Wednesday, 30 December 2015

50 Years of Tunes - 2014 - Sharon Van Etten "Are We There"

Wrapping up my 50 years of tunes with my stand out album of 2014. I absolutely adore Sharon Van Etten and her most recent album is packed with outstanding songs.

Heartbreaking, spellbinding and simply wonderful.

2014 - Sharon Van Etten "Are We There"

Released: May 2014
Label: Jagjaguwar
Producer: Sharon Van Etten

Track List:

1. "Afraid of Nothing" 4:05
2. "Taking Chances" 3:50
3. "Your Love Is Killing Me" 6:18
4. "Our Love" 3:53
5. "Tarifa" 4:51
6. "I Love You But I’m Lost" 4:19
7. "You Know Me Well" 4:32
8. "Break Me" 4:01
9. "Nothing Will Change" 3:16
10. "I Know" 3:36
11. "Every Time the Sun Comes Up" 4:23


Friday, 25 December 2015

Musical Advent Day 25: Meilyr Jones - Refugees

Happy Christmas everyone! Whatever you do I hope you have a lovely day.

This is my song of the year. It was the first of three tunes release by Meilyr Jones this year and really blew my socks off. Meilyr was formerly singer in a band called Race Horses (who were previously known as Radio Luxembourg) who were pretty great but he's taken things to a whole new level if this song is anything to go by. One of my tips for the top in 2016.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Musical Advent Day 24: Sauna Youth - Transmitters

For those of you who've been with me from day 1 this is the final part of the Lindsay Corstorphine trilogy. Sauna Youth were the first of the three bands I heard and this single is probably the best thing they've done so far. A band I hope to see live next year and one I think could be a favourite for a long time to come.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Musical Advent Day 23: LoneLady - Hinterland

I'm writing these a few days in advance so I'm not sure if I've published my Top 5 Albums of 2015 yet but I can certainly say the LoneLady LP did pretty well. Another case of an album so good I struggled to pick my favourite song, Hinterland is the title track and I think the tune that really won me over to LoneLady's sound. It's sparse and spiky and magnificent.

50 Years of Tunes - 2013 - Low "The Invisible Way"

Low have been working their way into my affections since I heard Just Like Christmas from their 1999 Christmas E.P.

I have only recently begun working my way through their back catalogue so I have plenty to discover but all the albums I've heard so far have been consistently marvelous.

The Invisible Way was the catalyst for me finally seeing them live. I had to drive all the way to Cambridge to do so but it was totally worth it.

2013 - Low "The Invisible Way"

Released: March 2013
Label: Sub Pop
Producer: Jeff Tweedy

Track List:

1. "Plastic Cup" 3:01
2. "Amethyst" 5:20
3. "So Blue (So Young)" 4:23
4. "Holy Ghost" 3:06
5. "Waiting" 2:37
6. "Clarence White" 3:47
7. "Four Score" 2:56
8. "Just Make It Stop" 4:08
9. "Mother" 2:52
10. "On My Own" 5:43
11. "To Our Knees" 3:08


Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Musical Advent Day 22: The Leisure Society - Tall Black Cabins

Most of the tunes in my Top 25 are from albums that I've also enjoyed but this is a song that caught my attention in isolation. The tall black cabins mentioned are the net drying huts used by local fisherman on The Stade in Hastings, an area I know quite well. It's a beautiful song but the link with a place I know made it resonate all the more.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Musical Advent Day 21: The Wave Pictures - Pea Green Coat

Into my top 5 songs of the year now.

