Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My 2013 in music

You might think that my posts during the year should sum the title of this post. In a sense that is true but, in another it is not so. If I knew of another year that I enjoyed music as much as I did in 2013 then I would tell you about that. The fact is I can't.
It took in all sorts of music and in many places...
Jon Spiers and Bellowhead. Cheese & Grain, Frome, 19 November.
Bellowhead is a band with which I am well acquainted but it is no less a thrill to see them live once again and that could be said of many others too.
Not least though is the new...
I see no reason to think that 2014 can't be at least as good. On the other hand I doubt that any blog can start with a post more astonishing than this.

Friday, December 20, 2013

2013 isn't over yet...

If you think that my last post, and the ensuing hiatus, signalled the end of my blogging in 2013 then think again:

The casual chemistry between Amy LaVere and John Paul Keith makes it seem like this happens all the time - boy meets girl, boy plays girl some songs, boy and girl form band.

“It’s not that we really decided to have a band” as Keith tells it.  
“It’s just that by the time we got done having coffee she’d decided we were a band and was already booking shows for us. By the time I got home, we were exchanging ideas for band names.”
If you want a cover version then try this. Eddie Berman, from southern California, and Laura Marling take a shot at Springsteen's 'Dancing in the Dark'.
To be fair that is only just a part of it, even as regards cover versions, but this is one I love.

I'm particularly interested to hear about your own favourite covered-songs this year, be they recorded, live or whatever. You are welcome to comment here or via Twitter @thoughtsonmusic.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

2013 in Music - My favourite list so far...

I have read many lists of 2013 music and shall read many more I expect, in part as a reference to compiling my own humble additions to the canon. Of all of them this is the most interesting so far by a country mile...

I shall return to this list and what I think it means for 2014, perhaps beyond, in the coming weeks.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

2013 In Music - EPs and mini albums

This is the post that I delayed from earlier in the week. I've been thinking about it all the while and yet I am still not sure quite how it will turn out. I think that it will just evolve over the next day or two...

There a few times, when one hears for the first time a new artist or act of which one was previously completely unaware and the first instinct is simply WTF? Festivals are happy hunting grounds for this... indeed albums by two artists that first took me this way have already appeared in this year's lists of albums.

This is not my first mention of an artist that I had first seen live at End of The Road Festival 2011 (although then under a different name). It was a foregone conclusion, before End of The Road Festival 2013, that this would be here...
Available in, as well as other formats, 12" vinyl (as pictured here).

The Graphite Set live at End of The Road 2013.

THESE STREETS, The Graphite Set from Louis W Hudson on Vimeo.
This next EP might be a tough one to convince you of the merits of and for the very same reason that may also affect one album on each of my two lists so far! The last song is the only one sung in English and will hopefully make it all worthwhile. Even finding the EP on CD can be a challenge but your best bet is here. Another artist I want to see live in 2014.
This post, as you might have already noticed is not in alphabetical order by artist. It is not in any other known order either. In the spirit of my first ever such round-up post, also of EPs and back in 2007, I'm going with whatever eligible recordings suit my mood.
It would be wrong to include any act other than on merit. If that happens to be one from not so far distant then that is all the better.
Wolfhound is signed to Bristol-based Jelli Records.
Whilst on the subject of bands including sisters, Natalie and Sally Joiner in the case of Wolfhound above and Anja Quinn on the far right, here is another .
Lily & Madeleine Jurkiewicz have now released their eponymous début album.
This EP however, on 10" vinyl, was their beautiful calling card. The comparison to the Swedish Söderberg sisters, aka First Aid Kit, is valid but not to be dwelt on to excess.
In all probability this thread will have a second post, just as the album thread will have a third. Good times.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

