Monday 31 December 2012

2012 and all that

That was never a whole year? Was it?
Real life got in the way of the Blog last year, hence the paucity of posting.  I will endeavour to increase the input this year, but don’t hold your breath…
So, musical highlights..?  Quite a few and because I’m vain and egotistical, I expect you to be interested in my opinions. So here they are:
Album of the year by a goddamn country mile – ‘PLUMB’ by FIELD MUSIC.
A new (ish) British band that doesn’t suck! Or think it’s M*mf*rd and S*ns…  ‘Plumb’ deserved the Mercury Prize it was nominated for a million times over, but hey ho. That particular Middle Class advertising campaign always strikes me as being the most tokenistic backslap fest this side of the MOBOs. And don’t get me started on them… Anyhoo, if you haven’t heard Field Music, then shame on you - here’s your chance to rectify that egregious omission. They manage to combine tons of cool influences together and still produce a sound that remains unique. Tricky time signatures, off kilter rhythms and sparkly little curlicues abound and yet the music is catchy and accessible. Sometimes they sound like the good bits of Radiohead. Then XTC. Then bloody Genesis circa ‘The Silent Sun’. Anyway, buy their records NOW.
(Thanks to the legendary Zinc Alloy of Yeah Yeah Noh and PRoM fame who badgered me into listening to them - he got so sick of my puerile excuses, he actually gave me a copy of the CD. Whattaguy).
"(I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing"
‘Three Minute Tease’ - Three Minute Tease.
This was one of my albums of the year last year, when it was only available as an unmastered download. The physical album came out this year, so it wins again. My blog, my rules, so suck it up. I’ve raved about Anton Barbeau many times to anyone who’ll listen (and quite a few who didn’t want to, either…) so suffice to say that this is fan-bleeding-tastic. Anton also released an EP on the marvellous Fruits De Mer label in 2012. Coloured vinyl, picture sleeve, non album B sides. Nothing gets yer pulse racing more than a sentence like that eh?
"Love Is Onion"
‘Boys Don’t Cry’ – Rumer.
Yeah, laugh it up hipsters, but she’s got an amazing voice and she covers Todd. Go ahead, shoot me.
"Be Nice To Me"
‘Danzig In The Moonlight’ – Ken Stringfellow.
Almost too ambitious, but there are some masterful tunes on here. The coolest person ever to be called Ken. But will we ever see another Posies album…?
Honourable mentions go to the 2012 releases by The Darkness (Hard Rock album of the year for ‘Hot Cakes’), Shrag and Brendan Benson.
Gig of the Year: Big Star Third at The Barbican.
And to think, I nearly didn’t go. What a great night. Jody Stephens surrounded by an amazing cast of musicians and a walk-on by the mighty Ray Davies.  In spite of the fact that (whisper it) ‘Third’ is my least favourite of the 70’s Big Star albums, the songs came across beautifully – tightly arranged and masterfully played by all concerned.  Emotional and inspiring. And I nearly knocked Stewart Lee over on my rush from the WC.
"September Gurls"
Personal Musical Highlights of the Year:
1. Playing a concert on a bandstand In Paris with my school Rock Ensemble. Following a brush with Les Gendarmes De Paris (obnoxious, unhelpful and VERY rude, unlike all the other Parisians who we dealt with, who were sweet and delightful), I decided to vent my frustrations on a Drumkit which I pounded to near extinction during a ‘spirited’ rendition of ‘Monkey Gone To Heaven’.   Apparently concrete wobbled, but I felt loads better afterwards.
2. Playing ‘Wombling Merry Christmas’ at the Mr Apollo annual Christmas Charity gig. This is not the way my career was supposed to turn out. Fun tho’.
New Years Resolutions:
Write more Blog posts
Write (and record) more songs
Learn all the Bass parts to my new bands’ set
Don’t get involved with Singer-Songwriters who turn out to be …”challenging” says he diplomatically.
Happy New Year BigPlanners, wherever you are,