Thursday, December 14, 2006

Obligatory End of Year List

Despite my reservations about such things please find a list of my favourite songs I’ve encountered this year. Many of them have been discovered via the plethora of good MP3 blogs out there, as well as a few cunning purchases made by my good self. I’ve attempted to attach a MP3 for each of the tracks- most likely they won’t work so fingers crossed.

I figured this would be a better way of illustrating what I’ve been listening to this year rather than a pointless album list. Suffice to say that I’ve adored Joanna Newsome’s ‘Ys’ more than anything in an age; Califone and Bonnie Prince Billy provided the best in subdued folk/indie and the biggest surprise of all was just how much I loved and listened to Hot Chip’s ‘The Warning’ and Sparklehorse filled a void long since left vacant since his last release.

I will be trying to document the best gigs I’ve been to this year but seeing that I’ve been to quite a lot this will require some special attention, and I’ll be lucky if I can get this done before the New year.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy:

(Note- Bollocks!!! Appears to be a problem with my server/File hosting- I will correct soon I hope!)
1. The Young Knives- Weekends And Bleak Days (Hot Summer)
2. Pet Politics-The spring
3. Hot Chip -And I Was a Boy from School
4. Goodnight Monsters -20 Fingers 20 Toes
5. The Young Knives - Here Comes The Rumour Mill
6. TV On The Radio- Dry Drunk Emperor
7. Bears- Walk Away
8. Beruit-Postcards From Italy
9. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy God’s Small Song-
10. Primal Scream- Country Girl
11. TV On The Radio - I Was A Lover
12. Califone- Spider
13. Buck 65- F.O.S
14. Belle & Sebastian -The Blues Are Still Blue
15. Wolfmother-Woman
16. Tunng- Woodcat
10 No Complaints.wma17. Beck – No Complaints
18. Sparklehorse - Mountains
19. The Walkmen - All hands and the cook
20. We are Scientists – It’s a Hit
21. Yo La Tengo - Pass the Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind
22. Casiotone for the painfully Alone – Young Shields
23. Herman Dune- I wish that I could see you soon
24. The hold steady -your little hoodrat friend

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It seems I have underestimated the stupidity of my colleagues

Its that time of the year when the obligatory Records of the Year appear in the press and web alike. Despite the obvious pretensions in composing such list, and the fact that unless you have heard every record that has been released this year you can’t truly comment on what the best records are., though I do enjoy reading other people’s reviews/inputs- especially stateside where I feel they are more in tune with music over style image.

In theory those ‘friend’s’ of mine at the NME should have had access to most of this year’s releases, but instead chose to list the most horribly predictable list of records as I read to my disgust via the excellent music blog Stereo Gum. This just goes to show that a) the folks writing the pish they call music journalism don’t know shit from shinola and b) that they obviously don’t listen to enough records. I know the NME has tried to change to find a place for itself in today’s market but with more independent press/blogs/websites out there- the NME is as redundant as a walkman.

I’ve got a hunch that if you were to compile a list of ALL the reviews done this year by the NME and only included those which received a 8+ rating the list would be much different. If I had the energy I would love to check their review of all the albums on their list and see what the NME originally thought of it.
It brings to mind the day when I really realised what a pile of bilge the NME is, when they rated Stereolab album as a 3, yet three pages later they had it as their office favourite record of the week!?

Anyway, on to more important issues- tomorrow is the office Christmas night out…great. This year for reasons unknown, our boss thought it would be a great idea to invite everyone’s better halves. Naturally I assumed that no one would even contemplate bringing their beloved, however it seems I have underestimated the stupidity of my colleagues. Out of the team there is only one singleton and besides him, everyone except two of us, are bringing their wife/partner/husband etc. I can’t tell you how much I am not looking forward to it. As ever, I’m sure it will be better that I expect but its going to be weird though, especially as we’re not meeting until 8ish. I know full well the moment I get home- I’ll be sat on the sofa convincing myself not to go- alas I’m going to have to attend as I have already paid and exorbitant £35 for it! It sounds a lot doesn’t it? This is because “entertainment” is to be provided- a Soul band and a Crooner. God only knows how poor this will be. Perhaps I should endeavour to start my Christmas shopping?

