… as sociologist in 2020

  1. Fun to give a new course: Primary Social Order, with lectures about reciprocity, social capital, and the public realm. I presented sociology as the we-science (see also my favourite book of 2019). Not only several articles but also some documentaries were part of the course material.
  2. The analyses were complex, but Gijs Huitsing, Gerine Lodder, and colleagues succeeded: the KiVa NL evaluation paper came out in Prevention Science. Check also our codebook. And congrats to Gijs for winning the Alberti Center Early Career Award.
  3. Proud that Lydia Laninga-Wijnen defended her PhD and won the EARA Young Scholar Award 2020. This year I wrote with her chapters for the Handbook of Adolescent and Young Adult Development and for the Encyclopedia of Child and Adolescent Health.
  4. Proud that Tessa Kaufman, Marianne Hooijsma, and Diego Palacios successfully defended their PhD theses and found positions as Assistant Professor at Utrecht University, researcher at the Netherlands Youth Institute, and as researcher in Chile (and all three got their first child as well).
  5. Wonderful paper by Ruta Savickaite on friendships, perceived popularity, and adolescent romantic relationship debut in the Journal of Early Adolescence.
  6. Great papers by Wouter Kiekens (on health disparities between heterosexual and LGB adolescents) and by Chaim la Roi (on peers and homophobic attitudes) in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.
  7. Excellent paper by Eleonora Marucci in Social Development on halo and association effects. About cognitive biases in teacher attunement to peer-nominated bullies, victims, and prosocial students.
  8. Great papers by Ashwin Rambaran in Child Development (on bullying as a group process) and Journal of Educational Psychology (on stability and change in student classroom composition and its impact on peer victimization).
  9. Wonderful collaboration with Jenna Watling Neal resulted in a systematic review, published in Developmental Review, on network selection and influence effects on children’s and adolescents’ internalizing behaviors and peer victimization.
  10. The research evaluation of Sociology in the Netherlands went very well: absolute excellence and societal relevance.

… as sociologist in 2019

  1. Honored to have given a keynote at the World Anti-Bullying Forum and to have been appointed as a member of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities.
  2. Proud of this Social Networks paper with Rozemarijn van der Ploeg and Christian Steglich, entitled ‘The Way Bullying Works: How New Ties Facilitate the Mutual Reinforcement of Status and Bullying in Elementary Schools.’
  3. Wonderful that Maaike Engels received an NRO postdoc grant for her project ‘Bridging the Gap: The Role of Teachers in the Transition from Primary to Secondary Education.’
  4. Great that we could hire Lydia-Laninga-Wijnen as postdoc for our project on SterkWerk (Meaningful Roles). She published this year in Child Development and Developmental Psychology.
  5. Proud of Diego Palacios and Marianne Hooijsma, who both published two longitudinal social network papers.
  6. Together with Lienja van Eijkern and Roisin Downes, I contributed to a large project of the Ministry of Justice about domestic violence (led by Annemarie ten Boom).
  7. Proud that Gert Stulp and Anne Beaulieu made our new minor Data Wise: Data Science in Society immediately a success.
  8. Great paper by Loes van Rijsewijk in the Journal of Research on Adolescence, entitled ‘The interplay between adolescents’ friendships and the exchange of help: A longitudinal multiplex social network study.’
  9. Proud that Chaim la Roi and Ashwin Rambaran successfully defended their PhD theses and are doing their postdoc in Stockholm and Ann Arbor.
  10. Great papers by Tessa Kaufman in Development and Psychopathology and the Journal of Research on Adolescence.

… as sociologist in 2018

  1. Sociology Groningen is alive & kicking. The educational assessment went very well in 2018. In October we celebrated our 80th anniversary. Check here the (subtitled) movies and Dutch presentations.
  2. Proud of this Prevention Science article: WHY DOES A UNIVERSAL ANTI-BULLYING PROGRAM NOT HELP ALL CHILDREN? Results call for tailored strategies in interventions aiming to reduce victimization for more children.
  3. Gijs Huitsing received an NRO grant to develop and evaluate an anti-bullying program for secondary education. Annelies Kassenberg received a grant to investigate how parents and teachers can work together to tackle bullying.
  4. Proud of this article in Journal of Child and Family Studies about the HEALTHY CONTEXT PARADOX. More depressive symptoms and less self-esteem for victims of bullying in a context where others are no longer bullied.
  5. KNOWLEDGE CLIP: Wonderful that a clear animation explains the findings of our NRO project about WHAT WORKS AGAINST BULLYING (unfortunately without English subtitles)
  6. Gerine Lodder wins the Science for Society Award and receives a VENI grant. Both highly deserved. Check her TEDx Groningen talk
  7. The ICS groups from Groningen and Amsterdam received an NRO grant to investigate how relationships with peers in primary education affect school choice, school performance and social integration in high school
  8. Proud that Loes van Rijsewijk and Mariola Gremmen successfully defended their PhD theses, both using longitudinal social network analysis.
  9. Two TRAILS papers with Odilia Laceulle (Self-regulation, negative social interactions, & young adult psychopathology) and Tina Kretschmer (How competent are bullying perpetrators & victims in mastering normative developmental tasks?)
  10. My trip as visiting professor to Beijing Normal University, where I gave two lectures and workshop on social network analysis. One student, Xingna Qin, is now working with me as PhD student, with a grant from the Chinese Scholarship Council.

