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. 

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Retrospective Soundtrack Players announce new album and Swindon show

Our favourite concept-folk-poppers Retrospective Soundtrack Players have announced their 3rd album “It’s A Wonderful Christmas Carol” will be released on 24th November, which can be pre-ordered through Xtra Mile recordings NOW!

You’ll be familiar with the band after their performances in Swindon earlier this year and a special acoustic show at The Lamb around this time last year (you can hear a recording from our Soundcloud, below). 

We’ve heard the record and I can solemnly vouch for it’s incredible ability to entwine the classic Charles Dickens book, A Christmas Carol with 1946 film, It’s A Wonderful Life to mesmerising effect. It’s a record that requires repeated spins to reveal it’s true ability, but consequently it’s a very rewarding listen! You’ll also be happy to know the band haven’t strayed from their tried and tested folk-pop formula BUT I will quickly add that there is plenty of new instrumentation and sounds at work that’ll impress the old fan base. 

Earlier this year the band encouraged us to email a request into Xtra Mile to get the record pressed onto Vinyl, and I’m delighted to say that this press release I’m reading confirms a limited edition red LP will be available, as well as the usual CD and digital versions. 

The band will be performing a release show on Friday 21st November at Camden’s Monach, before a short tour in December with Chris T-T & The Hoorats. Which will swing by Swindon’s Victoria for us, on Sunday 14th December. 

Tickets for the Swindon gig are already available from WeGotTickets – and SeeTickets priced £10.

There will be new videos and a single preceding the release, which I’m sure we’ll spam you with in all the usual places, but in the meantime remind yourself why they are so ace! 

The last 3 months in a quick review…

It’s been nearly 3 months since I last updated, sorry for the lack of information as I was off gallivanting.

June saw Devizes Festival ( 3 weeks in June) hit town, and I did 23 ish events in 21 days. Highlights included Howard Marks, the ejection and subsequent slating in the Gazette & Herald. (Can’t please them all, some good points in your review, you kinda missed the point though and I managed to ruffle a few feathers in a conservative town.) Mr B (awful sound but great venue and performance). And that crazy Mrs B Nice who was on another planet. Great comedy, and those 3 previous acts all had similar names, which caused chaos.

Ian Hopkins went sick, as you all know, but is back on his feet and rejoining the Festival committee after this years Wash Up meeting next week. Hooray!

I managed to prove myself with a few events, and have much grander, exciting plans for next year. Watch this space come September, and I’ll start to roll out a few hints. It’s going to be proper exciting.

 

The shortest of breaks was filled with  a complete surprise party for both Matthew Adams and I, (Late June) reaching our 30th & 31st birthdays respectively. Thrown by Nicky Stalham and Zoe Moore, it included an El Mariachi Mexican band, loads of Tequila, Mexican’s and Mexican’ts, friends and family, and then someone being sick in a pub toilet, which I waited around drinking coffee until 3am sobering up enough to drive home, because a taxi wouldn’t allow a sick person in the back. EPIC.

 

Then came 2 huge Swindon shows, The Computers & Gnarwolves. (early July) Both shows really brought the good times back to Swindon. I don’t like to blow my trumpet, but these were my biggest shows in terms of finance ever, and it really paid off. Great to see some big bands back in town, and I’ll be looking to continue doing more, provided we get the right offers. Check out the video below of Gnarwolves, along with these two awesome reviews. Especially the comment about the sound at Gnarwolves, which was done through a fog of sickness, Ibuprofen and Paracetamol. ThisIsWiltshire review & Hit The Scene review.

 

After that was a weekend of no sleep, continued sickness, paracetamol and 2000 TREES. (Mid July) My first ever full weekend at Trees (yes, really – I’m normally working at venues as it clashed with Fieldview in the past, OR doing warm up shows for this very festival!) was glorious. The Thursday saw the best bands of my past 6 months of promoting. Retrospective Soundtrack Players, Oxygen Thief and Ben Marwood all having played Swindon’s Victoria for me prior, and all sharing the same backing band was quite special. TRSP’s managed to reduce me to tears, and Ben Marwood also managed e tear. Later that evening saw JoFo play a proper indie rock racket, which made me smile more than their Bath show I managed to rescue after Moles burnt down. Gnarwolves finished off my affiliation with that day in proper style – If it wasn’t for the fact this day alone is the returning bands from the previous year, their set would guarantee them a place on next years bill. Ace.

Zoe, Rob, Meelie and I caught Dan Le Sac for the first time, since I missed them at the Frank Turner support at Wembley, instead opting for the Kingston instore show with Jim Lockey (hardcore). They didn’t disappoint, but it was also announced that they will be parting ways soon, so it was probably my one and only time of seeing them. Fiddlesticks.

The next two days followed in the same routine, late nights, busking slots, Dave McPherson popping up everywhere, AWESOME sets from The Bronx, The Computers and finished off in style with Crazy Arm. Jim Lockey announced their name change into Solemn Sun – I met all the rad dudes from across the country I rarely get to see, Adam Boucher, B-Sydes, Anthony Barlow, Lonely Tourist, Felix Hagen, Barry Dolan, Rick Marwood, Ben Marwood, Kevin BSM Records, and Jack Alcopop, Drop Out Dan etc and I spent time with Steve Hooper and his Mrs and the excellent Jodie from Bristol / Live Music Scene, to seemed to know even more people than I.

