Wednesday, 31 December 2014
As I've mentioned a few times, I'm not really one for celebrating New Year. I struggle with all the fake bonhomie and people trying too hard to have a good time. But L rather likes it as she is a far more sociable human being than I am.
I would like to sincerely thank everybody who has stopped by here, skimmed over the pish spouted and downloaded the tracks, especially those who have taken the time to comment, all of which especially the ones that disagree with me are most welcome.
So all the best and I hope 2015 is as good a year as you wish it to be.
And raise a glass to "Sturdy Girl" wherever she may be.
I have struggled to find a pertinent song for today and so decided just to go with one of my "21 Best"
Rilo Kiley - With Arms Outstretched
Tuesday, 30 December 2014
Tammi Terrell - Come On And See Me
Wednesday, 24 December 2014
It really is unseasonably mild up here in what should be the frozen north but with Max and Leo it is utterly impossible to forget that it is Christmas. I hope that you all get from Santa what you wished for and have a great day. Me, as has become the norm I will be following Delia's instructions to the letter with no deviations and hoping that everything turns out okay.
Eat, drink and be merry as some wise person once said.
The Housemartins - Caravan Of Love
Tuesday, 23 December 2014
2014 was a pretty good year album wise for me. There were quite a few that I was eagerly anticipating the release of from old favourites like Roddy Frame and The Afghan Whigs to debuts from the likes of The Amazing Snakeheads. Most of those I have bought since the end of September/beginning of October haven't had a fair listen as since then turntable time has been chiefly hogged by two albums. In previous years the albums by Caribou, Allo Darlin', Cold Specks and the Fat White Family would have made the top ten, however not this year. I suspect that if I had first heard of Coves earlier in the year, Soft Friday would be in there too as the more I listen to it the better it gets. My second favourite album of the year has been ruled out this list as it is a live album from a show recorded in April of 2013 but Nowhere Is Home by Dexys should be in everyone's collection as it is stunning. I am really envious of people like Davy H who saw this live as it must have been something quite, quite special. Another notable mention must go to the soundtrack of Under The Skin by Mica Levi which is quite disturbing and eerie and not the most comfortable of listens but still pretty rewarding.
10 - Jamie T - Carry On The Grudge
Jamie T returns after a five year break, a bit calmer with more actual singing than on the previous two albums but the old Jamie T returns on tracks like Rabbit Hole and Zombie.
9- The Afghan Whigs - Do The Beast
Greg Dulli resurrected his original band for another foray into the sleazier side of life. At times Dulli pushes his voice to its limits which can't be doing his vocal chords any good but sounds great in the mix of rock and soul that this band always did so well.
8 - Comet Gain - Paperback Ghost
It has always saddened me that Comet Gain aren't better known. Possibly this is due to the fact that there sound changes so much, sometimes pretty punky and thrashy and at other times beautifully crafted indie pop full of melancholia. This album has quite a lush full sound to it with some lovely orchestration. I have heard it compared to Belle and Sebastian and to a certain extent I would agree but for me there is more consistency about this album than there is on most B&S records.
7- Nick Waterhouse - Holly
The second album from Nick Waterhouse proved the old adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" More retro Rhythm and Blues for late nights in small dark clubs. Also Waterhouse's performance at King Tut's was gig of the year for me just sorry that the place wasn't fuller.
6- Lucius - Wildewoman
I happened on Lucius by chance when checking through Youtube for The Afghan Whigs KEXP live session and am really glad that I did. The band's sound and the look of the two front women harks back to 60s Girl Groups. The album contains lots of lovely harmonies and a really nice guitar sound especially on Go Home. It does dip slightly around the end of side one but overall a very good debut.
5- Roddy Frame - Seven Dials
Possibly the release I have awaited with the most anticipation for a long time and which initially really disappointed me although that may have something to do with having extremely high expectations which I suspect would have been impossible to meet. It has grown on me hugely however I fear I will never learn to love Postcard it is just too horribly Fleetwood Mac middle of the road pap. Sorry Roddy.