… as sociologist in 2017

  1. NWO Gravitation Grant for SCOOP, an initiative by the University of Groningen (Strategic Theme Sustainable Society) and Utrecht University (Institutions for Open Societies), for the interdisciplinary study of sustainable cooperation.
  2. The ERC Research Starting Grant for Tina Kretschmer her project “Ghosts from the past: Consequences of Adolescent Peer Experiences across social contexts and generations.”
  3. The NWO VENI grant for Gijs Huitsing for his project entitled NETWORK INTERVENTIONS IN THE PEER CONTEXT.
  4. My paper with Tony Volk & Dorothy Espelage: SO YOU WANT TO STUDY BULLYING?, in which we do recommendations to enhance the validity, transparency, and compatibility of bullying research.
  5. Our free online course (in English and Dutch), a MOOC, to help adolescents learn to recognize, prevent, and deal with mental health problems.
  6. The TEDx Groningen talk by Gerine Lodder (postdoc at my WO VICI project) about LONELINESS IN ADOLESCENCE: “Being able to feel lonely is good. Chronic loneliness is not good.”
  7. Two great papers on NETWORKS AND SCHOOL BEHAVIOR by Ashwin Rambaran (Academic functioning and peer influences) and Mariola Gremmen (First selection, then influence).
  8. Tessa Kaufman (PhD student at my NWO VICI project) selected as blogger at Faces of Science.
  9. The first WALM Newsletters of our research group (5 staff, 3 postdocs, 10 PhD’s). Great to be with this group in Austin (SRCD), Stockholm (WABF), or Echten (Writing Week).
  10. New lectures about bullying at the Children’s University. This year in Leeuwarden and Amsterdam. Friesch Dagblad wrote an article about my lecture, entitled DE PEST AAN PESTEN.

… as sociologist in 2016

  1. Lectures about bullying at the Children’s University for groups of 200 children.
  2. Chapter in Handbook of Peer Interactions, Relationships, and Groups with Jan Kornelis Dijkstra and Derek Kreager, entitled Pathways, networks, and norms: A sociological perspective on peer research.
  3. Ten thousand TRAILS citations & Tina Kretschmer becoming assistant professor.
  4. Two KiVa dissertations: Rozemarijn van der Ploeg and Beau Oldenburg.
  5. Two SNARE dissertations: Kim Pattiselanno and Aart Franken.
  6. Campaign BEAU DENKT MEE in the Week against Bullying.
  7. Developed a course with Gerine Lodder and Gert Stulp for the Research Master.
  8. Article with Loes van Rijsewijk and Christian Steglich in Developmental Psychology: Who Helps Whom?
  9. Chapter in new handbook of Dutch and Flemish sociologists of education.
  10. Proud of colleague Ben Feringa (Nobel Prize for Chemistry) and, as former draughts player, of student Roel Boomstra (world champion draughts).

… as sociologist in 2015

  1. Trots op verkrijgen van een VICI: 2 postdocs en 1 aio aangesteld. Nog 2 vacatures.
  2. Nominatie Huibregtsenprijs en deelname Avond Wetenschap en Maatschappij in Ridderzaal.
  3. Inbreng Freek Velthausz bij Antipestclub en Gijs Huitsing bij het Klokhuis.
  4. De mooie reeks zomercolleges NRC Next die ik mocht openen.
  5. Praktijkgericht artikel over betrekken ouders bij tegengaan pesten in HJK, De wereld van het jonge kind.
  6. Eerste SNARE artikel, in Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency.
  7. Kiva School werkt. Staatssecretaris Sander Dekker heeft het OnderwijsBewijs eindrapport aan de Tweede Kamer aangeboden.
  8. Samenwerking UU, VU, RU, RUG en Trimbos voor Wat werkt tegen pesten.
  9. Een nieuwe hoogleraar bij sociologie: Nardi Steverink.
  10. Twee kersverse promovendi: Britta Rüsschoff en Tinka Veldhuis.