2013 In Music - Albums - Part 2

Despite what I said I might do in the last part of this review series, this is not EPs and mini- albums of 2013. It is the second tranche of 'albums of 2013'. The former category is proving far more fascinating, and therefore complex, than I imagined even a couple of weeks ago. It will have to await my attention this coming weekend. The first part afforded you one album that was largely sung in a foreign language. This will include another but the comfort is that at least both of them are sung in the same foreign language. I make no excuses about this, the links, or indeed the variety of music included. You won't catch me adding a link to NME very often but here I chose to do so:

I've seen seven of these acts live, four of them more than once, and the other five are well and truly on my list of 'ones to see'. Choose your own favourite, not from these, unless you really want to do that, because it is your turn. Write about it - somewhere, anywhere legal.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The Blog Sound of 2014 – the long list.

I have to say that I'm a newbie as far as this goes. Thank-you Robin Seamer and Breaking New Waves for inviting my contribution. None of my three suggested artists/acts made the long list and in some ways I'm happy about that, for myself but also for them. If bloggers agreed about much then, sooner rather than later, the situation would be back to the hegemony of old. I'll risk suggesting that none of the artists on our lists really want that.
The artists on the long list (full version with links) is as follows:
...an eclectic selection and I like that. There are a few acts here that I have seen live and also several of which I was completely unaware. That is also very important. Don't doubt that I shall continue to root for my nominations in 2014.

The list of blogs that were part of this exercise is as follows:

Sunday, December 01, 2013

New Music 2014 - Part 2 - The Banshee and The Moon

This is in part a reflection on my thoughts about why I like listening to new music so much and also the part the festivals play in that. Back in 2008, whilst at Latitude Festival, I happened across an artist whom I had never heard of before performing on the small Sunset stage at the start of play on Sunday morning, which is the quietest of times for audiences. That artist was Tallulah Rendall and I was impressed. I took some pictures then and this is one of them.

At that time I was not so good at keeping up with new artists as perhaps I am now and I had largely forgotten about her after that. Fast-forward almost five years, to last spring and the emerging artist list for Sunrise Festival 2013. I was already minded to buy a ticket, not least as was to be held a mere five miles from home. I had however remembered the name and when Tallulah Rendall appeared on the list of artists playing that finally tipped the balance and I bought a ticket there and then.
There she played the main stage on Friday afternoon.
During this set she mentioned that she was recording a new album and revealed that it would be titled 'The Banshee and the Moon' and that it would be crowd-funded in large part. It is to be released in early 2014.

The Banshee and the Moon - Tallulah Rendall
The album is currently available only as a limited edition, signed and numbered, 12" vinyl release in a gate-fold sleeve and with a unique download code for the whole album in <.wav> format.
One to see live in 2014.

2013 In Music - Albums - Part 1

There a few subtle changes in presentation from the last three years. The lists of albums remain strictly in alphabetical order, by artist. There may however be more than two lists and indeed nobody noticed that my first 'dozen' last year was a baker's dozen in so much as it had thirteen entries!
The next list will most probably be one concerning EPs and mini-albums. On the other hand as this is so tricky, it might not. This is another category in which I have acquired an unprecedented selection this year. In no way is this intended to be a balanced list, far from it in fact and the albums in this first part are not chosen as being "better" than those in subsequent list(s): It is quite utterly biased by what has caught my attention in a lasting way in 2013.  It is vastly influenced by artists that I have seen live, either this year or somewhat previously, and I make no bones about that fact. The others are all on my list of 'ones to see live'.
Here it is:

Comments are always most welcome!
It is what this is all about - whether negative, positive or simply mystified!  All comments are moderated (by me alone, so you know that I read them) and while I prefer it that you can put your real identity to your piece, because you should believe in what you are saying and be prepared to stand up and be counted, I will often sanction the publishing of "anonymous" comments.
Comments that are defamatory to artists or others (but not necessarily me and my choices), offensive or irrelevant will not be published.

I don't bite either. I'll attempt to answer questions and comments either directly if that is appropriate, in comments of my own or in a more general 'round-up' post.