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)
I had a free 5 minutes so quickly glanced over our past 10 years, and made up a load of guestimates that sound real impressive. Whilst these may not be 100% accurate they do give a good indication of what we have done for Devizes.
We have promoted over 300 gigs in Wiltshire, dealing with approximately 552 different bands in the process. These have been in 15 different venues, in 6 different towns.
1/6th of the shows have been in Swindon (51), with the lion share obviously being in Devizes (241) or Bath (10) and the rest are odds and sods scattered across the county.
If we average each band into 4 members, that’s a staggering 2,208 musicians!! That does no include hangers on, engineers, tour managers, roadies, agents and photographers etc.
We’ve had performers from all corners of Great Britain, including one dedicated lot who drove from Elgin, in northern Scotland. That’s further away than Paris. As well as acts from all across Europe, even an Australian. And rather belatedly later this year, we’ll also have our first American friend.
We’ve even been able to get Devizes name into national papers and magazines, by booking proper tour dates, of which I have a stack of posters, which really should be seen to be believed. I think one day we’ll get them out to display.
One of our key principles was to work with, encourage and support or inspire the youth. It’s with great pleasure that fanzine creator, Ben Hooper and graphic designer, Ben Gage both cite us as key influences to getting their jobs at Film Council Wales and as an independent graphic designer, respectively.
Vicky Scipio made it to the Gazette & Herald as a staff photographer, after being our dedicated gig photographer for the best part of two or three years, and regularly having her pictures in the paper.
That’s not to mention musicians who we gave opportunities and experience to. Including Jed Elliot (now of The Struts), Dan Clarke who drums in Decade – still got your first demo kid, and those two handsome bothers in Bite The Buffalo (who are also music teachers at Bath Uni), and a hundred more who are now professional musicians, like Mike East who performs in a function band and works on cruises. Tough work that!
A mention for Pardon My French & KISS FM DJ’s Tim Smith and Luke Sutton, who came from our scene, DJ’d our nights and have become the most significant DJ’s in Bristol right now. Also to Charlie Romaijn and Deej from Thought Forms, who were one of the first local bands to escape our clutches, and have been able to tour America and Europe, doing something they believed in! Something, we always knew they would.
(actually trying to find more of this sort of information out is hard, as I don’t have many peoples names, I should probably give Toby Tripp a mention too! The ones given as examples above are because I’m still in contact with them.)
So thanks too all the friends I’ve made since doing this. Cheers to everyone who I share a good memory with. The people I’ve met, the wicked music I’ve seen and the artistic creativity we’ve all given birth to. I feel safe to say, I think I changed Devizes for the better, but I guess you’ll have to wait to see what happens next.
Our Ten Year Tee, was designed by young, fledging graphic designer and Devizes resident, Sharna Mollett. It is available from our Bandcamp for £8 inc free P+P (which has absolutely nothing to do with the stack of Christmas bonus, Royal Mail stamps I get every year.)
Note* I do realise these numbers are relatively small for both full time venues, and bigger towns – So try to remember that we are both a small town, and doing this in our spare time.
I’ve read an awful lot today from the people NOT at Glastonbury, that it’s the worst thing ever not being there. So to help make up for the fact, the wonderful people at Terrascope and Sonic Sanctuary are producing a bespoke festival, right on our door step.
Let me introduce to you WOOLF MUSIC. >http://woolfmusic.blogspot.co.uk/<
Set in the plush venue and grounds of Cleeve House in Seend, this 2 day festival takes place at the height of summer on the 17th and 18th of August.
Boundary pushing music, artistic poetry set out in an almost controlled chaos, with both programmed and impromptu sets being played out of the weekend, it’s said it’s going to be more like a house party, than a festival.
I’ve been told there is going to be an awesome Coffee Bus at the event, along with all manner of catering and food, not to mention some international live music.
Head over to the website for further in detail information and pick up tickets etc.
JAY Macallister, aka BEANS ON TOAST has just released a brand new video for Beer & a Burger, the 2nd or 3rd track to be lifted from his new album, Fishing for a Thank You.
Jay will be touring the UK throughout April and May, including two stops in the Southwest for us at Sheer. One at Bath Moles Club on Thursday 16th May and the other, Friday 17th @ The Victoria in Swindon.
But if you’re a poor, broke student, perhaps a trip to a free entry Moles Club and their Stereo Types night would be in order instead? That show comes with support from Oxygen Thief. >Facepage<
HOW EVER, it’s not all good news… Jay has had to pull out of the Devizes showcase gig. 2nd year running I’ve lost my head liner and For The Same Reason. Last year Thought Forms went and toured the US with the UK’s pioneers of trip hop, Portishead, and this year Jay is opening up for none other than Sheer Favourite FRANK TURNER.
