Monday, December 21, 2009

British Albums Of The Decade

Recently I got asked by Saam of Faded Glamour blog to submit my 3 British albums of the decade for a blogger's poll he was compiling.

It took me a while to work out where I stood on this. As mentioned, I've been putting some thought into my albums of the decade - and as you'll find out, it doesn't really include many UK acts (I haven't finalised it yet, it still migh do).

Anyway, after much consideration, I settled on my three. Unsuprisingly, none of them have made the final list, so Saam posted my choices up on his blog. I won't spoil his thunder so head over to see what I chose:

It says something that only one album is available on Spotify. That album is also available to download free, which you can do so HERE

Soundtrack to this post: Tegan & Sara, Woods

Spotifriday (On Monday)

I meant to do this with the posts on my favourites of 2009, and then before the weekend - and then I got prodded by a few friends, so here we are - a selection of Spotify playlist links to keep you entertained over the festive periods:

and finally, here is the link to a playlist with stuff I'm listening to at the moment. This will change over time, possibly bite me on the arse, and be forgotten about at somepoints. But for now it might make some interesting listening

whiskas playlist (Dec '09)

Soundtrack to this post: Jay-Z, Olfar, Maccabees

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Albums Of 2009

Here's the second part of my year in lists - my favourite albums of the year.

This should probably come with a few proviso's
I feel guilty for not including Merriweather Post Pavillion (Animal Collective) and Veckatimest (Grizzly Bear) but I'm just not that in to you
I feel like I should have listened to Tarot Sports (Fuck Buttons) and These Four Walls (We Were Promised Jetpacks) more
In a few weeks, Beast Rest Forth Mouth (Bear In Heaven) would probably chart a lot higher

1. Röyksopp – Junior

Royksopp feels like an odd choice, but it is an album that really has so muched. Prompted to listen by collaborations with Fever Ray and Lykke Li amongst others, it seems to do master the duo's famous electro sound, and with some awesome contributions create some dark, dance-pop masterpieces

2. Magnolia Electric Co - Josephine

It was hard to work out how to place Josephine, another great album from Jason Molina, but without perhaps as much of a focal point as some previous albums, and a slightly more 'blissed out' feeling. Upon consideration, it's still better than pretty much anything else this year

3. The XX - XX

XX is certainly the hipsters record of choice - they were everywhere in Berlin earlier this year. It's rare an album and band create such an atmosphere on a record, and this album does more than that, backed up with some haunting gems with a unique (I said it) mix of sounds

4. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

From breathless start to finish, the size of tunes on this album is massive, with a beatiful interlude in the middle with the atmospheric two-parter Love Like A Sunset. Grammy nominated it as always seems a shame they haven't been able to breakthrough quite so much in the UK - Phoenix are the indie-pop band we need

5. Swan Lake - Enemy Mine

The first of two Spencer Krug contributions, despite this album being very much a side project affair, and suffering from the potentially schizophrenic contributions of numerous writes, this is a quirky Canadian indie at it's best, and filled a whole in my world for a while

Listen to 'Enemy Mine' on Spotify here

6. Rock Plaza Central - ...At The Moment Of Most Needing, Or If Only They Could Turn Around, They Would Know They Weren't Alone

Rock Plaza Central's follow up to 2006's 'We Are Not Horses' would've been hard matched to improve on that, and 'At The Moment' takes a more laid back approach, further away from the psycadelic imagery of it's predecessor. In the process it gains a level of subdued beautiful to revel in

7. Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca

Truely there is like no other as Dirty Projectors' immense vocal acrobatic harmony's. Sometimes distracting, always enticing, the melody's really are like no other

Listen to 'Bitte Orca' on Spotify here

8. Sunset Rubdown - Dragonslayer

Sunset Rubdown's Dragonslayer, Spencer Krug's true sole side project, was a veritable mix sounds and songs, that grew with every listen and utterly bombastic live

First delivered to me in 2007 by the hands of Biffy Clyro (I plugged them as a Band For 2008), it took a while getting released, but it's riffs are the size of massive bollocks only these screams could emanate from

10. School Of Seven Bells - Alpinism

Strictly released in late 2008, before a re-release this year - one of the most intense live bands I saw this year, the sonics and songs make me warm and fuzzy inside

...and the best of the rest:

11. Tegan & Sara - Sainthood / 12. Wild Beasts - Two Dancers / 13. Fanfarlo - Reservoir / 14. Grammatics - Grammatics / 15. Sometree - Yonder / 16. Editors - In This Light And On This Evening / 17. Sonic Youth - The Eternal / 18. Bear In Heaven - Beast Rest Forth Mouth / 19. Blue Roses - Blue Roses / 20. Riceboy Sleeps - Jonsi & Alex / 21. Micachu & The Shapes - Jewellery / 22. Monsters Of Folk - Monsters Of Folk / 23. Karen O & The Kids - Where The Wild Things Are Soundtrack / 24. Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions - Bavarian Fruit Bread / 25. Fever Ray - Fever Ray

