Albums To Look Forward To In 2010

Things kick of pretty quick smart in the New Year as Guillemots front man Fyffe Dangerfield releases his debut solo record ‘Fly Yellow Moon’ on 18 January.  The Guillemots debut ep ‘From The Cliffs’ was absolutely stunning.  Their debut album was a let down in comparison though still really good.  However, things never really clicked on their follow up record and perhaps Dangerfield’s sauree into the solo market is an indication of this.  Having heard the debut single, it sounds like Guillemots, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing if he can recapture the quality of that debut EP.

Next up of note on 1st February are the wonderful Midlake.  Their last album ‘The Trials of Vanocupanther is simply brilliant.  I don’t think there are many better to be honest.  And their follow up ‘The Courage Of Others’ is hugely anticipated.  I watched Midlake go from headliners at King Tuts to headliners at ABC within a couple of months.  They are magnificent on record and live and I for one cannot wait for their new record which feels long over due.

Another long overdue record to be released on 8th February is Fionn Regan’s new record ‘The Shadow Of An Empire’.  He is without doubt one of my favourite artists.  His debut album ‘The End Of History’ is a piece of brilliance and I have been waiting for this follow up for what seems like far too long.  Interestingly I once saw him support Midlake at King Tuts and it’s still one of the best gigs I’ve ever been too.  These two artists releasing records within a week of each other is going to be special – not to mention Roddy’s first birthday right after!

The next record I am really looking forward to will be released on 15th February………eeek………and will be by the Unwinding Hours, the new project featuring members of Aereogramme.  The Kays Lavelle have been compared to Aereogramme on a number of occassions.  It’s actually a comparison I don’t mind.  Firstly, because I think they are brilliant.  Secondly, because I never knew who they were until we were compated to them.  They are certainly not an influence on my music though I have fallen in love with what they do and see the connections between the Kays and them.  This new project has been very well spoken of.  It sounds really interesting and I for one cannot wait to hear what’s on offer.

Shearwater release new record ‘The Golden Archipelago’ on 23rd February.  First discovered through Songbytoad, I eagerly anticipate this new record as well.  There is something not too un-Midlake-esque about this group.  I certainly hear a lot of the same ideas on ‘Rooks’ as on ‘Vanocupanther’ so I think it’s definitely one to keep an eye on.

Into March and we’ve got the new Frightened Rabbit record ‘The Winter Of Mixed Drinks’.  You all know how much I am looking forward to this one.  I think they are a top band who will go on to bigger and better things in 2010.  That’s a definite purchase for me.

We can also expect records apparently from Friendly Fire, Radiohead, Portishead, Four Tet,  Crystal Castles, Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend and hopefully The National.  So all in all it looks like a good year ahead album wise.

Closer to home we can expect records from The Kays Lavelle (yes, finally!), The Scottish Enlightenment, Conquering Animal Sound, The Last Battle, Meursault, eagleowl (maybe), The Stormy Seas (maybe) and numerous others. 

I really do think 2010 is going to be a year of good albums and great things.

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Kays Tipped For 2010

Well, this is really nice now isn’t it.  I think it’s the first time ever we’ve been tipped to make waves in an end of year list!  I for one am totally chuffed and would like to thank Kowalskiy for this. With the album about to hit the mixing stage this just makes me even more excited about getting it finished and ready to go. Check out the article here.

