Things we didn’t know a year ago: 2017
During 2017 Keith Goldhanger has been keeping us up to date with his monthly discoveries. As 2018 kicks off he gives us his thoughts about the bands he’s crossed paths with during the year just gone.
I imagine we all have our own separate stories that materialised during 2017. Looking at all the lists available of top albums and breaking new artists it’s easy to be unaware of a large percentage of what’s being tipped for the top or highly recommended for the future. There’s loads of stuff out there that some of us still have no idea about. Some good stuff and some bad stuff. This is what happens now we have the internet and access to whatever we want. We get swamped, It’s difficult to keep up. However here’s my tuppence-worth that saves me from rabbiting along about music whilst at the football.
It took just a few days after entering 2017 before IDLES came into some of our lives. We’ve all heard them now….everyone likes them….Certainly the ‘band of the year’ and if there was a trophy to give out for anyone to display from an open top bus through the streets of Bristol as the year comes to a close then it would have their name on it. Another twelve months and it’s expected many around us will be slightly annoyed every time it’s mentioned that we remember getting change from a tenner when entering an Idles show as though it was yesterday. In 2017 Idles turned up everywhere we wanted them to except for Glastonbury (No longer the ‘best festival in the world’ then) and gave us an album that seems to be placed on everyone’s list of the year. Well done indeed.
By the time February arrived we were on our fourth or fifth helping from The Rhythm Method, more was to come and more people still need to realise what we’ve got on our hands here. If there’s a TV scriptwriter out there drawing a blank then listen to and then write a comedy drama around ‘Something for the Weekend’. You can do it…go on !
By the time March arrived at least one of us was asking around about the existence of SUPERORGANISM who seemed to pop their heads over the window ledge, slide a tune called Something For Your M.I.N.D underneath the door then ran away without leaving their telephone number. The Village Undergound is a big place to make your debut in London but lots of us turned up and weren’t disappointed. This lot provided one of the best shows of the year and one of my favourite tunes of 2017. Sometimes you just look at a band for the first time and just know the world is going for fall for it.
Even if it’s only likely to be for one album.
We’ll see. . . What do I know ? (- I’m just sitting here looking at pretty colours).
PLEASURE COMPLEX turned up a couple of times during the year but shows were limited due to various members assisting the likes of Ghostpoet and The Gang of Four. FRANCOBOLLO were still keeping many of us interested with all the tracks that eventually appeared on what I’d suggest is my favourite album of the year (Long Live Life). SWEAT threw out a new tune or three, played more shows and made us realise that no one ever should put this band on whilst its still light outside. Our failed one night stand even for some brief flirtation was with the wonderfully named LADIES DARTS NIGHT. It never took place, We were just pen pals in the end (A forthcoming Rhythm Method song title if I’ve ever heard one). No, we never met them, they only had one song as people might have said but didn’t as the band didn’t hang around long enough for anyone to turn up to say it. By the end of the year they were no more.
I never met any of GOLDHEART ASSEMBLEY either. Ten years, two albums and a grand finale with The Magic Numbers, James Walsh from Starsailor and many others ended as it should. Tube straight home and a weekend of listening to all their tunes again whilst it snowed outside.
It was sad about EMBERS calling it a day this year. Guys, you were great – big tunes xx big love.
MATT MALTESE sat around a piano in a silent lock tavern was an incredible experience and a great way to be introduced to his talents. A great example of not always knowing what’s going on behind closed doors until you walk through them. Camden Town still has it – one simply has to put in the legwork though.
The Are you Listening ? Festival in Reading introduced some of us to ANNA MEREDITH and raised over ten thousand pounds for local charity MENCAP (it’s on again in 2018 – we’ll tell you more about this shortly). This event also made us aware of a duo called HERE ARE THE YOUNG MEN AND UNCLE PEANUT who we didn’t actually get to see live until September when they decided to play a number of shows in a van (capacity 12 for each of the five shows that afternoon). We’d rather have had them drive to our front doors to be honest but realised once the experience had finished that the neighbours would have never spoken to us again had they done so.
BRITISH SEA POWER played a blinder at Handmade Festival in Leicester. SHAME, KAGOULE, CABBAGE, HAPPYNESS, LIFE and (them again) – IDLES too. However it was electronic noise terrorists GALLOPS that had one of us all hot under the collar again by the end of the two days and declaring this another gig of the year (and possibly event of the year also).
GRANDADDY’s album (Last Place) came out of the box again as a way to ease the grieving for bass player Kevin Garcia who passed away in 2017. It’s another album we’ll own for decades.
KASABIAN continued to be an odd bunch of blokes. Releasing a song or two that sounded like the Bay City Rollers and had us jumping for joy whilst searching unsuccessfully amongst the stalls of Camden Market for tartan trousers but then realised they’d placed one or two tracks on their album sounded as though they’d been knocked out during their lunch break.
