Sheer Music’s #AOTY List

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…

download 10. Animal Collective – Painting With (Domino)

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. 

download-19. Beans On Toast – Spanner In The Works (Xtra Mile)

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! 

download-1 8. Chris T-T – 9 Green Songs (Xtra Mile

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!

download-27. Yndi Halda – Under Summer (BSM)

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…

download-3

6. Ducking Punches – Fizzy Brain (Xtra Mile)

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. 

download-45. Johnny Foreigner – Mono No Aware (Alcopop!)

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! 

download-5 4. Thought-Forms – Songs About Drowning (Invada)

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. 

download-6 3. Beach Slang – Loud Brash Of Teenage Feelings
(BSM)

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. 

alcopop2. Tellison – Live On A Boat On The Thames (Alcopop!)

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. 

1. Chris Farren – Can’t Die (Side One Dummy)download-1

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) 

Top Ten’s and lists of 2014.

Did it all go according to plan? Well no, not at any rate. After reading back last years nominations and recommendations for the forthcoming year I can already see that Tangled Hair didn’t deliver anything and there was a bunch of stuff I didn’t even consider. Let’s fire up iTunes and remind myself what went on this year…

MY TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2014.

fit 10. christen fitness – i am scared of everything that isn’t me 

Probably the first time I bought into a crowd funded thing. Not sure why I hadn’t before, and I didn’t really feel that helpful about the whole thing after. Nevertheless Falco aka Future Of The Left front man continued in his still-sounds-like-Mclusky post Mclusky slew of musical output. This time with a bang on form and witty self release under the title, christen fitness.

It still sounds like Mclusky no matter what he does. Is it in his raging voice, over driven guitars and bass or just the razor sharp lyrics?

ll 9. Metronomy – Love Letters

Left field suggestion from me, as you’d just assume I’d only be picking from the underground and acts I have a passing connection with, but I go pick a top 10 electro-pop act. I pre-ordered the Metronomy album on CD, and immediately regretted not spending the extra for the vinyl. With this came the opportunity to pre-order tickets to an intimate début showing of the record in Brighton’s Old Market venue. I went, it was magical and I had breakfast with Chris T-T.

The record itself continued much in the vein as previous efforts. Electro indie-pop, with the song Reservoir being a particular stand out.


adebisi8. Adebisi Shank – This Is The Third Album Of A Band Called Adebisi Shank

I missed them at 2000 Trees in 2013, I didn’t get to see them live, but you just KNEW they were amazing. Then they split up. It’s solid fun, fun, FUN from ecstatic dramatic opener “World In Harmony”, which I guess is what they think the world would sound like, if it were in fact in harmony. The album never lets go of the throttle, every song an electro pop blitzkrieg – absolutely fabulous stuff.

 

horde 7. Mongol Horde- Mongol horde

Mr Frank Turner got the opportunity to scream his guts out again, as much mooted hardcore / punk band, with well documented best pal, Ben Dawson surfaced. It featured 13 tracks and clocked in at 36 minutes. This years Devizes Festival meant I missed their performance an Bristol’s Fleece where, according to my Facebook and Twitter feed, everyone I knew was attending.

My professionalism paid off after a blistering motorway run to Portsmouth saw me arrive at the venue 2 hours early and get introduced to Reuben drummer, Guy Davis. Happy with that, I sneaked a Chinese in one of Southsea’s many public green spaces, watched the bands set, which wasn’t long enough for the headline billing and thus included no less than 4 covers. All of them heavy and I couldn’t make out a word… (Set list Here)

The album is ace, with Blistering Blue Barnacles being the obvious-addition-to-any-punk-playlist-since.

islandcalled 6. Emperor Yes! – An Island Called Earth

I had the pleasure of managing to sneak these Londoners onto a bill in Swindon as part of their album tour. A trio of keyboards, more keyboards, drums and a guitar (which is largely hidden away) gives you a clue to their sound. Lush and squelchy keys make songs all about space and aliens and such like. In an electro-power-pop kind of way. SO MUCH FUN, and brilliant live.

Their front man runs / owns a studio, where he has recorded the likes of Ash and Emmy The Great, is the live FOH sound engineer for post-rock / noise band Three Trapped Tigers and happened to be one of Tim Wheelers childhood friends. He manages all that and is a complete dude, who never once stopped smiling.