4 - Aphex Twin - Syro
Out of the blue, or so it seemed came a new release from Richard D James. Unmistakeably Aphex Twin but not envelope pushing but still streaks ahead of most producers of electronic music. An album that we didn't know we were waiting for but now it's here it's one that was needed.
3- The Amazing Snakeheads - Amphetamine Ballads
The soundtrack to a night fuelled by Buckie, weed and speed.
2- Kate Tempest - Everbody Down
Brought to my attention one Saturday afternoon when she performed a live session on Gilles Peterson's show on 6Music. I immediately went onto the Ninja Tunes website and bought the album. I suppose it is a concept album as it tells the story of the lives of three people trying to get by. The music by Dan Carey never overwhelms Tempest's words but compliments them. There have been comparisons to The Streets, A Grand Down Come For Free, however the narrative here is far more believable than Skinner's.
1- Slow Club - Complete Surrender
To say this album surprised me is like saying Usain Bolt is quite good at running . The more I listen to it the better it gets and it has been played a lot over the past couple of months. Strangely none of music papers or the websites have mentioned this album. It must only be me, Scott, George and CC that rate it but it is an album you need to own. Trust me on this.
Shit! I forgot about the Woodentops, Granular Tales.
Shit! I forgot about the Woodentops, Granular Tales.
Monday, 22 December 2014
Sunday, 21 December 2014
Friday, 19 December 2014
Twas the Friday before Christmas and all of the pubs were filled with amateur drinkers. The type of people you only see out and about at this time of the year. You know the ones, with their stupid Santa hats, ordering ten drinks all one at a time after they have gone back and consulted the group they are with at least twice , the last of which is always a bloody pint of Guinness. The type that say thing like "cheer up it's Christmas" while waving bit's of mistletoe about leching at anybody in the vicinity.
Can you tell I used to hate working in the pub on the last Friday before Christmas, it was second only to Lanimer night which was like carnage Friday only tenfold.
I think a bit of spiritual house music is the order of the day. I am not ashamed to admit I cried when I heard this song the first time.
Have a good weekend people and if venturing out this evening, to paraphrase Sergeant Phil from Hill Street Blues, be careful out there.
South Street Player - (Who?) Keeps Changing Your Mind (The Night mix)
Thursday, 18 December 2014
I have put it on record before that I don't have a lot of time for the cynical, sneering, ironic indie Christmas tune. I think either do it right or don't bother, produce something really good and that way the exploitative pap won't get a look in.
So why then you may say am I posting something called "It's Christmas And You're Boring Me"?
Well because it's by Slow Club and it illustrates the progression of the duo from the first album, the Christmas cd that this comes from came out in 2009 as did Yeah So, their debut. Also, yes I am contradicting myself here, I actually quite like it.
Slow Club - It's Christmas And You're Boring Me.
Wednesday, 17 December 2014
This for me without doubt is the best festive song of recent times as it harks back, some would say rips off the sound and vibe of the greatest of all Christmas records, Spector's Christmas album. It also came on lovely green vinyl. And I have just about excised from my mind the fact that it was used on a advert for Dobies Garden Centers a few Christmases ago, I hope they got a decent wedge for that.
The Raveonettes - The Christmas Song
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Billy Bragg and Wilco weren't a collaboration that I had ever considered prior to hearing the news that they had collaborated on an album of songs where they had put to music some of the thousand plus sets of lyrics that Woody Guthrie had completed but not put to music or published in his lifetime. When the first volume of the "Mermaid Avenue" was released in 1998 I didn't buy it straight off as at that time it didn't really appeal to me it wasn't until a couple of years later that one Sunday while wandering round Fopp I decided to take a punt on it as it was at a bargain price as part of the promotion for the second volume in what ended up being a trilogy of releases. Even then I still had a few reservations as I hadn't heard any of it but I was pleasantly surprised when I got home and put it on. One thing about the album though, is you do have to really listen as it's all in the lyrics, sure the music complements them but the clever, funny, incredibly honest words are what this album and the other two volumes are all about and for that reason alone I don't listen to them as often as they warrant as you need to take time out sit down and just listen which is a luxury in short supply these days.
