Posted December 17th 2020
Melting Vinyl’s Top 2020
From innovative neo-classical to punk-jazz to soul to folk legends to indie DIY to euro-pop the MV team have assembled their top albums and best live shows for 2020
Top album: The Slow Rush by Tame Impala
I actually missed this when it was first released, and only came on to it properly after watching Tame Impala’s Tiny Desk video recently. I completely fell in love with the band, again, and have been playing this record non stop.
Best gig: Dry Cleaning at Green Door Store on 28 Feb
This was probably the last gig I saw before lockdown hit something like a couple of weeks later, and probably the last time I can recall the world feeling ‘normal’ so there’s a lot of nostalgia! Green Door was absolutely packed to capacity and it was just an all round really great atmosphere, so much appreciation for the music and respect for the artists, it was great to see the venue so busy.
As well working as an event rep and in the production department at Melting Vinyl Jess plays bass for Brighton band Demonstrations, whose released their latest single King Craig this November. https://www.facebook.com/Demonstrationsband
Best gig: Elephant 9
14th January | Ronnie Scotts, London
I couldn’t think of a better band to sustain a person through a very dry year of live music. Elephant 9 are Norwegian progressive/neo-psychedelic jazz-rock/trio that absolutely blew the roof off Ronnie Scotts in January. It’s hard to describe the electricity these guys generate in their live shows, the power and the interplay between the musicians is utterly mesmerising. The venue was packed with an incredibly diverse audience and the atmosphere was universally euphoric.
Top Album: Hoorahland by The Cravats
Hoorahland is the fourth album from Jazz-punk emperors The Cravats and their second of this century. Bursting with angular, sardonic musical gems this is a confident and intelligent powerhouse of an album laced with grim humour and skilful playing. Highlights for me are the stomping ‘March Of The Business Acumen’ and circus waltz ‘Now The Magic Has Gone’ with terrifying and briliant guest vocals from the inimitable Jello Biafra.
Special mention: Hearts Ease by Shirley Collins on Domino Records
Heart’s Ease is a beautiful album with Collins‘ voice the assured warming nucleus around which acoustic guitars, mandolin, hurdy gurdy and fiddle swirl and soar. With an impeccably judged set of songs the album mirrors so many aspects of human existence, it’s tender and bouyant, traditional and subversive and is topped with the preternatural Crowlink, an almost pagan incantation celebrating Collin’s beloved South Downs.
Top album: ‘Kaleidoscope’ on Soul Jazz Records.
It’s a compilation featuring some of the best up-and-coming UK jazz artists, including Ebi Soda, who have also released a great album ‘Ugh’. Both of these records have amazing artwork too and I’m a real sucker for that.
*Tries to remember a single 2020 gig*. Other than the few I’ve worked at, there was Winnie Raeder and Eloise at The Lexington in London. Two of the best female vocalists around for sure, everyone there was dead silent and totally mesmerised. I don’t usually cry at gigs – promise.
Best Gig: Alice Boman
23rd February | Latest Music Bar, Brighton
Swedish singer songwriter Alice Boman’s songs are intimate and beautiful and demand an intimate venue. The latest bar was the perfect venue for her songs. The audience were in awe, you could hear a pin drop. A special experience
Grimm Grimm- Ginormous LP
Choosing my fave album was not easy but Koichi Yamanoha’s latest offering shows a maturity hinted at by his previous releases.The songs are what make this album so effective. Simple production enhances the fragility and beauty the record has to offer. Just wonderful.
Album: Pompoko – ‘Cheater’ (Bella Union)
From seeing them later at night at the Komedia Studio at The Great Escape, I fell in with this explosion of Norweigan pop on Bella Union, who sound as good on record as they do live. (I’ve cheated as the album is out in January but I’ve loved all the releases so far) Let’s hope we can see them in Brighton soon 😉
Live is Alive! Series of the event in support of Brighton & Hove Venues 17/24/31st October|Brighton Dome
Who’d have thought we could bring a bunch of independent venues together to work on programming a four nights fundraiser for these beloved spaces. Immersion, Yumi and the Weather, Bakk Lamp falls, and Libra Libra (that last song!) etc.. all dazzled our music-loving tribes as 250 of us all sat separately but managed to create an almightly atmosphere in the 1,800 Brighton Dome, CV19 has strengthened our grassroots community of artists/venues/promoters and audiences.