When I started the radio show (Reformation as it was then) back in 2009 I decided I would try and select one band each year which had caught my attention and I felt needed some exposure . At the time I had other things to fill my day so there was not the chance to absorb newer music – this year has proved different with a lot more material coming my way. With over 300 albums to take in, plus lots of gigs attended, it’s proved difficult to narrow things down to the 14 bands that made it on to the show for “Band of the Year”. Picking the top band was difficult, I sort of had in mind around October time who was going to get the “title” as it were, but there were one or two others who were making it difficult to settle the final order, the hard bit was Â leaving out some of the great acts that were runners-up (for want of a better phrase). The solace is, I suppose, that some of them got played during the year, and I’ll be making a conscious effort in the first few shows of 2011 to catch up with some of the great albums which didn’t get anyairing, however that’s proving difficult, as there is already a pile of new demos which have been sent in which deserve some airplay.
What I found particularly puzzling during the year was the large amount of dross which purports to be “indie” music which seemed to captivate a lot of people. What I find irritating is that this material gets airplay to the detriment of genuinely talented artists out there. I was pondering on this the other day and I thought back to the early 1970s when I first started to listen to music properly, and it struck me that there is a definite parallel to those days where “safe” music is the stuff that is selling rather than more challenging and “interesting” music. What is clear is that there a lot more music available so the need for some sort of critical barometer is needed. The return of some sort of DIY Punk ethic which allows wider sharing of Â good music is needed. The key problem is there is not a John Peel on the national stations who can act as a champion for these artists. The Nine O’Clock Alliance and Aural Delights at Salford City Radio will do it’s best to fill the great man’s shoes and bring you bands and artists which will challenge the existing moribund status quo.
I’ve posted a list of 50 albums that I liked the most during the year elsewhere on this blog a few weeks ago – that’s now horribly out of date as a number of other bands have been brought to my attention. Was it ever so, and I guess I will always be playing some sort of catch-up. I think, however, the music which has dominated this year has been the return of good garage rock, exciting new electronica, a surge of new psychedelia, and the maturing of post-rock into something more interesting.
Over the five weeks of Christmas Shows I’ve tried to play bands which I wouldn’t have time to get into the final best bands show and I have to give a special mention to Borland who I would have definately played had not their tracks have an average length exceeding 8 minutes which would eat far too much into at 60 minute show – in any event they got a good ten minute airing at the end of last weeks show. Rob and Ian constantly amaze me with the variety of sounds and textures they tease out of Fruity Loops 9 and I look forward to new material from them in 2011.
It was disappointing to see the break up of The Jannocks and the Planets – two great local bands – but other bands have emerged from the remains of those two great bands and you can expect to hear music from them on my show in the new year.
The top 14 sort of picked itself in the end as it was those bands who I found it impossible to leave out. So in the order of being played on the show my artists of the year for 2010 were
Charlie Barnes – Charlie did a great session for me, released his album, and guested on the new Amplifier album (more of which elsewhere). I hope he gets the recognition he deserves in the coming year. His album is called Geekk and is highly recommend.
Craig Scanlon – When Moet of Sicknurse told me he was going into the studio with Craig (the legendary guitarist from The Fall) I nearly fell over – many Fall fans were convinced Craig would never return to the music business and it was great to see him back again. I understand more material is being recorded but we were lucky to get three early rough demos of the material is compiling.
Trevor Sensitive and the Locals – at long last Trevor has started to produce material which he has long promised and his askance look at indie rock (with it’s smatterings of black country metal) and gentle irony provides a welcome respite. An album is due soon and I think he has promised to do a session for me.
Pearl Divers – last years best band had a turbulent year with a number of line-up changes and a strong change in direction. A fledgling EP is slowly making its way through the ether to us. This is a band that I saw a lot of last year and I hope to see more of them during 2011.
The Fall – remain the most important band ever for me and they had a great year, with a fantastic new album. With their most stable line-up ever the group goes from strength to strength.
The Black Knights – one of the most exciting live bands I have ever seen – Gary and Tom’s particular interpretation of the blues is both refreshing and compelling.
Mr. Heart – an exciting trio with a great sound – and the bass player also features later on….
Kristin Hersh – like The Fall I class Kristin as an essential artist. She has dominated my listening this year with her great songs. Check out the new Throwing Muses album.
AAAK – gig of the year, reunion of the year, and another duo which defies logic by making a hell of a noise.
Spencer Cloud and The Range Brothers – an exceptional debut album and great song-writing make this band a must listen.
Monster Island – a fantastic new EP called the Green Room and an approach to music which defies the conventional. Lyrically brilliant and unique.
Fall Fan Dave and the Lap Top Dancers – a great year for Dave and Ian with a fantastic debut album, and then a marvellous EP. Also a great couple of session tracks for the show.
The Inflictors – without doubt album of the year, and pretty damn close to live act, and band of the year. A fantastic band.
and Band of the Year
Kin – fantastic live, great musicians who are locked into a mesmerising groove, brilliant song-writing and a totally modern approach to music. Probably the best rhythm section round these parts in Howard and Ding, great sounds emerging from Jonn’s tangle of wires and machines, and a front woman who has a simply amazing voice and plays a mean guitar. Â Saw them twice last year and they are simply amazing. Album due soon and if the demo tracks are any sort of indication of the content then it will be incredible.
Click on the link below to listen to the music…….