California Stars is one of my favourite tracks from the first volume, a song according to Nora Guthrie, Woody's daughter who first approached both Bragg and Wilco asking them to look at her father's lyrics, is about Woody being homesick for California where he amongst thousands of others from his native Oklahoma moved to during the 30s.
Billy Bragg and Wilco - California Stars
Monday, 15 December 2014
I've posted the Ramsey Lewis instrumental of Wade In The Water previously and I would have put money on that I had also posted Marlena Shaw's cracking version but apparently not. I have five different versions of the song which isn't that many seeing the amount of people that have covered it over the years. Not sure there are many interpretations as forceful as that of the one laid down in 1968 by Big Mama Thornton. She really belts it out but then again should you expect anything else of the voice behind the definitive version of Hound Dog.
Big Mama Thornton - Wade In Water
Sunday, 14 December 2014
I first heard this track a long time ago now it seems as it was on the John Peel show, obviously around this time of the year. Just one of the hundreds of bands I first heard on his show that I have to be thankful for.
Okkervil River - Listening To Otis Reading At Home During Christmas
Saturday, 13 December 2014
Rejoice, Rejoice! the much missed, by no one really series that shows that Drew's finger is on the pulse and down with the kids.
This week something a lovely track popped up in my inbox from Gemstone Heist, a transatlantic duo, one hailing from Kentucky the other from Liverpool who describe their music as "indie folk" and cite The Beatles, The Stone Roses and The Arctic Monkey's amongst their influences. I will let them off with the Beatles on account of the track being so lovely. I was swithering whether to post this in the mellow Sunday spot but decided to resurrect New Music Saturday instead.
More info on Gemstone Heist can be found here
Friday, 12 December 2014
Let's go back to 2001, I could have sworn it was longer ago than that but the record label tells me different. Like most people Groove Armada first came to my attention when I heard the gorgeous At The River, a track much diminished by it's ubiquity on things like Now That's What I Called Chilled, Down at The Cafe Del Mar type compilations. But I digress. Superstylin' was the first single from the duo's third album, Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub).
I'm out with a couple of former work colleagues tonight and I'm hoping that it stays civilised and doesn't get messy. Tomorrow is the first home game in four weeks when we take on Dunfermline. It would be great to send that big greetin' face Jefferies back up the road with a more miserable puss than normal.
Have a good weekend people.
Groove Armada - Superstylin'
Thursday, 11 December 2014
Not sure about weather bombs but winter has definitely arrived in earnest to the frozen land to the north. In other news I have just witnessed the spectacle that was Leo's nativity, which was, well, interesting is the word I will use. He was a percussionist not sure he will be replacing Clem Burke as my favourite drummer any time soon but he did perform his task with gusto.
This seemed appropriate what with the snow and all.
Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal
Wednesday, 10 December 2014
I have been down in Manchester since yesterday and hopefully last night I met up with SA for a few beers (post written on Sunday) so a bit of music from one of the best albums of the 80s from the second best city in the UK seems appropriate.
Whenever I listen to Your Silent Face I think of snow on the ground, being 15 and unsuccessfully trying to find an overcoat in Oxfam to fit a rather skinny peely wally teenager. It also reminds me of a rather troubled pal of the time, Toby.
New Order - Your Silent Face
Tuesday, 9 December 2014
I have always loved the choral version of this rather bleak Christmas offering from the Frabbits but I fear that from now on the tune will forever be associated with the passing of Baxter.
On Saturday we decided as a kind of diversionary tactic for the kids to go and get the Christmas tree, a couple of weeks too early for my liking but if it cheered the boys up so be it. We went down the valley to one of the farms/garden centers and chose a rather fine 8 foot tree, don't ask me what kind as I don't have a clue.