The Wave Pictures have been pushing out great tunes at a rate of knots for some time now but this years collaboration with Wild Billy Childish was a real high water mark. Pea Green Coat wasn't on the album but it's the tune with the most obvious Childish influence and a firm favourite round these parts.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Musical Advent Day 20: Sleater-Kinney - No Cities To Love

I got into Sleater-Kinney just after they went on hiatus, the best part of 10 years ago, so was particularly excited by their return to recorded & live music. This is the title track from their latest album and pretty much picks up exactly where they left off. They can do no wrong in my book and this is a corker of a tune.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Musical Advent Day 19: Joanna Newsom - Sapokanikan

This came a little out of the blue, after a gap of some five years since triple album Have One on Me. It almost sounded too good to be true but the more I heard it the more I liked it.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Top 25 Albums of 2015 - No.5 to No.1

The final part of my Top 25 Albums of 2015 neatly provides my first Top 5 summary of 2015. All five of these albums were contenders for the number one spot at some point in the year. The fact that Sleater-Kinney, one of my very favourite bands returning after a ten year hiatus, only come fifth underlines this.

5. Sleater-Kinney "No Cities To Love" - Pitchfork review - No Cities to Love is a disarming, liberationist force befitting the Sleater-Kinney canon. Fervent political leftism has been implicit to this Olympia-born trio since they first inverted Boston's "More Than a Feeling" on a 1994 comp and that goes on here as well; we desperately need it. It is astonishing that a radical DIY punk band could grow up and keep going with this much dignity and this many impossibly chiseled choruses. No Pistol, Ramone, or unfortunate mutation of Black Flag could have done this.

4. Thee Oh Sees "Mutilator Defeated At Last" - Pitchfork review - Thee Oh Sees have one type of song that is consistently great. It’s the fast and heavy track that combines the creepy and ugly sensibility of the Cramps with krautrock's streamlined sense of repetition. Mutilator delivers plenty of these songs. "Withered Hand", "Lupine Ossuary", and "Rogue Planet" each strikes that perfect balance of druggy alienation and soothing forward motion, of sublime rhythmic focus and freaked-out guitar violence.

3. Ezra Furman "Perpetual Motion People" - Guardian review - It rages along at a cathartic intensity that perfectly matches the lyrics. Haunted Head evokes the tumult of a bipolar mind in manic mode, the opening Restless Year and Lousy Connection are part painful self-examination, part triumphant Rebel Rebelish rallying cries.

2. B.C. Camplight "How To Die In The North" - The 405 review - This will be a lot of people's first encounter with BC, so let's get one important thing out of the way: he sounds a lot like Brian Wilson. Not just in voice, but in tone, delivery and arrangement too. It's a little disconcerting at first, but go with it: there is treasure in abundance on this record. The theatrical influence is undeniable, from the torch-song opening of 'Good Morning Headache' to the deliciously overwrought chorus of closer 'Why Doesn't Anybody Fall In Love'. It is light years ahead of his previous two albums.

1. LoneLady "Hinterland" - The Quietus review - Hinterland is playful – a vibrant and urgent combination of genealogy and vision – and it is this that truly makes it a masterpiece. Not only does Julie Campbell have the creative chops to create such richly evocative music, but she does it with a wink and a smile. Hinterland feels like a thesis on Manchester and its musical lore. By simply adding the rhythm of her shoes hitting the pavement, she's transformed a nostalgic archive into tightly executed, profoundly new, dance music.


Musical Advent Day 18: Ezra Furman - Ordinary Life

Ezra Furman has had an amazing year, playing bigger & bigger venues and releasing an album, Perpetual Motion People, that seems to have taken a step up from the excellent Day Of The Dog. After much consideration I think this is my favourite track from the new album.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Top 25 Albums of 2015 - No.10 to No.6

Into the top ten now and proof that 2015 really was an exceptional year for music. This batch of records would stand up pretty well to previous years top fives and I've played all of them a lot.

10. Sauna Youth "Distractions" - The Quietus review - If you're coming to London-based post-punk four-piece Sauna Youth as a new listener, then the first thing to point out is that their name is something of a misnomer. Although definitely too young to remember first-hand the DC hardcore scene that occasionally perforates their sound they're probably old enough to recognise that Loud & Quiet's recent comparison of them to Parklife-era Blur might be more than just a music journo shorthand.

