Remember Non-vember

Tips. Lists. Feeling lost. It’s a weird time for music and media.

In the Internet age, the months between festival season and Christmas have become a bit of a blur. There’s no real sense of time; no here and no now. The present is being tugged in all directions amid talk of the future (Christmas! Shiny new things for next year! Register now for Glastonbury!?!) and premature gawps back at the past few months. November in particular has become a confusing time of year, especially if you work in The Media (*pukes*).

As Turkey sandwiches hit your local fridge section, the annual festive adverts cause the social media embers to glow, and festive lights are switched on by minor celebs in towns across the globe. It’s at this time of the year that the writing team at Drowned in Sound suddenly start slipping the phrase “a late contender for album of the year” into every other review. And when this happens, my heart flutters as a mild panic sets in. (Or maybe it’s just that my coffee intake shoots up after the clocks go back…).

“So, what’s your album of the year?” “What will DiS’ number one be?” and “Who is your tip for 2015?”. Several weeks ago when these queries began fluttering my way I had absolutely no idea, but I’m getting there. Slowly…

It seems that each year, like the sarnies, the light-switching-on-athons and them John Lewis memes, these questions start earlier and earlier. We’re wishing the weeks away, and if you don’t have obvious answers to the best of the year or know who will ‘blow up’ next year (read: get on the radio playlists and end up playing televised festival slots, but not feature in a single best of the year list…), you begin to neglect November’s finest releases in favour of listening to a bajillion things you meant to listen to sooner. Which is a shame, as November, like almost every other month, has plenty of great records struggling for your and my time and attention…

From my journeys to the recent past I can tell you that 2014 had some cracking tracks on some rather good albums and next week we will share our top 100 LPs of the year. Whether 2014 produced any true, universally agreed classics remains to be seen, especially as there’s such a scattering of love and almost no consensus amongst our staff. In fact, from all of the lists we’ve seen so far from DiS readers, as well as those from record shops and other publications, this year may be one of the most lacking in agreement since listing seasons began…

What I do know though is that of the 1000s of ‘tipped’ new acts I’ve checked out this year, there were very few who truly excited me. With that in mind, give one of my few tips for next year Hannah Lou Clark’s new video a watch and read a quick chat I had with her by bashing your mouse here. A new EP is out today and her debut album is due in 2015 so I suspect/hope/predict you’ll be hearing a lot more about her… although there are plenty of major label acts with £150k+ media campaigns and big indies who’ve figured out how to game tipping season in order to battle in the war for your attention (or rather the mainstream media’s attention…), so it’s going to be a challenge for her and tough for all the other hopefuls to become anything more than extraordinary acts beloved by those who’ve been lucky enough to DiScover them, whilst everyone else moans, proclaiming that music is in such poor health as they stumble away from X Factor and Calvin Harris and reworkings of Christmas songs and into some realm of dodgy late-90s indebted melancholy-R&B (without a hint of the melodies that made TLC so perfect), some bad old rave and give up when they find themselves listening to some troubadour in a preposterous hat.

This post originally appeared as an email to the Drowned in Sound mailing list. Subscribe for a monthly update from DiS here.