Oh and did I mention the album was only pressed onto Vinyl. Of which you could purchase a uber rare / expensive one which had an actual meteorite ground into the pressing? Too cool.

(Check out a great first pump photograph of Emperor Yes! from The Victoria on our Gallery, to your right. Or click here if you’re in the email)

 

fair 5. Maybeshewill – Fair Youth 

11 tracks of perfect post rock. Summing up a genre without watering it down or trading paths too well trodden before. Lush production, and excellent arrangement all condensed down into on average, 4 minute songs. Beautiful.

I managed to catch these for the first time at 2000 Trees this year, and they smashed it. Having previously not been able to quite manage a live show for them, they are probably too big for me now – alas, my memory will always be filling that festival’s main stage with some epic soundscapes which sounded even better after the terrible r’n’b DJ in between acts.

ganalb 4. Gnarwolves – Gnarwolves

I predicted their album would be my number one this year, it isn’t, but it is on the list. Never have I been so happy to catch a band on their way up to being loved than these 3 lads from Brighton. I managed 2 shows for them this year, opening their second UK headline tour (after opening their first ever headline tour last year!) in Salisbury. That show has become local Salisbury folklore already, I then managed a Swindon show the day before they played 2000 Trees too.

That Swindon show also became the stuff of legend, a 4 band bill in the midweek? On paper it looked like it was doomed to fail, but we sold out the Victoria on a Wednesday. All the bands got paid, with Gnarwolves going home with more than they expected – Some lovely words from them followed and I, rather naively, believed we would be a shoe in for the Autumn tour. Alas we weren’t as they had outgrown us. However they did leave an absolute banger of a record in their wake.

10 tracks of 3 chord punk, with catchy choruses and trademark witty or poignant lyrics. Clocking in at 26 minutes, it’s on a par with Mongol Horde in packing a lot into a short space of time.

  

retocarol 3. The Retrospective Soundtrack Players – It’s A Wonderful Christmas Carol

Only released on 24th November, this record makes it onto my list because, it’s utterly fantastic. But also because *humble brag* I’ve had the album for months. Listening to the various versions develop into a fully formed record has been a joy to unfold. I remember Chris T-T tweeting about his experience working with the band on the recording of their duet, he was a gush with superlatives and all of them justified. This is the sound of a band reaching their song writing peak, flexing their ability to weave songs as Kyle manages to weave 2 stone walled classics together in such a sublime manner as he has done.

Normally you’d keep well away from material such as 1940’s film It’s A Wonderful Life. You know if you mess it up it’s going to be pointed out, but attempting to weave that story into a Dickens novel as well? That takes some serious confidence. Managing to pull it off is something else entirely.

11 tracks that manage to tell both stories at the same time, whilst also being semi-autobiographical of front man and my-brother-from-another-mother Kyle Evans, skip by with some great lyrical jokes at the bands name, the ditching of the banjo and an exploration of wider instruments all delivers a thoroughly memorable, likeable, accessible and classic Christmas album.

At time of originally writing this, they are 6th in the iTunes Christmas chart, just behind Leona Lewis. Have some of that establishment. For one week at least!

I managed to give them 2 gigs this year, and catch them in Camden for their album release show. With many many friends and associates we saw the band bash out the album, have 3 guest vocals to fill the 3 ghosts of Xmas, and I managed to shift their entire stock of the album manning their merch desk. Brilliant.


moose 2. Mooseblood – I’ll Keep You In Mind From Time To Time

2014 was a year for retrospective Emo releases, as American Football and Mineral were both treated to re-releases and probably more if I dug into it. So it was fitting that a British band should release their début album and beat the yanks at their own game.

A heartfelt record about love, loss and regret, it’s clear the band have been through some stuff. If I had to single out lyrics, I’d be re-writing the sleeve notes here for you. Whether it’s losing his father on the song Pups “It doesn’t matter that we can’t get drunk Dad, it doesn’t mean we can’t fun. We can go out for a couple or maybe a few, it wasn’t getting drunk and low, it was being with you” makes my hair stand on end and my eyes well up. Nearly losing my Dad last year has made me susceptible to such emotional heart tugging.

This album has more besides and with every listen I commit another line to heart and imagine a warm summer, wearing only t-shirts with the blissful ignorance of youth in our steps and Instagram filters on my eyes.