Best books 2020: fiction

  1. De dag dat ik mijn naam veranderde van Bibi Dumon Tak: Een waargebeurde familiegeschiedenis over macht en onmacht, liefde en verraad, rouw en wraak, sissen en bijten.
  2. Baron Wenckheim keert terug van László Krasznahorkai: Briljant speelt de Hongaarse meester, bekend van Sátántangó, met het verlangen naar een Messias in een post-communistische samenleving.
  3. Karina Sainz Borgo’s Nacht in Caracas: overleven in een land in vrijeval, het door oorlog verscheurde Venezuela, waar geweld en anarchie de boventoon voeren.
  4. Jaag je ploeg over de botten van de doden van de Poolse Nobelprijswinnaar Olga Tokarczuk, een geestige en slimme aanklacht tegen de omgang met dieren.
  5. Zwarte schuur van Oek de Jong, een adembenemende roman over leven met een trauma. Hoe een enkele catastrofe de kunstenaar Maris levenslang tekent, hoe gevoelens van schuld en onvolkomenheid tot de grootste artistieke energie kunnen leiden. 
  6. De Jezus-trilogie van J. M. Coetzee: Over een kind dat na een overzeese reis komt in een vreemd land, dat moeite heeft om zich te voegen in het schoolsysteem en dat ziek wordt, tot wanhoop van zijn pleegouders. Even raadselachtig als fantastisch drieluik.
  7. Ten oosten van Eden van John Steinbeck: dit welhaast bijbelse magnum opus van twee pioniersfamilies in Californië verscheen in een uitmuntende nieuwe vertaling.
  8. Marijke Schermers Liefde, als dat het is: een boek waarin huwelijksgeluk wordt gefileerd. Wanneer gaat liefde over in afkeer? Was de relatie ooit goed of had er nooit moeten worden begonnen?
  9. Claudia Durastanti’s De vreemdelinge: een boek vol autobiografische herinneringen, associaties, mini-essays en curieuze verhalen over je anders voelen. 
  10. Sander Kollaards Uit het leven van een hond: een allesbehalve doodgewone dag uit het leven van een 56-jarige, alleenstaande IC-verpleegkundige. Over de lust tot leven, wat er ook gebeurt of uitblijft.
  11. Wij zijn licht van Gerda Blees: vanuit vele invalshoeken wordt onthuld wat er is gebeurd en nu gebeurt met de drie communeleden, nu de vierde is gestorven. Over groepsdwang en geloof.

Best books 2020: non-fiction

  1. Jonathan Metzl’s Dying of Whiteness: the precarious condition of white Americans is a result of their political choices. Many white Americans are conservative, which in the US usually means that they are suspicious of any form of government intervention.
  2. Black Wave by Kim Ghattas: Saudi Arabia, Iran and the forty-year rivalry that unravelled culture, religion, and collective memory in the Middle East.
  3. Emily Guendelsberger’s On the clock: How low-wage jobs have been remade to serve the ideas of efficiency, at the cost of human dignity. Her story about working at an Amazon center is shocking. The shifts of twelve hours were only doable thanks to the vending machines stocked with painkillers.
  4. Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism, a disturbing book by the husband-and-wife team of Anne Case and Angus Deaton, who won the 2015 Nobel Prize for Economics. White Americans without a four-year college degree are drinking themselves to death, poisoning themselves with drugs, or shooting or hanging themselves.
  5. She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey: #MeToo book about Harvey Weinstein’s victims. About sexual harassment, intimidation, nondisclosure agreements, and bringing him down. The story by two New York Times journalists that helped ignite a movement. Won the Pulitzer Prize.
  6. Sander Heijne en Hendrik Notten pleiten in Fantoomgroei: Waarom we steeds harder werken voor minder. Pleidooi voor een economie waarin niet winst en groei centraal staat, maar welzijn en een betere wereld.
  7. Jaap Tielbeke’s Een beter milieu begint niet bij jezelf: Mythes rondom individuele verantwoordelijkheid en technofixes laten de economische en maatschappelijke machtsverhoudingen buiten beschouwing. De ongemakkelijke waarheid is dat het roer radicaal om moet.
  8. Mike Isaac – Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber. A staggering image of the culture in a large tech company: company parties with coke and prostitutes, sexual harassment, aggressive managers, and corporate espionage. About the unprecedented successes but also a hard fall of Travis Kalanick.
  9. Thomas  Piketty’s Kapitaal en ideologie: Omdat vermogen meer oplevert dan arbeid vergroot de ongelijkheid tussen degenen met en zonder kapitaal. Een boek met oplossingen.
  10. Putin’s people by Catherine Belton: how since the late 1980s a small group of former KGB officers have been laundering many billions to enrich themselves and disrupt the West.

