Scoville Units Unite

13 Jan

2018 In Music

Time for the almost annual and almost end of the year look back at music after 2017 and 2016.


Gig wise the only large one I attended was Broken Social Scene in Glasgow. The show was phenomenal, and it was a great to see a band I never thought I would ever see. This tour was for Hug of Thunder, but they played some tracks from You Forgot It In People which is an absolute masterpiece and was my favourite album for a decent period of time.

Book Yer Ane Fest 2018 happened too but I haven’t had a chance to write about it yet. There were local gigs, with far fewer I was able to attend than I hoped.

New Releases

Photo of top Instagram posts of 2018

I had the season tickets for Make That a Take and Specialist Subject, which is the origin of a substantial chunk of these.

This Way Up in Dundee were also a source of a lot of new releases. With a great range of weird and experimental music they are fast becoming a necessary visit when in the area. The Soul Jazz Records compilations they stock are great. I’ve not had a bad one yet, although I don’t buy all of them, obviously, so may be missing stuff I would dislike. Grouchos are still the go-to place for second hand music though, as well as Discogs. I also managed to buy someones hip hop/rnb collection which was mainly 12″s. Still working my way through it but there were some gems in it.


Art Ensemble Of Chicago ‎– Les Stances À Sophie – Soul Jazz Records brought out a repress of this phenomenal jazz-funk album
awakebutstillinbed ‎– What People Call Low Self​-Esteem Is Really Just Seeing Yourself The Way That Other People See You. Getting this was a total trek. Unfortunately in a foreshadowing of the Brexit shitheap we are heading headlong towards, postage from the US for vinyl is an absolute killer now, as well as import taxes etc. Eventually managed to get via Proper Music, just before SSJ got it in their distro.
The Bombpops ‎– Throw It Back great album by a band who make great music but were slightly underwhelming live with a stage presence which I would be kind in hoping it to be inauthentic.
Capitalist Kids ‎– Brand Damage – great political pop punk – go listen to Brute Farce if you haven’t already. And obviously Socialist Nightmare too.
A Certain Ratio ‎– acr:set great funk/pop influenced records.
Digable Planets ‎– Reachin’ (A New Refutation Of Time And Space) – I hesitated on this for a few months as I had a feint recollection of the band but not enough to pick it up. Then I remembered about it and searched for it, and very quickly had a flash of hearing it years ago and loving it We be reading Marx where I’m from
Don’t Worry ‎– Who Cares Anyway? – Great punk/emo album from SSJ.
MF Doom ‎– MM..Food I remember seeing this back when it and the previous album were out and dismissing them as some comic related rubbish. I was an idiot. When Vinyl Me Please started their Hip Hop line I hoped for some gems to appear and I got this. It looks like it’s still available so I’d recommend grabbing it whilst you can.
Eels ‎– The Deconstruction Pretty weird release being on two 10″ Yellow records but standard fare you will expect. If you like Eels you will like it. If you don’t you won’t, but then, your opinion on music would be objectively wrong so whatever.
ESG ‎– Come Away With ESG another repress, this time of some disco/new wave. I got a couple of their releases this year and all had gubbed download codes. I believe it was some kind of contractual screw up about the digital rights etc, which sucks as end consumer going I’ll buy awkward bulky analogue format because I can get the benefits of digital at the same time.
Frightened Rabbit ‎– The Midnight Organ Fight – repress for the 10th Anniversary which makes even more painful listening now than the period before where I couldn’t listen to it.
Fun Lovin’ Criminals ‎– 100% Colombian repress on white vinyl of the best album by one of the best live bands on the planet. Southside is probably my favourite track on it.
Guru ‎– Jazzmatazz Volume II (The New Reality) – another VMP pressing, the first one I got though, due to the album being utterly amazing. The first Jazzmatazz was good, and Streetsoul had probably the most crossover appeal but in the second one Guru knocked it out the park.
Billie Holiday ‎– At Jazz At The Philharmonic – can’t resist a super rare repress by the greatest singer to ever live.
Kaddish ‎– What World Was Still?. Long awaited album which defines the term long awaited. Third banger from the best band in Dundee. Probably my album of the year if I sat and worked it out.
Lords Of The Underground ‎– Here Come The Lords – another repress of a hard to find 90s debut album by hip hop trio.
Lost Avenue ‎– Fears The band name seemed totally familiar and it’s because I had missed them the year before at BYAF. Brilliant young band from Northern Ireland.
Mastersystem ‎– Dance Music – the final album Scott Hutchison worked on and was released.
Muncie Girls ‎– Fixed Ideals great punk album by a band with a fantastic singer
Neurotic Fiction ‎– Pulp Music – I don’t like publicly saying I don’t like someones music, and have missed some music from this list to avoid doing so. But I’m only doing so for context here to say it’s the only release from Specialist Subject that I have bought over the past 2+ years that I haven’t liked. Which shows the quality of the output they generally release.
The Pharcyde ‎– Labcabincalifornia – repress of one of the classic conscious hip hop albums.
Please, Believe! ‎– .​.​.​In Potential – pseudo placeholder as the vinyl release came out on Hogmanay, but the CD release much earlier in the year. I didn’t make it out to the show and haven’t received my vinyl copy yet. From the CD/mp3 release though it’s pretty great ecossemo as to be expected from anyone who has seen them live. Except with 100% music and 0% banter/tuning.
Poverty Bar ‎– Vive La Bagatelle, this got a physical release due to Western Freeway
Rainer Maria ‎– Past Worn Searching/Look Now Look Again/Long Knives Drawn/Catastrophe Keeps Us Together/A Better Version Of Me. When one of your favourite bands represses almost their entire catalogue in vinyl you must do two things – 1. Buy the ones you are missing and 2. Complain bitterly about US postage charges.
Jeff Rosenstock ‎– POST- – released out of nowhere on January 1st this blew people away immediately as to how good it is. Some people rate it very highly indeed.
Slowlight ‎– The Only Thing I Want Is To Know What I Want– fantastic album which I wrote about earlier.

