BY NEAL MARTIN | DECEMBER 20, 2022
quote Old Blue Eyes, two-thousand twenty-two was a “very good year”. A top
vintage. A 1985 Burgundy or a 1982 Bordeaux. It was an annus mirabilis
that reintroduced semblances of normal life. However, one defines that in this bewildering
post-pandemic world. It felt as if life sprung back and what else was there to
do but push the pedal to the metal and make haste compensating for months of
lockdown? In 2022, I never worked so hard. Never strung so many words together
(whether they made sense or not is another matter entirely). Never felt fitter,
though I’ve yet to step back onto the scale after six weeks in calorific
Burgundy. It’s a whirlwind year that occasionally overwhelmed me as I juggled
an insane and admittedly self-imposed workload, constant traveling, countless
dinners and tastings (sympathy cards welcomed), balancing all that with being a
husband/dad/mate and safeguarding an everyday life outside the realm of
fermented grape juice. The aim is to reach the end of the year the same person
as when it began, just a bit wiser. Every year’s a bonus. Every year is another
bit of extra time. So here it is, month-by-month, plus my musical
recommendations as I have done every year since 2003…
All Things 2022
January – Blighty stands on the brink
of another lockdown as Omicron, last seen battling Transformers, opens the next
unwanted chapter of the global pandemic. Boris temporarily halts his house party
at No. 10 and keeps the country open. It instils a feeling across the nation
that there is an exit door, acceptance that we must live with the virus, not
try to defeat it since it will always be one mutation ahead. Hence, the
traditional Burgundy tastings tentatively return, albeit for professionals and select
clients. The month finishes with the latest edition of the annual Southwold
tasting of decadent Bordeaux 2018s, which I am remiss at not publishing (like
an unforgivable number of events mentioned in this piece), not to mention a
phenomenal 1982 Bordeaux dinner in Clapham with the First Growths firing on all
Highlight: Dinner at Hutong
in the Shard to celebrate my daughter’s seventeenth, the first time we
could celebrate properly in four years. Someone takes photos from Hutong’s 33rd-floor
lavatories as he goes about his business. Who says men can’t multi-task? The
dinner sets a marker for the year. Instead of talking about doing
things, in 2022, we were going to do them.
Wines: 1993 Domaine
Réné Engel Clos Vougeot, 1982 Grand-Puy-Lacoste (magnum), 1982 Talbot (magnum),
1959 Pichon-Lalande (magnum), 2008 Château de la Tour Clos Vougeot Vieilles
troops invade Ukraine. We’re only just recovering from a pandemic, and now WW3
to worry about? Anger simmers for the rest of the year. Macron has France
locked down, so I’m perturbed about when I can return. Nevertheless, the month
sees a few special dinners crowned by two birthday celebrations: a raucous
evening at the Harwood
Arms and a night away with Mrs. M down at the excellent Parson’s
Table in medieval Arundel, a reminder that some of the UK’s best
restaurants reside outside London (see October).
Highlight: The aforementioned birthday
dinner at the Harwood Arms. Just lots of silliness and thunderous laughter with
a gaggle of fabulous bottles. What more could you want? I might have to repeat
it this coming February.
Memorable Wines: 1983 Léoville
Poyferré, 1981 Wynn’s Hermitage, 2010 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Tre Tine, 1971 Paul
Jaboulet Ainé Hermitage La Chapelle
March – France opens its borders, and
the passport is put to use as I commence a peripatetic spring. A week in
Bordeaux spending quality time with châteaux (they appreciate a bit of TLC)
culminates in an enthralling
vertical at Pichon Baron assessing a treasure trove from the thirties to
the sixties. Then, a fortnight in Burgundy visiting less well-known properties,
filling in gaps from my 2020 barrel tastings and a week at Les
Grands Jours. It doesn’t begin on a high note. Within minutes of
arriving, I learn my dad has a serious illness. Fast-forward over the worry - this
story has a happy ending, the indefatigable NHS sorting everything out in a
jiffy, and he’s right as rain by summer.
Highlight: Driving to Brighton to meet
former Smiths’ guitar legend Johnny Marr and shaking the hand of the one who
invented the riff to This Charming Man. No, I still haven’t washed it.
man is a God. Period.
Wines: 1971 Domaine
Comte Armand Pommard Clos des Epeneaux 1er Cru, 2009 Domaine Georges Roumier Chambolle-Musigny
Les Cras 1er Cru, 1955 Haut-Brion Les Carmes Haut-Brion, 1945 Pichon-Baron,
1967 Latour, 1949 Louis Latour Pommard Les Epenots 1er Cru, 2017 Matteo
Correggia Roero Riserva Ròche d’Ampsèj
April – The month begins with a bacchanal
with old friends and a smorgasbord of fermented grape juice that gets the pulse
racing. There’s an intriguing Durfort-Vivens dinner before spending most of the
month in Bordeaux tasting the 2021s from barrel. It’s a welcome return to
conducting tastings in the region instead of pallets materialising on my
driveway. I screw up by revealing the previous night’s mystery vintage served
at Figeac on social media, forgetting that the Manoncourts are repeating the
soirée with the identical vintage the following evening. They were somewhat
surprised that half the guests miraculously guessed the 1946, but at least it
allows many to pretend that they are the world’s greatest blind taster. The banquet to celebrate the new
winery opening at Lynch Bages is a lavish affair, Anne-Sophie Pic at the
microwave cooking for the 5,000, though even she must cater to my dietary requirements.
The lobster tail is delicious. I put one of the final copies of my Pomerol tome
up for auction in aid of Ukraine. It fetches £2,000.
Highlight: Donning my unused tuxedo for
the Académie du Vin dinner and being able to tie my bow tie rather than having
to ask someone else to do it like an incompetent five-year-old schoolboy.
Wines: 1922 La
Conseillante, 1946 Figeac, 1947 Smith Haut-Lafitte, 1928 Lascombes, 1967
Climens, 1995 Lafleur, 1990 Château Latour (double magnum), 2016 Bodegas Verum Cencibel
Las Tinadas Organic
second outing for my expensive tuxedo, bought just before lockdown in December
2019. Bow tie: my own handiwork.
May – First month of the hottest and
driest summer in living memory: Bad for humanity but good for planning
barbecues. I escort my youngest into London for a series of Japanese exams on the
proviso that we check out a different restaurant each night. It’s a hoot, and
she gets the top grade. Omõdeto! The madness continues on the tasting
front with a trip to La Vienne for a ridiculous Rousseau vertical back to 1919,
a slightly surreal tasting of Liber Pater at Annabels’ nightclub in London and
an incredible Ponsot vertical at the domaine during a two-week trip to Burgundy
- one week touring Mâconnais and then tasting the 2018 whites blind at
month we welcome a new member to the family… Popo Chan! Our previous feathered
friend Bean made his last tweet just before Xmas. Unlike Bean, within weeks, my
wife has trained the budgerigar to speak…in Japanese. Honestly, I’m not joking.
I feel this gives Popo a superiority complex over me, but hey, that’s something
I’m used to in this family. I’m just relegated down to another place.
Popo Chan – 私は日本語を話すことができます
Highlight: Late at night, driving back
from the cinema, having watched the unexpectedly brilliant Top Gun II, I recreate
Cruise’s jet-fighter acrobatics in my Nissan Qashqai. I fail to recreate the
same G-force. But it was fun.