Throwing Kasabian the odd TRAAMS song would be useful at times. It took a while but we eventually realised that Traams are really a band everyone should be listening to instead of many other things that clog up our daytime radio schedules.
NADINE SHAH entered our lives with the first track from her hugely lovable third album (Holiday Destination) this year and at least one of us became slightly obsessed with wanting to hear ‘Las die Katze’ by DER PLAAN as the evenings got longer and summer approached with gusto.
DOWNTOWN BOYS threw us a fabulous tune called A Wall whilst some of us were complaining about not being able to get anywhere near the field THE KILLERS were playing in at Glastonbury. RADIOHEAD gave us a lot to think about for a couple of hours during the weekend however it was MOONLANDINGZ and CONFIDENCE MAN that had one of us leaving Somerset and declaring these two the main highlights.
IDLES (again) PLASTIC MERMAIDS (another show of the year) and CABBAGE (still getting better, just like THE FAT WHITE FAMILY, they never disappoint) appeared on the same stage in the rain and in that order at Standon Calling. One of us didn’t move for three hours. Kate Tempest gave us a performance to remember at the same festival that had one of us looking for a rewind button so we could sit back and watch it all again.
August introduced MARIE DAVIDSON to one of us during Visions Festival. Her back catalogue is worth checking out. She seems to be making the kind of music we wanted Cabaret Voltaire to make one day but never did. Imagine Donna Summer singing with Factory Floor . . . That.
Hull’s finest LIFE finally gave us an album of quirky punk rock classics. LUMER, Hulls’ second finest appeared on our radar and performed a top-notch show at The Old Blue Last. One of us around here arrived having consumed one too many sherries on one particular Saturday night. Lumer are that sort of band.
BESTIVAL took up most of September in terms of finances and a long recovery period was necessary to try to remember everything that went on during the four days of high winds and high quality performances. It was brilliant this year despite the intense windy, cold and wet weather. TOO MANY T’S played everywhere during the weekend (released their debut album) and also made a fabulous video in one take on their mobile phone. THE XX performed another one of our favourite shows of the year, as did THE PET SHOP BOYS who were the perfect band to end the weekend (even though some of us still managed to see Idles again as well as four or five other shows before going to bed that night). Traams playing late at night was another memorable highlight, catching LOST COLOURS just after we’d dragged ourselves out of bed on Friday morning was quite a brilliant way to start the day also. We’re still trying to piece that weekend together three months later.
Southend’s Cool Thing Records threw us a new name of BECKIE MARGARET during October, and November saw us introduced to ILK, a band we hope to catch again during 2018.
The Father Ted moment in 2017 came thanks to STRONG ASIAN MOTHERS who I thought had written one of the tunes of the year before hearing the original one Saturday morning coming out of Top Shop (the tune that is, not me). I briefly flirted with the idea that Don’t let go by Strong Asian Mothers is one of those better than the original moments. Not a feat Adam French has quite achieved with The Walkman’s The Rat but his version is nearly as great as the original. The original may never get bettered.
Young Fathers are still being listened to. HMLTD are turning into one of the most original group of people we’re now beginning to appreciate without taking the mickey and even Harry Styles had his fifteen minutes of fame in one mans east London cubby-hole. INHEAVEN, TRAMPOLINE and dozens of others also released debut albums. There’s a big pile of them on the other side of this desk still in their wrappers.
So what can we expect for 2018 then ? – Well I’ll answer that the same way I did last year.
It took 28 days before one of us stood in front of Idles in 2017.
They’ve been going for years.
Louder Than War reviewed them in 2012 https://louderthanwar.com/idles-villa-marina-douglas-live-review/
New bands are not just for Christmas – This is why some of us try pointing these things out on a monthly basis (December has been quiet apart from that Kate Mo$$ soundcloud page). We know there’s certainly another pop combo or two somewhere out there that are currently sitting at home frustrated that no one seems to be acknowledging their existence. We’ll try to find them. They may need to get busy, they’ll need to work harder than we do but there’s a big chance once everything comes together we’ll all be having another knees up somewhere grateful for the fuel that keeps many of us going.
As I write, someone somewhere is about to launch yet another Facebook event for a (probably free) show down the road from you, I and everyone else because they’ve already fallen for at least one (probably all) of the bands on offer.
Twelve people might turn up.
There’s probably another show going on down the road featuring old blokes that were ace in 1978 but not so good four decades later.
That’s where everyone else will be.
Crowding the bar, singing along to the hits just like our parents did when Bill Hayley came on the telly and complaining that they don’t make them like that anymore.
They do – It’s just that a lot of people feel the need to pay a score on the door instead of paying attention for free.
Still, what do I know.
Happy new Year x
Here’s my personal top 50 that includes a bit of all the above . . .
All words by Keith Goldhanger. More writing by Keith on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. You can also find Keith on Facebook and Twitter (@HIDEOUSWHEELINV).You may subscribe to the Goldhanger Shorts Facebook page too if you so wish.