Best books 2019: fiction

  1. Normal People by Sally Rooney: This Irish writer shines with a calm novel that goes under the skin. Because how normal is the love between the rich Marianne and the poor Connell?
  2. Lisa Halliday – Asymmetry: Witty, moving and cleverly composed debut novel about the relationship between young and old, between the state and the individual, between the rich West and the Middle East devastated by wars. Does a human life count?
  3. Rob van Essen – De goede zoon: Wonderlijk boek over de roadtrip van een hoofdpersoon die voor een crimineel een nieuwe identiteit heeft bedacht, afscheidt neemt van zijn moeder, en op reis gaat met een empathische robotauto. 
  4. Fernando Aramburu – Vaderland: een indringende roman over hoe vriendschappen, families en een dorp worden verscheurd door de aanslagen, moorden en afpersingspraktijken van de ETA.
  5. Ane Riel – Hars: een grimmig, sprookjesachtig boek over een Deense familie die afgezonderd woont, op een eilandje waarvan de enige toegangsweg alleen bij eb droog valt.
  6. De onverwachte rijkdom van Altena: prachtige roman van Jan van Mersbergen over de tegenstelling tussen stad en platteland.
  7. Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer – Grand Hotel Europa: een grootse satire over alles: van destructief massatoerisme tot de uitverkoop van de Europese cultuur. Europa heeft slechts toekomst als ‘recreatiegebied voor de rest van de wereld’.
  8. Chloe Benjamin: The Immortalists: Four children are told by a fortune teller when they will die. It is the start of an exciting and moving family novel, in which you can disappear as a reader.
  9. Otmars zonen. In zijn langverwachte tweede roman maakt Peter Buwalda de verwachtingen waar. Het eerste deel van een drieluik waarin machtige en smerige mannen ten val komen.
  10. Sjoerd Kuyper- Bizar: Spannende jeugdliteratuur waarin een leesgrage puber een dagboek bijhoudt en ‘het echte leven’ naar hand probeert te zetten.

Best books 2019: non-fiction

  1. Mark van Ostaijen – Wij zijn ons: In talrijke essays laat deze socioloog zien dat ons vakgebied raad weet bij het begrijpen van sociaal gedrag. Over bijvoorbeeld rolpatronen, normoverschrijdend gedrag, totale instituties, relatieve deprivatie en intolerantie.
  2. Barbara Ehrenreich – Nickel and Dimed. Participatory observation of journalist (who won the Erasmus Prize this year) in low-paid jobs. About the impossibility to live on the basis of flexible work, such as working as waitress or cleaner.
  3. Ruud Koopmans – Het vervallen huis van de Islam: De kern van de islamitische crisis is een gebrek aan scheiding tussen religie en staat, een kennisdeficit en een vrouwenemancipatiedeficit.
  4. Tali Sharot – The Influential Mind, What the Brain Reveals about Our Power to Change Others. Influence behavior by building on common ground instead of trying to prove others wrong. Beware of the equality bias – weigh people’s opinions according to their expertise on the topic.
  5. Sophia Rosenfeld – Democracy and Truth: about the meaning of truth in a democracy and the impact of 24-hour news and entertainment cycle, and the juicy information amplified by social media.
  6. Rutger Bregman – De meeste mensen deugen. Een betere wereld begint bij onszelf. Wie vergeeft hoeft minder energie te verspillen aan haat en nijd, koester tegenmacht en kom in actie bij het zien van iemands lijden.
  7. Eddie Brummelman – Bewonder mij: Narcisten omarmen hun gedrag en zien hun superioriteit niet als een zwakte, maar als een kracht. Het klopt dat kinderen zelfwaardering nodig hebben, alleen is ‘overmatig prijzen’ niet de manier.
  8. Huib Modderkolk: Het is oorlog maar niemand die het ziet. Over digitale onveiligheid en de operaties van veiligheidsdiensten.
  9. Jan Meeus – De Schiedamse cocaïnemaffia. Over een corrupte douanier, doorgewinterde criminelen en duizenden kilo’s coke.
  10. Malcolm Gladwell – Talking to Strangers. His worst book, but the chapters about suicide (chapter 10) and crime hot spots (chapter 11) are a must-read.

