So a week or so ago our poster designer & SnapChat administrator Rob Escott prined all our #AOTY lists, and whilst it was fun to read them all, I do like to elaborate a little further as to why my list was as it was… So here goes…
2016 was a difficult year for me musically, since the change of job (ironically) into an admin role at distributor, Discovery Records, I have learnt an awful lot more about music, just not in my usual field of interest. I now have more than a passing appreciation of Jazz, Country and World music. The world music side of things has really opened my eyes. There’s some amazing music out there that I would never of given a chance / come across normally. The side affect of this is that I haven’t had much chance to listen to my regular interest of music.
Thus, it was much more difficult to list the albums I loved / listened to. I actually had to look through other lists of records released this year to remind myself what I had been listening to…(!) So, here is my list and reasoning, for anyone interested…
I got into Animal Collective on the Strawberry Jam album, loved Merriweather Post Pavillion, didn’t bother with Centipede Hz, so with bated breath I delved into Painting With. Opening track FloriDada got panned critically because it wasn’t particularly subtle. Or subtle at all. “OK we get it, you’re inspired by Dadaism” the press cried, all I cared about was, is it fun & catchy? It became a bonding song between my daughter & I. She played it more than me. I used to come home after work and she’d put it on, and we’d dance to it, which when you dance as crazy as my daughter did, 3 minutes is a loooong time. This record wasn’t nearly as good as the previous two I owned, but for that one song alone it makes the list.
Another year and another album from Jay, released on his birthday. Once you’ve heard a Beans On Toast album, you’ve heard them all right? Well maybe but he has a clear idea of what he’s doing, and on SITW’s Jay raised his bar, he made everything more fun, more sweet, more twee. It’s Jay as we know and love him, but like MORE as we know and love him. He also played for us in May and August, so we were always going to be bias!
Ahhh, Chris. Chris announced his new political direction with this record. Despite Corbyn, he moved even further left? Something like that. Anyway, the record came with belters such as Worst Government Ever and Love Me I’m a Liberal. Chris played a record 4 times for me in one calendar year, hitting Devizes twice, Bath and Frome for my first ever day festival. His set in Frome was one of the best I had seen him play. Controlled a crowd and gave us what we wanted, the hits. Ha. He turns 20-years-in-the-business next year, and will be doing more shows for us to celebrate. This one will be extra special, and I hope to see you all there! It’s in Trowbridge, on a grand piano. True story!
Their first record, Enjoy.Eternal.Bliss was #PostRock heaven. A British band, doing the genre as good as anyone else. Eloquent, beautiful, subtle. This second record was a long time in the waiting, but when it arrived, it sank straight in, like an old friend. I once was obsessed with Post Rock. I believed it to be the natural conclusion of all music. Like classical music for a future generation, or something. Anyway, this was my post rock record of the year, well… until #4…
Dan Allan aka Ducking Punches played our Xmas show in 2015. Not long before the release of this beaut. Quite possibly the best acoustic style punk rock record released this year. They absolutely smashed it out of the park on this record, every song is a stand out. Belter after belter that you just want to shout at the top of your lungs. Dan often wears his heart on his sleeve a lot, so you know where you stand. He shares a lot and with this record he shared his heart. I fell in love at the first listen.
OK so their last album, You Can Do Better, was like my fav evvr! So much so I got a tattoo. Like my fav band evvr! OK, I have a lot of favourite bands ever, but I only have one tattoo. This album had bangers, but it took me a fair few listens to really get into it. I’m not sure why, production perhaps? I don’t know, all I know is our friends Songs Of Praise put them on in Swindon, we went, we sang, we danced, we were largely the only ones there and it was still the absolute best of times!
I could write an essay about this. But I’ll summarise. This is TT’s 3rd proper full length, the follow up to the also excellent Ghost Mountain. It’s more post rock, but this time we see the band expand to include a bassist and crucially vocals. There’s a clear development in sound, in my ears a debt of Sonic Youth included this time round. And the best bit? They’re still so young. They’ve already toured the world with Portishead and 65daysofstatic, been included in film sound tracks and more besides. This is a band just discovering their stride, and if that doesn’t excite you, nothing about British roots music does.
I CAN’T BELIEVE DAN LEFT THIS OUT OF HIS LIST!
A great record, by a great band. It largely continued the theme and style of its predecessor, but when something is so perfect, why change a winning formula? Unbelievably I haven’t seen them live, but will be rectifying that in 2017, when they visit The Exchange in Bristol. I’ll see you down the front.
