2014- A year that began with a SLEAFORD MODS interview, a short rant about the new EAST INDIA YOUTH album and then what turned out to be more than a quick visit to see what the fuss was all about when the words FAT WHITE FAMILY appeared in our timelines.
It was a year when we all chatted about different bands, different favourite bands and just agreed that everything was just brilliant, but time simply doesn’t allow us to all stand in the same rooms at the same time to share these experiences. Blimey, we can’t even be arsed to argue about these things anymore. Your favourite band is probably going to be my favourite band one day, and there’s a big list being drawn up that none of us will ever see (but simply imagine) that we can’t even scratch the surface of.
Like the bloke in “The Fast Show” used to say… “Brilliant!!!!”
Except I suppose when KASABIAN headlined Glastonbury more than ten years after some of us were wondering whether their second album would match the first.
2014 was a year when those of us old enough to remember the days when we all donned our leather jackets to watch KILLING JOKE all came together with those who decided they didn’t like THE SPICE GIRLS and watch artists like EAGULLS and nodded in approval as any generation gap had been sealed. Little Johnny, upstairs with his punk rock electric guitar, would persuade Mum or Dad to go and see the aforementioned Sleaford Mods and Fat White Family and come to the conclusion that Theme parks with big roller coasters could now go and fuck themselves.
If bands like that were too shouty and loud we could always rely on the new ELBOW album, discover the glorious JOSH RECORD, catch up with what that bloke from Blur was up to or dance to those old JAMIE T songs we never were going to forget about.
Apparently BEADY EYE split up and COLDPLAY released another album.
Now I like Coldplay as much as the next man with a loved ones hand to hold on to. Some of us love a good attempt at joining in with their backing vocals whilst simultaneously waving our free arm in the air. However, having heard the one song that I still don’t know the title of, it maybe caused me to drift over to the other side and swerve the album. Is it any good anyone? Maybe I’ll have a peek sometime next year and get back to you.
2014 was the year we signed into our YOUTUBE accounts to try another flavour and as TV lost its taste and we started watching video’s by bands we’d just bumped into down the pub.
KATE BUSH was suddenly famous again – ditto PRINCE and everyone that went to these gigs remain proud to this day that they got in, but probably aren’t half as excited as those of us who eventually saw SLAVES for the first time. JAMES made us whoop with delight when we heard them again, ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN also made us re-evaluate our distrust of the nostalgia industry and MORRISSEY just carried on as normal to the delight of many.
New Artists caught our ears in abundance: PAUL THOMAS SAUNDERS, BETE NOIRE, LIFE, BLONDE BUNNY, GLITCHES, EMBERS, ROYAL BLOOD, WOMANS HOUR, STATS and TELEGRAM were seen more than once and THE JOHN STEEL SINGERS caught our attention after no more than thirty seconds before saying those closing words “Thank you very much, good night…” but that was enough for at least one of us to get hooked, get tickets for a show outside the capital and then get let down by the bloody trains.
Liverpool’s sound city was fab again – Day two’s shenanigans went…. Pooma – Josh Record – Happyness – Eliza and the Bear – Womans’ Hour – East India Youth – Fuck Buttons – Hold Steady – Factory Floor – Sunshine Underground. That’s worth noting to justify why we got giddy with excitement during this day on its own. The days either side made it an event to remember for years.
Sleaford Mods became a trio for a short time during the West London leg of Record Store Day…
…and our favourite band that sit on our doorsteps begging for food, CuT gave us at Louder Than War the first peep of their fab “Let’s Go” video, as well as one or two indications at what they’re throwing our way in 2015 which, again, leaves some of us a bit excited too. You may not have heard “Page 59” yet – some of us have and some of us are very excited about it – but you’ll hear it before February and you’ll love it.
The summer was ruined as it usually is every four years by the World cup. However, not destroyed completely thanks to the highlight of Raheem Stirlings shot that hit the side netting against Italy and that had us all off our seats and reminiscing ten days later that this was as good as it got.
East London’s local club Leyton Orient baffled some of us by sometimes going more than three games unbeaten, took us along the Jubilee line to Wembley and went two up before the half time whistle could sing its merry tune. What could possibly go wrong, we cried, before waking up the next morning, wondering what had actually gone wrong over the next hour and a bit that followed.
We saw loads of people we’d actually met previously in bars around the capital performing up on those big Glastonbury stages and the biggest thud of the summer was surely that of our jaws dropping on the Sunday afternoon of Standon Calling whilst YOUNG FATHERS stood proud and did their stuff without persistently asking us if we were all right ? – We’re always alright – that’s why we go to gigs – The Young Fathers know this, but many other bands don’t. For that and the tiny matter of throwing out an ace album, they won a prize and some people with online betting accounts laughed all the way to their online bank accounts.
We got to see that man in his silly trousers with his black shirt tucked in high on a stage at East London’s “Field Day” festival who kept growling at us like an over enthusiastic uncle at a wedding whilst thumping his chest and then we slowly forgave him because that song….that song that some of us usually find ourselves singing to the cat in an empty house that goes “I’ve been waiting on you….” has won us over.
