Date

As a result of an obsession with BBC4's "Top of the Pops: 1984" we had a look at the era's other pop behemoth - the sprawling Now That's What I Call Music series. Starting at volume 1 and carrying on until we get bored we'll report back with highlights and lowlights of each release. First up, John Wilson goes right back to the start and gives us his take on Now 1.

Release Date: 28 November 1983

Peak UK Chart Position: #1

Best Song: Tracey Ullman - They Don't Know

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Release Date
24 Jul 15
The Gist More blue missives of disgust and despair from the angriest men in the East Midlands. The Music Key Markets sees the welcome return of lead shouter Jason Williamson and laptop wizard Andrew Fearn. Having struck rolled gold with 2014’s Divide and Exit (Williamson has since been able to quit his job as a desk jockey), Key Markets delivers more invective and spite but with a humorous touch that confirms Williamson’s statement that “if it makes us laugh, then it’s probably an idea worth exploring”.
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Release Date
25 May 15
The Gist It’s that man again. The Music Sub-Lingual Tablet, The Fall's 476th Album if you take into account the myriad of live and compilations issued over the years (it's officially their 31st studio offering) is, like most Fall albums, full of great moments.
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Release Date
09 Feb 15
The gist Ex-Fleet Fox reinvents himself as the bastard offspring of Harry Nilsson The music Coming nearly three years after 2012’s Fear Fun, Father John Misty (aka former Fleet Foxes member J Tillman) returns with his latest offering that for the most part channels the spirit of Harry Nilsson, Gene Clark and even early 70s Elton John. Kicking off with the title track, “I Love You, Honeybear” it's a record that is at once profane and profound in its lyrical content.
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Release Date
24 Nov 14
The gist A short, sharp shock from a genuine contender for the title of the best band in Britain. The music Following on from this year’s superb state of the nation address Divide and Exit, Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn return with yet more caustic comment. Originally found on the aforementioned previous album, “Tiswas” leads the EP with the self-explanatory “Bunch of Cunts” following, wherein Williamson breathlessly expresses his utter disgust about city life in general with its references to “lost souls” and even taking Dr Dre to task for his ubiquitous “shit” Beats Headphones.
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Release Date
17 Nov 14
The gist Sprawling synth drenched schizo pop from recent press provocateur. The music Following the relatively disappointing Mature Themes, Mr Pink returns with a double set encompassing genres of varying merit including goth (the pastiche of “Not Enough Violence”, the self-explanatory “Goth Bomb”), funk (the lo-fi “Black Ballerina”) and oft-descents into sheer silliness (“Dinosaur Carebears” anyone?).
Label
Release Date
20 Oct 14
The gist Ever wondered what an avant-metal band fronted by Scott Walker would sound like? Wonder no more... The music Originally asked to guest on 2009’s Monoliths & Dimensions by the avant-garde/doom/drone/metal (delete where appropriate) concern Sunn O))), the ever adventurous Walker decided instead to collaborate on a full album of which Soused is the result.
Artist
Release Date
28 Apr 14
The gist A furious (and at times humorous) state of the nation address. The music Exposing the dire world that is “Cameron’s Britain”, Divide and Exit is the nearest we have to an opposition. Utilising an often breathless torrent of bile and humour, chief ranter Jason Williamson is able to make you both and think and laugh, aided by basic (but highly effective) bass lines and old school beats created by co-conspirator Andrew Fearn. Divide and Exit is an album that demands to be listened to and sees the band come across as prophets in an age of pound shops, food banks and tax dodge schemes.

Live at Albert Hall, Manchester

Artist
Some bands like to use pyrotechnics, elaborate stage sets and basic trickery to present their music to the masses. Not so Slint. About as rare as a sighting of Halley’s Comet, Slint mooch onto the stage with a distinct lack of fanfare and are enthusiastically welcomed by a packed, mainly male (and 80% hirsute) crowd of admirers.
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Release Date
03 Jun 13
By 1967 Scott Walker stood at the cusp of solo superstardom. Recently split from his fellow “brothers”, Walker, still a teen idol, prepared his solo career. Would America finally fall for its ex-pat, would he be the new Sinatra? A golden voiced crooner selling millions to a new generation of listeners? It was with this air expectation that launched an astonishing run of albums. History tells us this was, and is, hyperbole. Of course Walker never became the figure which so many at the time predicted.