Spare Snare ‎– ‘Sounds’ – they are the Snare (and Steve Albini).
Tragical History Tour ‎– Aphorisms – outstanding debut album which I previously reviewed.

EPs and other stuff

The Bombpops ‎– Dear Beer – to stress again how good their music is, this is 4 fantastic tracks on a gorgeous gold splatter 7″. I rated it 5/5 on the discogs I’ve listened to this now tracking I’ve been doing. Would highly recommend getting a copy.
Carson Wells ‎– No Relic – great ecossemo as expected from the Aberdonians before they called a hiatus 🙁
Dogeyed ‎– Throw The Bones really weird lofi and sludgy rock

El Morgan And The Divers was blown away by this band playing and look forward to their hopefully delayed and not cancelled album.
Forever Unclean ‎– Woof – great EP from the young Danish band I got to see at BYAF.
Goodbye Blue Monday ‎– Misery​-​Punk Ruined My Life great follow up to their Sickness/Shame EP, hope they aren’t under too much pressure to develop a full length from these.
The Murderburgers ‎– Shitty People And Toothache – Fraser is so lucky to encounter so many fucking areseholes to write songs about.
Nana / Tragical History Tour – Split EP great split including both artists covering each others music.
Pillow Queens ‎– State Of The State great Irish pop punk EP and I look forward to an album by them coming out.
Snow Patrol ‎– Soon – limited pressing only available to readers of The Big Issue
Yndi Halda ‎– A Sun-Coloured Shaker an EP to follow up the surprise release from 2016. I can never tire of this great post-rock band. Their Enjoy Eternal Bliss record is still a hard one to improve upon for me though. By anyone, never mind the band themselves.


Batteries ‎– Last Shop Standing – The Rise, Fall And Rebirth Of The Independent Record Shop – not really my cup of tea, but was bought for the documentary of a great book about record shops.
Various ‎– Boombox 3 (Early Independent Hip Hop, Electro And Disco Rap 1979-83) – third volume exploring early underground hip hop which is well worth a listen but probably has a pretty niche audience of, well, me.
Various ‎– Soul Of A Nation 2 – fantastic compilation containing influences for early hip hop.