Best books 2018

  1. THE FUTURE IS HISTORY: HOW TOTALITARIANISM RECLAIMED RUSSIA by Masha Gessen. Great portrait of a few Russians born in the 80s. Their future expectations have been drastically disrupted by Putin’s repressive regime.
  2. Celeste Ng returns with LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE. About a neat place full of well-succeeded families, where everything is right. Until the arrival of two newcomers. Will be filmed by Reese Witherspoon.
  3. POPULAR: THE POWER OF LIKABILITY IN A STATUS-OBSESSED WORLD by Mitch Prinstein. A must read for everyone interested in the social development of children and adolescents. It was even sold in book stores at US airports.
  4. THE EIGHT MOUNTAINS by Paolo Cognetti. Psychological novel, in which the friendship of two boys is inseparable from their pure love for the mountains, as a place of purity and authenticity. The prizes for this international bestseller are well-deserved.
  5. JIJ BENT VAN MIJ. In lijn met de moord op Marianne Vaatstra, vertelt Peter Middendorp het verhaal van een boer die een meisje verkracht en vermoord om vervolgens gewoon verder te gaan met zijn leven
  6. This year I visited Prague and in that week I read PRAGUE WINTER by Madeleine Albright, in which she drew on her own memory, her parents’ written reflections, interviews with contemporaries. Harrowing and inspiring history.
  7. THE RETREAT OF WESTERN LIBERALISM by Edward Luce. About the rising social costs in a society that privatizes everything & puts everything on the shoulders of the individual. If Luce fears someone, it is not Donald Trump, but the person who comes after him.
  8. ENLIGHTENMENT NOW by Steven Pinker: “We may never drive the already low numbers of terrorist casualties to zero, but we can remember that terror about terrorism is a sign not of how dangerous has become, but of how safe (p.198).”
  9. IT’S COMPLICATED: THE SOCIAL LIVES OF NETWORKED TEENS by danah boyd. About gossip, frenemies, teenage drama, microcelebrity, and cyberbullying.
  10. BEHAVE by Robert Sapolsky. What happened one second, one minute, hours, days, months, years, or millennia before we behave? With chapters about HIERARCHY, OBEDIENCE, & RESISTANCE or METAPHORS WE KILL BY.

Best books 2017

  1. EXIT WEST by Mohsin Hamid. It starts as a love story amid the rubble of violence and uncertainty, but turns out to be a beautiful, detailed, and magical look at what it means to be an immigrant.
  2. WERELDSCHADUW van Nir Baram. Over de wereld van het grote geld en cynische consultants en politici, die met geweld op de knieen worden gedwongen door een groep activisten.
  3. HILLBILLY ELEGY – A Memoir of a Family and a Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance: The lives (and the social problems) of poor white people
  4. DE ACHTERKANT VAN NEDERLAND door Pieter Tops & Jan Tromp. Vol netelige vraagstukken: De verstrengeling van de onder- en bovenwereld is een vraagstuk van maatschappelijke ordening en individuele moraliteit (en de uitwassen van de neoliberale samenleving).
  5. SMARTER FASTER BETTER. THE SECRETS OF BEING PRODUCTIVE by Charles Duhigg. Stretch goals (long-term ambitions) and smart goals (concrete short-term tasks) as the combination for success.
  6. Er groeit een kind in de buik van het personage Marjolijn van Heemstra, die in de non-fictie-achtige roman EN WE NOEMEN HEM de verteller is. Dat kind wil ze naar oudoom Frans vernoemen, maar was hij in WOII nu wel of niet een verzetsheld?
  7. Het grootse, wervelende, sprookjesachtige LAMPJE, het debuut van Annet Schaap. Nu al klassiek kinderboek waarmee zij in de voetsporen van Paul Biegel treedt. Voor jong en oud.
  8. KWAADSCHIKS Van A.F.Th. Vuistdikke, psychopathische thriller waarbij je niet wilt maar wel moet houden van de door paranoïde verlatingsangst gedreven en met drank en drugs gevoede Nico Dorlas. Samenleven met hem is een hel.
  9. NIET DE KIEZER IS GEK van Tom van der Meer: Partijen die alleen in verkiezingstijd bereid zijn zich te profileren, maar zich vervolgens laten binden door een brede meerderheidscoalitie, zullen het vertrouwen van kiezers niet vasthouden.
  10. Robert J. Gordon’s THE RISE AND FALL OF AMERICAN GROWTH Has the way we live changed? Yes. Will we live happily ever after. No. The golden age of growth is over.

Best albums 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.
  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.

Best albums 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.

Best albums 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.

Best albums 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.

Best albums 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.

Best albums 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.