I fell stupidly in love with only one record this year. Jim Moray's 'Low Culture' followed me around everywhere for several months, its clever, middlebrow but genuinely soulful modernisation of various English folk tropes seducing everyone I played it to, especially my children – proof if any were needed that the beauty in folk music has very little to do with its degree of "authenticity".
You could say much the same about Eliza Carthy's gripping 'Dreams of Breathing Underwater', except that I didn't love it like 'Low Culture'. One other new album got played in our house as much.
Luke Doucet & the White Falcon are a length-and-line Canadian roots-rock outfit. Their 'Blood's Too Rich' brought nothing especially new to the table, but a handful of excellent, witty songs, a pulsating rhythm section and the best big fat Gretsch tone since Duane Eddy.
Mmmm-mm. It's increasingly hard to drain the showbiz out of British pop. It fills up again as fast as you empty it out. But after a while I did start to hear Laura Marling's 'Alas, I Cannot Swim' for what it is, rather than for how it's mediated. A big talent which may or may not get to mature. Favourite jazz? Both Brits: Arnie Somogyi's 'Ambulance: Accident and Insurgency', which is artful and jazzy, and Polar Bear's 'Polar Bear', which isn't.