We wish him all the best, and will find some one just as rad to fill his boots!
20th April – MARGATE – The Bracket
30th April – CAMBRIDGE – Portland Arms
16th May – BATH – Moles w/ Oxyegn Thief
17th May – SWINDON – Victoria w/ Oxygen Thief + Ellen Cox + Jimmy Moore
21st May – HULL – The Fruit
22nd May – SOUTHAMPTON – Joiners
23rd May – YORK – Fibbers
24th May – MANCHESTER – Dot to Dot
25th May – BRISTOL – Dot to Dot
26th May – NOTTINGHAM – Dot to Dot
Tour of USA: w/ Frank Turner
1st June – Lancaster, PA – Chameleon Club
4th June – Pittsburgh, PA – Mr. Smalls
6th June – Baltimore, MD – Ram’s Head Live
7th June – Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts
8th June – Asbury Park, NJ – Stone Pony
9th June – Columbus, OH – The Basement
10th June – Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall Ballroom
14th June – Indianapolis, IN – Deluxe
Glastonbury / Blissfields / Beatherder
2000 Trees / Lounge on the Farm / Secret Garden Party
Frolic Festival / Boomtown Fair
Arc Tan Gent is the UK’s newest and has frankly, the best boundary pushing line up known to man. This sort of bill was usually reserved for the All Tomorrow Parties shows, and look what happened there.
Arc Tan Gent will have no such bother, because it’s bought to us by the same wonderful people who have given us 2000 Trees, which for me personally has beaten all UK festivals to the title of best, gazumping even the likes of Truck festival. Have some of that UK music scene.
Like 2000 Trees, with in the next few years, Arc Tan Gent too will sell out before they even announce the head liners. It’s that sort of festival.
This début year they will deliver to us none other than 65daysofstatic, Fuck Button, Tall Ships and like a gazillion more, even a bunch who have graced a stage or two locally, including Thought Forms, Vessels and This Town Needs Guns. Oh, you might also notice that THAT FUCKING TANK are playing Devizes in July too… whilst being at this festival in August…
You can buy tickets for this festival via me, by simply using this link…. >http://www.etickets.to/buy/?e=9683< which I receive £10 for per ticket – which I can split with you to buy beer at the festival. It’s simple.
Bristol based avant garde, peerless, post-rock trio THOUGHT FORMS, will finally play Devizes again this Friday – performing at The Lamb as a brief hello and warm up to their 10 date European tour with Ebsen and The Witch.
These are exciting times for the ex-Melksham / Devizes band, who have just won Steve Lamacq’s BBC Radio 6 Rebel Playlist a few weeks ago, and were a single of the week in Q Magazine.
If you follow the band, you’ll undoubtedly know of the level of hysteria which seems to be surrounding the release of their second LP, GHOST MOUNTAIN, which is receiving universally glowing reviews – Having heard the record, I can confirm it’s the perfect accumulation of their previous efforts, with equal, excellent elements of their sound scape drone and wonky pop.
Entry for this show is FREE. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – you simply don’t get this level of quality for free any where else at such regular intervals. Please support this show, and the venue – Vote With Your Feet.
Support comes from all sorts of local, garage rock band, Gentlemen’s Relish.
Here’s my run down of my favourite records of 2012 – Feel free to tell me why I’m wrong, and submit your own best of’s…
1. runWALK! – “Health” (Holy Roar)
2. Japandroids – “Celebration Rock” (Poly Vinyl)
3. You Slut! – “Medium Bastard” (Stressed Sumo)
4. Tall Ships – “Everything Touching” (Big Scary Monsters)
5. Maps & Atlases – “Beware And Be Grateful” (Fat Cat)
6. Hysterical Injury – “Dead Wolf Situation” (Self release)
7. Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun – “Death” (Xtra Mile)
8. Future Of The Left – “The Plot Against Common Sense” (Xtra Mile)
9. Straight Lines – “Freaks Like Us” (Xtra Mile)
10. She Makes War – “Little Battles” (Self release)
I have to add into this list, the fact that I loved the, Fighting With Wire, Hold Your Horse Is, Minus The Bear and Retrospective Soundtrack Players records too!