Anyhoo- A spot of good news:,,1970850,00.html

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I see a badmoon rising

The clock is ticking- I still haven't bought a solitary Xmo pressie yet.

I'm not panicking about it, as no one has actually replied to any of my requests of what they want so unless I hear from them soon, it's going to be pot luck with what they get. Last Thursday evening, Lisa persuaded me that we should go to town on Saturday, and for reasons unbeknownst to me, I agreed enthusiastically. However, when Saturday morning arrived my enthusiasm was on the wane somewhat. I occurred to me that I had no idea in the slightest what I should be buying and therefore a trip into town on a Saturday afternoon would be pointless and most painful, if it hadn't been put to me that we could go for a drink afterwards I wouldn't have got out of bed.

By the time we'd reached the bus stop, Lisa was getting severely pissed off with me moaning, and decreed that I should just "go home if you want". Reverse psychology works every time.

We boarded the bus, which was a nice change from our usual train journey, but I was forced to it next to some soppy looking Student who wouldn't close his legs which meant that I had to sit with only one arse cheek on the chair. I could have asked him to move, but revelled in my martyrdom. I noticed this student wasn't wearing a coat nor jumper, rather two T- Shirts. This amused me considering it was absolutely freezing outside and tried to think of a reason why he wasn’t dressed warmer. I couldn’t think of one. I could hear via his IPod/generic MP3 player that he was listening to Credence Clearwater Revival's 'Bad Moon Rising'.
"Kudos to you no coat" I thought.
The song reminded me of when I was in Halls of residents. My guitar protégée Clint and I were strumming along to our usual medley of Bob Dylan/blues numbers, when the rarely seen Sinister Steve (a slightly older student who lived in the hall’s annex, he drove a motor bike and surprisingly managed to pull on of the older, more glamorous PGCE and totally unattainable student- much to everyone’s astonishment and discontent) asked if he could jam along. He could only play Bluegrass, and showed us how to play the song. He had a capo and we didn’t (perhaps that what attracted her to him?) so I worked out the proper chords so clint and I could play along. He got a bit arsey when we started to deviate from his boring blugrass rhythm, so we stopped and never jammed with him again. It was the first time I’d ever heard the song- anyway I digress…

Lisa and I hardly spoke on the bus. I don't really like talking on public transport- especially a crowded bus/train, as I become extremely conscious of people listening in to our conversations. More often that not I try to speak in hushed tones as I may have already discussed in previous entries, I am unable to whisper successfully.

Once we'd departed the bus, and checked out the Old Bar-Celona/new Quiggins Alt Chopping centre (Goths R Us) we made our separate ways. I still had 'Bad Moon Rising' in my head.
I then proceeded to bum around town for three hours, during which time, I somehow read a chapter of Stuart Pearce's autobiography in WH Smiths(??), bought several records, purchased a 'How to Speak Cech' Phrase book/Cd, a blueberry and banana smoothie and some ear protectors. I tried to find some Credence records but was unsuccessful. I ventured into Sci-Fi tastic Forbidden Planet and actually realised that the geeks in their weren't 14 years spods, rather guys in their late twenties with beards, glasses and long coats.....I edged out of their slowly and chose not address this dilemma.

At 4.45pm I realised enough was enough when I picked up Chris Moyles' biography in Waterstones and proceeded to flick through it and look at the pictures. “Agggghh – what am I doing” I cried when I cam to my senses, dropping the book and casing several heads to turn disapprovingly in my direction. I called Lisa, who grumpily informed me that she wouldn't be ready until 7ish.

I'd been had.