9. The Wave Pictures "Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon" - Pitchfork review - Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon is roughly their 16th album, their gnarliest yet, and it’s another collaboration, this one produced and co-written by beret-wearing punk artiste Billy Childish. The garage-rock primitivism marks the first time they’ve really glamourized their limitations. The slight redirection is likely thanks to Childish, who was expelled from art school for having "an attitude of total rejection" and has since devoted his life to demystifying the pompous institutions of modern art and music.

8. Courtney Barnett "Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit" - Pitchfork review - Sit is Barnett's first album, the follow-up to two EPs collected on The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas. Its music is descended from 1990s grunge, descended in turn from '60s garage and psychedelia—the rocks to the balloons of Barnett's thoughts, which blow back and forth above the distorted guitars buoyed by gas we can't actually see. Without her words, the music would sit there; without the music, Barnett would drift away. Half the time, she doesn't even sing, but talks, slipping into melody mid-line as though she just remembered she was playing music.

7. Joanna Newsom "Divers" - Guardian review - A lean, compact summary of the joys of Newsom, still an acquired taste to some, but to others, one of the undisputed greats working in our lifetime. Here are 11 tracks, none of them outstaying their welcome, in which glee and sorrow and erudite lyrical puzzles worthy of Araucaria come wrapped in music of breathtaking agility, conjoining eras and textures without a care.

6. Low "Sixes & Ones" - Guardian review - Ones and Sixes is an ear-pricking listen, particularly on headphones. It’s not just the death watch beetle tick of the programmed drums on Congregation, either. The discrete potato-chip crunch of Parker’s drum beats, and the space around each instrument on first single No Comprende, are two more ways in which producer BJ Burton has brought Low’s music into crisp resolution.


Musical Advent Day 17: Courtney Barnett - Depreston

Things have gone stratospheric for Courtney Barnett this year, seems crazy to think she was playing pub sized venues less than 18 months ago. So many great tunes on the latest album but Depreston struck a particular chord with me. The version in the video is a really nice stripped down recording too.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Top 25 Albums of 2015 - No.15 to No.11

The next batch of five includes a band releasing they're first album for almost 50 years and a band who include a member who's main on-stage involvement is drinking cans of Red Stripe.

15. The Sonics "This Is The Sonics" - Pitchfork review - If garage rock was conceived in the ’60s as the primal sound of teenage boredom, frustration, and angst, what does it mean when men in their seventies attempt to play it? There’s probably a deep and worthy discussion to be had somewhere in there, but the Sonics don’t give a shit about that, nor should they. The Tacoma band’s new release This Is the Sonics is their first studio album of all-new material in 49 years, and that fact alone is staggering. What’s even more remarkable, though, is how one of garage rock’s most legendary bands has dared to test their legend by making a record that spits, snarls, drools, honks, wails, and screams as if it were 1966 all over again.

14. Godspeed You! Black Emperor "Asunder Sweet & Other Distress" - Quietus review - 'Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress' is exceptional in the GY!BE canon in a whole heap of ways. Firstly, it's a mere 40 minutes long - which is short by anybody's modern standards, let alone for the band which popularised the 20-minute plus track time for a whole generation. What's more the four tracks that make up the album play through as one single suite, resulting in a potent statement that it's tough to argue against always sitting through in its entirety.

13. Primitive Parts "Parts Primitive" - Short punky blast that wears its influences on its sleeves but leaves you smiling and wanting more. Featuring Lyndsay from Sauna Youth and Kevin & Robin from Male Bonding this is an album full of catchy hooks and no nonsense tunes that wouldn't sound out of place on a Stiff Records compilation.

12. Sleaford Mods "Key Markets" - Clash Music review - One-dimensional. Exhilarating. Crude. Hilarious. Gritty. Perplexing. These are just some of the words that have probably been used to describe Sleaford Mods in the last 12 months. All of them may be true, but 'Key Markets' is some of the most invigorating, honest and vital music you will hear this year.

11. Samantha Crain "Under Branch & Thorn & Tree" - Guardian review - Samantha Crain has been championed and invited on tour by folk sisters First Aid Kit, though where their music supplies ringing harmonies and dappled sunlight, something more solemn broods within hers. Crain’s songs are often peopled by outsiders struggling against bitter circumstances; Elk City imagines a woman eking out a life in a crumbling town, You or the Mystery addresses a reclusive neighbour found dead in his kitchen. But though many of these songs are racked with sadness, their effect is strangely uplifting. The richness of Crain’s voice and the elegant simplicity of the musical arrangements bring drama to these stories. And the striking imagery of her lyrics finds beauty and pathos in the details of downtrodden lives.


Musical Advent Day 16: Monotony - Monotony

Part 2 of the Lindsay Corstorphine trilogy. Monotony are Sauna Youth playing different instruments. I forget now which band I heard first but I know it was Monotony that really grabbed my attention. Disappointingly I couldn't find a version of this song on YouTube so here's a Spotify link for those of you who have it and the video below is Monotony playing the next best thing, Back To The Castle.

50 Years of Tunes - 2012 - Swans "The Seer"

A vast behemoth of a record and my introduction to Swans having previously been a little bit scared to explore.

The Seer did very well in the 2012 end of year polls and was stupidly cheap via eMusic so I figured I'd give it a go. It took me a while to get to grips with. There are two hours of music over two CDs, including a massively epic title track that clocks in at 33 minutes on it's own.

There were moments when I thought it was too much but slowly, track by track, I got my head around it.

Then I went to see them live and everything really fell into place. They are an amazing band and this is a truly stunning piece of work.

2012 - Swans "The Seer"

Released: May 2001
Label: Young God
Producer: Michael Gira

Track List:

Disc one -
1. "Lunacy" featuring Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker (Michael Gira) 6:09
2. "Mother of the World" (Gira) 9:57
3. "The Wolf" (Gira, Christoph Hahn, Thor Harris, Christopher Pravdica, Phil Puleo, Norman Westberg) 1:35
4. "The Seer" (Gira) 32:14
5. "The Seer Returns" featuring Jarboe (Gira, Hahn, Harris, Pravdica, Puleo, Westberg) 6:17
6. "93 Ave. B Blues" (Gira) 5:21
7. "The Daughter Brings the Water" (Gira) 2:40
Total length:

Disc two -
1. "Song for a Warrior" featuring Karen O (Gira) 3:58
2. "Avatar" (Gira, Hahn, Harris, Pravdica, Puleo, Westberg) 8:51
3. "A Piece of the Sky" featuring Jarboe and Akron/Family (Gira) 19:10
4. "The Apostate" (Gira, Hahn, Harris, Pravdica, Puleo, Westberg) 23:01
Total length:


Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Top 25 Albums of 2015 - No.20 to No.16

Continuing the countdown from 20 to 16, this section provides a nice mix of Folk, Pysch and Garage Rock. Time is getting the better of me so rather than struggle over the words I'm quoting from online reviews.

20. Föllakzoid "III" - Drowned in Sound review - It’s the band’s stated aim with this record to show what can be done with a minimalist techo approach to their craft, and as the lead guitar swirls in and out during this track’s sixth minute it is impossible to say anything other than that Föllakzoid have scored a resounding success.

19. Dead Rat Orchestra "Tyburnia" - The Dead Rat's have been on a run of fascinating projects recently and show no signs of slowing down. Tyburnia is the soundtrack to James Holcome's film of the same name, charting the history of public execution and the echoes of those events on contemporary times.

18. Trembling Bells "The Sovereign Self" - Line of Best Fit review - A glorious collage of musical artistry, drawing from darker regions than did any of its predecessors, it’s a work of extraordinary ambition, integrating aspects of Classical Greek tragedy, unorthodox religious imagery and some of the more jagged, acid-tinged pastoralism of drummer-vocalist Alex Neilson’s late 1960s psych-folk heroes the Incredible String Band.

