Monthly Archives: December 2014

As the month, and year comes to an end, let’s look back at December. There have been some great tracks. The Bug working with Earth was the standout track of the month, and almost the year. Money for Rope released their new single. Quite possibly the best thing they’ve ever released. Album wise of Arrowe Hill released their best album in recent years. It was chocked full of comedy, pathos psych blues!



Being December there was a host of Christmas themed tracks. Dolly Parton, Vince Guaraldi and Herb Alpert all got massive rotations. One of the highlights was when us at thisyearinmusic towers did some digging and found an online advent calendar by online troubadour ortoPilot. If you are not familiar with ortoPilot, check him out. He does some great covers and his originals are decent too.



Anyway as it’s 7PM and I’m not where I need to be, I need to get a move on. Laters 2014 you’ve been a blast!







As the end of the year rapidly approaches, here is the only End-of-Year-List that you need to read!



So 2014 is over, well almost. Will this year be considered a great vintage like 1994, 2000 and 2004, or will it be considered a no go area like 1999. Only time will tell. All that remains is for this list to get going and for us to try and work out the quality of 2014’s vintage.



The first award is for Independent Album of the Year



Oliver Wilde-Red Tide Opal in the Loose Womb





Compilation of the Year



Speedy Wunderground Year 1





Re-Issue of the Year



Brainiac 5-When Silence Was Sound 1977-1980





Soundtrack of the Year



Tyler Bates & Lorn-Killzone




Live Album of the Year



Nucleus with Leon Thomas: Live 1970





Dance Album of the Year



Plaid-Reachy Prints





Hip-Hop Album of the Year



Death Grips-Niggas on the Moon





Metal Album of the Year



Mastodon-Once More ‘Round the Sun





Top 10 Songs of the Year














Now we get to the main course, the Top 10 Albums of the Year…



  1. Yoofs-Something



Hailing from Bournemouth, Yoofs have come along way since their debut album in 2011. Channelling the sounds, and spirit of the late 1960’s and 1970, with their effortless wordplay they have crafted an album of songs that once you start, is hard to stop listening to.




  1. Can Can Heads-Butter Life



Jazz Shronk never sounded so good as it does on Butter Life. While this isn’t easy listening in any way shape, or form, it is still a beguiling album that requires many visits to understand its skewed 48 minutes.





  1. Malachai-Beyond Ugly



Skewing Hip-Hop, Psychedelica and indie rock is never an easy thing, but Bristol’s Malachai does it with ease and panache. It’s been rumoured that Beyond Ugly will be their last album. Ultimately this will be a sad thing, if it happens, but if this is the last album they make together, at least they’ve ended on a massive high!






  1. Tyrannosaurus Dead-Flying Ant Day



Flying Any Day is one of the few albums on this list where the lyrics are more important than the music. I’m not taking anything away from the instrumentation of these 10 tracks, but the way Billy Lowe tells a story on every track is flawless. Some of the lyrics are straight, you know immediately what he’s getting at, whereas others take a while to understand. For the best listening experience, make sure you have the lyric sheet out while listening to the album. Outstanding stuff!





  1. Kate Tempest-Everybody Down



The favourite for this year’s Mercury Music Prize, is an album that doesn’t just need a lyric sheet, it needs a novel (which luckily is coming out next year). Everybody Down is a story about living in London, but it could easily be set in your town, and how that environment effects the main characters. It’s chocked full of mental nights out, drug deals, come downs and ultimately love. Also it’s very funny in places and chocked full of pathos. This is an album you need to live, not just listen to.





  1. Miguel Baptista Benedict-meek(ch)o



Last year Miguel Baptista Benedict released Super(b)-Child-Ran. It was a Lo-Fi masterpiece which filled your head with scratchy guitars, haunting pianos and a sense of hope for the future. This year he’s done it again with meek(ch)o. While it isn’t as immediate as Super(b)-Child-Ran, it is just as good. Clocking in at 24 minutes it’s one of the shortest albums on the list, but at times it packs more a punch than the longest! This is something that should not be missed!





