Let me answer that question, as I’m sure you are wondering why, in January 2014, I’m writing about my favourite music of 2012, over a year after everybody else. For one thing, I find it impossible to judge a year’s music before the year has ended. “Best albums of the year” lists being published in November is just plain silly.
Secondly, when a year ends there is still a lot of its music that I haven’t heard. I’m never going to hear all a year’s music of course (I’m still finding my favourite albums of 1973) but waiting a year has meant several albums are in my 2012 list that I hadn’t heard a year ago.
The lists below are in purely alphabetical order.
My Favourite Albums of 2012
Actress – R.I.P.
The Cinematic Orchestra – In Motion #1
First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Road
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes
Daughn Gibson – All Hell
Goat – World Music
Grizzly Bear – Shields
Julia Holter – Ekstasis
Squarepusher – Ufabulum
Tame Impala – Lonerism
Sharon van Etten – Tramp
My Favourite EPs and singles of 2012
Burial + Four Tet – Nova
Clark – Fantasm Planes EP
Four Tet & Burial – Nova
King Creosote – I Learned From The Gaels EP
Magnetic Fields – Andrew in Drag
Those Darlins – Screws Get Loose
Why? – Sod In The Seed EP
My favourite gig of 2012
Midlake at the Brudenel Social Club
Spotify playlist of some of my favourites from 2012
Have you cracked open the Sufjan Stevens box set yet? Or perhaps you’re more of a die hard Slade fan? Well, which ever way you swing, the supermarkets and bus stations have been churning out Christmas music for weeks now. This means the chart battle for Christmas No.1 has begun (yes, the charts still exist, even though TOTP ended years ago) and the kitsch-fest has kicked off.
This year I’m backing 50 Sniffs – I even paid to download Credit Card Christmas (I’m usually very “bah-humbug!” when it comes to iTunes), as all profits are being used to help clean up the mess left by serious floods in my hometown of Boston last week. If you’ve not discovered 50 Sniffs yet, they serve up a fun, affectionate, occasionally crass Bostonian rap parody. I’ve had “Bought a turkey on finance, then I took it round my Nan’s” as an ear-worm for a week now, and it’s cheesy in all the right places. I don’t think anyone expects it to go top ten, but top 40 would be nice!
And if you want to check out some other weird and wonderful Christmas music, have a nosey at my blog – Bloody Nora’s Big Gob.
The Buffet radio show will be bringing you an eclectic Twisted Christmas 2013 review combo on Sunday 29th December at 7pm. But in the meantime, we’ve uploaded one of our old Christmas shows from 2010, which you can listen to here.
Yes, well done, do a joke about the colour of his eyes then use a black & white photo. Idiot.
In case you’ve been hiding under a glam rock for the last few months you can’t have helped but notice that music journalists and highly-successful BCB disc jockeys with up to 3 listeners alike have been getting into something of a froth with regards to the new album by a young man from South London. The Next Day, David Bowie’s first album since Reality in 2003 was released this week following something of a biscuit game by the great and the good among musos, among whom The Independent‘s Andy Gill referred to the new Jones long-player as “The greatest comeback ever.” Clearly the likes of Greg LeMond, Bobby Ewing, and, this week, FC Barcelona have something of a claim themselves to this title, but to argue whose was the best is a pointless task partly because it is a largely meaningless phrase and partly because I’m not entirely sure what a “comeback”, in musical terms, actually is. To comeback to something you surely have to have indicated that you were, by choice or by default, stopping doing whatever it was that you were doing in the first place. I recall no such suggestion from The Thin White Pensioner. Admittedly, 10 years between albums is something of a significant gap – particularly for someone who not only released 14 albums in 13 years between 1967 and 1980, but some of those albums were the most influential records of all time. A couple of the records after were a right load of old pelt as well, but we’ll skirt over that. However, for whatever reason our pop idols are more pop idle than they used to be – whereas releasing two albums in a year was not uncommon in the 1960s and 1970s, we think little now of artists taking 3 or 4 years between releases, which really begs the question as to why they aren’t generally a good deal better than they were 30 years ago. Continue reading →
Nothing says Folk more than a set of welding goggles
Last Wednesday was a good evening for Kris Drever. Â At virtually the same moment he was stood on stage, towering over his Lau bandmates Martin Green and Aidan O’Rourke as they picked up the Radio 2 Folk Award for Band of the Year, he was also treated to an even more thrilling achievement in that his solo recording of Harvest Gypsies, from the album Blackwater, was the opening track to Selection Box. Â I dare say that life will never quite be so exciting for him again.