OK, so not technically a formal release, with like, you know a CD and vinyl to show for it. In fact, I don’t even know if it even made the general public, but this live recording made by Gareth Nicholas basically encapsulated everything we’re about. At almost last minute we dragged a PA up to London in our cars, managed to organise a recording AND managed to wing it in style. The recording came out superb (all Gareth’s fault). It was all about live music, friends and experiences. We came out tighter, fitter and richer for the experience. Maybe one day you’ll hear it too.
This record didn’t hang about. 29 minutes the 11 tracks come in at, less than 3 minutes each. And it’s glorious POP. It’s the sum of all Chris’s previous parts, distilled into what I think is his perfect vision. Uncomplicated, catchy, glorious pop. All the ingredients are there, Americanisms, his voice, twee synths, little “whoops” here and there and just HAPPYNESS with massive choruses!
So there you have it. Looking back at last years list I don’t think 2016 has been as strong for me personally, but 2017 already looks great, with the new JAPANDROIDS album on the way. Chris T-T‘s 20 year anniversary thing, the new Tall Ships and Gnarwolves too record and so much more than I’ve forgotten because my mind is mush and I’m horribly out of the loop.
We also have some huge live bookings to announce (Cassette Boy – live VJ show!), Emily Barker, Gaz Brookfield, a festival or two, and that there guy from wayyy back when. 2016 sucked on many levels, let’s never go back.
Honourable mentions to… Conrad Keeley (loads of tracks, not really a balanced album) Future Of The Left (hated it, such a disappointment) The Joy Formidable (“not as good as their last one”) Savages (I enjoyed it) Metronomy (Was missing a gaping Oscar Cash hole) Christian Fitness (we get the idea now…) Pixies (Surprisingly good) Mogwai (seems like they release an album a year…) White Lung (we new to me, it was all right)
We’ve been mega busy in Devizes, and it’s flown by in what seems like a blink an eye, but for what it’s worth, here’s my quick round up!
We went through an Autumn slew of shows, which featured a lot of the peripheral acts from the scene I love most – We had Retrospective Soundtrack Players kicking us off at the end of October, in fine, rather modest style – A well attended show with a great performance!
Beans On Toast followed shortly after, which is always a great gig, but really good for me to get more of the gossip from what’s going on else where with other friends! Turned out the Salisbury show on that tour, was rather naff.
Andy Oliveri continued our strong series of gigs, and he played a blinder, with his backing vocalist and g/d of Jim Locky & Solemn Sun tour manager / bassist Phil. Was great to get more of these people from the wider scene into Devizes – That night was backed up from Henry Green too, who stole the show!
Gaz Brookfield brought the penultimate show of this programme to an end, stuffing the venue to bursting point, and he managed to bring with him Joe McCorriston too, another guy I was more than happy to have! This gig was extra special, as we managed to have Ellen Cox AND Mark McCabe in there too – That is definitely going to be a show that we look back at and go, “Wow, they were all there on the same bill, crazy!”
Finally Dave Hughes bought what I thought was going to be an acoustic set, electrically – but actually proved a fitting finale to that run of shows and again, was an absolute pleasure to work on, watch and hang out with!
Thus ended probably our most consistent run of gigs ever!
December kicked off with “Rockxegyn Thief” the Oxygen Thief full band show, which actually counted member of the previously mentioned Retrospective Soundtrack Players in their ranks. I can now count half the members of that band, off my list. Swindon proving that it too can come up with the goods, even on a Wednesday night!
Finally it all boiled down to last nights gig with GNAWOLVES at the Corn Exchange. Again, another unashamedly successful night! Well attended, sounded ace, good bands, people and atmosphere!
The fear of the new electric system was dealt with easily, though having to get everything PAT tested, wasn’t just a ball ache, but expensive too! Though the curse of the venue did strike again, as it’s bloody expensive hire costs, and security demands means I actually walked away with a £200 loss. Still the band got paid, had an absolute riot and want to work with us again, so wins all round – and perhaps I’ll make that loss up at some point!
SO looking forward to 2014?
We open next years programme, with another act from my preferred underground scene – B SYDES. aka Benjamin Sydes, this dude is a friend of friends and really deserves a show in our venue (The Lamb) support comes from Bath’s Georgie Vale – who hasn’t been back for a while, and recent newie to me, Kirsty Clinch. Opening the night will be Mike Barham from Old Crows, who has returned to Devizes after finished Uni! Welcome back Mike! Look forward to your first solo set!
