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Casbah Records of the Year!
Its that time of the year again where we spend many many hours debating the best of the year’s releases! Tough decisions were made to whittle the list down to our top ten, but we love all of these records and hope you do too. Think we’ve missed anything out? Come in and let us know your thoughts!
New Releases:
1. Jaime Wyatt “Feel Good” New Country Rock par excellence, evoking the spirit of Bobbie Gentry in her prime!
 2. Julie Byrne “The Greater Wings” A heartfelt and meditative album of alt-folk intensity. Byrne’s exquisite poetic lyricism matches the dynamism of synth and guitar instrumentation. A beautiful record!
3. King Krule “Space Heavy” A stellar fourth album of sludgy, jazzy alt-rock from the one and only! 
 4. The Tubs “Dead Meat” Catchy, spirited DIY folk-tinged rock, reminiscent of jangly Jam melodies crossed with folky Fairport-esque vocal prowess!
5. Peter Gabriel “i/o” The second coming of the archangel! Twenty years in the making but worth the wait.
⭐️ 6. Corinne Bailey Rae “Black Rainbows”⭐️ 7. H Hawkline “Milk For Flowers”⭐️ 8. Gabriel da Rosa “É O Que A Casa Oferece”⭐️ 9. Cut Worms “Cut Worms”⭐️ 10. John Francis Flynn “Look Over The Wall, See The Sky” Honourable Mentions!⭐️ Cat Stevens “King Of A Land”⭐️ Jalen Ngonda “Come Around and Love Me”⭐️ Garden Centre “Searching For A Stream”⭐️ Rolling Stones “Hackney Diamonds”⭐️ Yussef Dayes “Black Classical Music”⭐️ Green Lung “Heathen Land”
Reissues and Compilations:
 1.  Gal Costa “India” Classic of the Tropicalia era! Banned in Brazil at the time of release, which means it must be good!
 2. Mandy Morton and Spriguns “Magic Lady” Timely reissue of this impossibly rare private pressing from 1978! The title track is a tribute to Sandy Denny, plus tales of witches, lost loves, and folklore.
 3.  Mellow Candle “Swaddling Songs” One of the all-time holy grails of acid-folk! If you don’t want to pay £2,500 for an original, this will certainly fill the void.
⭐️ 4. Karen Dalton “In My Own Time”⭐️ 5. The Beatles “1962-1966” and “1967-1970”⭐️ 6. Kings Go Forth “The Outsiders Are Back”⭐️ 7. The Vaselines “The Way Of The Vaselines”⭐️ 8. Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs “Incident At A Free Festival”⭐️ 9. “Hidden Treasures: Strange and Sublime Sounds Of Rio De Janeiro” (Mr Bongo)⭐️ 10. Heatmiser “The Music Of Heatmiser”
Casbah Music Book of the Year: Beware of The Bull: The Enigmatic Genius of Jake Thackray by Paul Thompson and John Paterson Those of a certain age may remember Jake Thackray primarily for his celebrated performances on the late 60s TV show The Bernard Braden Show. His hangdog expression, coupled with his witty and sometimes risqué lyrics always had my parents chuckling away. I wasn’t always sure what the joke was but I knew there was something magical and unique in the world of Jake Thackray. He was a bit folky, a bit jazzy, charismatic, and impossible to put in a musical box! In recent times his music has undergone a rediscovery, no doubt helped by musical luminaries and fellow Yorkshiremen Jarvis Cocker and Alex Turner dropping his name as an influence on their own work. This exhaustive biography from Paul Thompson and John Waterson will further his reputation and hopefully bring him new fans that he so readily deserves. The book leaves no stone unturned in telling Thackray’s story: from strict Catholic upbringing in post war Yorkshire to Durham university, various teaching jobs, travels through France and Algeria where he acquired not only a second language but a love of French ‘Chanson’ and in particular singer-songwriter George Brassens, and then on to huge success on local northern radio shows, the BBC, and his aforementioned weekly TV slots on The Bernard Braden Show.  He recorded albums at Abbey Road, where he rubbed shoulders with The Beatles (John in particular was a big fan). It looked like nothing could stop him, until he finally began to realize that the life of a celebrity was not for him. He preferred the simple life and pretty much turned his back on fame and fortune.  The writers had full access to Thackray’s family archives and there are a wealth of rare photos, unpublished lyrics and poems—all of which get the reader as close as you’re likely to get to understanding this much missed “enigmatic genius”. 
Music Film of the Year:They Shot The Piano Player, directed by Fernando Trueba and Javier MariscalFabulous animated film telling the story of the disappearance and presumed murder of Brazilian pianist Francisco Tenorio Junior. The film begins with an American journalist, voiced by Jeff Goldblum, researching Bossa Nova music for his book. His fascination with Tenorio leads him to Brazil, where he talks to everyone who knew him and tries to discover what actually happened in 1976. Including interviews with fellow Brazilian musicians such as Joao Gilberto, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Vinicius De Moraes, it’s a sad but beautiful film with a superb soundtrack of Bossa Nova music (which we would love to see released!).
Read on for Libby’s fascinating gig diary, looking back over some stellar concerts from this year!

