To Die By Your Side

Last week I was mostly listening to…

April 15th, 2012

Okay, so despite the title of this regular feature, this isn’t actually what I was listening to last week. This is me trying to catchup on a week that I haven’t yet had chance to feature. The above list actually represents what I was listening to in the week from the 2nd April until the 8th April. One of these days I swear I’ll get back on track and start posting more often and on time. Until then, I’m afraid it’s going to be sporadic and random. Which I know must be hellish for all you OCD sufferers out there but alas, that’s the way things are at the moment.

So anyway, as you can see, the most obvious new entry is Alabama Shakes, whose debut album has been clocking up a fair amount of my ear time over the last 2 weeks. Not to mention a fair few column inches. Which I guess begs the question, do they live up to the hype? To which I answer, yes but also no. I think it’s fair to say that while it doesn’t exactly break new ground, it does what it does well. It’s an enticing mix of good old southern rock, with 60s soul and a dash of garage spirit, all of which I love. So in that respect, it’s a winner. However, it lacks enough individual stand out tracks to make it a truly great record and I do wonder if it reveals itself too quickly. A few listens and you pretty much know everything you need to know about it. There ‘s no subtle reveals, no hidden nuances, no difficult layers to work through. While that’s not always a bad thing, there’s the risk that over playing it could result in it burning out too quickly. It does suggest that given enough time to develop, there may be great things to come from this band but I guess only time will tell. For now though, I’m really enjoying it.

Elsewhere, my listening was pretty much made up of old favourites and reliable recent additions. Feeder continue to make an appearance as they have done over the last month or so, Bat For Lashes made a long overdue reappearance, while erstwhile favourites Radiohead and Elliott Smith once again got in on the act. As ever, here’s a few session tracks form some of the bands I was listening to that week.

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Last week I was mostly listening to…

April 6th, 2012

So this list covers the 26th March to the 1st April. I think with even the slightest of glances it’s pretty clear which band grabbed my attention and ran away with it last week. In part that was due to me loving The Beatles but also down to the fact that we hosted a mini family gathering and I thought the background music should be something that everyone would enjoy rather than some of my more left field choices. The rest of the list however is made up of bands and artists who were played purely for the pleasure of my ears. Feeder have become a bit of a regular showing in the last couple of weeks after I saw them play an intimate live acoustic session and was reminded how much I actually like them. You can see a few photos I took here.

Interesting to note that last week, there was a lack of artists with new releases in the list. I don’t think that was a conscious decision but after a few weeks of new things creeping in, I think I was just in the mood to revisit a few records that I’d neglected of late. I have a sneaking feeling that, with a few exceptions, the same may be true this week. However, with a few days left in this week, I guess anything could still happen. Who knows, my listening habits may even swerve off in some weird dubstep grime territory and completely skew the list. It’s doubtful but you never know. I guess you’ll just have to come back and see next week. Or whenever it is that I actually get round to posting it. In the meantime, here’s a few session tracks form some of the bands from last week’s list.

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Last week I was mostly listening to…

March 27th, 2012

So for once, this actually is what I was listening to last week. From Monday the 19th to Sunday the 26th March inclusive. Well kind of. Everything except Dusty Springfield, which, while I do like her, was actually what my girlfriend was listening to. Somehow her iPod managed to scrobble those plays onto my account and mess up my stats. Not a massive problem but one I thought it was worth pointing out. Everything else on there is bona fide me. Looking at the list now, it appears that I had a bit of restless 7 days in terms of my listening. Aside from the obvious exceptions, I seemed to play more artists but less times, as opposed to the usual habit of listening to fewer artists more. Hence the overall lower number of plays. I guess a change is as good as a rest. Or so they say. Either way, that’s what was happening in my ears and heres a few session tracks from some of them.

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Last week I was mostly listening to…

March 24th, 2012

Okay, so I’m getting really slack at this aren’t I? Despite the title of this feature, these are actually the lists of what I was listening to on the 2 weeks from the 5th to the 18th of March. As you can see, there’s been a lot of music going through my ears. Some old, some new. All of it ace though. Lee Ranaldo, Sleigh Bells and Heartless Bastards head up the best of the new stuff, while, having held the top spot for two straight weeks, the much missed Sparklehorse did a good job of dominating my listening. Having said that though, there were some pretty good showings from a fair few others. As ever, there’s a few session tracks for you to enjoy from some of the artists that made an appearance in these last two charts. Enjoy!

