Chart for stowaways – Albums 2020

Here are the top albums for last year:

  1. Pet Shop Boys – Hotspot
  2. The Beloved – Where it Is
  3. The Future Sound of London – Cascade 2020
  4. Sparks – Past Tense – The Best Of (climbing from number 5 in 2019)
  5. The Beloved – Happiness
  6. Sparks – Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins (climbing from number 7 in 2019)
  7. Sparks – A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip
  8. Erasure – The Neon
  9. Caribou – Suddenly
  10. Sarah Nixey – Night Walks
  11. Depeche Mode – Spirits In The Forest
  12. Kraftwerk – 3-D Der Katalog (number 5 in 2017)
  13. Hot Chip – A Bath Full Of Ecstasy (falling from number 1 in 2019)
  14. Front Line Assembly – WarMech
  15. The Human League – The Essential
  16. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen (falling from number 12 in 2019)
  17. Joy Division – Closer
  18. Pet Shop Boys – PopArt
  19. The Orb – Abolition Of The Royal Familia
  20. David Bowie – I’m Only Dancing (The Soul Tour ’74)

Dawn of a new era

I decided to pause regular service today just to pause and celebrate the death – however brief it ends up being – of fascism in the USA. Yes, Wonderbras aren’t American, but it’s still a good excuse for some Rammstein.

Chart for Stowaways – Singles 2020

I meant to post these last week, but managed to forget (sorry!) but here are the top Singles for stowaways, from 2020:

  1. Pet Shop Boys – West End girls (primarily driven by the New Lockdown Version)
  2. The Future Sound of London – Cascade (primarily driven by the new versions on Cascade 2020)
  3. The Beloved – Grin
  4. Pet Shop Boys – Will-o-the-wisp
  5. Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Crying at the Discotheque
  6. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Enola Gay
  7. Pet Shop Boys – Happy people
  8. Sparks – Lawnmower
  9. The Beloved – Forever Dancing
  10. New Order – Be A Rebel
  11. Pet Shop Boys – I don’t wanna
  12. Kylie Minogue – Magic
  13. Pet Shop Boys – Monkey Business
  14. The Beloved – If Only
  15. Frances Barber & Pet Shop Boys – Musik (Original Cast Recording) – EP (falling from number 2 in 2019)
  16. Tiësto – The Business
  17. David Bowie – Alabama Song
  18. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Almost (falling from number 7 in 2019)
  19. Pet Shop Boys – My beautiful laundrette
  20. Scotts/Travis Scott/Kid Cudi – The Scotts

Preview – Kraftwerk

It’s always nice when Kraftwerk appear out of nowhere with a new release, particularly when some of the material is exclusive. While it’s a little disappointing that this is a digital-only release, and while some of the track choices are a little perplexing, Remixes is still a rather wonderful collection. Here’s the opening track, the previously unheard Non Stop:

Look North

As you’ll have spotted if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, when I’m not criticising other people’s music, I also create some pretty poor material of my own. I’ll never ask you to like it or provide feedback, because I make it entirely for my own entertainment. I also won’t post here about it more than once a year, because this isn’t what this blog is about.

But on the offchance you’re wondering what I’ve been up to this year, here’s your update. After remixing tracks from my first two albums over the last couple of years, I moved onto my unfinished demos from my time living in Yorkshire, from 2005-2009, and built four EPs and an album out of them. It all began with Your World or Mine?, which on the album sounded like this:

The EP versions aren’t quite demos, but they aren’t quite completed either, and the most notable of these was Entranced, which was a daft 90s dance track in its initial form, then got remixed to be an expansive ambient piece, before finally settling down to become a dubby but somewhat conventional song on the album:

Left at the Bitter End led the second EP (Meanwood), and was subject to a major remix for the album, leading to a track that I’m particularly proud of. There’s also a single now with a couple of extra reinterpretations, but this is how it sounds on the album:

Times had changed when I recorded the original demos for the third and fourth EPs (Pinewood and Driftwood respectively). By this time, I was playing around with song structures, and looking to other songwriters for inspiration. If you listen to the album, you’ll find a couple of examples of this, but Animal Magnetism is one of the more experimental pieces that resulted from this period:

After this came California, which will form the backdrop for album number five. There’s a lot more material there, so time will tell whether it all appears in 2021, but work is already progressing well. For now, though, I’ll go back to keeping quiet about these works, and you’re welcome to ignore them if you’re offended by them!