Further down the line I have a similar sized punk show for the Corn Exchange, a gig in a Church to be announced (St Mary’s), perhaps a Mr B show (or two) and I want to bring Gnarwolves back to the area, and I want to redesign the website too, so plenty to look forward to, BUT ALL OF THIS MATTERS NOT, if you don’t come to our Xmas and Final show of the year –
CHRIS T-T @ The Lamb, Friday 20th December – Facebook over there>> https://www.facebook.com/events/469489329832472/?ref=ts&fref=ts
You can read what Chris thinks of the gig here, and see his own words about a “Special Guest” over on our sister site, ColourOfVinyl – http://thecolourofvinyl.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/a-conversation-with-chris-t-t/ – We don’t know who the guest is, but Chris has recently had people like Jim Bob from Carter USM as a guest, so whoever it is, it’s guaranteed to be very special indeed!
Thanks one and all for your support over the past year, it’s been one of the best,
HOWDY folks, this weekend really is brimming full of superb quality across the area for live music and events and none will be more deserving than Figure 8 Festival in Bristol, this Saturday the 28th of September.
The festival, now in it’s second year, is the artistic creation of Laura Williams, a well respected journalist and deputy editor of Bristol24-7 among a host of other reputable magazines such as Metro and The Fly. She is raising money for MacMillan Cancer Support, and does so by putting on a unique, stylish and cool live music event. Held at Bristol’s Trinity Centre, a former church and now converted community arts centre, it provides the perfect location and atmosphere for the array of music on offer.
Headlined by 90’s indie legends, DODGY, the bill also features personal favourite CHRIS T-T and Mumford & Sons and Laura Marling collaborator PETE ROE on the main stage, whilst there’s a heavy Bristol presence with the excellent St Pierre Snake Invasion (not to mention the amazing name!) super cool, and Howling Owl signed act, Oliver Wilde and now-living in Bristol a whole year, the excellent She Makes War and even Josie Ghost – What a Line up! And there is still a whole host of other great acts to be uncovered.
Last year the event raised over £5000, and they’re hoping to do the same again this year. I too, am hoping for a successful year, as I wish to have a hands on involvement in 2014.
Tickets are £18.50 from BristolTicketShop or available on the door. There will be few events more worthy of you attention on this weekend, so if you fancy something a little different, personal and relaxed, this is the live music, and community feel event you need.
Check out the Facebook page for up to date information and announcements >here…<
To continue to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of the Lottery Funded refurbishment of Hillworth Park, Devizes Town Council and Fantasy Radio present Devizes Inaugural Folk Festival.
Sunday 11th August, in the beautiful setting of Hillworth park, we are very excited and proud to announce that one of the shining lights of the UK folk scene, CHRIS T-T will be performing his “Disobedience” set. The poems of AA Milne set to music. It’s breathtaking.
More music comes from ex-Devizes, now of London based folk / jazz / soul singer, JESSICA MARY YORK – who has previously recorded a wonderful Fantasy Radio session – which we hope will be broadcast once again, around the time of this event.
Also on the bill is another wonderful and the more traditional folk artist, KIMBERLEY TALIS.
Both Jessica and Chris will be performing from an upright piano!
2pm – 4pm.
Refreshments are available from the parks Cafe, though you are encouraged to bring your own picnic – please remember to leave the park as you left it – beautiful!
I say unbelievably, not because Chris is actually rubbish, or that my shows are typically pants – but it always goes like this – a ton of people promise they’ll be there – the same people who came to the last show, which turned out to be good, but well “below par” for one reason or another, who then decide it’s probably not in their best interests to go out to another show which could be hit or miss, and then pass by an absolutely stone wall stonking success of a gig.
That very thing happened last night, as Chris T-T rolled into town. Chris as many will know is a thoroughly top and decent chap, we actually exchange a good 45 minute chat before we decided time was beginning to press on as the supports were turning up, and we hadn’t even sound checked.
I got the same buzz from Chris being there, and finding out of “on the road” stories, about fellow promoters, support acts, venues, agents, bloggers, fans and the plethora of assorted peoples who hang around shows, that excite me so much about the UK underground, as I did when Frank Turner came to Devizes those few times.
We crammed a room full of good people including – but not limited to – fellow promoters from Swindon, writers at The Ocelot – fans from Salisbury! The show had everything, including a huge audience and atmosphere.
Chris is actually writing a blog about “free entry” shows – and I will absolutely be re-blogging it here, as by all accounts we kicked the arse off Manchester, so for once I can properly sit back, relax and know that Devizes, Sheer Music and everyone involved made a difference.
Caleb Assirati will be providing a review of this show in next weeks Gazette and Herald, and I will be writing my own review on Swindonmusic.co.uk/forum – if anyone wants to read either of our thoughts!