Other Music I discovered

3 Colours Red ‎– Revolt – not really discovered, more missed when walking round a record fair and had a friend message asking if I wanted a copy on vinyl. Of the album with Paralyse on it? Hell yes.
Anna’s Anchor ‎– Nautical Miles – great Irish emo album
The Avalanches ‎– Since I Left You – anyone who ever had the joy of attending Coalesce should have developed a healthy love for this band, so was delighted to spot a vinyl copy in This Way Up.
Black Sheep ‎– A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing – this being in the hip hop collection was one of the reasons I bought it. It’s a conscious album although you won’t expect it from the intro, but let it play through, it will all make sense.
Broken Social Scene ‎– Forgiveness Rock Record/Broken Social Scene/You Forgot It In People/Feel Good Lost – when I saw them they had their latest album with them but also their entire catalogue on vinyl too. I am trying to resist replacing most of my CD albums with vinyl but am making exceptions for the bands and albums I absolutely love.
Deftones ‎– Covers – I wasn’t expecting much from this but was pleasantly surprised. Definitely worth a spin.
Delos – Delos – emo and post-hardcore belters. Well worth a listen.
Charles Earland ‎– Coming To You Live – I was confused why Grouchos had two copies of an album at over £10 so checked it out online, snagged a copy and was glad I did. Really good jazz/funk album which is almost 40 years old.
Green Day ‎– Kerplunk! – at a record fair I stumbled across a first pressing of Green Days second album. Underrated and really good. Mostly by people who are wrong about which albums of the band are the best (Insomniac is best as if you don’t know already).
Guru ‎– Jazzmatazz Volume: 1 – I mentioned preferring Volume 2, but when Volume 1 was in a massive sale I had to get it too.
Zach Hill ‎– Astrological Straits Experimental from someone in Death Grips? Sign me up.
Jesus & His Judgemental Father ‎– It Might Get Better – picked up for a criminally cheap price after the band split. I think if I had listened to it last year it may have made it in contention for album of the year.
Jurassic 5 ‎– Quality Control – althought their debut is quite rightly seen as a classic, their follow up is sadly underrated.
Mannequin Pussy ‎– Romantic – Great punk/noise album on TinyEngines.
Milk Teeth ‎– Vile Child – really good mix of emo and grunge
Mountain Men Anonymous/Teflon Monkey ‎– As The Duck Bit Back.. Part One – took the opportunity to complete the small discography from the excellent post-rock band who are sadly missed.
Klaus Weiss ‎– Time Signals – really good experimental album from the 70s which recently had a repress for the first time in 30 years.
Les 2 Minutes De La Haine ‎– Somnolences – really good French punk album which appears to be black ink printed on black paper etc. No idea what the fuck they were thinking, cos it hides a real gem.
Spike Milligan With Jeremy Taylor ‎– An Adult Entertainment Spike Milligan With Jeremy Taylor Live At Cambridge University – I really enjoyed his diaries when a kid so picked up this album. Although some is still great, some has not aged well. At all.
Seas, Starry ‎– Tyto Alba – I bought this from a distro at BYAF, listened to it and thought it was great. Then realised the band were playing the next day! Great post-rock album.
A Tribe Called Quest ‎– People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm – a stole cold classic which was one of the highlights of that collection I acquired.
Luther Vandross ‎– The Best Of Luther Vandross – The Best Of Love – I expected this to go from the bought collection very quickly into the sell pile. But I’m keeping it. It’s really surprisingly good.
Various ‎– Black Fire! New Spirits! Radical And Revolutionary Jazz In The U.S.A. 1957 – 1982 – amazing compilation of interesting jazz styles.
Boombox 1 & 2 (Early Independent Hip Hop, Electro And Disco Rap 1979-82/1979-83) – after hearing the third volume I got the first 2 of this early underground hip hop compilation. All really good if you like that sort of thing.
Various ‎– Time As A Color – X – found when adding more records into a discogs order as there was a chunk of postage could be covered. Emo and post-rock compilation which is exceptionally good.
No Artist ‎– The Investigator – really good 1950s radio play about McCarthyism, I mean totally not about McCarthyism at all.


Vinyl Junkies: Adventures in Record Collecting by Brett Milano – interesting book interviewing record collectors about how and why they collect. I think I read it around the same time I watched this sad journey.
Last Shop Standing: Whatever Happened to Record Shops? by Graham Jones – really good book interviewing music shop owners about the changes in the music retail industry over the past few decades and their predictions for its future. Although it does start to get a bit stylistically repetitive and forced towards the end. Currently making its way round various others who worked in music retail.


I continued to submit and edit on discogs, reaching the status where I could vote on submissions too. Having my collection catalogued has helped when browsing to avoid duplicates. I also as part of working through that hip hop collection made a pile of items to sell off. I then ran through vinyl finding everything I had rated poorly or had no intention of listening to again. I worked my way though listening to all my 12″s, and was starting on the 7″s before getting that huge pile of singles and so now have a 12″ backlog again.

Music goals for 2019

Sort out my CD singles. I need to rip as MP3, sort them out and then clear out the unwanted/duplicates.
Sort through CD Album collection. This is all ripped now but a large part is unsorted. I need to sort, sell off and pack up the bulk of it.
Finish listening to and sorting my 7″s.
In 2018 I finished off a couple of artists collections so I will probably identify a couple more and try to find the missing pieces of their catalogue over the course of the year.

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