Next year one man will attempt to listen to another song by FUTURE ISLANDS and comment on whether this band are a slow burner or a one hit wonder. In the meantime this new interpretation of the same song has to be noted as being responsible for swaying our opinions on this lot and if we had a prize to give for the best reinterpretation of the year song then this would win…
We saw Nadine Shah sing our favourite song IN FRENCH, got a peep of her new tune “Stealing Cars” that will no doubt whet our appetite for her second album coming our way in 2015…
…and saw a bloke called Tom Hickox …
…delight us a couple of weeks after being ignored whilst appearing on Jools’ telly show and then after being given a copy of his album, which is ace, made us feel a bit guilty and be the cause of some of us to monitor the listings in the hope of another show somewhere so we can say a personal thank you.
JUNGLE at Reading festival were pretty ace and we’d like to give an award for whoever it was that gave out the almighty scream that we heard during “Time” …
Staying with Reading festival, we saw a future festival headliner in the form of IMAGINE DRAGONS who whipped a massive crowd into a sun soaked frenzy not witnessed in that field since The Arctic Monkeys did the same seven years previously or The Killers ten years previous to that again.
Musically one wonders what the masses are hearing that I’m not, but it was a performance I’m glad to have witnessed. As for what was going on up on the main stage, for a large percentage of the weekend some of us were acknowledging that our birth certificates were a lot older (and arguably wiser) than those that were witnessed lapping up some of the turgid, dull Rock music that some of us discarded long before many of these people we were stood amongst were even born.
JOHN GRANT at Glastonbury on Saturday night was a personal highlight of the year, and then seeing him with a huge orchestra inside the really huge Royal Festival Hall a few months later left us speechless…
AFRIKAN BOY released a superb album, THE HELL a superb single and EMPATHY TEST a fab demo. All three artists were completely different to one another, but all were utterly magnificent examples of things more people should be seeking out next year.
One of us who put his begrudging hand up to visit Camden on a Saturday and listen to all hundred and bloody two bands playing at the “Nightmare in Camden” Festival before leaving the house, realised that bands called such things as JESUS FUCKING CHRIST as well as French duo’s called THE ALGORYTHM were enough to get out of bed in the morning and then we woke up a few days later feeling satisfied that he’d seen enough to warrant the 12 hour drinkathon. Unfortunately we still remain in the dark about a band called IAMINLOVE who we saw, loved, wrote to, got a reply, wrote back in great length to about wanting to learn more about before failing to hear from then again. Do bands still play it cool like this? Did they ever actually exist in the first place ? Are they going to hit us all with a massive PR campaign in 2015 and are ignoring our letters as instructed by an egotistical manager ….or have they split up? We may never know the truth.
We saw a few of our favorite Welsh bands that currently go by the names of RADSTEWART, CUT RIBBONS, GULP and TRAMPOLENE visit us in the capital and entertain us thoroughly. Their individual releases during 2014 go highly recommended.
A couple of our mates released a cool film about rescuing Lions from Bolivian circuses but DEXY’s “Nowhere is Home”, first seen on the Thursday night of Glastonbury, bought bigger tears to our delighted eyes and fond memories of that night in Liverpool cathedral in 2013 …
EMPORER YES! made a great debut album, as did ARROWS OF LOVE, THE SUNSHINE UNDERGROUND, JUNGLE and SIVU, but we need to rein in our enthusiasm for the WILD SMILES debut that a nation will eventually look back on with delirious pleasure.
We need to investigate TELEMAN more than we have done.
We need to go and see TRASH KIT.
We need to share with you the discovery that if you type 241543903 into a Google search engine you can see many people putting their heads into fridges.
We need someone to vote for.
We need to vote.
We look forward to hearing NADINE SHAH’S second album.
We look forward to hearing EAST INDIA YOUTH’s second album.
We look forward to hearing TOO MANY T’s debut album.
We remind you again of ASYLUMS.
We casually nudge you towards BEATY HEART…
…and we need to express our delight at “Louder Than War’s” FAERGROUND ACCIDENTS …
Charlie Boyer, who used to be in Charlie Boyer and the Voyers, is now in The Voyers and has had his hair cut. The Voyers are ace and still play the same songs that Charlie Boyer and the Voyers used to play… well, still do actually but they shortened their name in 2014.
We want less bands that sound like Jamie T next year please and less bands telling us openly they eat burgers from well known burger “restaurants” and less people to feel the need to film everything especially when there’s an event going on that has dozens of professional camera men from the BBC who will make a much better job of it than the person usually standing in front of me blocking my view. Stage invasions become invalid once a camera phone comes out of anyone’s pocket and people who get their phones out the moment a member of a band steps near them also need ‘avin’ a word with.
Finally, one of us would like to warn you all that if you’re thinking of spending April Fools Day pretending it’s your birthday then be prepared for at least one person to actually purchase a cake for you even though you’ve told the world by Midday that it’s a joke. Be prepared to upset the one or two people who fall for the ruse and refuse to see the funny side…
Keep making tunes, keep arranging these gigs, keep letting us know about all this stuff and thank you for anyone who has been responsible in allowing me into rooms of all sizes around the UK simply so I can stand there and watch bands that everyone else has put together and sweated over whilst I’ve been playing darts down the pub, moaning at the football or simply sitting on my arse watching telly.
So then ….Happy new year.
2015…. We’re ready …Let’s Go…. xx
Here’s my personal top 50 tunes of the year as a handy YouTube playlist: