Ah it's that time of year again. The arrival of the end of the calendar year, and with it a driving desire to categorise the happenings of the past twelve months into convenient list form.
As with the past few Decembers, I begin my annual review convinced that the past year has been a distinctly average one for music. But as the list grows, and albums that struck a chord nine months ago resurface, I discover that 2015 has been another good musical year. In fact, save for some sort of global catastrophe or ignorance on the part of the listener, I can't foresee music having a 'bad year'. Anyway, here are this year's picks.
10. Low - Ones and Sixes
Given the 20 years they've spent making music together, it may be fair to expect husband and wife duo Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker to slip into a sort of musical comfort zone. But, with their voices combining and contrasting amid dissonant instrumentation, Ones and Sixes is one of their most intense and thrilling records to date.
Continue reading: James Hopkin's Top 10 Of 2015
The events company give their side of the story
We reported yesterday that two companies tied up in Jabberwocky-gate are taking legal action against ATP - Dash Tickets and The Zeitgeist Agency. But today, ATP have released their own retaliatory statement defending their position as the fallout from the festival's short-notice cancellation continues to unfold.
James Blake was set to play the event
"In the past 72 hours there have been many accusations thrown at ATP and some so vindictive that we feel it necessary to defend our position," begins the statement, before addressing the first of the two companies claiming to be taking legal action against them in a lengthy announcement designed to deflect the monumental amount of damage done over the past few days.
Continue reading: ATP Defend Themselves Over The Jabberwocky Fiasco
A week in videos… It’s been a busy week for the languid voiced, melancholic entity that is Kurt Vile, and he’s topped it off by releasing a new video for KV Crimes – a song off his latest release Wakin' On A Pretty Daze. Directed by Tom Scharpling, the video riffs on the recent news that the 28th of August will officially be known as Kurt Vile Day. The actual ceremony will be marked by a free concert at City Hall from, guess who, Kurt Vile
Lack of sunny weather and increased austerity got you feeling down? Then the video for Michael Franti & Spearhead - I'm Alive (Life Sounds Like) will do a sterling job of perking you up, unless you’re averse to whistling that is. Drums and face paint at the ready; it’s festival season, and Michal Franti & Spearhead are getting ready for a summer of live shows with this seasonal video, full of fun and vitality. And drums. We mentioned drums, right?
While 20 years is a long time to develop that pop punk, emo, power pop or alternative rock sound – whatever you want to call it – it seems as though Jimmy Eat World still sound the same, not that that’s a bad thing. Their eighth studio album 'Damage' is due to hit shelves on June 11th 2013, and the video for their new single, I Will Steal You Bank conjures memories of their frenetic live shows with its nostalgic black & white style.
Leatherette and Walk Off The Earth release impressive albums while Lil Wayne endures another turbulent few days in our week in music
A Week In Videos... She might have just wrapped up her Set The World On Fire tour, but the promotional drive for Alicia Keys fifth album Girl On Fire rolls on, with the multi-million selling songstress putting out a video for the third single from the 2012 Billboard number one LP. The video for 'New Day' sees clips of studio-shot footage of Keys dancing down back alleys, interspersed with footage of the star performing live in various instances. Given that her last single Brand New Me reached a meagre 103 at the tale of end of 2012 in America, it's going to be hard for 'New Day' to make much of an impact.
Kurt Vile's Wakin On A Pretty Daze was his most commercially successful album yet, going close to the top 40 in the UK and making 47 on the US Billboards. Yet the American psych-wizard is about more than sales figures, and pleasingly his fifth album also perhaps marks his most accomplished to-date, a record of dreamy soundscapes and hazy Americana tale-telling. Given the woozy nature of 'Never Run Away,' we wonder just exactly what that smoke coming out of the bus at the beginning of the video is...
Kurt Vile's name conjures up images of defiantly snotty middle-aged punks covering Sex Pistols songs in a grotty basement bar. It's tempting to suggest that this unsavoury image couldn't be further removed from the reality: Vile is, after all, a hotly tipped, Matador-signed starlet with a penchant for dreamy, drifting indie. There are, however, distant echoes of the Pistols in Vile's lyrics, self-aggrandising contrarian screeds which he delivers in a snarly sneering, disdainful voice. For all that Smoke Ring For My Halo showcases his abilities as a guitarist, it's your reaction to those lyrics which will determine the extent to which you enjoy the album.
Continue reading: Kurt Vile, Smoke Ring For My Halo Album Review