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"