) songs.
Well, that's the end of another year. Thanks to my fellow bloggers and anyone who reads and comments for providing the inspiration and motivation to keep me doing this. Hopefully 2017 will be kinder to me!