I did suffix the track by saying that it was one of my favourite records of the last five years, then suggested that it may well be older than that. In doing so I have made myself right and wrong simultaneously as it is in fact an astonishing 7 years since said offering was released. Â No matter, though, because I’ll just readjust my hypothetical lists and declare that it is one of the best records of the last seven years.
I think we can safely assume that time travel is impossible (which is a shame, because I’ve already written this entire thing once and then accidentally irretrievably deleted it [although admittedly this would be footling use of such a powerful tool - shall I stop the Holocaust? No, I'll undelete the BCB piece I wrote and lost which was largely about myself. Still Marty McFly didn't do much more than make his family rich and everyone seems to love him]) so I think I can be forgiven for failing to play David Bowie on last week’s show. As I have previously explained, the cunning fox sent his new single Where Are We Now? out into the World just a few hours after I had recorded my show. Still, it provided a perfect opener for this week’s Selection Box. What is more remiss of me is the fact that the 70th birthday of arguably the greatest ever pop singer, Noel Scott Engel aka Scott Walker (anyone now yelling “Frank Sinatra!” at their computer can go and shove it up their badger. I’ve never understood the fuss over Ol’ Short Arse and never will), passed me by on the very day my first show in the new timeslot was broadcast.
Whilst I would always maintain that some of the greatest vocalists of all time are people who cannot actually sing (Mark E. Smith being a primary and quite astonishingly brilliant atonal example) when hearing Walker open his trap and, indeed, his throat I feel the pressing need to point people at the speakers and say, THAT is how you sing. I can’t imagine anything I’d like to see less than a guest appearance from Scott Walker on The X Factor, but if such a thing took place at least the result might be that the long queue of neat-haircutted chicken-in-a-basket warblers might just nudge each other and say, “Come on, we may as well go home.”
Not that such a thing is likely, of course, because these days Walker’s output couldn’t be further removed from the conveyor belt claptrap offered by ITV’s flagship God-it-goes-on-forever entertainment piece. Indeed is hard to think of another successful artist who has moved as far leftfield as Scott Walker. I cannot help but applaud any bloody-minded artist who is determined to challenge their own boundaries, experiment with new sounds and seek to explore untrodden avenues, and to hell with shifting units and keeping the bank balance high enough to afford another swimming pool in the back of a stretch Hummer. However, that’s not to say this necessarily results in a more rewarding output because, as much as I love music that takes you somewhere you’ve never been before, I must confess that some of Scott Walker’s more experimental material leaves me rather cold – indeed parts of his 2006 album The Drift were frankly unlistenable. When his new album Bish Bosch was released last month I was, therefore, left with a ummm ahh hesitation as to whether I actually wanted to hear it, let alone buy it. However, I have decided that hard-earned brass must be shelled out as the wares from the album I have heard thus far have been really rather splendid.
This includes the extraordinary Epizootics – which featured in this week’s Selection Box as our long track for the Thanking Your Kind Indulgence section of the show – a 10-minute brooding stew of tribal drums, a malevolent squealing three-note trumpet motif and Walker’s haunting vocal with the added bonus of hearing our hero intoning that we should “take that accidentally in the bollocks for a start.” What’s not to like, frankly?
Aons ago, I introduced a feature of sorts onto these blog entires wherein I would pick a song what I done gone played via the magic of the wireless airwaves right into your ear crannies and have it as a featured track right here on that there internet so you can read all abaaaaht it.Â So I thunks I’ll do that again.
This week’s comes courtesy of Wirral warbler Liz Green’s debut album O, Devotion! which has, as the inner sleevenotes admit, had something of an elongated gestation period.Â However, some things require you not to rush (and where music is concerned it requires, where possible, for you not to be Rush as well) and the result is a rather bewitching record of haunting guitar plucking and a vocal performance which sounds like it belongs on an undiscovered early 20th century 78rpm slab of acetate.Â Which I say as a very very good thing, lest there be confusion. Continue reading →
Leeds Festival, Bramham Park, 26th â€“ 28th August 2011
On a sunny Wednesday afternoon, at the idyllic and grandiose setting of Bramham Hall, the Lane Fox family are playing host to the Leeds Festival press conference, at this point it is hard to imagine that by the end of August they will have opened their gates (for the 9th time) to 75,000 people attending the Leeds Festival in the grounds of Bramham Park.
Fronting the press conference was event organiser Melvin Benn who brims with enthusiasm at what is about to happen and what he has already achieved with the help of a team that he so readily acknowledges.
