Like many people at this time of year, I have an uncontrollable desire to present the things that have floated my musical boat in list form. I’m pretty certain that this list in no way represents the thoughts of the management, but that is why AMBY is such a great destination for discovering new music; our contributors have an eclectic taste so if nothing else, I hope that my particular list offers you lovely lot with the opportunity to discover a record or artist that possibly slipped in under the radar earlier in the year. The lists are presented in no particular order because I find it far too difficult to choose an overall winner. Here’s to an equally thrilling 2016!
TOP TWENTY ALBUMS
- Short Movie by Laura Marling
- B’lieve I’m Going Down by Kurt Vile
- Sermon on the Rocks by Josh Ritter
- Beneath the Skin by Of Monsters and Men
- Mr. Misunderstood by Eric Church
- American Dreamer by Frankie Lee
- Windfall by Joe Pug
- The Story of Sonny Boy Slim by Gary Clark Jr.
- Natalie Prass by Natalie Prass
- Something More than Free by Jason Isbell
- Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit by Courtney Barnett
- Pageant Material by Kacey Musgraves
- We Slept At Last by Marika Hackman
- Sprinter by Torres
- Little Neon Limelight by Houndmouth
- The Race for Space by Public Service Broadcasting
- I Love You Honeybear by Father John Misty
- What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World by The Decemberists
- All These Dreams by Andrew Combs
- Carrie and Lowell by Sufjan Stevens
TOP FIFTEEN SHOWS
- The Tallest Man on Earth at Albert Hall, Manchester
- Joe Pug/Frankie Lee at Gullivers, Manchester
- Sufjan Stevens at The Apollo, Manchester
- My Morning Jacket at The Ritz, Manchester
- St. Vincent at The Green Man Festival
- Father John Misty at The Green Man Festival
- Sturgill Simpson at The Green Man Festival
- Money For Rope at The Castle, Manchester
- Calexico at Albert Hall, Manchester
- Benjamin Booker at Academy 2, Manchester
- Ex Hex at The Soup Kitchen, Manchester
- Frank Turner at Night and Day Cafe, Manchester
- Stars at Sound Control, Manchester
- Public Service Broadcasting at The Green Man Festival
- Of Monsters and Men at Academy 1, Manchester
TOP TEN PHOTOS
(photographs at start of article)
- Taken during Dan Deacon‘s set at The Green Man festival this summer, I love this because it demonstrates the magical effect live music can have on us.
- I like the colours in this, along with the reflection which captures the hint of a smile presented on the back of Betsy’s bass, but most of all I love Mary’s look of complete satisfaction in the moment. Thank you Ex Hex!
- The drummer is often forgotten in many photographic galleries but Max Norton produced such an amazing performance in Benjamin Booker‘s band earlier this year, that he proved difficult to ignore.
- Another attempt to ensure that the drummer is not forgotten. Here is Public Service Broadcasting‘s Wrigglesworth.
- I love it when we are lucky enough to witness moments of shear abandonment during live music and Courtney Barnett demonstrated this passion in Manchester recently.
- Small venues can provide quite intense moments when personal songs are presented only inches away from the audience. This portrait of Katie Crutchfield was captured during one of those moments, when her band Waxahatchee came to town.
- Primus‘ interpretation of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a colourful and striking experience and I hope this photograph gives a little taste of the crazy visuals when they visited Manchester.
- John & Jacob always perform with an effervescent energy and this seemed to be presented in this photo, particularly with the V-shaped flare drawing your eye from Jacob’s face to the guitar.
- Natalie Prass is an artist I love and this is a photograph of her doing what she is amazing at. That is all.
- Money For Rope are one of the best live bands around and this image sums up the effect of their incredible energy, as drummer Erik collapses amidst the beer bottles at the conclusion of their show in Manchester.
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Review and Photos by Iain Fox | @IainFoxPhoto