Steve Davis rounds up the top 10 records of 2016

Cover art for Nick Hornby's High Fidelity

The times, they are a-changin’. Nobel Prize winner Robert Zimmerman first spotted the phenomenon back in 1964 and now it’s happening all over again! Europe is on the brink of something really somethingy and the USA is holding its breath, wondering when, where and how the Tangoed chosen one will stick his foot in it. The Wire can’t breathe for the limitations on European musicians’ creativity and Jon Bon Jovi has totally fucked up his chances of performing at Melania’s White House 50th. Awful! So, do you think I should file my prog, electronica and RIO vinyl alphabetically, by genre or maybe even country? Currently, I’ve got the lot alphabetical, but 52 percent of me thinks at the very least I should separate them into genres.

Look! Relax. Nothing is gonna change! A cup of coffee will still cost three quid in a service station and football will be beamed 24-hours-a-day into your home should you click the wrong button. My Facebook feed has been awash with panic about the future of the world recently and none of my friends have been asking me for my top 10 anythings! People need to get a grip! Surely, of far bigger concern to many old school prog fans, is how to maximise their remaining years on the planet. Apart from the amount time wasted regularly hunting for misplaced vinyl, the other concern is the number of hours spent listening to new artists that are often poor pastiches of our prog legends.

One of the most surprising and enjoyable name-checks I ever got in print was in Nick Hornby’s wonderful novel, High Fidelity. It’s the story of a sad bastard (no, not me) who works in a record shop. On regular occasions, in-between reminiscing over disastrous relationships and selling the odd record to other losers in life, he reorganises his record collection. I wholeheartedly recommend the book and the activity itself as a belated Christmas therapy present to yourself. As a way of trying to redress my Facebook balance, I’ve upped my anorak level. On our Interesting Alternative Show group, I’ve been asking members for their top albums from 2016. It probably won’t be finalised until 2046, but here’s how it stands:

1) Knifeworld – Bottled Out Of Eden

2) David Bowie – Blackstar

3) North Sea Radio Orchestra – The British Road

4) Bent Knee – Say So

5) Gong – Rejoice! I’m Dead!

6) Field Music – Commontime

7) Yugen – Death By Water

8) Skeletons – Am I Home?

9) Ian William Craig – Centres

10) Esperanza Spalding – Emily’s D+Evolution

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