Song Of The Decade

Did anyone see this show last night?  Well it basically counted down the top 20 (I think) tracks that defined the last decade.  I tuned in at about number 4 so stayed up to watch the final 4 be unveiled.  I could have sworn that the song of the decade was going to be ‘Take Me Out’ by Franz Ferdinand.  I think for me, though I don’t own anything they’ve done, nor particularly love them, this tune stands out as a turning point in mainstream music in the UK during the last 10 years.  I think Keane, Starsailor and other such bands were to the fore and what many would describe as “bed wetting” music was in control.  Everything was a much of a muchness and then along came Franz and BAM, music got a giant kick up the backside.  There are bands who shake things up.  Nirvana did it.  Oasis did it.  The Strokes and the White Stripes did it.  And I really believe Franz Ferdinand did it.   So for me, if there is a tune that defines the last 1o years, that stands out, that made a real mark, it was ‘Take Me Out’ by Franz Ferdinand.  No, it was not ‘Sex On Fire’  by the Kings of Leon.  That was number 4.  How the fuck did that feature so high up???  I mean, lets be honest, it was a massive let down after the brilliant singles released off ‘Because Of The Times’, in my honest opinion.  Oh, did somebody put the word SEX in the title.  Oh well then, even if it makes no sense whatsoever, it definitely defines a decade – by being stupid, appealing to everyone who doesn’t like to question what the fuck the band are on about not to mention being a real let down.  If ever there was a record rushed out to cash in on a bands growing success it’s the last KOL record.  Anyways, personal grievances aside, I can’t even remember what was at number 3 in the list!  Number 2 was the Killers with ‘Mr Brightside’.  Again,like KOL, I do think the Killers deserve to be in there, but I would have thought ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’ would have been the tune to choose.  I think they chose the band on that one, rather than the song.  And so to the number 1 song.  The song that people of the UK chose as the song that defined the last decade of music.  Snow Patrol ‘Chasing Cars’.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I like Gary Lightbody.  I think he wrote 3 really good Snow Patrol records.  He wrote 2 brilliant records as the Reindeer Section as well.  But then there are the last 2 Snow Patrol albums.  And there is ‘Chasing Cars’.  Since last night I have thought a lot about this.  Do I agree with the choice?  No.  Do I understand the choice?  Yes.  And the simple reason for this would be that the facts are there for all to see.  That song set records in the charts.  That song is probably used more by people at weddings and funerals than any other ever.  Lets face it, that song is everywhere.  With 3 little chords Gary Lightbody went and wrote a tune which will define his career and, according to the British public, a decade of music.  By no means do I think it’s the best song of the last 10 years, it’s not even close, but I do completely understand how it won this award.  ‘Take Me Out’ would have been my choice personally, but I tip my hat to Mr Lightbody (it won’t happen often!) and congratulate him on this achievement.  I can be a right music snob sometimes.  I’ve worked hard on changing that in 2009.  I think the process is complete with this.  Check Snow Patrol out……..ah fuck it, don’t bother, they got bad……..nearly, I was nearly clear of snobbyness.  Oh well.

Top Tunes On My Ipod

Have you ever done this with your itunes?  Hit the playcount button at the top of the library screen and seen which tunes on your ipod have been played more than any other?  It really does tell a story about the music you listen to.  I would never have guessed that my list would be so polarised with a focus on only a few bands.  I listen to loads of music, but I guess the playcount button does not lie and it just goes to show that no matter how many records you own, by human nature you always tend to go back and back and back to the same artists and songs over and over again.  Well here’s my top 40 tunes (radio 1 style) ever on my ipod.  Just for fun and to show what a narrow minded fool I am!  Will do the same thing this time next year and see if there is any change at the top of the table. 

1. You Are My Face – Wilco

2. Impossible Germany – Wilco

3. Sky Blue Sky – Wilco

4. Be Good Or Be Gone – Fionn Regan

5. Either Way – Wilco

6. The Modern Leper – Frightened Rabbit

7. Fake Empire – The National

8. Mistaken For Strangers – The National

9. I Feel Better – Frightened Rabbit

10. Fast Blood – Frightened Rabbit

11. The Underwood Typewriter – Fionn Regan

12. Good Arms vs Bad Arms – Frightened Rabbit

13. Side With The Seeds – Wilco

14. In Competition For The Worst Time – Idlewild

15. Everything (As It Moves) – Idlewild

16. Roscoe – Midlake

17. Hunters Map – Fionn Regan

18. Brainy – The National

19. Hey Rabbit – Fionn Regan

20. Head Rolls Off – Frightened Rabbit

21. No Emotion – Idlewild

22. Squalor Victoria – The National

23. Kamera – Wilco

24. Blackwater Child – Fionn Regan

25. Old Old Fashioned – Frightened Rabbit

26. My Backwards Walk – Frightened Rabbit

27. 15 Step – Radiohead

28. Future Works – Idlewild

29. Slow Show – The National

30. All I Need – Radiohead

31. Make Another World – Idlewild

32. Green Gloves – The National

33. Bodysnatchers – Radiohead

34. I Am Trying To Break Your Heart – Wilco

35. Radio Cure – Wilco

36. If It Takes You Home – Idlewild

37. Nude – Radiohead

38. Put A Penny In The Slot – Fionn Regan

39. Shake It Off – Wilco

40. Please Be Patient With Me  – Wilco

Interview#6: Phoebe Henderson

Phoebe Henderson is sex columist for the Skinny.  We have, through the internet, become friends after I became a regular reader of her blog.  Big thanks to Milo for pointing me in her direction for her blog is a very enjoyable read indeed.  Anyways, she’s taken a moment to discuss……erm…….sex……..so I guess you should just enjoy!  Oh and check her column in the Skinny and her blog right here.