Shout outs to the Devizes massive (Luke, Dan and Alex) and all the Swindon crew (too many to name… but special mentions to Jake and Samuel)

Upon our return, and after a shower (or two) Rob Escott of The Colour Of Vinyl (link on your right) and I got down to reviewing the festival, via his session on Melksham Town Sound, which you can listen again via this link on Mixcloud, or check out our Pictures of our adventures on the Sheer Facebook page.

Proper excellent weekend, that gave us the post festival, festival blues. Hate returning to work and longing for it all to kick off again.

Which didn’t take long as PROFESSOR ELEMENTAL hit Devizes, in the amazing surroundings of St Mary’s Church / Arts Centre. The Prof’ went down extremely well, loved the town and the venue and what we are trying to achieve. Visually the place was arresting – Pictures on the Sheer facebook page – We had people travel from Swansea, Gloucester, Guildford, Poole and Bournemouth for the show(!) and our electro-swing DJ went on later than Devizes premier pub/club The Crown.

Check out this video, taken by an audience member…

 

In the mean time, I’ve had in the 10 year anniversary t-shirt image in. Designed by young, fledging graphic designer, Sharna Mollett – It will be available to purchase / pre-order very soon, with an ETA of late September for printing. Check out the design below. Mock up was created by Alex Fruen of Original Glory, who is also handling the digitalisation of a hand drawn image. Skills.

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 17.43.24

 

FINALLY, the first job I had after all that had blown over, was to announce the first of the September shows, in the shape of KUNT & THE GANG. (links on the gigs tab, to your right, if you’re viewing this on the website!) and our final show of the Summer at the Stratton Stroll this Saturday.

Then it’s a genuine 6 or 7 week break from all things musical and organisational, whilst I write the promotion plan for Devizes Festival 2015, have a summer off with friends, start the first of the Bad Film Nights, give the in-laws a thank you curry for all the child minding and perhaps a wee late minute holiday away too.

See y’all in September’

KIERAN J MOORE

STOP THE PRESSES!

Imagine my shame when, scrolling down my iTunes only to realise that BEN MARWOOD‘s BACK DOWN was released this year?

So scrap all my lists, as THIS was my album of the year.

Some acts who explode come undone on the “difficult” second album, but not our Ben. Here we see him flourish into the dark little song writer we kinda knew he was, but were a little afraid to admit. 

Maturity is an almost clichéd thing to say, so I won’t, I’ll say composed instead. His second album was a composed account of his fragility, honesty and impeccable taste of influences. Little had changed from the previous outing, ie. there was still a bit of slide + steel guitar and there were a few full band numbers, but this album just had an extra, inexplicable element to it, that made me deeply love it. 

I confess, without meaning to sound “oh look at me” about it, that I had this album last year, when Ben came and played The Lamb and stayed over with Jay Beans, that’s why it felt like I’ve owned this for ever. I have listened it to an alarming regularity since! Incidentally, it’s up there with the Retrospective lads on my most played records this year, despite both being released last year, what’s with that? 

To celebrate my ridiculous oversight, I have booked the Ben Marwood and Retrospective Soundtrack Players co-head line UK tour in February 2014, you can find out more about that, over on TOWNTALK. & pick up cheap advance tickets HERE

I’m looking forward to that tour poster too! http://www.benmarwood.com.

RIGHT, that’s me over and out until after Christmas, I hope you celebrate it in your own special way, and I’ll be back to spam you all about all things Musically Wiltshire in the new year!

THANKS to everyone who has given a damn and supported their local scenes, come to shows, hung out and generally been cool – You’re the real deal! 

Take care

Kieran x

2 gigs in Devizes on Friday…

Who says there’s nothing to do in Devizes? Well perhaps there is nothing to do if you don’t like live music, but we really have it all in Devizes. 

Last week’s Pat Travers blues show at Long Street Blues club went down a storm, but if blues isn’t your thing, then perhaps you should consider The Lamb this Friday night? Portsmouth based indie boys The Retrospective Soundtrack Players come to town, bringing their concept records based on classic films and books with them.

Their second album, Catcher In The Rye, based on JD Salinger’s book will be performed. Their previous record, based on the film Cool Hand Luke (with THAT scene, which spawned a million hip hop videos) may also get featured, and the rumours that their 3rd record based on Jurassic Park will either be confirmed or denied on the night. 

If you want the official press release email, give me a shout, and I’ll happily forward it. Entry is free, at The Lamb in St Johns Street from 8.30pm. Check out the Facepage for more info.

How ever, if that’s all a little high brow or cultural for you, then you could do a lot worse than checking out Abe Juggins show at the Bell By The Green. He has Ivor Novello winning guitarist Marco Pirroni and his band, Headcount performing. Marco also happens to perform with Adam Ant, Sinead O’Connor and Wolfman. Headcount’s previous records include 2002’s KKKK rated “It’s a Buiness doing Pleasure with you” Future Of The Left would be proud of a title like that, I’m sure. 

Check out the Facepage for more info.