On our return I was beginning to get into the festive spirit a bit and decided to dig out a few seasonal records out of the boxes stored in the cupboard, It's Christmas So We'll Stop being top of the list. I duly put it on and looked around for Leo as for the past couple of years he has enthusiastically if not tunefully joined in with this record. He wasn't in the dining room so I went looking only to find him sitting half way up the stairs sobbing uncontrollably. I went up and hugged him and between sobs he explained that he was really missing Baxter and Spike, his brother who we had to have put down a while ago now. I tried to explain that Baxter had been really ill and it was the best thing for him as now he was no longer in any pain, none of which was of any consolation. He eventually calmed down to the sounds of the Spector Christmas album followed by Springsteen's rendition of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. Later on in the evening I put the Frightened Rabbit tune on again and the tears began to flow again. So I don't think that the choral version of the song will be getting much of an airing in this household this Christmas.
Frightened Rabbit - It's Christmas So We'll Stop (Choral version)
Monday, 8 December 2014
As is usual in this spot I know virtually nothing about this record but I do wish I had a copy which is not very likely as a mint copy will set you back north of three grand. A copy cracked from the edge to the centre sold for over a grand a couple of years ago!
It is quite a classy track in my opinion and not a bad way to start the working week.
Gene Toones - What More Do You Want
Sunday, 7 December 2014
Saturday, 6 December 2014
2014 has been a rather good year for music in my opinion which is borne out by the lack of a balance in my bank account and the ever increasing vinyl offending L's eyes in the dining room. Probably the main benefactor from my largesse was Piccadilly Records who's service cannot be faulted and then to a lesser extent Monorail, which unfortunately I tended to visit when I went into the town on the scooter without a back pack big enough to carry vinyl without damaging the covers meaning that I was limited to 7" singles.
The list has taken a while to compile and is far more balanced between dance and indie/rock than it has been for the last couple of years. You will notice that one band have three entries in the top ten, overkill you may think but I really can't stop playing these tracks and I had to limit myself to three tracks from the album, if not I think that all bar one would have been in the chart.. The Burial record was technically from last year but it was released after I compiled my list and it is far too good to be forgotten about. I have not picked specific tracks from the Jon Hopkins Asleep Versions as I find it difficult to differentiate between the tracks and tend to think of it as a single piece of music. Also you need to hear the 21 minute version of This Is What She's Like, recorded live at the Duke Of York's Theatre it is nothing short of epic.
I didn't partake in Record Shop Day this year, as after checking out the list I didn't see anything that warranted getting up at the back of five but I have to admit that both Max and I did miss it, however both of us ended up all right as the following week we went into the town and I picked up most of the stuff that I had been vaguely interested in and Max got to go to Forbidden Planet anyway.
There has been one worrying development this year, a few of my favourite tracks, three to be specific have had to be purchased as downloads as that is the only format on which they were released. I am not wholly comfortable with this and nearly excluded them on that basis but all three were really too good not to be included. Oh, and one track was never released at all and I had to do something I vowed I would never do and rip it from Youtube but I really couldn't be arsed with having to be on a computer every time I wanted to hear it. I hope that these occurrences are just anomalies and not a portent of the future!
So below is my list for 2014, I hope you find something there that you have never heard before, investigate and buy.