And, finally, looking at my forever interesting Last.FM stats, my actual most listened to albums released in 2009, are the following:

1. The XX - XX
2. School Of Seven Bells - Alpinism
3. Rock Plaza Central - ...At The Moment Of Most Needing
4. Magnolia Electric Co - Josephine
5. Röyksopp – Junior
6. Swan Lake - Enemy Mine
7. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
8. Grammatics - Grammatics
9. Sometree - Yonder
10. Bat For Lashes - Two Suns

With a little note to say that Kong's 'Snake Magnet' would be at #8 in the last fm list, had I not recieved it in 2007!

Soundtrack to this post: Bear In Heaven

Sunday, December 13, 2009

There's No International Trust

Here's another picture special - not great shots, but fun shots.

On Friday night, my friend's band INTERNATIONAL TRUST played their last gig - they will be sorely missed. If you don't know them, all you really need to know is that they are a lot more fun than your band. Enjoy their festive hit "Let's Have A Dance" and click on the photos to enlarge

Soundtrack to this post: Radio 5 - 606

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tracks Of 2009

Hello, and welcome to the first of a few posts where I tread the well travelled 'best of' path. To follow are my favourite albums of the year, my favourite albums of the decade - and then the compulsory 'tips' for 2010 - hopefully. These are all subjective of course, one man's gravy is another man's porridge and all that.

I wasn't gonna write some bunf about each song, but I wrote that were the same "great song, had it in my head all year" - so I'll just leave you to listen

Without further ado, here are my Top 10 tracks of 2010:

1. Phoenix - 1901

2. Dirty Projectors - Stillness Is The Move

4. Grammatics - Double Negative

5. Florence & The Machine - You Got The Love (XX Remix)

6. Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks

7. Three Trapped Tigers - 6

8. Sometree - Conundrum

9. Wild Beasts - The Fun Powder Plot

10. Sunset Rubdown - Idiot Heart

Close but no cigar: Editors - Bricks & Mortar / The XX - Crystalised / The Antlers - Two / School Of Seven Bells - Iamundernodisguise / The Maccabees - No Kind Words

And, finally, looking at my ever interesting Last.FM stats, my actual most listened to tracks released in 2009, are the following:

1. Local Natives - World News
2. Phoenix - 1901
3. Grammatics - Murderer
4. Animal Collective - My Girls
5. School Of Seven Bells - Iamundernodisguise
6. Passion Pit - Better Things
7. The XX - Crystalised
8. Dirty Projectors - Stillness Is The Move
9. The Horrors - Sea Within A Sea
10. Swan Lake - Spanish Gold, 2044

See more here

Soundtrack to this post: Shearwater, Karen O & The Kids, Japandriods

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Friends Before Glory

I'm putting plans in motion to step up the Honour Before Glory activity in the coming months. Not actually stepping it up yet, as I'm still snowed under with a few bands I've recorded over the last month, but planning to.

First off, in preperation for returning to the studio over the festive period, I'm giving away Broken Bottles, Empty Hearts via download when you join the Honour Before Glory mailing list

Secondly, I'm putting the band together, which is exciting and daunting at the same time. The friends who I want to be involved are all busy people, so it an Honour Before Glory gig will be a rare occurence, but hopefully a special one.

We'll be playing our first gig in March, but to warm up, I'm hosting an evening at Nation Of Shopkeepers in Leeds. Fran Rodgers will be playing her own set, and we'll be joined by other people who contributed to the tracks I recorded, and playing some special versions of Honour Before Glory songs. Sam Airey will open up - I've been recording his EP recently and it's very special.

Details in full:

A Nation Of Shopkeepers, Leeds
Honour Before Glory + Fran Rodgers + Sam Airey + Special Guests
Free Entry / early start : early finish

Soundtrack to this post: Leftfield, Dananananaykroyd, Department Of Eagles, Beach House

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sometree Restgeräusch Session

As mentioned while on tour in Germany, Sometree filmed a short session set at a studio just outside Munich. My blog of the day (generally involved trying to catch up with football, and eating chocolate) is HERE

The session is now online and look pretty stunning

Soundtrack to this post: Samuel & The Dragon

Friday, December 4, 2009

Lions (acoustic)

On the last day of the German tour in Leipzig, Sebastian Sometree filmed me playing a song backstage at Moritzbastei. It was inspired by the Blogotheque videos unsuprisingly

I like the idea of Lions of acoustic, as most of the songs that will come to pass, are zuped up versions of acoustic style songs - this is an acoustic version of a song that was never intended as such

After a few weeks sans Honour Before Glory, the next couple of weeks will hopefully start the get up in to some new songs, and a new live 'experience' - so stay tuned

Soundtrack to this post: Julian Plenti, Tori Amos