EP’s of 2012…
1. Little Leagues – “A Problem Solved” (Self release)
2. Decade – “Decade” (Self release)
3. Gnarwolves – “Cru” (Big Scary Monsters)
4. The Naturals – “Concrete Sea” (Howling Owl)
5. Russian Blue – “Etiquette (Self release)
Favourite Gig Of The Year
1. Frank Turner @ Wembley Arena – April
So there you have it, I could go on, like all of us with various lists, but it would be tedious. Except to say, well done to all the local bands who produced great EP’s (Salute The Magpie, Nathan Detroit, Homeland etc) to all the great shows (All of yours Abe) and a huge thank you to all of the touring bands who came and made Devizes a slightly better place.
Next year already looks rad, with new records from Thought-Forms and Ben Marwood (I’ve heard them both, and they’re both corkers!). I have some great gigs lined up, including Josie Ghost (The King Blues) so keep your eyes peeled on this here web-blog.
THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR COMING TO THE GIGS AND VOTING WITH YOUR FEET – IT MEANS EVERYTHING.
Melksham / Worton come Bristol noiseniks, THOUGHT FORMS, have released a brand new song, with an absolutely sublime video for “SANS SOLEIL”
The 3 piece who have already toured America and Europe opening for Portishead, in 2012 are currently on a UK tour with label mates, BEAK>, they will return to Devizes on 8th February 2013.
Their second album proper, will be released on February 18th 2013 via Bristol label Invada Records, and will be titled “Ghost Mountains”
Invada is the label created by Portishead chappy, Geoff Barrow, and have put out all manner of left field, arty wickedness, including Julian Cope, Crippled Black Phoenix, Team Brick and Amusement Parks On Fire and many more.
The event was born out of the “Battle Of The Bands” Style events, which we felt was tired and needed a facelift. So instead of pitting some out-of-towners, against the obviously more “popular” in-towners, against the established local bands, we decided to split the final over two stages, invite MORE bands to play, and give those genuine, fresh new boys the chance to play the towns biggest venue, whilst looking after the established local + out of town bands, all at the same time!
This year, stepping in for now departed THOUGHT-FORMS, are Swindon based, globe trotting, ska punkers, SLAGERIJ!!!
Thought-Forms go with our greatest of best wishes – since they were offered the chance to tour with fellow Bristolian’s – Portishead, in front of 14,000 people a night. We didn’t think it right we should stop a band having an opportunity like that, and hope that they Smash it when they play – impressing all that witness, I know they’ll be amazing!
Despite the loss, we are not at a loose end for a really cool band – SLAGERIJ have completed tours of America, supporting similar ska bands, they have some fantastic videos on youtube performing to 1000’s of people down those sort of scary 80’s side streets you see in dated movies… v.cool. Not to mention they absolutely nailed a performance at OneFest this year, among all the prestigious local gigs in and around Swindon including Swindon Pride and My Dad’s Bigger Than Your Dad Fest.
Slagerij are fast becoming one of the South West’s most rewarding bands – having scooped major support slots with bands such as Voodoo Glow Skulls in Bristol, and Direct Hit in Swindon, both touring bands from America – there really isn’t many bands in Wiltshire achieving as much as them right now, and you’d be silly to miss what all the fuss is about, and to be honest, doesn’t Ska Music suit the summer?!
So on to our event, tickets are £6 from Devizes Books, £7 door – so please please please buy in advance!
Ceres Hall, Corn Exchange,
7.00 – 7.30 – Terrapin – Seend / Melksham – Folky Indie band.
7.45 – 8.15 – The Score – Lavington – Post-Hardcore
8.30 – 9.00 – Black Sanctuary – Devizes – Metal
9.15 – 9.45 – Nudy Bronque – Swindon – Indie
10 – 10.45 – SLAGERIJ – Swindon – SKA Punk
Upstairs (RUNNING ORDER TBC – what is below is not 100%)
7.00 – 7.30 – The Policy – Lavington – Epic Rock
7.45 – 8.15 – Orcryst – Devizes – Metal
8.30 – 9.00 –
9.15 – 9.45 – Eroding Repbulic – Devizes – Rock
10 – 10.30 – Senor Scorpion – Devizes – Classic Rocky vibes
Southwest based post rock band Thought Forms, who recently announced that they would be touring the US in October as support to Portishead, have just released two new songs for our oral pleasure.
The songs go hand in hand with the wonderful organisation that is All Tomorrows Parties (ATP), who have released the songs via their website. This is great news and can only be a healthy look to future involvement with the festival, which Thought Forms have already played selected, curated shows.
You can listen via the links below too.