Wines: 1966 Domaine
Rousseau Chambertin Clos-de-Bèze, 1919 Domaine Rousseau Chambertin, 1981 Hamilton
Russell Pinot Noir, 2016 Figeac, 2010 Domaine Jean-François Coche-Dury Corton-Charlemagne
Grand Cru, 1943 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Grands Echézeaux Grand Cru, 2010 Domaine
J-L Chave Hermitage, 1964 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle, 1959 Domaine
Ponsot Clos de la Roche Cuvée Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru, 2020 Domaine
Saumaize-Michelin Pouilly-Fuissé La Maréchaude 1er Cru, 2019 Nathalie Vigot Vosne-Romanée
June – The platinum jubilee coincides
with an atypical dreary weekend. I proffer a magnum of one of the greatest English
sparkling wines for my neighbours. They are more content to glug warm Prosecco
from the local Aldi. I end up drinking it from a plastic cup myself. Anyway, long
may she reign over us. I whisk my two daughters to Bordeaux as they feel cooped
up in England and I won’t see them over the summer. Bit of daddy/daughter
bonding. No work, no vineyards, just mooching around shops and cafés and seeing
the city in a different light. It is just the tonic we need. What a wonderful
down to Magwitch country to lunch at The
Sportsman, though Jay McInerney’s post-war Palmers look like dishwater and
taste worse. The summer equinox is celebrated at The
Waterside Inn with a friend from Hong Kong and a pre-prandial cruise down
the Thames as the sky turns ablaze with Turner-like hues. One of those “Life is
Good” moments. The final week is devoted to all things Chablis, falling in love
with the quixotic town where the taps read “Hot”, “Cold” and “Raveneau”.
Highlight: The long walk back after dinner
along the moonlit Gironde esplanade in Bordeaux on a balmy night with my
Haut-Brion, 1983 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche, 2009 Domaine Coche-Dury Meursault
La Perrières 1er Cru, 1978 Domaine de la Télégraphe Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 2019
Quinta do Noval Naçional, 2010 Domaine Guffens-Heynen Pouilly-Fuissé Tris des
Hauts des Vignes, 2019 Domaine Félix Richaud Irancy Merci La Foule, 2021 Domaine
Droin Chablis Les Grenouilles
– I ease off traveling.
It’s been non-stop since early March. At Terminal 3, I wave a teary sayonara
to my family, who will spend the summer in Tokyo, then occupy the next six
weeks wining and dining like my life depends on it. I also vow to teach Popo
some words in English. Show some patriotism, for God’s sake. The heat does not
decelerate the writing. I make inroads into the post-COVID backlog and hand in
the final manuscript to my publisher. Anyone can start a book. Finishing is the
Highlight: The Human League in
Southend-on-Sea. I’m not really into nostalgia acts, so I tend to avoid them,
however much I adore the band. But they’re probably better now than at their
prime, Phil Oakey in magnificent voice with a tight backing band and fantastic sound
system. On a balmy evening, I dance in an open field with my oldest friends clutching
plastic cups of warm beer, chanting the chorus of “Don’t You Want Me.” You
can’t stop aging, but that doesn’t mean you have to be old.
Château Margaux, 1961 Rinaldi Barolo, 1991 Domaine Hubert Lignier Clos de la
Roche, 1998 Togni Cabernet Sauvignon, 2001 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
Howell Mountain (magnum), a pint of warm beer
not even going to explain what’s going on here.
August – The heat wave continues.
Rather than twiddling my thumbs, I spend two weeks in South Africa, as I have
not been since 2018. It never fails to make a profound impression, not just the
wines but the people, the landscape, its spirit. Hopefully, that sentiment is
translated in my
report. Family returns in one piece from Japan. Popo says “Konnichi wa.”
Bloody bird hasn’t learned a single word of English. I spend endless hours
frantically tidying the house, ready for inspection and forget that I have
barely opened the fridge. Its contents are ostensibly the same as in mid-July
but moldier. “What did you eat for the entire summer?” my wife asked furiously.
“Out?” I reply. The month finishes with the annual Grouse Club at Wilton’s with
a raft of 1991 Guigals. It will appear as a Vinous Table soon.
Watching Say She She at Amazing Grace.
