2021

  • For the First Time by BLACK COUNTRY, NEW ROAD (London, UK). Lashing guitars, ominous vocals plus a flute and violin that not only disrupt but also add exciting textures. Sunglasses is my favorite track. Mix of postpunk and klezmer.
  • Bright Green Field by SQUID (Brighton, UK). Mix of exalted punkfunk in line with LCD Soundsystem and krautrock in line with Neu!, with many tempo changes, jazz and brass. From hysterical to calm, and back.
  • REIGNING SOUND’s A Little More Time with: Greg Cartwright recorded a wonderful warm record in Memphis. Beautiful songs, one after the other, including a cover of Adam Faith’s I Don’t Need That Kinda Lovin’.

2020

  1. Every bad by PORRIDGE RADIO: Exciting record from this band from Brighton. PJ Harvey meets Bongwater. Dana Margolin and her band are convincing from start to finish.
  2. Speed Kills by CHUBBY AND THE GANG: Debut LP of this new streetpunk band from London. Soulful punk with liberating energy.
  3. People with Faces by LAMPS. Noise garage rock. Their first record in eight years. Produced by Ty Segall.
  4. THE WILLIAM LOVEDAY INTENTION’s Will There Ever Be a Day that You’re Hung Like a Thief? Billy Childish in optima forma. Dylanesk, including an organ and harmonica.
  5. Saint Cloud by WAXAHATCHEE, the sound of Katie Crutchfield at her most conscious, comfortable and controlled. Indie music from Alabama.
  6. Sing in a World That’s Falling Apart by the BLACK LIPS: A great true modern country-garage rock record. Record number nine and their best since Arabia Mountain. Willie Nelson meets the Stones.
  7. The self-titled debut album by the COOL GREENHOUSE: Post-everything existential band from London. Frontman Tom Greenhouse, a spoken word artist, is the reincarnation of Mark E. Smith. Songs about topics such as gentrification and 4chan.
  8. Texas Sun by KHRUANGBIN: Beautiful mini LP on which these instrumental Texan psychedelic surfers collaborate with soul singer Leon Bridges. A nice Texan twangy desert atmosphere. The title track is an instant classic.
  9. TAMI NEILSON’s Chickaboom! Soul balads, rockabilly, rock, and an Everly Brothers pastiche (Any Fool with a Heart). Great voice and for the second time in my annual best albums list.
  10. The self-titled debut album by CORIKY: Back to the 90s with Ian MacKaye and Joe Lally, once from Fugazi. New band from this duo, together with Amy Farina, who plays drums and sings. And very good.

Previously unreleased:

  • Palo Alto by THELONIUS MONK: Danny Scher was 16-year old in 1968 when he organised this high school concert, in the hope to stimulate contact between black and white.
  • NEIL YOUNG’s Homegrown: After 46 years, Neil Young unearths a lost but highly consequential album, a collection of humble, stripped-back love songs he began writing at the zenith of his career.

2019

  1. Every time I listen to this record I want to immediately start listening to it again. Indie-folk heroes Phoebe Bridges and Conor Oberst excel as BETTER OBLIVION COMMUNITY CENTER.
  2. Remind Me Tomorrow by SHARON VAN ETTEN, a rotary of emotional experiences, most often the tumultuous motions of loving and loving the wrong person.
  3. Peaced and Slightly Pulverized by DAVID NANCE GROUP. He already made my favorite record of 2017. For fans of Neil Young. Powerhouse guitar music.
  4. Dogrel by FONTAINES DC. This Dublin post-punk band come good on a debut album that offers both a storyteller’s narrative voice and a snarling new vision of youthful disillusionment.
  5. Diabolique by L’EPEE: Supergroup consisting of Anton Newcombe (Brian Jonestown Massacre), Emmanuelle Seigner, and the Liminanas. Combination of garage, ye-ye, sleaze rock, cult soundtracks, sci-fi, spaghetti westerns, and girl-group pop noir. 
  6. The Brooklyn indie-folk quartet BIG THIEF made two great albums in one year. This spring, U.F.O.F., and this fall, Two Hands.
  7. TROPICAL FUCK STORM: “Listening to Braindrops feels like watching a sped-up timeline of rising sea levels and melting glaciers set to long-lost field recordings of maximalist noise-rock from the Outback. You’re listening to a world falling apart.”
  8. Between the Country by IAN NOE: a great Americana record that tells the backstories of (the miseries of) smalltown life.
  9. Time Out for Tomorrow by JERRY LEGER. New album by the Toronto troubadour. A beautifully crafted folk rock record.
  10. Nickel & Dime by LONG HOTS, three girls from Philadelphia, is the best single of the year. Released at Jack White’s Third Man label.

