Sunday, 6 December 2015

Best of 2015: Phil Hogarth

Phil Hogarth has been a friend of Miracle Mile and my solo stuff since way back when. 
Here's his pick of the year:

In my opinion 2015 has been a bumper year for great new albums and it's been difficult choosing a top 10.
I'll go with TTs format and start with a few choice tracks:

Black - The Love Show
My Morning Jacket - Get The Point
Andrew Wasylyk - Last Of The Loved
Dean Owens - The Only One
Jones - Happy Blue

And on to my 'Bubbling under',  which is really no's 20-11:

Andrew Combs - All These Dreams
The Decemberists - What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World
Sarah Cracknell - Red Kite
Black - Blind Faith
Linden - Rest And Be Thankful
Calexico - Edge Of The Sun
Richard Hawley - Hollow Meadows
Stornoway - Bonxie ( Also check out the Bonxie Unplucked ep, which is a beauty)
Dean Owens - Into The Sea
The Leisure Society - The Art Of Hanging On

All the above albums are wonderful and in another year more than a few of them would have made my top ten, but this is one hell of a strong year!
And those who made it:

10 The Villagers - Darling Arithmatic. 
This album finds Conor O'Brien back on form after the somewhat dissapointing 'Awayland' back in 2013. In fact this is probably better than his fabulous debut 'Becoming A Jackel'. Elegant and emotional.

9 C Duncan - Architect.  
Hard to believe this was recorded in his bedroom. Very complex and intricate sounds layered on top of  each other.The multi layered vocals alone must have taken him months! It really does sound like nothing else out there. Pop music from a man with a classical background.

8 Destroyer - Poison Season. 
Not an easy listen, but worth sticking with. That Bowie-esque intro to the album, 'Time Square' drags you in. Last album ,'Kapput' was excellent but this , although very different, offers a lot. Maybe I love it because it reminds me so much of early/ mid seventies Bowie/Roxy/Mott, that was the sound of my youth.

7 The Lilac Time - No Sad Songs. 
Indeed, no sad songs as this album finds Stephen Duffy obviously in a very happy time in his life. Love, marriage and a life in the country. I doubt he'll ever recapture the great sounds of the Fontana trinity but this'll still do nicely thank you.

6 Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear. 
Josh Tillman returns with another solo album. 11 songs of passion and dissillusionment.He seems to revel in his own misery, but he sounds like a man trying to escape his past, to come clean. Quite a'heavy' album then!

5 Andrew Wasylyk - Soroky. 
Wasylyk is the pseudonym of Hazy Janes frontman Andrew Mitchell. After touring as bass player for indie hipsters Idlewild Andrew found he had both spare time and some spare songs on his hands , so in the middle of winter he dragged himself off to the Isle of Mull and recorded 'Soroky'. The result is a brooding, powerful, confident bunch of songs that show off his rich vocal. Opening track 'Last Of The Loved' is also my song of the year

4 The Mostar Diving Club - Horizontal Hotel. 
Damien Katkahudas third album as MDC. He still resists the use of computers in his music which gives it a warm, organic sound. Never afraid to experiment , he takes us from his own funeral, in 'Scattered Flowers' ,to an uum pa pa drinking shanty ,'Nothing Else' and onto a catchy track called 'Old Yellow Sun', (that will, no doubt, be snatched up to promote some holiday companies advertising campaign), before moving on to the achingly beautiful' The Crooked Sea. His best album yet

3 Belle And Sebastian - Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance. 
The band return a beefed up, worldly wise version of their former selves.It's taken 9 albums but I think they've finally shaken that 'twee' label. Their best album since 'If You're Feeling Sinister'

2 A New International - Come To The Fabulon
I've followed Biff Smiths career since his early days with The Starlets. Always capable of writing a great song , but album wise always falling a bit short, until now!. This is big , bold and ambitious. Biff is a hopeless romantic. Musically ,there's all kinds of European folk music, Latin, (' Valentino' ), French,(The Life And Times),good old indie, ('My Ginda Guy') and heartbreaking beauty, ( 'Tenterhooks').A wonderful soaring album

1 Jones - Happy Blue. 
Do I really need to say anything? I'd be preaching to the converted . The best of his very fine solo output. There's no other artist I'd rather listen to at the end of a long day. Headphones on and malt in hand. Now that's bliss...

I don't really have any album let downs. In todays 'Try before you buy' age of the internet there's no need to take chances. Gone are the days of taking a punt 'cause the cover looks good.
I'd like to add a best compilation, and that goes to Tracy Thorn - 'Songs and Collaborations'. Although I'm still waiting for another Everything But The Girl album, Tracy still does just fine without Ben by her side.


  1. Yikes! As always, several releases I've missed. Don't know where you find the stuff... Didn't know about Mostar Diving. Clip sounds good.
    Nice list Phil. Thanks for the links for the more obscure artists.
    It's late... Homework in the morning!

  2. Re: Try before you buy... I've been a dinosaur for too long, buying CD's from Amazon.
    Finally getting Spotify in Canada. I hate how they rip off artists, but I guess it's a good tool to sample before buying actual CD. Still feel kinda guilty using it as a radio...

    1. The Damned Spotify has saved me from my previous addiction to 'future classics' that have proven shite. The attic remains overstocked. I still buy as many CDs (and now vinyl) as ever but the quality controller is now better informed.