As I attempt to navigate the blogging landscape at the fag end of 2023 I find myself stuck in a nose-to-tail jam of Best Ofs, End of Year Round-Ups and all the other vehicles used to wrap the year just gone. Don't get me wrong, I love 'em - can't get enough of 'em; in fact, it wasn't that long ago when I'd roll my sleeves up and get stuck in myself. This year, however, has got a faint whiff of CBA about it. My back issues, which by the time of this going to press, amount to just 90 this year and, contained therein, are all the runners and riders (feel free to go diggin'): if I was banging on about it then and it made the 'precious 90', the chances are it's probably a belter. A choon. A nailed on classic. He/her/they smashed it. It's a winner. Even a chicken dinner.
Someone who tick all those boxes is/are Girl Ray. I saw them three times this year - including their album launch at Rough Trade. And the album they were launching was Prestige. Which they signed for me afterwards. So if you wrap all three gigs up (2x Nottingham; 1x Manchester) and call it one then that was Gig of the Year. Making Prestige, which they played in full all three nights (and which is their best album by a country mile), Album of the Year. Ladies & Gentlemen, Girl Ray - my Band of the Year.
Girl Ray - Love is Enough (2023)