During December, I tend to indulge myself in the retrospective pleasures of the year's releases more than is usual, or perhaps desirable. That, along with the pastime of listening to Xmas tunes while getting pissed, can get in the way of discovering any great new releases if I'm not really, really careful. That would be a shame, particularly in the case of December 2013, where an unusually high number of excellent releases managed to negotiate the pre-seasonal obstacle course outlined above and make their way into my life.
Although a good case could be made for the excellent Guerilla Toss album, the best of these releases for me was unquestionably this, from French band Drive With A Dead Girl. Hailing from Lille, fortunately the band bypassed my naturally indolent state and got in touch about the release, which managed very quickly to oust those nostalgic afternoons spend listening to Merry Christmas From Fortuna Pop or Ya-Style Christmas from my schedule.
No doubt they'll return at some point, but for now Christmas has long gone and I'm still listening to Alma Ata II, six slabs of entrancing noise that are filling the long winter evenings with unfeasible regularity down our way, and probably annoying the kind of neighbours who need to be annoyed. Among them sits the unquestioned centrepiece, the seventeen minute plus 'Fabulous Tank', a multi-faceted beast of track of such textural variety that it can take over your life without you even realising how long you've been listening to it.
But it's unreasonable to ignore the other delights on offer here, all of which take a common template, where rampant guitar and drums underscore Alexia's enigmatic vocals, and yet manage an appeal very much of their own. I'm playing opener 'Deseado' in my January show on Dandelion Radio, which should give you some idea of what I mean. But don't stop there: you can get the whole album as NYOP here.