Merry Christmas everyone……
People tend to do lists and stuff at this time of the year – i’ve done it myself in the past but this year it just seemed a bit unnecessary. Plus there does seem to be a mania for producing lists of increasing irrelevance as some sort of substitution for journalism these days. So in attempting to buck that trend I thought I’d just meander through a few thoughts about the general state of music, and what I have been up to in the last 11 and a bit months.
It will be of no surprise to regular readers that the dominant musical entity in my little world has been Kill Pretty. With “Dark Heart” and “Rob A Bank” finally released via All The Madmen in the early months of the year, rather speedily followed by the reissue of “In 80 Days” and a remix album called “Snake Sheds Skin” the group has not been short of product. They’ve also managed to do 14 gigs (come 27th December) which is rather remarkable given the lead singer had major heart surgery earlier in the year. Add to this a brand new album due out sometime in the New Year, which I caught some of the recording of (and reasons why I did will become apparent when it is released), and where I marveled at the quartet’s inventiveness. There have been some pretty memorable live experiences with the band in the last 9 months – I didn’t get to them all (you can have too much of a good thing) – made all the more important by some of the support acts that I caught – honorable mentions for Andy T, Sarah De Warren, Little Rach, Poppycock, Factory Acts, Monkeys In Love and The Astronauts who all demonstrated that you don’t have to follow trends or fashions in order to make great music.
Talking of gigs it has been a great year and I was pleased, after a long gap, to see Van Der Graaf Generator – who were marvellous. It was also great seeing the likes of Ill, The Bacillus, The Moods, Wrecks, Beach Skulls, Raw Bones, Blue Orchids, Mr Heart, Chaos of Birds, Bobbie Peru, Kit B, Taser Puppets, Sinister Chuckles, AAAK and many others throughout the year.
Mention must also be made I think of what I might loosely describe as the Yorkshire Contingent – Flies On You, Cable35, Curry Quiche, Ubertino De Casale and Staggs all demonstrated a unique approach to music making and created great listening experiences. I was lucky enough to have my remix of FOY’s Josephine included in a special release of a variety of versions of the tune – which also included work by the aforementioned Ubertino – who also is a member of the FOY live experience, albeit under a different name.
Scotland still provides a great deal of the music which comes my way and special thanks to Col at Dogs Got A Bone, Flowers in the Dustbin and the Miss Lucid lads for providing some great music.
Mr Dave Graney – an abiding obsession – produced a run of excellent singles and released a pair of fascinating live albums, and his partner Clare Moore was also in fine form via The Dames.
Nu-Electronica has been in fine fettle all year with excellent music from Tingle in the Netherlands, Exchange, Positronik and Factory Acts all altering the genre in exciting and provoking ways. Sadly two of the aforementioned are now in hiatus.
It’s been a great year for albums , see below for my top three, but to be frank within in excess of 2,000 new releases flowing in via the ethernet it has been impossible to keep on top of all of them and I shall still be mopping up the best of the ones I haven’t got to yet well into 2014.
Locally – ie Greater Salford – it has been another fantastic year for the likes of Johann Kloos, As Able As Kane, Mr Heart, Kit B, Death to the Strange, Bobbie Peru, The Ascension, Stalagmites and many more – sorry if I missed any one but i’m trying to keep this relatively short. The emerging Red Stars look to be very promising indeed, and the long awaited release of Girl Peculiars’ EP does indeed demonstrate what a major talent Jenny is. And in that circle of friends is of course the legendary Ed Blaney – who with Grayso and Paul Ashton – managed and delivered a fourth Salford Musical Festival. As usual there was a serious amount of stuff going on over the four days of the festival and it all was topped off rather nicely with a great Xmas Party a couple of weeks back (see this review).
The town of Chorley continues to being forth a disproportionately large amount of excellent music from it’s roundabouts and public houses – Taser Puppets, Sinister Chuckles, Cactus Knife to name but a few. And the “Jason King” of pop Mr Shaun Ali Bongo Maxwell also spread his wings to envelope the strange and sometimes undecipherable world of Mr Luis Drayton amongst other things. And while we mention La Drayton we must also mention the artist formally known as Toska Wilde who with lycanthropic fervour has embraced the persona of the Cryin’ Queerwolf with gay abandon.
Lets not forget three acts originally brought to my attention by Julia at Invisible Girl – Danny Short, Fall Fan Dave and Moff Skellington. More quality material from all three this year. They never fail to deliver and please me with their work.
A special mention for the debut album from Soul Saboteur which was breathtakingly good and was a millimetre away from the top 3 releases of the year.
The highlight of the year has been the work of that itinerant troubadour and ex-prophylatic salesman from Bae Colwyn – the dashingly erudite Mr Dusty Moonan – who has produced some spectacular music – and from what I have heard from his forthcoming album will continue to do so next year!
I hope the last three shows have given you a flavour of the best of 2013. The final part of my look back at plus the results of the Artist of the Year poll and my top three albums are below. There are also some suggestions from Tony T and SD (I did ask Monty but he must have forgot)……and some christmassy things thrown in for good measure…..(well sort of….).
I’ll be having next week off and will back on January 9th with a slightly different format but still with lots of brand new music both local and from further afield.
You can listen to it all on Mixcloud
Albums of the Year
- Dusty Moonan – Our Name On The Door
- Crystal Grenade – Lo! and Behold
- The Dames – The Dames
Artists of the Year – as voted for in the poll
- Kill Pretty
- Monkeys In Love
- Dusty Moonan
Honorable mentions to Luis Drayton and the Glamourpussies, Blue Orchids and Ill who all got sizable votes.
The playlist is:
- Trevor Sensitive and the Locals – Miss You Bow Wow (Birmingham Nacht Alternative)
- Ten Mouth Electron – Happy Birthday (Bang! Bang!)
- Fall Fan Dave & The Laptop Dancers – Funny Boys and Pretty Girls
- Dave Graney featuring Clare Moore – Mt Gambier Night
- The Masterbakers – Cynical Song
- Staggs – Staggs Xmas
- Half Man Half Biscuit – It’s cliched to be cynical at Xmas
- Moff Skellington – Inside The Laughing Wood
- Luis Drayton and the Glamourpussies – Super Fating
- Johann Kloos – Save The Planet
- The Junta – Plenty O’Toole
- The Mob – Rise Up
- Savages – Shut Up
- Flies On You – Josephine
- Dusty Moonan – Wasp In The Car
- AAAK – Tough Luck
- The Fall – Loadstones
- Kit B – Dogma I am God
- The Girobabies – Secret Animal
- Parquet Courts – You’ve Got Me Wondering Now
- Danny Short – Mr If (At The Christmas Do)
- Ill – Cock In My Pocket
- Periscope – Superstars
- Jimmy Miller – Primordial Soup
- Positronik – Seperate Way
- Total Victory – Churchbuilder
- The Moods – Hope
- Curry Quiche – The End Will Be Televised
- Cryin’ Queerwolf – Mongoloid
- The Dames – All Mine
- Crystal Grenade – Go Round Twice
- Dusty Moonan – Our Bridge to Nowhere
- Monkeys In Love – The Man In the Keith Moon T-Shirt
- Kill Pretty – Emperors New Clothes (Passage Of Time remix)