Stereolab, Electric Brixton, 18th November
Stereolab never fails to amaze,returning to London with a warm, vibrant and intimate performance at theElectric Brixton. Their setlist covers their extensive discography, taking youthrough the different directions of their notable career; peacefully starting withthe calm dreamy ‘come and play in the milky night’, transitioning into classicsongs from their jazzy and lounge inspired ‘Dots and Loops’, the epic track ‘Refractions in the Plastic Pulse’ being a highlight of the night. Laetitia Sadier was endearing, engaging with the audience throughout the show, evenmaking a toast to the lovers in the audience before playing the sensual ‘Pack Yr Romantic Mind’.
Stereolab ended the night on an intense high with a lengthy encore, performing a montage of tracks including French disco. Noisy, shoegaze, psychedelic bliss!
Slowdive, The Troxy, 3rd November
Shoegaze legends Slowdive return with a tour across the UK, Ireland and North America following their most recent release Everything Is Alive. The performance was visually and sonically engulfing, with the psychedelic visuals behind the band perfectly matching the intense noisy wall of sound. Although I was standing at the front of the stage, I did not feel as much damage to my ears as I was anticipating, despite the extreme volume. Playing tracks from across the band’s entire discography, I found that the material of their two most recent albums particularly shined. Slowdive’s more refined, electronically textured sound, showcases their influence over modern dream pop and indie bands.

Bar Italia, Rough Trade East, 6th October
Bar Italia delivered an effortlessly cool, detached yet engaging performance at the intimate Rough Trade East, following the release of their latest album The Twits. Bar Italia are best seen at a small venue, with their laid back, British sludgy guitar riffs and icy demeanour. Nina is a strong frontwoman, taking center stage with a subtle yet powerful, sultry stage presence.
Cortex, Jazz Cafe,  21st July
Original members of the French Jazz-funk band Cortex perform their legendary album Troupeau Bleu at the iconic Jazz Cafe in Camden. This concert felt special in the intimate venue, the band traveling from mystic dreamy ballads, to energetic jazz improvisations, lead by none other than Alain Mion on keys. Troupeau Bleu revolutionised two musical worlds, sampled in a significant amount of hip hop, most notably utilized by the likes of MF Doom, Tyler the Creator, Madlib and J Dilla. This was overall a breathtaking and heart warming performance.       

King Krule, Pryzm Kingston, 15th June
Celebrating the release of his latest album Space Heavy, King Krule gave a raw and passionate performance in the intimate Pryzm venue in Kingston. Atmospheric and vulnerable, Archy’s latest album sees him continue to mature and evolve as an artist. This was definitely the sweatiest concert I had been to this year however, with mass moshing in the audience—especially to the more energetic songs like ‘Stoned Again’. Moments like these were complemented with softer tracks such as ‘Seaforth’. With tickets selling out almost instantly, there was a strong hardcore audience and appreciation present.     

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