So here’s my personal review of Two Thousand and Twelves music scene.
I had so many shows to go to this year, I was almost falling over myself with holiday planning/route checking/car parking costs and preparation for the sleep deprivation that would follow miles of driving to and from places as far afield as London/Manchester/Brighton/Birmingham/Bristol and Bournemouth.
I even had some shows planned closer to home.
However, life throws the inevitable oddball at us now and then, and as is often the case for the life of many of us who toil for ‘the man’, I ended up not going to half as many shows that I had tickets for.
But I enjoyed those that I did get to see.
Without further ado here are my top five gigs of ‘12:
Birdeatsbaby - Feast Of Hammers album launch @ The Raneleigh, Brighton
She Makes War - Breakfast With Apollo #2 @ The Half Moon, Herne Hill, London
Katzenjammer - Last UK show of 2012 @ Thekla, Bristol
Mindless Self Indulgence - Last UK Show of 2012 @ The HMV Forum, London
Mishkin Fitzgerald - Solo single ‘Present Company’ launch @ A Secret Location, Brighton.
A shout out must be given to all the bands and performers I have seen this year, I still managed to travel far and wide to follow some of you and by doing so I have discovered more acts that I wouldn’t have known about, so all in all it has been well worth it. An extra special mention should also be made to Kieran of Sheer Music, for putting on free gigs at The Lamb, Devizes, one of the best small venues I have ever been to.
In my humble opinion most of the bands I follow produce some of the best music around today, and the mere fact that they don’t get main-stream airplay is testament to their genre defying musical abilities, writing skills and willingness to battle against the mass produced tat that is bandied around the airwaves over and over until even decent songs become hateful.
I’d rather listen to a well crafted fully rounded indie album than some major labels’ fly by night artist with 2 good songs & 8 or 9 fillers album that costs twice as much. It is a sad indictment of the industry that 1-2 hit wonders can charge upwards of 12 quid for an album of crap whilst struggling artists produce awe inspiring gems for around a fiver (or often give their music away for free), having said that, I have nothing against major label artists that produce good albums.
but enough ranting
Here are MY top ten albums released this year (worked out by the amount of times I played them).
1) Birdeatsbaby - Feast of Hammers - independent artist (no real surprise here as they are my favorite British band of recent history, every song has been lovingly crafted and produced to seduce the senses and corrupt the mind).
2) She Makes War - Little Battles - independent artist (again, no real surprise here, her writing/song construction is sublime and her voice speaks to my inner being).
3) Enter Shikari - A Flash Flood of Colour - labelled artist (after not really listening to their previous material other than in the peripheral background from my sons bedroom I was completely taken with this loud melodic thrash dub-metal album, the lyrics are filled with anger driven ‘sign of the times’ rage against the world political situation, timing is everything and this hit the nail on the head with a sledgehammer).
4) Dana Jade - Dana Jade - independent artist (a friend of She Makes War, Dana sings songs in her own style her way, she plays a pretty mean guitar too).
5) Amanda Palmer (ft The Grand Theft Orchestra) - Theatre is Evil - independent artist (Fan funded album from former Dresden Doll singer/pianist and Mrs Neil Gaiman, I loved the ‘Dolls and carried on following AFP after they parted ways, this is by far and away leagues ahead of Who Killed Amanda Palmer).
6) The Birthday Massacre - Hide and Seek - labelled artist (still staying true to their roots embedded in the 80s synth era, this album is a fully matured 21st century dark-pop/rock triumph, their best yet).
7) Chantal Claret - The One The Only - labelled artist (Chantal left her Morningwood pop/rock stylings in the closet and blew me away with a ‘sixties’ sound that I just didn’t expect, brilliant work).
8) Dandylion - Images Under Construction parts 1,2 &3 - independent artist (I don’t think it would be unfair to the other girls if I said she is the main voice of Katzenjammer - on A Kiss Before You Go at least, Marianne released an album in three parts over the course of the year, a great concept and it proved to be a fantastic album too. All this during a band tour too, the girl’s a workaholic).