17. Barrence Whitfield & The Savages "Under A Savage Sky" - Allmusic review - The production captures the raucous sound of the Savages' live show with good and greasy accuracy, and when Barrence sings "It's no sin to lose control," he's neatly summed up what's great about this band -- and this album. Those who still believe that rock & roll can and should make you move ought to put Under the Savage Sky on their playlists pronto; it's the raw real thing

16. Moon Duo "Shadow of the Sun" - Pitchfork review - Although Shadow of the Sun is rooted in psychedelia, there are elements of proto-punk all over it, darkening the songs and making them more human. "Wilding", the album's standout opening track, resembles one of Jonathan Richman’s more uptempo songs, tinged with a tinny Haight-Ashbury tambourine and some wigged-out synths. Johnson’s solos, which can occasionally wander, are concise and focused here, setting an energetic stage for what’s to come.


Musical Advent Day 15: Ultimate Painting - Break The Chain

Something a little more melodic after Sleaford Mods. This is considerably more easy going than my normal fair but I absolutely love it. One of those tunes that sounds like a lost classic from the very first time you here it.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Top 25 Albums of 2015 - No.25 to No.21

2015 was a fantastic year for music. I don't know if there was something special in the water or I just managed to hear a lot of good stuff but I don't remember a year in which I discovered so many new albums that I loved. For the first time since I started this blog I've got enough for a Top 25 (and plenty more beyond that).

25. Speedy Ortiz "Foil Deer" - Punk infused Indie rock that never fails to put a smile on my face. Their second proper album (third if you count Sadie Dupuis' self recorded debut) is the perfect combination of spiky guitar and well crafted lyrics.

24. La Luz "Weird Shrine" - An album of Garage Rock influenced tunes with Sixties Girl Group harmonies was always going to lure me into it's charms and seeing them live at the back end of October removed any doubts I had.

23. Beirut "No No No" - Zach Condon's full band version of Beirut continues where the excellent Rip Tide left off in 2011 with another wonderful album. It didn't fair so well critically anyone who counts a rotary valve flugelhorn and a ukulele as his main instruments is going to get a lot of slack from me.

22. Fuzz "II" - Few bands could be quite so well named. Fuzz are yet another string in Ty Segall's many bows. There's more than a hint of Sabbath here and, though I don't actually own a copy yet, this was too good to leave out of my top 25.

21. Deerhunter "Fading Frontier" - Bradford Cox's first release since recovering from being hit by a car. It's a beautifully fragile release that reveals more each time I listen. They played a session for Marc Riley which really opened my ears to their music, Bradford was particularly erudite that night and I was drawn in as much by his enthusiasm as anything else.

Musical Advent Day 14: Sleaford Mods - No One's Bothered

It took me a while to give Sleaford Mods a proper listen despite the fact I almost saw them live in 2009 (before Andrew Fearns joined). The moment it all clicked for me was watching them live via the BBC coverage of Glastonbury, a real highlight in a generally disappointing line-up. I picked up the album soon after and was surprised by how listenable it is. Not everyone's cup of tea, I realise, but it could well be this generation's punk rock.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Musical Advent Day 13: Samantha Crain - Kathleen

I really liked the previous tunes I'd heard by Samantha Crain, she's played regularly by Marc Riley, but I absolutely loved the 6music session she did in July and decided to try out her latest album. Under Branch & Thorn & Tree is full of magical songs and I struggled to choose the one I liked the best but I think Kathleen is my favourite and it's the perfect introduction for anyone new to her music.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Musical Advent Day 12: Low - What Part of Me

Low have become one of my very favourite bands over the last few years. Their latest album, Ones and Sixes, continued a fantastic run of albums and this is my favourite tune from it.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Musical Advent Day 11: Thee Oh Sees - Web

I got to see Thee Oh Sees live less than a fortnight ago and they blew my mind. A band I'd been meaning to get into for a while but hadn't quite gotten around to, Web was the first track I heard off their latest album and it proved to be the catalyst for me getting to grips with the band.

