Thursday, 5 January 2017

Top 5 Gigs of 2016

2016 was shit for many reasons but it was absolutely brilliant for live music. After a few years of failing to cut down I let the shackles off and, to be honest, got a little bit carried away. I managed 40 gigs in all making 2016 my most giggy year since 1991.

1. Thee Oh Sees at The Coronet (Friday 2nd September) - I very nearly didn't go to this after a busy week and a lot of travelling. Thank heavens I did. Thee Oh Sees were magnificent and the night was made all the better by two great support acts in The Blind Shake & Magnetix. Despite my comments about gig number 3 THIS was technically the most jumpy up and down though I avoided the chaos and watched from a "safe space". Full gig report

2. Meilyr Jones at Village Underground (Thursday 6th October) - I saw Meilyr five times this year and he was never less than excellent. This gig, the last of the bunch, was the best night by fractions. Full gig report

3. Japandroids at Birthdays (Thursday 20th October) - The most jumpy up & down gig of the year. After being on holiday when tickets went on sale I snagged a ticket the day before and got in early to make sure I was right down the front. It was another wild night, undoubtedly the most sweaty I got all year. Great support from Slowcoaches too. Full gig report

4. Low at Union Chapel (Tuesday 6th December) - I saw Low twice this year. This show was a little special with Low playing a set of their Christmas tunes and a more regular set in one of my favourite venues in London.

5. The Masonics, Ye Nuns & The Baron Four at The Lexington (Wednesday 21st December) - Garage Punk triple bill in aid of War Child. A boozy pre-Crimbo night made exceptional by the brilliant Ye Nuns set.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Chop's Book of 2016

Second year in a row I've failed to read enough books to put together a reasonable Top 5 so just a book of the year choice. I have a pile of books to get through and Christmas just made that quite a bit bigger so I'm really going to try and knuckle down and read more in 2017.

I Formed A Band by Eddie Argos

The story of how Eddie Argos formed the band Art Brut with a group of pals and went on to world domination or, at the very least, medium sized indie success. If you're a fan of the band you won't be surprised to hear this is told with Eddie's flair for self deprecating humour.

The story begins with Eddie playing the vacuum cleaner on stage in Poole, and ends up with Art Brut recording Art Brut VS Satan with Black Francis in Salem, Oregon. In between there are a series of some of the funniest rock anecdotes you're likely to read.


Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Top TV Shows I watched in 2016

Largely due to my obsession with keeping my TiVo below 30% I watched quite a bit of telly this year. In between the bland & average there was some brilliant original television.

1. Deutschland 83 (Series 1) - Jonas Nay was simply fabulous as a naive Stasi double agent. This had thrills aplenty, a great cast and exhuberantly colourful cinematography.

2. Fleabag (Series 1) - Brilliant if very black comedy. Great writing & performance from Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

3. The Night Manager (Series 1) - A heart stopping John Le Carre thriller with the odd bit of silliness. Hugh Laurie excels as the fantastically nasty villain.

4. Trapped (Series 1) - My Nordic obsession continues, this time it's in Iceland.

5. Raised by Wolves (Series 1 & 2) - Alright babs? Very surprised Channel 4 didn't renew this. Caitlin Moran's attempt to use kickstarter to fund a third series failed but perhaps there's still life in series yet.


Monday, 2 January 2017

Top 5 Albums of 2016

Going to do a speedy run through my top fives of the year. Starting with my favourite albums of the year, no long wordy explanations this year just a straight list. I found lots of great new music but found it really tough to put them in order (with the exception of my number one) so I've listed my top 30 so if I want to change my mind at some point in the future I'll remember what the other options were.

1. Meilyr Jones "2013"

2. Leonard Cohen "You Want it Darker"

3. The Blind Shake "Celebrate Your Worth"

4. Charles Bradley "Changes"

5. Julia Jacklin "Don't Let The Kids Win"

6. Eleanor Friedberger "New View"
7. Mogwai "Atomic"
8. Angel Olsen "My Woman"
9. David Bowie "Blackstar"
10. Conor Oberst "Ruminations"
11. Tindersticks "The Waiting Room"
12. Field Music "Commontime"
13. The Wave Pictures "Bamboo Dinner In The Rain"
14. Slowcoaches "Nothing Gives"
15. Kiran Leonard "Grapefruit"
16. Laura J Martin "On The Never Never"
17. Emma Pollock "In Search of Harperfield"
18. Pixies "Head Carrier"
19. PJ Harvey "Hope Six Demolition Project"
20. Thee Oh Sees "A Weird Exits"
21. Cowtown "Paranormal Romance"
22. North Sea Radio Orchestra "Dronne"
23. Savages "Adore Life"
24. She Makes War "Direction of Travel"
25. Wild Billy Childish & CTMF "SQ1"
26. Palehound "Dry Food"
27. Giant Burger "Giant Burger Forever"
28. Ultimate Painting "Dusk"
29. Weaves "Weaves"
30. Conrad Keeley "Original Machines"


Sunday, 25 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 25: "Shut Up Kiss Me" Angel Olsen

My song of the year is this slice of country tinged perfect pop from Angel Olsen. The chorus is a joyus burst of love that I can't help but sing along too. I'll also admit there's been kitchen dancing at times too. During a year that has been shit on so many levels Shut Up Kiss Me put a smile on my face and that's worth a lot.

Happy Christmas everyone, I hope you all have a lovely day.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 24: "Featured Artist" Meilyr Jones

Meilyr Jones has been my artist of the year without doubt. The lyrics to this song, released back in January, seem prophetic as Meilyr has recieved a lot of praise this year and is surely on the cusp of breaking into mainstream consciousness. Featured Artist is one of my favourite tunes from his brilliant debut album.

Check back tomorrow to find out my Song of the Year. I know it's wrong to have an advent with a door on Christmas Day but I had 25 songs to fit in and forgot how this annoyed me last year (I'll trim it to 24 if you all remind me next year).

Friday, 23 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 23: "In Waves" Slow Club

This is just a lovely song. A gentle country guitar melody that backs Rebecca's sumptuous vocal and really lets her shine. I saw Slow Club play an in-store at Rough Trade and it was spell binding live too.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 22: "Breaking Into Aldi" Fat White Family

I've not been a close follower of the ongoing misadventures of the Fat White Family. I know they have a bit of a reputation as wild characters who have a tendacy to get naked during live appearances but I haven't seen them myself. Breaking Into Aldi doesn't feature on the Songs for Our Mothers album that came out at the start of the year but for me it's the best thing they've done so far. I imagine it captures the zeitgeist of post-Brexit Britain, assuming I know what a zeitgeist actually is, either way this is a blast of punk of energy.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Musical Advent Day 21: "Up To Anything" The Goon Sax

Some of my favourite songs of the year are by bands I know very little about. The Goon Sax are a trio from Brisbane featuring Louis Forster, James Harrison and Riley Jones. Up To Anything is the title track of their debut album and another slice of perfect pop. This is all the more remarkable as the band are all still in their teens. Louis is the son of former Go-Between Robert Forster but this is a band that seems more than capable of making their own way in the music business.