When time allows, I bang the drums in a band called (R), and we recently recorded some live demos. Here’s a taster - as the titles suggest, the first one is about drinking, the second one a word of advice to the youth of today. Befitting of a band of middle-aged gits fighting a losing battle against ageing with guitar(R)s, d(R)ums and bee(R).
Here we go, my customary end-of-year post… my favourite 10 albums of 2012. In no particular order:
Metz - METZ
Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind
The Men - Open Your Heart
Death Grips - The Money Store
Andrew Bird - Break It Yourself
Sauna Youth - Dreamlands
Unsane - Wreck
Rolo Tomassi - Astraea
Sharon Van Etten - Tramp
Swans - The Seer
I say “no particular order”, but it’s fair to say that METZ is my most favourite of them all. I’m getting close to 50, and yet when listening to “Wasted” or “Sad Pricks” on that album, all I want to do is throw myself into a mosh pit somewhere. Highly undignified.
Here’s all the albums in a glorious Spotify playlist:
Following on from the top albums, a less “scientific” list of my top gigs in 2011. Looking at my Songkick Yearly Report there’s so much good stuff it’s really hard to pick individual shows, but I’m giving it a shot anyway… in no particular order, and quite possibly subject to change depending on current mood, here are some of my most memorable gigs of 2011:
Rather than actually thinking about it, this year I’ve just looked at my last.fm scrobbles of albums released in 2011, and let that tell me what my favourite albums were. Most played = favourite, right? Easy… so here goes, without comment, but with Spotify links so you can check them out yourselves:
10. Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me - Touché Amoré
9. Johnny Foreigner vs Everything - Johnny Foreigner
8. WHATEVER - Teeth
7. David Comes To Life - Fucked Up
6. Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will - Mogwai
5. Slave Ambient - The War On Drugs
4. Bon Iver - Bon Iver
2. Cults - Cults
… and drum roll … number one:
1. Constant Future - Parts & Labor
Death Grips - Klink. This is immense, with Black Flag sample and all…
“I promise to refrain from any hanky panky.
Or anything that would make anyone get cranky.
Anything I do with this connection that is lame,
I absolve Chelsea Market, et al, of any blame.”
… always makes me smile.
The War On Drugs - Black Water Falls. Can’t beat a bit of Dylanesque Shoegaze.
Despite the less than perfect weather and plenty of mud, there was lots of excellent music to be had at Latitude this year. Here’s my fairly random 5 personal highlights, although there was a lot more worthy of mention (Eels, Ghostpoet, Gold Panda, Cloud Control just some of them..)
I was really looking forward to Grouplove, and they turned out to be my first highlight on Friday. A great fun vibe throughout, they threw giant balloons into the crowd at the end of their set.
The National headlined the main stage on Friday night, and were as good as always. To the crowd’s delight, Matt Berninger went on one of his long walkabouts during their last song.
Ed Sheeran was up first on Saturday, and managed to beat the pissing rain. It’s hard to imagine anyone disliking him, he’s such a charming guy on stage (and a local Suffolk boy). He talked to the crowd a lot during the set, including how he’s been coming to Latitude for the last 4 years as a punter, and how great it is to be playing here now.
For my hardcore punk fix, I went to see Cerebral Ballzy, who managed to get an impressive moshpit going. Absolutely fantastic young Brooklyn band, one of the best hardcore bands I’ve seen live recently.
My highlight on Sunday was Sea Of Bees, a folky/acoustic duo. I had barely even heard of them before, and almost came across them by accident, but was really taken by Julie Baenziger’s unique voice and oddly funny stage presence. One of the reasons I love festivals like Latitude is exactly this - serendipity!