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Last year I was mostly listening to…

January 2nd, 2012

So that was 2011. No major surprises in my top 25 most listened to artists. In fact it’s a pretty good summing up of my favourite albums. Although obviously not in that order, it just goes to show that I was listening to what I write about. And with that, I bid 2011 a fond farewell. I hope and trust that you had a Merry Christmas and a great New Year. Fingers crossed your head and waistline didn’t take too much of a battering. Here’s to 2012. May it bring you everything you want!

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Statues will not cry

February 16th, 2011

Just another quick post but one for a worthwhile reason. In four weeks, two friends of mine are heading off to trek across the Sahara for charity and they’re looking to raise as much money as they possibly can. So far they’ve raised nearly £2,500 and are looking to spend these last few weeks giving the fundraising a big final push. Which is where this post comes in as they’re auctioning off a one of a kind piece of music memorabilia in the shape of a storyboard for Franz Ferdinand‘s ‘Walk Away’ video signed by the band. Which I think you’ll agree is pretty special. All the money raised from the auction will go to the Cash For Kids charity, so if you’re a fan of Franz Ferdinand and want to own a unique piece of memorabilia while doing something altruistic, get bidding.

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Into the wide world it grows

February 14th, 2011

Unless you’ve been living down a well, you probably already know that PJ Harvey releases her excellent new album ‘Let England Shake’ today.  It’s been picking up plaudits and critical acclaim like they’re going out of fashion and deservedly so. It really is a stunning record. I wrote about it a couple of weeks ago so won’t go into much more about it, suffice to say that, despite still being in the early part of the year and with quite a few big hitters with up coming releases, it’s already a contender for album of the year.

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You can’t take it anywhere

December 8th, 2010

I really need to pull my finger out. Everywhere I look, I’m seeing End of Year lists popping up left, right and centre. On blogs, in magazines and now on Facebook feeds. Yet I’m no closer to shortlisting mine than I was at the beginning of the month. At this rate, I should be ready to publish it sometime in March. Not that I’ve any kind of valid excuse. It’s just that this year is proving to be something of a mammoth task. To date, I’ve spent the last week or so listening back to potential inclusions, re-evaluating records I’d previously dismissed and questioning those I’d assumed would be dead certs. The result is that I’m adding just as many as I’m crossing out. Not because there are so many amazing records, more that there are so many balanced on the great/mediocre divide and I can’t quite decide on which side some actually lie.

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Give me a sign and I’d come running

November 30th, 2010

I woke up this morning to two seperate emails telling me that PJ Harvey‘s new album would be streaming on her website today. So I thought I’d do a quick update to tell you about it. However, unless I’m being particularly dim witted, I can’t find it anywhere on the site at the moment, so I therefore can’t make any comment on it.  However as one of the emails came from someone at Vagrant Records, I’m pretty sure it’ll be up be up at some point today, so it’ll be worth checking back regularly.

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I’m taking over

November 26th, 2010

Today’s post was going to be about yet another album that I’ve so far failed to mention this year. The plan, such as it was, was to write a little bit about Kele Okereke‘s debut solo album and tell you that my expectations for it weren’t particularly high. That the lead single ‘Tenderoni’ sounded far too much another song that I couldn’t stand and how that first impression had put me off wanting to listen to the album. I’d also planned to say something about how his interviews and press around the release hadn’t exactly endeared him to me so hadn’t bothered to listen to it. Then I was going to turn the whole thing on it’s head and tell you how, after being given a copy, I surprised myself by not only giving it a chance, but then actually really enjoying the album. That, despite a few dodgy autotune and gimmicky phone message moments, it’s grimey dance meets indie beats and bass had won me over.  Chances are I’d have high highted ‘Unholy Thoughts’ and ‘Everything You Wanted’ as my standout tracks, maybe even saying that ‘Tenderoni’ had grown on me a little. I’d have probably mentioned something about the absence of any cringingly awkward lyrics that tend to blight Bloc Party albums and finished off with some smart comment about how Kele’s solo record isn’t actually that big a departure from the direction his band’s last album was taking as you might imagine.  That’s what I’d planned on writing.

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