- Lisa Stansfield - Carry On (Andy Lewis remix)
- Slow Club - Not Mine To Love
- Caribou - I Can't Do Without You (extended mix)
- Dexys - This Is What She's Like (Live Duke Of York's Theatre)
- Jon Hopkins - Asleep Versions
- Jamie xx - All Under One Roof Raving
- Slow Club - The Queen's Nose
- Jamie T - Zombie
- Amazing Snakeheads - Here It Comes Again
- Slow Club - Suffering You, Suffering Me
- Burial - Come Down To Us
- Alexia Coley - Drive Me Wild
- Stanley Odd - Son I Voted Yes
- Nick Waterhouse - This Is A Game
- Lucius - Go Home
- Lapsley - Station
- The Cairn String Quartet - Settling
- Kate Tempest - Circles
- LNTG - Love2Love
- Dawd - Saleh
- Luxembourg Signal - Distant Drive
- Pharrell Williams - Happy
- Roddy Frame - White Pony
- Lizzo - Faded
- Manic Street Preachers - Europa Geht Durch Mich (Erol Alkan's Mesmerise Eine rework)
- Dexy's - Tell Me When My Light Turns Green (Live Duke Of York's Theatre)
- Comet Gain - Sad Love and Other Short Stories
- Mari - Free (Ray Mang extended mix)
- Honeyblood - Killer Bangs
- Pional - It's All Over (Jon Talabot's Stripped Refix)
- Temples - Shelter Song (Justin Robertson's Deadstock 33s remix)
- Kendrick Lamar - I
- Pyramids w/Nadja - Into The Silent Waves (Slow To Speak edit)
- Dayglo Maradona - Rock Section (Weatherall mix)
- Jon Hopkins - Abandon Window (Moderat remix)
- Junior Fairplay - Sugar Puss
- Deadboy - Return
- Fold - Detroit Red
- Allo Darlin' - Bright Eyes
- The Popguns - Love Junky
Friday, 5 December 2014
For the first time since I was five years old I am without a feline friend. Earlier we had to get Baxter put to sleep, it would not have been fair on him as he would have basically starved to death over the next week or so as he could no longer chew anything due to the tumour under his tongue. It's weird, about an hour ago I was in the kitchen and went to open the patio doors so he could get out tonight if he needed and then realised there was no need.
Dexys - Old
Hardcore breakbeat wasn't everybody's cup of tea, I couldn't abide most of it but huge numbers of people up here were into it and it seemed they filled buses on a weekly basis traipsing around Scotland, a lot of the time it was venues in Ayrshire if I remember correctly to get off their nuts and dance manically to turbo charged tunes.
One Rave artist I did rather like was Acen, I loved the way that he used film score samples in his unfeasibly fast productions. I stumbled upon his music quite back accident when I saw the first of the Trip II The Moon trilogy of 12" singles in Dub II, I think, thought that the cover looked interesting , bought it, took it home, put it on the turntable and hated it! Something however drew me back to the record and over the next couple of days I found myself putting it on the turntable again and again. I wasn't supposed to like this kind of shit, it was music for the "nutters" , I liked the more cerebral end of dance music, or so I believed. I eventually liked the track enough that when I saw the second instalment I instantly bought it without any internal debate, I suspect I did check if anyone was looking before I took it off the rack. There was no initial revulsion this time, I particularly loved the b-side, Life And Times Of A Ruffneck. So when the final chapter was released it was a no brainer. Curiously that is as far as I went with Acen, further records were released such as Window In The Sky but I purchased no more, my desire for mad breakbeat obviously sated.
This is not going to appeal to all but here is that initial Acen track.
Have a good weekend people. I fear that mine's will be a bit of a downer as Baxter, our remaining cat has had a squamous cell carcinoma under his tongue for a while now and I suspect that the vet will tell us that we should put him down when we take him up later on.
Acen - Trip II The Moon (part 1)
Thursday, 4 December 2014
Following on from yesterday's post today we have a cover of a Hard-Fi song that was missing from my original copy of the first album. I must admit when I had heard that the Sugababes had covered Living For The Weekend I was slightly bemused when Lynn told me she had heard it on the radio, I also took with a pinch of salt her verdict that it "was really quite good" until a few days later when it surfaced on Hype Machine. But, shock horror, it is quite good. I have no idea of which incarnation of the band were responsible for the cover but I doff my cap to them.
Sugababes - Living For The Weekend
Wednesday, 3 December 2014
I bought the first Hard-Fi album, Stars Of CCTV without hearing any of the music but on the back of a piece I read somewhere that mentioned the Clash and Run DMC amongst others. After consulting Discogs the other evening, it turns out that my cd is one of the ltd original run of 500, as it only contains 9 tracks and not the 11 on later pressings, so I'm not sure where the article on the band came from. At the time I quite liked the cd but I could probably count on all fingers the amount of time I have listened to it since. Not sure why I never bought anything else by the band apart from that cd and the first four singles the last of which was not included on my cd. I'm not even sure if they are still a going concern.
Anyway, here's my favourite track from the album and the second single.
Hard-Fi - Hard To Beat
Tuesday, 2 December 2014
At the beginning of November I received an invitation by email to participate in The Blog Sound 2015. I ignored it to begin with as I thought that it had been sent to me by mistake, as I didn't think that anybody would be remotely interested in my tips for next year. My past record hasn't been too successful I have been championing the Raveonettes since 2003 as I was sure that they were going to be huge! Didn't happen.
Anyway, when I received a further email telling me that I only had 7 days left to vote, I thought I better give it serious consideration and I will admit that I was a little flattered to have been genuinely invited to participate (if anybody knows that it was an error, please keep it to yourself and don't burst my bubble). So I gave it some thought and sent back my suggestions.
What is The Blog Sound 2015, you are probably wondering. Here is the blurb:-
The Blog Sound of 2015 poll aims to showcase some of the best new emerging artists. However, unlike the ubiquitous BBC Sound of poll, the artists nominated aren’t picked just by industry experts. Instead they’re voted for by music bloggers, a small number of whom may work in the music industry, but the majority of which are just hardcore fans who write their blogs because of their genuine passion for music, normally with no financial incentive to do so.
This poll is not about picking acts who bloggers think will be famous. The bloggers involved are asked to vote for their favourite acts, irrespective of chances of commercial success.
How The Voting Worked
This year the Blog Sound Of 2015 poll canvassed 62 UK music blogs in November 2014, the most ever since its 2011 start. It asked each one to pick its 3 favourite emerging artists and rank them in order of preference. In total 148 artists received at least 1 vote, showing the diversity of bloggers' tastes. The acts scored 3, 2 and 1 points respectively. The bloggers could choose any artist they wanted, providing the artist had not had a top 40 hit (including as a collaborator on a song) by the time voting started and that they weren’t related to or have any financial interest in any artist they selected. Where 2 artists tied on the same number of points, the artist with the most first place votes was ranked higher.
The 15 most popular acts that form the long list include artists that are on major labels as well as indie and unsigned ones, such as Brighton based indie band Fickle Friends, fuzzy sounding Glasgow punks Halfrican, goth ‘n’ soul singer Chloe Black, recent XL signing Lapsley and singer songwriter Sophie Jamieson, an artist who appears on the list for the second time running having also appeared the previous year.
The act who gained the most amount of points in the poll will be announced on January 2nd 2015.
The Full Blog Sound of 2015 Longlist (In alphabetical order)
All We Are
I was quite surprised when one of my suggestions made the long list. Lapsley if you were wondering.
The Blogs That Participated In This Year's Poll:
17 Seconds, A New Band A Day, A Pocket Full Of Seeds, A World Of Music And Madness, Across The Kitchen Table, Alphabet Bands, Beat Surrender, Beat2aChord, Both Bars On, Brapscallions, Bratfaced LDN, Breaking More Waves, Brighton Music Blog, Daisy Digital, Dots And Dashes, Drunken Werewolf, Echoes and Dust, Electronic Rumors, Even The Stars, Everything Flows, Getintothis, God Is In The TV, Hearty Vibes, Hitsville UK, I Love Pie, Just Music That I Like, Kemptation, Like 1999, Lipstick Disco, Little Indie Blogs, Love Music : Love Life, Music Broke My Bones, Music Liberation, Music Like Dirt, My Day By Day Music, Never Enough Notes, Not Many Experts, Notes For A Road Sign, One Album A Week, Popped Music, Queen Beetch, Rave Child, Scientists Of Sound, Some Of It Is True, Song By Toad, Sounds Good To Me Too, Sound Of Now Music, Spectral Nights, Sweeping The Nation, The Blue Walrus, The Devil Has The Best Tuna, The Electricity Club, The Evening's Empire, The Mad Mackerel, The Metaphorical Boat, The Paper Penguins, This Must Be Pop, Thoughts On Music, Three Beams, Too Many Blogs, The VPME, What If I Had A Music Blog
Below you will find a soundcloud link to all of the listed artists