I struggled to pin down which track from the new LP I liked the most but in the end I felt Web distilled the essence of the band the best. The video is a decent version but they've since switch to a two drummer line up and sound even better.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Musical Advent Day 10: Wreckless Eric - Several Shades of Green

Wreckless Eric is best known for his time on Stiff Records, and his 1977 single (I'd Go The) Whole Wide World. He's been a regular fixture on 6music the last few years, recording three albums with his wife, Amy Rigby but this year he released another solo album, AmERICa, from which this tune is taken.

The lyrics are great, reflecting on past success and the opportunity to live that live again. Eric has a real way with words and there's some lovely touches of humour but that never detracts from what I think sounds like a genuine classic song.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Musical Advent Day 9: Speedy Ortiz - Raising The Skate

Another band that originated as a solo project. Sadie Dupuis began recording her own material while teaching songwriting at a summer camp. They became a full band in 2011 and released their third full length album, Foil Deer, this year.

50 Years of Tunes - 2011 - Mogwai "Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will"

Not sure how I've got all the way to 2011 without mentioning Mogwai.

I first got into them in 1999 with the Come On Die Young Album but somehow, having seen them live on the Rock Action tour in 2001, I lost track of their output. I thought I had enough Mogwai but as I eventually heard their later albums I realised they seemed to be breaking the traditional rock'n'roll paradigm by getting better with age.

Hardcore Will Never Die ... still took me by surprise quickly becoming my favourite Mogwai album so far. I hesitate to say it is also their most commercial (I suspect my ability to spot commercial appeal is now eternally broken) but it is a fabulous album that I love from start to finish. It has an utterly epic finish too, if you have the extended version of the album, closing with the magnificent 23 minute "Music for a Forgotten Future".

2011 - Mogwai "Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will"

Released: February 2011
Label: Rock Action
Producer: Mogwai, Paul Savage

Track List:

1. "White Noise" – 5:04
2. "Mexican Grand Prix" (Mogwai, Luke Sutherland) – 5:18
3. "Rano Pano" – 5:15
4. "Death Rays" – 6:01
5. "San Pedro" – 3:27
6. "Letters to the Metro" – 4:41
7. "George Square Thatcher Death Party" – 4:00
8. "How to Be a Werewolf" – 6:23
9. "Too Raging to Cheers" – 4:30
10. "You're Lionel Richie" – 8:29

Limited edition including bonus CD featuring the 23:23 minute long "Music for a Forgotten Future (The Singing Mountain)" recorded for an art installation by Douglas Gordon and Olaf Nicolai in Essen, Germany.

(All songs by Mogwai except where noted)


Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Musical Advent Day 8: Kathryn Joseph - The Bird

This is simply astonishing. A lovely sparse arrangement with Kathryn's piano to the fore. Vocally reminiscent of Joanna Newsom but this song is truly magnificent.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Musical Advent Day 7: Primitive Parts - Miracle Skin

The first of three entries for bands featuring Lindsay Corstorphine, a musician who seems to be so prolific he's almost formed his own genre. Both Primitive Parts and Sauna Youth have released albums in my top 25 of the year. Monotony are the third band, just as good as the other two, though they're actually Sauna Youth playing different instruments.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Musical Advent Day 6: Girl Band - Pears For Lunch

Chalk & cheese. This couldn't be further in style from yesterday's pop pick. I'm still getting to grips with the album but Pears For Lunch is great and enough to suggest I will eventually like this band a lot.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Musical Advent Day 5: Charli XCX & Rita Ora - Doing It

I can't have a top 25 without a bit of solid gold pop in it. Thin pickings this year, or maybe I just wasn't listening to those sort of channels, but I can't stop Dad dancing to this in the kitchen.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Musical Advent Day 4: Trembling Bells - Killing Time in London Fields

Change of tack today. Trembling Bells come from a folk background but with the latest album, The Sovereign Self, they've added a level of Seventies Rock sheen to their sound. The video below is from a gig I went to at Café Oto, on my birthday as it turned out, the sound is a bit echoey but it's more interesting than the official sound only video.