I called Sweet Jonny who was in town with Eve, and we arranged to meet for a drink, however they were just sitting down to eat so I had to kill another 45minutes.

So I waited like a bum in the shelter that was provided by the doorway of that chav looking bar (the one that used to be waterstones) on Bold Street. I looked out to the masses as they trudged wearily, laden with shopping bags, grimacing from the bitter cold, and like every year I promised that next Christmas will be different. "Next year I'll do my shopping in wait- October! " I decreed...again. I thought of the student with two T Shirts.
Joanna Newsom warbled in my ears, and this warmed me temporarily and I looked at my phone for the correct time. Damn, I've still got 35 minutes left to wait. I debated if I should just go ahead and sit in the pub on my own until they arrived, but decided that I should wonder aimlessly around one of the three guitar shops Liverpool has in its city centre.

This proved not only to warm me, but entertain me as I watched the harangued staff try to cope with the influx of Emo looking kids wanting to try the drums or guitars. Watching as the kids hilariously watch one of their chums wield an axe and proceed to bore the pants of the rest of the customers by playing the same predictable riffs. The "No Stairway" joke from Wayne's World should be replaced with a sign of similar cultural significance. Alas, I am no longer in tune (accidental pun-honest!) with what it replacement ought to be. My Dashboard Romance or My Chemical Confessional perhaps? I also observed the lesser-spotted fat sarcastic Terry Pratchett loving type working in the new guitar shop in town, complete with authentic goatee, ponytail and Megadeath T-Shirt. After 10 minutes of looking at cheap imitations of good guitars, I'd really had enough. Even the sight of some spotty kid shredding away with some dodgy looking metal guitar failed to lift my spirits- I felt thoroughly miserable.
When I stepped out on to the street, the cold rain hit me immediately, so I pulled up my collars and decided to trudge over for our pre-arranged rendez- vous point. Then, as if by magic the most wondrous sight came clippety clopping down the street. Holy shit- it was Father Christmas! !

Okay- it wasn't the real deal, rather a man dressed as the Coca-Cola invented present giver stood up on a Horse cart (I think it might me referred as a 'trap'-but I could be wrong) which was being pulled along at speed by a majestic looking horse. In the back of the cart was five girls aged about 14, complete with their lilac/burgundy tracksuits and sideways ponytails. I stopped to watch this odd but rousing sight as he hurtled past and gave me a wink his white beard trailing behind him in the wind. Joanna Newsome’s song slowed to a staccato plod as if the music had been chosen with this scene in mind “why the long face?”. The girls tried in vain to protect themselves with their tracksuit jackets from the rain and through Joanna's delicate vocals I could her them screech like banshees in the worst possible kind of throaty scouse accents "ahhhhhh! Fooking hell! It's freezing-Agggggh!". They looked so distressed as they held their tops over their heads with their MacDonald’s' drinks in their hands.

Ho Ho Ho. Perhaps it's not all bad after all I thought and trudged to the pub with a massive smile on my face. After all there’s is nothing like the misfortune of other to make one truly appreciate Christmas I thought.

Anyhoo- further irrelvant MP3's:

Sparklehorse - Knives of Summertime

Swell- Fuck Even Flow

Herman Dune –I Wish that I could see you soon

Monday, December 11, 2006

Don't call it a comeback!


It’s damned good to be back I tells ye!

Normal service will resume soon, though at present I’m happy to inform you that I’ve never been busier at work. I’ve resembled a ‘proper’ worker of late so the opportunity of devoting my efforts into this blog is hampered somewhat.

Anyway- today is “Hooray My Mother’s Alive” day- as it was 11th December that the Intensive Care Unit Doctor told me and my family that my mum was going to die. Happily/thankfully/luckily/greatfully she didn’t as is doing well when I spoke to her last night.

Anyway- I have raised a glass in her honour- or rather I’ve raised my mug of tea.
A couple of Arrested Development quotes to re-affirm my smiley face:

Tobias Funke - Hey Fizellas