2018

  1. A Laughing Death in Meatspace by Tropical Fuck Storm. Great that you come over from Australia to Europe in 2019
  2. The self-titled debut album by THE NUDE PARTY. For fans of Television, Velvet Underground, and the Black Lips.
  3. Twin Fantasy by Car Seat Headrest. With my oldest son (19), I saw them Paradiso Amsterdam. In Vera Groningen my youngest one (14) joined too. Good parenting, or not?
  4. The self-titled debut album of the Washington DC band DES DEMONAS (In the Red Records).
  5. Joy as an Act of Resistance by Idles. Vital album with songs about Brexit, immigration, or mental health issues, and a wonderful Solomon Burke cover (Cry to me). Excellent concert in Vera.
  6. Your Queen is a Reptile by Sons of Kemet: Jazz meets Afrofuturism. With the great Shabaka Hutchings on sax.
  7. In the Shadows (Again) by Garrett T. Capps. Space country from San Antonio, TX.
  8. Hope Downs by Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. Timeless guitar pop from Australia.
  9. Post– by Jeff Rosenstock. Cheerful music for unhappy times.
  10. Nonsense and heartache by Jerry Leger. Great live shows at Take Root and at the Irish Pub O’Ceallaigh in Groningen

Previously unreleased:

  • Any Other Way by Jackie Shane. Nominated for a highly deserved Grammy. What a story and what a sound.
  • Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album, the newly discovered, unreleased album from 1963 featuring the jazz quartet led by saxophone legend John Coltrane.

2017

  1. Negative Boogie by DAVID NANCE (from Omaha). A bit of the Chrome Cranks, the Gun Club, and the Oblivians and a lot of energy.
  2. The debut album of MATTIEL (from Atlanta). Lots of heavy drums and guitar, a la White Stripes and Black Keys. But also very varied: each song has its own distinct energy.
  3. Relatives in Descent by PROTOMARTYR. Live awesome. Great chance that they will win the Vera poll for the 2nd year in a row!
  4. The First Stirrings of Hideous Insect Life by IGUANA DEATH CULT. Psychedelic garage punk (from Rotterdam). Live also awesome!
  5. The debut album of the RAYS (from Oakland): a lo-fi masterpiece. For fans of the Velvet Underground or the Modern Lovers.
  6. Songs of Sinners by TAMI NEILSON (New Zealand). Tami sings soul, country, gospel and blues songs of Sister Rosetta Thorpe, Howlin’ Wolf, Mavis Staples, Otis Rush, Johnny Cash, Tom Waits.
  7. Vibe Killer by ENDLESS BOOGIE: quirky blues, psychedelics, and touches of krautrock. With great one-liners, such as: “KISS on stage, at a kite festival. KISS didn’t bring their own kites, they were kiteless, carefree (Back in ’74).”
  8. Toy by A GIANT DOG: a more-than-worthy successor to PILE, my favorite record of 2016.
  9. Wisdom Of Elders by SHABAKA AND THE ANCESTORS (from London & South Africa). Great live show this year at Rockit Festival.
  10. La diversion que hacia falta en mi pais by LOS PIRANAS from Colombia. Crazy masters of the cumbia. Great live shows this year at Vera Groningen and WORM Rotterdam.

2016

  1. Pile by A GIANT DOG: mix of sweetness and a whole lot of YOU’RE GONNA DIIIIIIE.
  2. Mosey van DANIEL ROMANO: Nieuwe stap van groot artiest. Was live geweldig in het Grand Theatre.
  3. Black Star van DAVID BOWIE, een zwanenzang van het niveau van Ziggy Stardust en Hunky Dory.
  4. CAR SEAT HEADREST: Will Toledo bezingt 70 minuten lang tienerleed. Voor Nirvana en Pixies fans.
  5. HERON OBLIVION. Exploderende folkrock met prachtige zang van Meg Baird & scheurende gitaren.
  6. Bijzonder sfeervol debuut van JOOST DIJKEMA. Niet langer garagerocker maar gitaartokkelaar.
  7. SCOTT AND CHARLENE’S WEDDING (Australie). Fijne opvolgers van Velvet Underground en Feelies.
  8. Grote verrassing dat ik BEYONCE goed zou vinden. Verreweg meest gedraaide muziek deze zomer.
  9. MICHAEL KIWANUKA maakte eerst met Home Again en nu met Love & Hate wonderschone muziek.
  10. Singing Saw van KEVIN MORBY. Soloplaat van de zanger/guitarist van The Babies.

2015

  1. Indian Ocean van FRAZEY FORD. Officieel uit 2014 maar pas dit jaar gehoord. Wat een mooie stem.
  2. The Agent Intellect van PROTOMARTYR. Overtreffen hun vorige werk enorm.
  3. Sound & Color van the ALABAMA SHAKES. Wat een soul. Aretha Franklin met een gitaar. Groeiplaat.
  4. High van ROYAL HEADACHE. Deze Aussies moeten nu echt een keer overkomen voor een tour.
  5. Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit van COURTNEY BARNETT. Geweldig debuut.
  6. KENDRICK LAMAR’s To Pimp a Butterfly. Voor velen album van het jaar, maar ik vind het minder dan zijn vorige.
  7. The Epic van KAMASI WASHINGTON: 3xLP. Grootste jazztalent.
  8. III van HEX DISPENSERS. Deze rechttoe rechtaan band uit Austin, TX is live geweldig.
  9. Carrie & Lowell van SUFJAN STEVENS. Met deze intieme plaat is hij weer terug op niveau.
  10. I love you honeybear van FATHER JOHN MISTY. Veelzijdig: teder, boos, openhartig en cynisch.