TSP: So you decided to find out what the fuss was all about but at what point did you decide to start writing a blog and for a national magazine about your feelings and experiences, and why?

PH: The Skinny is a brilliant publication in terms of pushing boundaries so initially I just wanted to see if they’d publish my work and hoped it might work as a monthly column. Which it did. I didn’t want it to be soft porn, or try and jump on the ‘women can shag like blokes if they want to’ bandwagon, I just wanted to write something that was enjoyable to read and would hopefully get people talking about their own sex lives in a positive way.

TSP:  You recently told me that approximately 90% of the people who post on your site do so anonymously.  Does it surprise you that people still want to remain anonymous when discussing sex? Why do you think there is such a taboo about writing your opinion on such a subject given that it impacts as much on our society and culture as politics, music, art, film etc? 

PH:  No, I’m not surprised really. Even I’m anonomous… I’m just happy that they want to comment, regardless of whether they leave their name or not. I do think that it’s only a small percentage who still have a problem with being open about sex and I’d never push or make fun of someone who didn’t feel comfortable discussing it. I’m just one of many, many people who write openly about this (most doing it more successfully than me) so if someone reads something and feels compelled to comment (either positively or negatively), then hooray. Our society is fucked up when it comes to sex and sexuality. Our children are getting pregnant, girl’s dolls look like lapdancers, our sex education is a joke and our best selling ‘family’ newspaper has a big pair of boobs on page 3 for staring and ‘phwoaring’ purposes. Oh, don’t get me started on this…

TSP: Moving on…..Emotional connections are built over time but physical attraction is often instantaneous. We all assume as humans that something more than the physical needs to exist to sustain a relatinship, but what about good sex? You’ve commented on your site that, for you, there needs to be a connection on a higher level than just raw physical attraction for sex to be really great. Why is this and what is it about human nature do you think that makes us require something more than just the physical?

PH: I think someone getting inside your head can be more powerful than just getting inside your pants. We all require the physical side of things, even if it’s just a cuddle but I guess it’s all down to science isn’t it? We’re driven by hormones and chemicals which determine our reactions. I think ego has a lot to do with is as well – we all need to feel special and wanted and have a connection that’s unique to us.

TSP: Men and women can never just be friends. Discuss.

PH:  Haha, ok. I think it’s impossible to say that (straight) men and women can just be friends without one either feeling or thinking about the other one in a sexual way at some point. Even if you have a friend of the opposite sex that you’ve never even considered in ‘that’ way, can you guarantee that they’ve never thought that way about you?…I do believe that men and women can be friends, of course, I just think it’s naive to think that, even a brief “I wonder what he/she would be like in bed” hasn’t crossed either mind at some point…

TSP:  I can’t imagine that having a relationship and writing a blog about your sexual experiences often mesh well together. Firstly, I’d assume you’d have to find a partner who was comfortable with what you do and what you write about. How has the process affected your personal relationships and has there ever come a point where you’ve considered ending the blog for this reason?

PH: I’d never consider ending the blog based on that. I’m sure compromises would have to be made but I’d never stop being me to suit someone else. That’s just mental. I’m also realistic and won’t go in the huff if someone has a problem with what I write.

TSP:  Writing is obviously a major part of your life. If you were to stop writing about sex, would you continue to write and if so what would your focus be?

PH:  I’ll always write, even if it’s just for me. I’d like to continue to write about people and relationships and life in general. It all fascinates me.

TSP:  What does 2010 hold in store for Phoebe Henderson?

PH: I’m working on a book based on the blog and column, I’d like to have that finished, even if all it ends up doing is giving my dad a reason to disown me.

Please Take A Moment And Check Out Vic Chesnutt

Vic Chesnutt was 45.  This week he committed suicide.  He died on Christmas Day having been in a coma for a week.  He was without doubt one of the most under rated musicians on the planet.  Respected by musicians far and wide he wrote songs that I could connect with.  I don’t know why.  I just could.  I bought his album ‘The Salesman And Bernadette’ when I was at university and I was hooked.  ‘Guilty By Association’ is still one of my all time favourite songs. Madonna, REM, Sparklehorse, Garbage, Lampchop…..they all loved this mans music.  I loved this mans music.  This really is one of the tragic losses of our generation.  It will probably go largely unoticed.  This would be even more tragic.  So please, please, please.  Take a moment and go find the man.  Find his music.  Here.  RIP Vic.  I for one will miss your music always.