Melvin chose to focus his attention away from the headline acts and concentrate on the up and coming bands appearing on the BBC Introducing Stage, â€œLeeds Festival is at the forefront of new music, these bands sum up what the festival is all aboutâ€ stated Melvin.
Mike Mitchell talks to the Simon Pollard Band, who you can catch on the BBC Introducing Stage.
The Introducing Stage is making itâ€™s 4th appearance at Leeds Festival which has given a strong platform in the past to bands such as Everything Everything, Florence and the Machine, Pulled Apart By Horses and Dinosaur Pile Up.
Sunday night saw the family outfit Kitty, Daisy and Lewis take to the stage at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds in support of their long awaited new album â€“ Smoking In Heaven. Kitty, Daisy and Lewis sprang to fame a few years back with their endlessly danceable rockabilly album that sounded like it should have been recorded decades ago, and not by a trio of youngsters from London-town, and with the backing of Rob da Bankâ€™s Sunday Best label, won over the hearts of every retro-loving music fan in the land. The retro-image doesnâ€™t stop at slicked back hair and a love of banjos however â€“ the band release all their music on a variety of vinyl formats, and their new album is available in an old-style 78rpm 10â€ vinyl in a 1950â€™s hard-backed record album; itâ€™s the sort of dedication that makes me think none of them own iPods and must make all their calls on Bakelite phones. They were supported by guitar and double bass duo Spirit of John who came straight from the dampness of Rough Beats Festival to play an entertaining set of folk-rockabilly before the siblings took to the stage accompanied by their dad on guitar and mum on double bass.
The problem I have with seeing bands who are touring with a new album is that I always end up mildly disappointed â€“ I basically wish to hear the last album and inevitably havenâ€™t listened enough to the new record to fully appreciate the set. I havenâ€™t heard an awful lot of Smoking in Heaven, but KDL managed to balance the new and old songs enough to keep me happy. Guest musician Tan-Tan of the Skalites joined the trio on stage to show a diversity of the band that was refreshing to see â€“ just when you think that all this band are capable of is quaint rockabilly, they whip out a splash of dancehall/ska that keeps you dancing. The highlight for me was new single â€˜Messin with my Lifeâ€™, which is unashamingly a summer pop song; yeh itâ€™s obvious, but Kitty, Daisy and Lewis do it so well that I donâ€™t mind at all.
New single – Messin with My Life, released 27th June
Following the reissue of the first four Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds albums in 2009, and the next three in 2010 (about which I wrote on 4/4/10) the next phase of re-issues are now upon us.Â This week Let Love In, Murder Ballads, The Boatman’s Call andÂ No More Shall We Part get the re-issue treatment.Â As with the previous albums, you get a remastered CD plus a DVD containing the album in 5.1, extra tracks, videos, and and an episode of the Do You Love Me? series of documentaries about each album.Â These interviews are fascinating, comprising of opinions from band members, associates, friends, fans, journalists, and even in the instance of The Boatman’s Call, a school teacher who taught Lime Tree Arbour to her class.
One of the highlights of each episode of the interviews is hearing Blixa Bargeld recall his experiences of the writing and recording process.Â Hearing him describe the noise gate they used during the making of Let Love In is certainly worth buying that album just for that.Â It is also, from my own personal perspective, wonderful to hear Sophia Burn wax lyrical about how great a bassist Martyn P Casey is.Â He’s certainly one of the biggest influences on my own bass playing.
One thing I didn’t know was that apparently all the band members did actually undergo hypnosis, with varying degrees of success, during the making of the video to Loverman.
During the interviews on the Murder Ballads DVD, I learnt that there are 64 deaths during the course of the album.Â Continue reading →
Now that the internet has rendered music from most of the world available in the time it tales Nick Clegg to renege on an election promise, it seems almost quaint to remember that the zeitgeist used to have a bike.
The indefinable spirit of the age used to pop up all over the world and each musical advance was complete with a map reference.
Whether it was Manchester in the late eighties, Berlin in the mid seventies or Liverpool in the early sixties geographical locations were synonymous with the music that was made there, and never was this more pronounced than in Nashville, Tennessee, which is indelibly linked in popular culture with country music.
In contrast to the examples above, country music didn’t begin in Nashville, but it was here that the music that had originated in Appalachian bluegrass and hardened into the gritty honky tonk of Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzel had the beer stains hosed off it’s Stetson and cleaned up it’s act.
In the process it became, and still is, the most successful genre of music in the world.