A Year in Music – Paul Page (ex-Whipping Boy) – Questions by Killian Laher
You can read Paul’s thoughts on music on his blog here.
What music stood out for you in 2017?
Plenty of great albums released in 2017. For me, Big Thief followed up their brilliant debut album with an even better second album ‘Capacity’. Phoebe Bridgers‘ record ‘Strangers in the Alps’ is really beautiful. Saw her support Conor Oberst in Dublin early in the year and cannot remember the last time a support act made such an impression on me. I really liked the new Father John Misty album, even though it seems to have divided opinion.
Perhaps the most affecting record of 2017 was the Mount Eerie album ‘A Crow Looked at Me’. An incredibly tough listen. Los Campesinos! continue to make great guitar pop music but are hugely under appreciated. ‘Sick Scenes’ is up there with their very best releases. Slowdive and Wolf Parade both made surprisingly great comeback albums after being away for a long time. Hammock‘s ‘Mysterium’ is another that has been on repeat play since its release. So all in all, it’s been a good year for album releases.
Any discoveries that had passed you by previously that made sense this year?
A confession here – I was not a big fan of the War on Drugs album ‘Lost in the Dream’. Everyone else seemed to love it – all I heard was Dire Straits crossed with Tom Petty. But the new one ‘ A Deeper Understanding’ has won me over. Gorgeous sounding record – the ghost of Mark Knopfler doesn’t seem to haunt this one as much.
Pat Barrett of Hedge Schools recommended an album by a band from Australia called the Apartments. I had never heard of them but their album ‘No Song, No Spirit, No Madrigal’ is an absolute gem. Well worth tracking down.
Are you still buying music? Any recommendations as to where?
To be honest, no, I stream most of the music I listen to now. I only ever get the chance to listen to music on my daily commute, so it is the only practical way to listen.
I have not bought into the vinyl revival at all. I do understand the nostalgic attraction of vinyl but unless you are willing to fork out a lot of money for a decent system, and pay exorbitant prices for albums you probably already have, it is not worth the effort. I am hoping the CD revival is imminent -stacks of them at home!
Sometimes it seems there are as many rereleases as new albums. Are you interested in reissued albums?
I have no real interest – if it’s well, where it is obvious some care and thought went into putting together a nice package that will appeal to new and existing fans, I don’t see anything inherently wrong with that. But the problem is there has been so many shoddy cash-ins – you look at the Beatles back catalogue and how regularly and shamelessly that has been plundered & regurgitated. Even worse, are those endless greatest hits tours where acts continue to tour their back catalogue, with no real interest in making new music. That just seems so pointless.
How are things going yourself? Any plans for 2018?
I have less and less time for writing about music which is a shame. But I do think people are less and less interested in reading other people’s opinions on music – it is so easy to check out an album almost instantly so reviews no longer carry same the same weight anymore. I do a fair bit of running and have plans to do something more terrifying than a marathon in 2018. Not sure what just yet.