It’s the September/October edition of tunes, or the bimonthly roundup of the music playing in my head.


Welcome to the music playing inside my head. It won’t necessarily play to everyone’s taste, and that’s as it should be. It’s my damned blog, and I’ll do with it as I please.

In 2018, I’ve resolved to offer a musical recap every two months. For those just tuning in, note that I no longer can carry a tune across the street without breaking both legs, but music’s still playing in my head every waking moment.

I’m completely convinced that when the music stops playing, death will be near.

In addition, I’m the quintessential old fogey’s stogie when it comes to music; no iTunes or playlists for me. Perversely, no vinyl, either; my albums are stacked over at the Public House, and I don’t own a turntable.

As with books, each year I research and buy those CDs that seem best suited to my tastes. They’re usually augmented with impulse buys and random excursions, and of course I listen to snippets of radio, YouTube and the like.

Before proceeding, here is another vicious and deadly accurate assessment of my deteriorating condition. Still talkin’ ’bout my generation? That’s nice, but my generation is utterly irrelevant insofar as its album-oriented preferences are concerned.

The Album Is in Deep Trouble – and the Music Business Probably Can’t Save it, by Tim Ingham (Rolling Stone)

Sales are plummeting, and the music industry is returning to the era of track-led consumption. Is the LP doomed?

Make no mistake, the album is fighting for its life.

Sales of music’s most beloved format are in free fall in the United States this year. According to figures published by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), the value of total stateside album sales in the first half of 2018 (across download, CD and vinyl) plummeted by 25.8 percent when compared with the first half of 2017.

If that percentage decline holds for the full year, and there’s every indication it will, annual U.S. album sales in 2018 will end up at half the size of what they were as recently as 2015. To put it more plainly, U.S. consumers will spend around half a billion dollars less on albums this year than they did in 2017.

The CD album is, predictably, bearing the brunt of this damage. After a comfortable 6.5 percent drop in sales in 2017, in the first half of 2018, revenues generated by the CD album in the USA were slashed nearly in half – down 41.5 percent, to $246 million …

Broadly speaking, these selections are listed in order of impact, but there are bits of value in them all. Links are to reviews with which I agree, except for Bill Champlin’s album; it seems to have been reviewed nowhere.

Suede … The Blue Hour

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever … Hope Downs

Sleaford Mods (EP)

The Coral … Move Through the Dawn

Paul Weller … True Meanings

Paul McCartney … Egypt Station

Blossoms … Cool Like You

Bill Champlin & WunderGround … Bleeding Secrets

Neil and Liam Finn … Lightsleeper

Ray Davies … Our Country: Americana Act II

Finally, a belated catch from 2016, which would be near the top if this list were not intended to reflect new releases.

The Courteeners … Mapping the Rendezvous (2016)