It’s also an album which doesn’t let up, just absolute cracker after cracker. I want to see them live so bad, I want to stand at the front and sing along to every word and get lost in the moment. Good job they’re announcing a spring tour then isn’t it?

JoFo – You Can Do Better

jofo 1. Johnny Foreigner – You Can Do Better

 Earlier in the year Jack Alcopop quipped about releasing two records with rather negative titles, this  being one of them. JoFo’s 4th studio album, and their belting best. 10 tracks of immediate, urgent indie  rock.

 I managed to rescue their Bath gig from Moles, after it burnt down, and moved it to The Nest. It was an  average night, and I won’t point fingers, as it could have done better, but getting to help one of my favourite bands with a show, getting to watch that show will always stay with me. Fucking super professional people, super fucking cool band, super ace songs.

It was an album I spent most of this year listening to, it’s still on regular rotation now. It was released so early, I can’t believe it was 2014! It is where I go to remind myself what I have and everything I should be grateful for. Again lyrically it kills me, I’ve made my own observations and parallels and invested my emotions into this record and it has paid back in spades.

 

I follow a guy on Twitter called MIKE DIVER who tweeted this earlier in the year;MikeDiver

 

   

I completely disagree. Surely it’s down to your own interpretation of greatness? I mean Emperor Yes! was a truly GREAT record. Kyle’s wording and intertwining of those two stories? Incredible. There were lots of great records this year, there’ll be plenty more in other peoples lists that I’ll read and think, I’m going to listen to that – Some of which I will love and think are great. Maybe I’m easily pleased, maybe he’s hard to please or maybe greatness is just in the eye of the beholder.

 

 

TOP EP’s (evidently all very punk…)

Brawlers – I’m A Worthless Piece Of Shit

Solemn Sun – §

Woahnows – Life In Reverse

Nai Harvest – Hold Open My Head

Bloody Knees Vs. Birdskulls – Split 7″

      

And due in 2015…..?

We’ll I’ve previewed the B-Sydes record, and think that’s ACE. Frank Turner will have his post-breadkup record, record out which I hope will be a happier listen. Every year brings a new Beans On Toast record, so that’s a cert’. Ash have announce the pre-order of their album, and Nai Harvest I understand have one in the bag. All those above in the EP’s list in fact have got to be quids in for LP’s? AND rather excitedly I saw ASIWYFA’s tweet of the masters of their new record. That list alone is enough to get me excited, and that’s before I discover anything new. 

ANYWAY, there you have it. I’ve pinned my colours to the mast, and no mention of my favourite Scot’ Mark McCabe – Well his album was great too, but wayyy to sad to make it into my top 10. Not that I didn’t love it, I really did and I love him equally. 

Tune into The Colour Of Vinyltonight from 8pm to listen to Rob’s top ten and some honourable mentions of the list above. 

Our first show in Bath for 6 years… JOHNNY FOREIGNER

I am SUPER HAPPY and proud to be relocating the Johnny Foreigner Moles show at the end of the month, and keeping it in Bath!

The good people of The Nest, literally a stones throw from the original venue, have allowed us to step in and take over their club for the evening, to host this uber cool indie run down. This is our first gig at The Nest, and our first in Bath since 2007, like aaaaaages ago. Please give us all a little luv’

Johnny Foreigner who are on tour promoting their 4th album “You Can Do Better” released via the excellent Alcopop!, winner of AIM’s Best Small Label award, earlier this month – to critical acclaim, will be in Bath on Sunday 30th March – less than 2 weeks away. 

Tickets are now £7 on the door. Due to the short lead time, we’re not doing advance tickets. Doors 7pm, and we have a strict curfew of 10.30pm, so it’ an early Sunday night finish. 

Support is still Radstewert and Oui Legionnaires – and I’m trying to slip DEAD ROYALTIES in there too, watch this space. 

We wish Moles a speedy recovery, and we’re sorry to be picking the corpse of their shows, but we didn’t want to see JoFo miss out (one of the unluckiest bands, EVRRRR)

“Some of the most exciting indie-pop sounds committed to record by a British band in a long while’ – Drowned in Sound

 

Of a copy, of a copy, of a copy, of a copy, of a copy, of a copy, of a copy, of a copy, of a copy, of a Umh… 

Songkick /Last.fm