Highlight: Watching Say She She, a free
gig from an upcoming band at Amazing Grace on a sweaty night in London. You
can’t beat live music, especially with upcoming bands.
Wines: 1966 GS
Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 Porseleinberg, 2006 Boekenhoutskloof Semillon, 1978 Etienne
Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Mouline, 2021 Rall Wines Syrah Ava, NV Mullineux Family
Wines Olerasay No.3, 2021 Sons of Sinai Swanesang, 1943 Petrus, 2014 Domaine
Arnaud Ente Meursault Clos des Ambres
September – The month begins in Burgundy
blind tasting 2018 reds at the annual
Burgfest tasting contemporaneous with the early picked 2022s. It affords a
chance to visit vineyards thronging with pickers, navigating roads chock full
with tractors and trailers heaped with fruit. At a friend’s house in Beaune, my
mobile pings. To quote the Smiths, the Queen is dead. Though inevitable, it’s
still a shock. One of the few constants throughout my life is no longer. We’ll celebrate
her glorious reign at the following weekend’s Last Night of the Proms, where I
have secured two impossible-to-get tickets until some feckless bureaucrat
decides that to honour the woman that epitomised carrying on come what may - we
must cancel everything. I’m a bit miffed. I venture down to The Mall to absorb
history, but some pesky infants in front of me spoil my view. When one of them
waves to a princess, and she waves back, I realise they’re all the Queens’
great-grandchildren. One week is spent in Bordeaux tasting 2020s from bottle.
Much of the month is spent carting my eldest up and down the M1 to look at
universities. I make a mental note that as much as I love the music of
Manchester, it’s not a place I’d like to live, no offense to Mancunians.
Highlight: Visiting various colleges at Cambridge
University’s open day. It’s like walking back through history. I’m recommending
universities to my daughter not based on the standard of the degree, but how
attractive the town is for a weekend away.
Wines: 1964 La
Tour Figeac, 1998 Pape-Clément (magnum), 1996 Domaine Roger Denogent Pouilly-Fuissé
Les Carrons Vieilles Vignes (magnum)
October – The first two weeks are spent
with the family. A wedding up in deepest Lancashire for a beloved old school
friend conveniently takes place a half-hour drive from a restaurant I’ve wanted
to visit for aeons. Our lunch is one of the greatest I have ever eaten (rapturous
Vinous Table in the works). After winning my first pub quiz in Chiswick thanks
to identifying The Graham Norton Show’s theme tune/sketchy knowledge of the
Boer War/the periodic table, I pack my belongings for a six-week stint in the
Côte d’Or to taste over 2 million wines from barrel. The ominous “marathon”
comprises over 120+ visits and barely a moment’s rest, essentially writing the
report on the hop whilst constantly feeling paranoid about catching a cold/COVID.
It basically pushes you to the limit, but that’s the job.
My Great South Run medal.
Highlight: Crossing the “Great South Run”
finish line with the Chariots of Fire theme tune in my head. Ten miles around
Portsmouth in 1 hour 45 minutes.
Wines: 2005 Thomas
(Oregon) Pinot Noir, 1982 Domaine Georges Vernay Condrieu, 1985 Château
L’Evangile, 2016 Sadie Family Vineyards Skerpioen, 2015 Domaine Tawse Musigny
Grand Cru, 1971 Domaine de la Roche Moreau Côteaux du Layon, 2013 Domaine
Philippe Colin Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru, 2020 Domaine Chartron Rully
November – Wake up-shower-get in car-choose
music-taste-write-repeat. I swan around various bistros in Beaune as the migration
of friends intensifies towards Hospices weekend when everyone seems to be within
200 square meters of each other.
night I flit like a social butterfly between four tables at Maison de Colombier
as another group of familiar faces enter and invites me to join. It’s mental
and kind of magical. I manage to avoid catching a cold by adhering to an
unbreakable rule that I must have said my prayers and be tucked up in bed by
midnight, a rule that means I literally have one sip of a Montrachet before
pelting back home. Of course, immediately upon returning to the UK, I succumbed
to the dreaded lurgy within 48 hours. A friend informs me that a copy of my “Pomerol”
tome just sold for a cool £4,000. How much of that do I get? Pah! Now I know
how it feels to be a trendy Burgundy winemaker. In any case, you won’t have to
wait long for the follow-up…
Highlight: The facial expression of a winemaker after a major faux pas. That’s all I will say.