Chop's Gigs - October/November

The latest batch of gig reports, missing the mini festival of mates bands for a work function (unless I've knocked that out before this post goes live on Friday).

Barrence Whitfield & The Savages at Boileroom, Guildford on Thursday 8th October 2015 - After a relentless few weeks at work and a busy time at home I was feeling a bit frazzled on my way to Guildford for this gig but Barrence and the boys blew all that away with another blistering set of top notch pre-decimal R&B.

La Luz at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen on Thursday 22nd October 2015 - I was introduced to La Luz via a random tweet on Twitter. I've forgotten who mentioned them now but the description of their style, sixties girl group meets surf rock, suggested they'd be right up my street and so it proved.

Courtney Barnett at The Forum on Wednesday 25th Nov 2015 - Tonight wasn't the best gig I've been to this year. I'm not sure why as I love Courtney's songs and her latest album is in my top 10 of the year. Maybe it was the venue (a bit bigger than my normal), or the crowd (a bit static) or maybe it was just me. Whatever the reason I didn't fully engage which was a shame as I was really looking forward to it.


Thursday, 3 December 2015

Musical Advent Day 3: This Is The Kit - Bashed Out

Ostensibly the alias for singer/songwriter Kate Stables, This Is The Kit tour in varying numbers though usually including Jesse Vernon on bass and violin & Jamie Whitby-Coles on drums. Most recently another Top 5 Towers favourite Rozi Plain has been part of the touring band. Bashed Out was the lead single from the album of the same name.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Musical Advent Day 2: Nadine Shah - Fool

I'd been meaning to give Nadine Shah a listen for some time when Fool came on the radio and stopped me in my tracks. Nadine's vocal is the big draw for me, deep and haunting with a hint of Nina Simone.

50 Years of Tunes - 2010 - Thee Silver Mt Zion "Kollaps Tradixionales"

Thee Silver Mt Zion, the side project of Efrim from Godspeed You Black Emperor, may just about have eclipsed my love for that original band.

Initially entirely instrumental, the ever changing named Silver Mt Zion, got better with each release. By the time I saw them live mass vocals, sung by all the band facing each other on stage, had become a key component of the band's sound.

They also took the approach of playing live shows featuring mainly new songs and these would form the core of the next album they released. Despite the lack of familiarity I found I enjoyed them live more and more every time I went. Kollaps Tradixionales isn't my favourite ASMZ album but it is up with their best and a pretty decent starting point for someone new to the band.

2010 - Thee Silver Mt Zion "Kollaps Tradixionales"

Released: February 2010
Label: Constellation
Producer: Howard Bilerman

Track List:

1. "There Is a Light" – 15:19
2. "I Built Myself a Metal Bird" – 6:17
3. "I Fed My Metal Bird the Wings of Other Metal Birds" – 6:18
4. "Kollapz Tradixional (Thee Olde Dirty Flag)" – 6:09
5. "Collapse Traditional (For Darling)" – 1:29
6. "Kollaps Tradicional (Bury 3 Dynamos)" – 6:48
7. "'Piphany Rambler" – 14:19


Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Musical Advent Day 1: Moon Duo - Slow Down Low

Last year I did a musical advent on Twitter, this year I've made life a little harder for myself my doubling it up with a run down of my top 25 songs of the year. More or less, I decided to keep things interesting I'd only allow one song per artist. 25 corking tunes though, that have helped make 2015 one of the best years for new music I can remember. First up it's Moon Duo, a duo (appropriately) from San Francisco featuring Wooden Shijps' guitarist Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada.