2012….. The Year of 13 Moons

Mystified by the varicose “best records of the year” listing in the Grauniad (sic) I feel honour bound to share some lists from the year as a whole, from my perspective,  and perhaps re-affirm, and indeed draw to your attention,  a variety of  music/events/releases that will not get into the inky press or their associated web-pages.

Yeah I know every other flipping blogger in the multiverse does this but a lot of  those unfortunate souls don’t live in Greater Manchester at the heart of the white hot musical revolution going on here at the moment………

It has been a busy year with over 150 radio shows and podcasts being broadcast and uploaded. The number of followers/listeners on Mixcloud has risen to over 1,000 over the last 12 months and cumulatively I have had over 18,000 individual “plays” on Mixcloud…..so I am pleased and gratified that some people are listening in and enjoying the music.

past and present

For me local music is the heart and soul of what I do and I would rather spend my time listening to unsigned bands/artists than what some paid journalist advises me I ought to bend my ears around…….of course I may well miss something good this way but I rely on my cotorie of seasoned listeners, lead by the “Great Gibbo”,  to put me straight on anything beyond my aural reach….

It’s also fair to say that I also do get a lot of exciting new material from Scotland – and over the year there has been some excellent music from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen…..add to this some excellent bands coming out of the western end of the M62 at the moment – aka Merseyside – adding it all together it has been a fantastic year for independent and unsigned music.

You can hear the vast majority of the music/artists listed below via the 100+ radio shows and now podcasts I have made during the year. I was going to do a special podcast tied in with this but I have not had the time.

There will be a  podcast on Christmas Day and then I’m having a week off before I kick off 2013 …….  as  I have had a massive influx of new stuff which I would like to share with you so it will be a balance of what’s to come and what has been…….it will have a Christmas tinge and is slightly self indulgent……..I will be uploading it after Doctor Who has finished.

So here is an overview of the year and some thoughts on some of the excellent music that has come my way……

It has been an exceptionally busy year in respect of music and associated art.

It has also been my busiest year in a long while for going to gigs in a long while so trying to establish which was the most memorable of those has also proved a bit of a challenge – but i’ve done my best.

D

There are in excess of 2,000 albums, singles, eps etc which have been delivered either by traditional postal services or the ethernet or indeed by hand, to consider in this context…..so there has been a degree of filtering going on and some good stuff has unavoidably left out else this thing would take on  Victor Hugo type proportions…….but these are my lists of the best of the year……all are lists of the top 20 with the exception of Albums (couldn’t get it any lower than this)……and clearly a number of key local bands dominate the lists …..

20120729_Hebden Bridge 07

BEST NEW BAND

It was difficult to get this one in order as we have been graced with a seriously large amount of excellent bands and singers but the top three spots were significantly new and unique to deserve their placings.  Factory Acts proved that it is possible to take a genre like electronica and make it sound fresh and exciting and their two single releases are also in the top twenty in that category.

  1. Factory Acts
  2. Wailer Pilot Study
  3. Saturday Morning Cartoons
  4. The Outreach Project
  5. Lipstick Traces
  6. Cactus Knife
  7. Premise Beach
  8. Social Aneurysm
  9. The Centrals
  10. Mama Roux
  11. Velocets
  12. John Mackie
  13. Miss Lucid
  14. Uncle Paul
  15. White Rose
  16. Long Hat Pins
  17. Journal-Keepers
  18. Bacchanal Party
  19. Joe Thomas
  20. Semitt Falls

tw and tm

EP OF THE YEAR

The variety in this listing demonstrates the richness of the independent music scene – whilst a local act has taken the top spot and third place – this selection is one with a greater proportion of non-local material.

  1. The Ascension – Blood Upon The Rose
  2. Miss Lucid – This Life
  3. Stalagmites – Be An Animal
  4. Fast Years – Women
  5. The Blimp – 4.3
  6. Lost Cassettes – What We Doing After?
  7. White Rose – Fanimal
  8. Toska Wilde and Luis Drayton – I Am Kathy Kirby
  9. Doctrines – Ze
  10. Neuron No – Little Lemon EP
  11. Kodakid – Shake Skin
  12. Kit B – Beat Those Drums (On A Saturday Night)
  13. Ninetails – Sleep and Did Not Sleep
  14. Trojan Horse – Fire
  15. Young Men Dead – Young Men Dead
  16. Borland – Romantic Animals
  17. Uncle Paul – Wank the Dog.. Feed the Cat
  18. Limbs – Olympics
  19. Wooderson – Let The Man Speak
  20. Nu Pogodi! – Apocyliptic Noises In The Sky

FS SCR NMN KA 260112

SINGLE OF THE YEAR

Electronica tends to dominate this listing and the focus has been on local artists in the most part…..looking at the national charts at the moment my view is that all of the material in this listing is better if not far superior to the supposed popular acts of the day. Positronik’s mix of electronica and soul gave them the edge in this instance.

  1. Positronik – Don’t Come Crying
  2. Kill Pretty – Rob A Bank/Raining Blood
  3. Factory Acts – Senseless
  4. Periscope – Dandelion Clocks
  5. Positronik – Know My Place
  6. Periscope – Falling Down
  7. Premise Beach – Hold Me Now
  8. Factory Acts – Fantasy
  9. Girl Peculiar – Believe
  10. Velocets – Sophie
  11. John Mackie – 9.5 Grams
  12. The Reads – Galaxy Egg
  13. Lola Dutronic – Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead
  14. The Stagger Rats – Fuzzy Fuzzy
  15. The Words – Demons
  16. Featureless Ghost – Cover of Night
  17. Glassheads – Derelict House
  18. Hot Stuff and the Eye Candy – Hyper Little Monkey
  19. The Lovely Eggs – I Just Want Someone To Love
  20. Mercury 13 – Searchlight

Image (14)

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

This was nigh on impossible to judge. And also there is the key point that number one spot has gone to album that has yet to be released, and a number of others in the list have only just been released – so they are not generally available to everyone.  However I took the view I would include material that I had featured on radio shows and podcasts and where there was a synergy with the other listings and the general feel of the year. Frankly any of the 30 albums listed below deserve to be in anybody’s top ten of the year however I had to put them in some sort of order so I based it on airplay/responses/reactions to the music from listeners and correspondents. Looking back over the reviews for the year it is clear that Kill Pretty just about nudged it. The number of releases associated with 6dB studios and “Ding” Archer is also a strong statement on the quality and strength  of the music scene in Salford. The majority of music in the list is local but you will find a few of my long standing favourites in there. Why no Fall abum you ask? Well there wasn’t one released this year……

  1. Kill Pretty – Dark Heart
  2. Easter – Innocence Man
  3. Rapid Pig – Wildlife
  4. Factory Star – New Sacral
  5. As Able As Kane – Totalitarian Tip Toe
  6. Mr Heart – The Unspeakable Mr Heart
  7. West Coast Sick Line – I hope everyone has nightmares except Kirsty
  8. Mummy Short Arms – Old Jacks Windowless Playhouse
  9. Moff Skellington – Thorny Conduits
  10. Kill Pretty – In 80 Days
  11. Monster Island – The Retaining Wall
  12. Dead Sea Apes – Lupus
  13. Salford Media City – @Futureworks
  14. Bacchanal Party – You Can Be As Orange As You Like But There’s Nothing Sweet About You
  15. Danny Short – Sunset Kicks In
  16. Dead Sea Apes/Black Tempest – The Sun Behind The Sun
  17. The Loose Hearts – Here We Are Now
  18. Peter Hammill – Consequences
  19. Dave Graney and the MistLY – You’ve Been In My Mind
  20. Moff Skellington – Pukes of a Hot Cloister
  21. Flies on You – Nothing To Write Home About
  22. John Herring – It Starts Again
  23. So Shush – A Mirror Gaze
  24. Kingdom Lost – Desire Lines
  25. Toska Wilde and Luis Drayton – Glamoflage
  26. Moff Skellington – The Guild Of Distant Relatives
  27. Danny Short – Remnants
  28. Led Er Est – The Diver
  29. Andy T – Life at Tethers End
  30. The Distractions – The End of the Pier

The Happy Fallen

GIG OF THE YEAR

As mentioned above a busy year for me gig wise – in terms of choices i’ve tended to go for those gigs which were more “events” than actually one-off gigs. The top spot goes to a gig which, on paper, I should not have liked as i’ve never really been that enamoured with the anarcho-punk scene, but in terms of sheer spectacle, venue and the overall good vibe on the day it just about edged it over Kill Pretty’s performance in Blackburn and the amazing show by Factory at the Kings Arms. A special mention for The Necks on the Band on the Wall needs to be made – i’m still trying to work out how they made the music that night with the instruments they were using. What has been generally disappointing is that turn out at these events at local venues and some lessons need to be learned from the people that run the likes of Hebden Bridge Trades Club and the 1in12 Club in Bradford.

  1. The Mob/Kill Pretty/Andy T/The System/The Autonomads/Evil Eye – Hebden Bridge Trades Club
  2. Kill Pretty/Corned Beef/Sanity Clause/Addictive Philosophy – Sir Charles Napier, Blackburn
  3. The Distractions/Factory Star/The June Brides – The Kings Arms, Salford
  4. The Necks – Band on the Wall, Manchester
  5. The Mob/Andy T/Kill Pretty/Nu Pogodi – The Trades Club, Bradford
  6. Kill Pretty/Taser Puppets/Monkeys In Love/The Boom Da Da Booms – The Verge, Hyde
  7. Hamsters/Velocets/Mama Roux – The Verge, Hyde
  8. Mr Heart/Kill for Company – The Castle, Manchester
  9. Vic Godard and the Subway Sect/Kill Pretty – The Oakwood, Glossop
  10. AAAK – Salford Music Festival
  11. Kill Pretty/Taser Puppets/Mark Of A 1000 Evils – Gullivers, Manchester
  12. Positronik/Miss Lucid/Midnight Mafia – Salford Music Festival
  13. Kill Pretty/Cactus Knife/Luis Drayton/Sinister Chuckles/Dusty Moonan – The Railway, Chorley
  14. Kill Pretty/Factory Star/Sandells – Kings Arms, Salford
  15. Factory Acts – Salford Music Festival
  16. The Hamsters – Ape and Apple, Manchester
  17. Rapid Pig – Salford Against the Cuts
  18. Blue Orchids – Night and Day Cafe, Manchester
  19. Kill Pretty/Pico the Puppeteer – Shangri- la at the Carlton Club, Prestwich
  20. The Blimp/Positronik – Blue Cat Cafe

Cd1

BAND/ARTIST OF THE YEAR

This one was relatively easy in picking the number one and all the others listed are generally based, order wise, on number of times played, feedback etc. Kill Pretty have demonstrated more than anyone else that I have listened to and watched this year that they can grow and develop as unit without losing their key principles and intent. It has been fascinating to see the band move from their initial approach into the current incarnation. I have no doubt that the band will develop further next year as they never stand still, or rest on their laurels. A special mention for Ian “Moet” Moss of Kill Pretty and The Hamsters who is going into hospital for a major operation soon- I wish him well and a speedy recovery.

  1. Kill Pretty
  2. Moff Skellington
  3. Factory Star
  4. Fall Fan Dave and the Lap Top Dancers
  5. AAAK
  6. Mr Heart
  7. The Blimp
  8. Rapid Pig
  9. Taser Puppets
  10. Easter
  11. Monster Island
  12. Danny Short
  13. West Coast Sick Line
  14. Sinister Chuckles
  15. Factory Acts
  16. Miss Lucid
  17. The Mob
  18. Andy T
  19. The Hamsters
  20. The Necks

So that’s your lot for 2012……many thanks to all the followers and listeners who have made all of this worthwhile and special thanks to all of the musicians who made  loads of fantastic music this year. Next year, without the pressure of having to produce a weekly slew of radio output the blogging side of things will become a little more regular and will be tied in more effectively with the podcasts. I will also be doing some remixing work with a number of the bands as well as developing new sounds via Passage of Time.

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

Mr Doyle meets Mr Wilson of The Mob
Mr Doyle meets Mr Wilson of The Mob
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