9) Marcella and the Forget Me Nots - Born Beautiful - independent artist (The name provider for The Puppini Sisters is carving out an alter ego career of punk/rock/cabaret music on the side. This release is yet another eclectic mix of genre defying sounds that I just love listening to).
10) Aranda - Stop The World - independent artist (Two talented brothers with rocknroll coursing through their veins, one has the voice, the other plays gee-tar, and on this sophomore release they’ve broadened their musical horizons but still retained their original roots).
I must give a special mention to some of my other favorite bands,
Firstly: Cancer Bats with their album: Dead Set on Living
Secondly, the return of one of the most Avant-garde bands around, Stolen Babies and the release of their second full length album: NAUGHT, it’s been a long time coming but well worth the wait.
Also, two British girls going from strength to strength, Marina and The Diamonds with Electra Heart and Paloma Faith with Fall to Grace.
Time to look forward now:
Birdeatsbaby are currently working on new material and are expected to release it over the course of the year, in addition to this lead singer/pianist Mishkin Fitzgerald has announce the release of her solo debut album with supporting tour.
Bring Me The Horizons new album Sempiternal is due out early ‘13.
My teenage hero, Adam Ant, is releasing his long awaited new album - Adam Ant is The Blueblack Hussar in Marrying The Gunner’s Daughter, (an absolutely fantastic title for an album, don’t you think?).
Mindless Self Indulgence will be releasing their new fan funded album around March-ish.
She Makes War has some exciting news for us which I can only assume is another album/tour in the pipeline
And finally for 2013 I am hoping for UK tours from:
Birdeatsbaby, Mishkin Fitzgerald, Layla, Lauren Aquilina, She Makes War, The Birthday Massacre and Dandylion.
A tour promoting the new Mindless Self Indulgence album would be epic.
A visit from Chantal Claret would be bliss.
And a revisit from Stolen Babies would top everything.
There are lots of others out there too.
Until next time, peace.
please share this footage of Katzenjammer playing at Hyde Park for the Radio 2 One Day Festival, thank you :)
When does a conversation become a character analysis?
During a recent visit to a bank to carry out a minor transaction, I was waiting in a queue of people with ages ranging from a small child in a pushchair up to others around my own age (40+), including a loudly talkative middle aged couple.
I did my best to mind my own business, trying to ‘tune out’ the general hub-bub whilst waiting my turn.
However, it soon became apparent that that the little girl needed to go to the toilet, I couldn’t help but overhear as she was directly behind me in the queue.
A cashier became available but instead of going forward I turned to the girls mum and said “If she’s desperate you can go before me.” To this she replied “Thank you” and went ahead. No big deal.
Seeing this, the ‘loud’ woman turned to her partner and announced: “Oooh, what a gentleman, such a nice thing to do”
Admittedly she didn’t say it with sarcasm, but she did say it loud enough to be heard by just about everyone in the bank, which drew their attention to me. They continued to loudly talk about me: “Isn’t that a nice thing to do, what a nice man, you don’t see that everyday” etc etc.
I wasn’t looking for anyone’s approval, I had spoken quietly to the child’s mother, just loud enough for her to hear me. As far as I was concerned I only did what I would expect anyone else to do, and showed a little compassion to a distressed child.
So I left my place at the head of the queue and walked over to this couple and said “Do you know me?”
They stopped mid sentence, looked at me and replied “No”.
It now felt like everyone else in the bank was looking at me so I continued:
“You don’t know anything about me, do everyone a favour and shut the fuck up”
I filled the stunned silence with this parting shot:
“You don’t think I’m nice now, do you?”
Should I have minded my own business?
By entering into the mother-child conversation should I have expected my character to be assessed by a third party?
Giving up your place in a queue, or your seat on public transport, letting someone go before you in traffic or any multitude of similar actions does not prove your ‘niceness’.
I can be nice and I can be an absolute c**t, the same can be said of anyone.