Happy New Year

Couldn’t be arsed to post over Christmas, I’m afraid – far too many more interesting things to be doing. And I’m sure you all had more interesting things to be doing than grubbing around listening to Myspace bands. Still, I’ve had a lovely lazy Christmas, and I trust that it’s been a good one for all.

But now, it’s time to face up to my responsibilities, and start compiling my list of “must-have” albums that have come out of this year. Actually, the prospect of behaving like a real blogger (the compilation of an end-of-year list is pretty much a given for music blogs, after all) has made me look through this year’s releases and give a few new albums a try. And there have been some really nice finds.

Well here’s my list of my five favourite albums of the years:

Trials of Van Occupanther – Midlake
(Seeing them in Bristol with Martin was a real eye-opener for me. Suddenly, it was “Oh, I get it”, and was no longer worried about Crosby, Still and Nash…)

South East Side Story – Chris Difford
(Inexplicably missed from everyone else’s lists, but a real testament to how cover versions and re-interpretations can be a valuable exercise – it made me get my old records out…)

Uncanny Tales from the Everyday Undergrowth – Soft Hearted Scientists
(Again, almost certainly over-duly influenced by seeing them do a cracking set at Calmer, but there are some wonderfully batty lyrics here)

Gulag Orkestar – Beirut
(Who would have thought that this aging Indie-kid would be crooning along to an album with no guitars on it? Listening to Postcards from Italy, now, it makes me think of our summer trip to Lisbon)

The Letting Go – Bonny “Prince” Billy
(I love that sensation of enjoying an album without feeling you’ve completely “got” it all yet…)

(Honourable mentions to the Euros Childs, Pernice Brothers, Dead Combo, Richard James and Absentee albums…)

But then there’s a list of albums that I’ve really only just wised up to, which if I’d had my ear a little closer to the ground (or at least Pitchfork magazine) would be already in my list:

The Brightblack Morning Light album
Ballad of the Broken Seas – Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan
Broken Boy Soldiers – Raconteurs
The Broken Social Scene album
Becoming a Cliché – Adrian Sherwood (with the extra dub album also sounding pretty good)

I’m not going to post tracks from these albums (though I’m sure it wouldn’t take long to find a few sites that will), but what I have got for you is a compilation of new(ish) freebies from various of my new favourite bands. There are tracks from Additional Moog, Dead Combo, the Lets Be Honeys, Euros Childs, Flipron, the Pernice Brothers, the Wiyos and the Soft Hearted Scientists.

It’s a pretty good selection (if I say so myself), and if you’re sad enough to be sat at a computer this New Year’s Eve (pause for moment of self-realisation), you could do worse than downloading it.

Happy New Year

There, isn’t that better? Don’t tell me that doesn’t leave you feeling a little brighter…

Take it from me…

“The Time of the Signs!” is how this week’s band announce themselves on their Myspace page. (Damn, I wish I’d thought of that…)

The Signs

The Signs are from Leeds, and have apparently only been together barely six months, so we’re getting on at the ground floor here folks. I regularly predict success for bands but, considering this is supposed to be a discovering-new-bands-sort-of-a-blog, I’m alarmingly poor at actually getting it right.

But. I still reckon the Signs are a band we’ll hear more about in the future. They write really good rough edged pop songs, are not afraid to throw a few guitars around and make a noise. Which is, of course, A Good Thing.

Their first single “Medication” is available online now (from here) and you can also watch a video of it at their Myspace page. It’s a real cracker and probably their strongest song. Actually, I’m sure it was available as a free download from their Myspace page just last week, but has been taken down by now. So I won’t post that, but instead I’ll post another really strong mod-ish number called “When we’re together” which will give you the flavour of what they do.

I wish I could tell you more, but that’s as much as I can find out as yet. Maybe the lads themselves can let me know more…

When We’re Together

Suffer from a lack of concentration…

After a week crammed full of Christmas rehearsals and excitable children, it kinda seems appropriate to come home and listen to a bunch of noisy oiks banging away at guitars in a way you’d have to describe as “traditional”?

It just has to be done sometimes…

The Dogs

The Dogs are a bunch of lads from London who according to their Myspace page have been around a couple of years and have a batch of singles and an album under the belt, all of which were apparently well received but which crept under my dodgy old radar. With there being quite a number of back-to-basics new wave bands making names for themselves these days, I’m kinda surprised the Dogs aren’t big stars already.

There’s a potted biog on one of their Myspace pages, plus three … well… barnstorming tracks for the taking from their other Myspace page. I’m particularly keen on the demented guitar work on Spring’s Not Always Green.

Spring’s Not Always Green


Tuned to a Different Station

The Dogs have a single out at the moment (“Today!” it says on the website, although it said that yesterday…) called Soldier On, and, as is more and more the case these days, the video of it is on Youtube:

In a heartbeat, I’ll be there for you.

Got to get this done quickly, or this feller will get in first. (I don’t know why I hyperlinked that – don’t under any circumstances click on that link until you’ve read this…).

Went to the Guildhall with Martin last night to see the much vaunted Boy Kill Boy, another in the recent run of decent gigs that we seem to be getting out here. Had a good time, although to be honest Boy Kill Boy were pretty ordinary. They didn’t really seem to click with what was a full house, although they did have their moments (a rousing version of “Suzie” was about the highlight of the set.) It was all kind of summed up by the way a house full of sweaty Gloucester students (plus a couple of more mature concert goers) sauntered out of the hall at a rather modest ten o’clock, not really that fussed about the encore business. To be honest, I think everyone was happy to nip off for a quick beer before home…

A bit of a disappointment, but it does give me an opportunity to plug a terrific post from Burning World, which makes available some of the sets from last month’s London Calling festival in Amsterdam. I recommend the sets by the Holloways and Milburn. There’s also a great one from new Partly Porpoise favourites the Pigeon Detectives.

VPRO are also streaming parts of some of the other sets from the festival, including a rather better effort from Boy Kill Boy, here. Yeah, that hat. He wore it last night as well…


I do have something for you, though, in that support band Magnetic turned out to be a more than decent bunch, playing a really good set, that could have gone on longer to be honest. It was all the more commendable in that I was told that they’d stepped in at short notice, the previous support band having ill-advisedly dissed Boy Kill Boy on stage and then helped themselves to the rider backstage. Phew rock ’n’ roll, eh?

Can’t find out much about Magnetic, even their Myspace page takes a bit of digging around for. There are a couple of tracks for streaming there, and this rather fine track for download. Farfisa organ, another sound I’m a real sucker for…

On the Other Side – Magnetic