Wines: (take a
deep breath) 1962 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche, 1962 Domaine de la
Romanée-Conti Grands-Echézeaux, 1945 Domaine Henri Lamarche Vosne-Romanée Les
Suchots 1er Cru, 1962 Latour, 1962 Vega Sicilia Unico (magnum), 1976 Domaine
Hugel Riesling Vendange Tardive, 1953 Hospices de Beaune Corton Cuvée Charlotte
Dumay (jeroboam), 1953 Domaine Pierre Ponnelle Gevrey-Chambertin Clos
Saint-Jacques, 1978 Domaine Méo-Camuzet Corton Clos Rognets, 1975 Domaine Raveneau
Chablis Montée de Tonnerre, 1993 Domaine Hubert Lamy Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet,
1990 Domaine Paul Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle (magnum), 2007 Domaine de la
Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti, 2009 Weingut Keller Nierstein Pattenthal (magnum),
1988 Domaine Denis Bachelet Charmes-Chambertin, 1991 Ridge Vineyards Montebello
(magnum), 1974 Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow, 1862 d’Olivieras Bual Madeira
December – You’d think after 40+ days in
Burgundy and all the writing that results, it would be time to ease down in the
run-up to the Festive Period, but no, I’m in Bordeaux for ten days to see if
the 2020s are behaving. Then, I’m going to chill. Next year is going to be even
Memorable Wines: 1943 Pichon-Comtesse de Lalande, 1963 Naçional - Quinta do Noval, 2004 Chablis Les Clos - Domaine Raveneau, 2020 Bertineau Saint-Vincent, 2020 Grand Village, 2020 La Chenade
All Things Fermented
of the Year: 1974 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon
have tasted far rarer and more expensive wines this year. However, I chose this
because of its life-affirming freshness, complexity and joie-de-vivre,
notwithstanding that this was a common or garden commercial wine, not even Mondavi’s
Reserve, that was sold for just a few dollars. It would outclass many Bordeaux
from this decade. We salute you!
Wine of the Year:
NV Marie Demets Intransigence Champagne
instantly fell in love with this when poured in Burgundy. It comes from the
Côte des Bars in the south of Aube and just ticks all the boxes without
breaking the bank.
Wine of the Year: 2016 Ian Naudé Chenin Blanc Old Vines
are so many gems from the Cape that you could argue are criminally undersold. I
selected this because Naudé was one of my most enjoyable encounters of the year,
and he deserves recognition, not that this has ever bothered him.
Tasting of the Year:
too easy to choose the tasting with the rarest or most expensive bottles. But the
most enlightening one was the travel through yesteryear at Pichon-Baron. Rather
than cherry-pick great vintages, it embraced disparaged seasons and altered my
perception of the Pauillac estate.
Tasting of the Year
are two that spring to mind. I won’t embarrass anybody…at least not yet.
All Things Edible
Meal of the Year – Wild Flor (Brighton)
alluded to recently, I am in the process of writing up the greatest meal of
2022. All I will say is that it wasn’t in London, and it was not in France! It was
certainly multiple times more expensive than the dinner at Wild
Flor. This Brighton restaurant’s dishes were simple and delicious. I found excellent
service, a great vibe, a tidy wine list and the kind of place you want to
Runners-Up: Lorne, Noble
Rot, Noizé, Medlar,
Harwood Arms (London), The Sportsman (Whitstable), The Waterside inn (Bray),
L’Agistache (Volnay), Le Bistro (Bordeaux), Eike (Stellenbosch), Chef’s
Warehouse (Constantia), Creation (Hemel-en-Aarde)
Meal of the Year (Somewhere north of Manchester and south of the Lake District)
at a very nice hotel for my friend’s wedding (see October), we booked dinner at
its swanky bistro. The staff was so hapless that it was funny, you know, the
old classic of the teenage waiter trying to fill your wine glass to the brim,
odd flavour combinations, general calamity. It was only the following day that
somebody informed me that their entire staff had walked out a week earlier, and
for practically everyone, it was their first day on the job.
All Things Musical
2022 has been one of the best years for music. People drone on about the old
days, how things aren’t what they used to be, how streaming has ruined
everything, and still resentful that Dylan went electric. Those people just
stop listening. It’s human nature. I found it difficult to choose the best
song, and I’ll probably change my mind again when you read this. The best album
was the easiest to pick in years. I’ll put together a Spotify playlist for
those interested and link it on the forum.
Vinyl throughout the year.
of the Year: Forget Me Not/Blow My Mind – Say She She
killer tracks from the US/UK three-piece. Blow My Mind has a sultry tempo,
fabulous vocals and an explosive bridge. It all finishes off with a nuanced
psychedelic vibe. I can’t believe both cuts were left off their debut album,
Prism. Error of judgment by their record company? Oh well, I was lucky enough
to get one of the limited 7-inch releases that has been played to death.
for your consideration, in no particular order:
– Caroline Polachek
– Absolute genius from an artist that I will be all over in 2023. The first three
minutes are full of skittering beats and Polachek’s ethereal voice before the
child choir enters for the chanted refrain second half. The video features
Polachek pressing grapes and strange stemware, definitely not part of Zalto’s
range. Given that the follow-up single “Sunset” is equally excellent but completely
different, I have very high expectations for her sophomore album.
In The Knowledge – The Smile – Upon first hearing this, driving in Bordeaux, I had to stop
the car. There’s a chord change at 1m 22s that stabs the heart. I’m just defenseless
when Thom Yorke is in sad mode; an absolute genius, plus the fabulous string
arrangement from Johnny Greenwood has a spectral beauty.
– Shygirl –
Talking of fabulous string arrangements, check out this daring blend of epic,
baroque strings and old-school house.
Mind – Sprints
– Like Lime Garden, Sprints are yet to release a debut album, but everything
from this Dublin band has been A1. I wasn’t prepared for Sprints to release
something as accomplished so early in their career, oddly with the momentum of
Pulp in their prime.
Yourself – Jessie Ware
– Anthemic disco anthem with a breakdown borrowed from late-80s Chicago House
to a killer effect.
Damn Time – Lizzo
–Just segue the above into this Chic-inspired groove-tastic banger from the
irrepressible Lizzo. Doesn’t even feature a flute solo.
Is Why – Paramore
– Reinvention ahoy, and Paramore absolutely nails it. It features a bass line I
could eat. Hard but very funky. Apparently, Hayley Williams and Co. were
influenced by the early Bloc Party. I have been known to dance around my garden
office to this.
Hand Arrogance – The Brontës – I received this 7-inch from the Last Night From Glasgow as
a freebie with the Say She She single, and guess what…it’s brilliant. I know
hardly anything about them. You heard about them here first.
– Lime Garden –
This Brighton band has not put a foot wrong with their first 7-inch singles,
and they keep getting better and better with this perfect slice of indie pop.
– Denzel Curry
– Superlative rap that ingeniously samples Keith Mansfield’s The Loving Touch
to create this filmic rap masterpiece.
It Was – Harry Styles
– Once upon a time, One Direction would come onto the radio airwaves, and you’d
find another station. Now he’s one of pop’s most interesting artists, and you
are wondering whether the album is just as good as this ubiquitous number (it
Up In Your Mind – Beyoncé
– There are many types of Beyoncé, but my favourite is “electro-Beyoncé”. This
cut from Renaissance warps her voice into a robotic staccato, and I really love
how the synths gradually build in the background.
On Your Own? – Alvvays
– Canada’s finest stormed back with this A-grade slice of indie. They were a
bit moody when they signed my record at Rough Trade, but they were all wearing
face coverings, so they could have been smiling.
Fantasy – Jane Weaver
– Standalone release on the hip Speedy Wünderground label showcases Weaver’s
Advice – Holodrum
– So much energy and hooks in this floor-filler.
House – Special Interest
– Sounds like two different songs playing simultaneously, and the chaos works
brilliantly. In ya’ face. Shameless. Sexy. What music should be.
Is Life (Take 1) - Teenage Mortgage – This came out last year. But I have to
include it because the Washington duo recorded a live version, lathe-cut onto a
clear 7-inch and sent it to yours truly. So it’s a limited edition of one. I
must admit being shocked when I put the needle on the record, and the first
words were, “This is for Neal.” All records should commence like that.
of the Year: Renaissance – Beyoncé
choice. I’m not a Beyoncé obsessive. But this magnum opus of wall-to-wall
bangers is my most-played album of 2022, and despite constant rotation, it gets
better with every listen. The production is astonishing when you tune your ears
into the songs' complexity, yet everything fits together like a Swiss watch. Beyoncé
is in imperious form, with flawless vocals and oozing charisma, her paean to
the dance floor effortlessly weaving from one genre to another in dazzling
fashion. Joyous. Genius.
for your consideration:
Car – Arctic Monkeys
– The only band pushing the envelope and daring their huge fanbase to follow
Light For Attraction Attention – The Smile – The best Radiohead album by a band not
In the Darkness, Hearts Aglow – Weyes Blood – Channelling Karen Carpenter and Judee
Sill, this might be Nathalie Mering’s finest, most sumptuous album yet.
Rev – Alvvays –
People claim that indie is dead. They should listen to the Canadian band’s
third album and think again.
Leg – Wet Leg –
The Isle of Wight band follow the insanely catchy Chaise Longue with an
insanely good debut. Where next?
Away – The Unthanks
– Sibling duo Rachel and Becky Unthank’s album of updated Northumbrian folk
songs and originals begins with the one-two punch of “The Great Silkie of Sule
Skerry” and “The Sandgate Dandling Song.” You’re emotionally devastated but
only a quarter of the way through.
Future – Akusmi
– French film composer Pascal Bideau’s fusion of jazz, krautrock and whatever
else is completely mesmerising.
– Gabe Gurnsey
– Pulsing electro with deadpan female vocals. “Let’s push…together.” Push what?
– Gwenno – The
former Pipettes singer is furrowing a singular path of Cornish and Welsh-sung
music that oddly reminds me of the Cocteau Twins.
New Warm Mountain I Believe In You – Big Thief -
Epic double album of American folk-rock suggests there is no end of talent of Adrianne
Lenker & co.
All Things Visual
Film – Aftersun
– Charlotte Wells’s debut feature stars Paul Mescal and Frankie Corio. It
details the relationship between father and daughter. I won’t say too much. Just
TV Program – This Is Going To Hurt (BBC) – Based on Adam Kay’s best-selling book
recounting his days on the frontline of the NHS, Ben Wishaw plays the anti-hero
doctor. The audience roots for him because he is dedicated to saving lives, but
the genius of this BBC series is that it does not flinch from portraying him as
a bit of a misanthrope. As someone who does not like the sight of blood, I had
to watch some scenes through splayed hands as the camera refuses to turn away
from the graphic sight of childbirth, caesarean sections and body fluids you
never thought existed. Yet it was compelling viewing.
© 2022, Vinous. No portion of this article may be copied, shared or re-distributed without prior consent from Vinous. Doing so is not only a violation of our copyright, but also threatens the survival of independent wine criticism.
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