  1. Hollie Poetry-Versus



Spoken Word has come a long way this year. I credit a lot of it to this artist. Hollie McNish AKA Hollie Poetry doesn’t write about how blue the sky is, or how much in love she is, she tackles BIG issues, and taboo topics. On opening track Embarassed is about how women are made to feel bad for breastfeeding in public, yet it’s acceptable to have adverts for bras and billboards. Bungalows and Biscuit Tins is about how old people shouldn’t be stuffed in homes, they should be embraced and their knowledge gleaned from them. Mathematics is about immigration, and these aren’t even the best poems on the album! As an added bonus, there is a second album which adds music to McNish’s poems. This added musicality adds something to the words and creates something new. This isn’t Hip-Hop/Grime by numbers though, oh no, as much thought has gone into the glitches and beats as the words and commas in the poems!





  1. of Arrowe Hill-A Conspiracy of Clocks


Liverpool’s finest are back with their best album in years. Returning to what they do best, blues psych rockers. Topics discussed are the supernatural, nights out, laments about love and the old favourite dying. While this might sound on paper, or screen, like a bit of a bleakfest, the way Adam Easterbrook plays with words and melodies means, by the end you feel uplifted and elated.





  1. Pere Ubu-Carnival of Souls


Ohio’s Avant-Garage’s Pere Ubu return with second album in two years. Carnival of Souls with their most immediate and enjoyable album since 1991. Each listen throws up a difference experience, either their David Thomas’ less-is-more lyrical approach, or the bands faux Chinese whispers recording style. On Carnival of Souls, Pere Ubu have made the album they’ve always hinted at, while never giving up any of their creative control. It looks like we’re at the dawn of another Golden Age of Ubu, and as Thomas once said Long Live Pere Ubu!





1. Kate Tempest-Brand New Ancients


On Brand New Ancients Kate Tempest has basically written history. It’s the history of three families in South London. It shows where they came from, where then went and where they ended. It shows their interaction with family and how they made, and kept friends. It shows that there is hope, no matter how bad things seem to get. It shows there is always love, and that love might be just round the corner, or in the next pub you go to. It shows a mirror to the world, all it’s good and bad. But what it really shows is talent. It shows talent and scope. Instead of writing a piece about herself Tempest has pushed herself and created a whole world. She has taken Dylan Thomas’ idea of community from Under Milk Wood and re-imagined it in the UK. Every character contained in its 78 minutes is as real as anyone I’ve ever met. This is possibly the greatest debut album that has ever been released, and a worthy Number 1 album this year!







So there you have it. Another year wrapped up. All that is left is to count down to Midnight with my nearest and dearest and have a well-earned pint of Guinness, alright two as its New Years.










North East band release album that fulfils early promise



Over the past five years Newcastle’s Let’s Buy Happiness have been releasing quality single after quality single. In November they released their debut album. It was 56 minutes of sugar sweet vocals, blistering walls of guitars and drums, lamentable lyrics with a pop sensibility. Over all it’s great stuff.



Opening track Figure of Sleep is a balls to the wall rocker. It carries on as it starts. Loud and fast! Luck and Love is a slower number, showing that, although bangers is what they do best, they also have a soft side. Fast Fast is an ethereal number, guitars and vocals merge into one another to create something that feels alive. Start it Up is another upbeat track. There is a sublime middle 8 that shows off the musicality of the band.



Overall this is great album from a band that are reaching the height of their creative powers. If you like indie guitar pop hypernauts London Grammer, this is the album for you!









The end of year list is imminent, here something that didn’t quite make the list



2014 has been a mixed bag, musically speaking. There has been a lot of good stuff, more on that in the next few days, and a lot of terrible stuff, less about that later too. One solid album was by Alexis Taylor. It is his third overall, but his debut for Domino. Compared to his previous albums for Treader, this is a straight up pop album.



The standout track is From the Halfway Line. In 2012 Taylor released an EP called Nayim From the Halfway Line, a not so subtle reference to a fluke goal that cost Arsenal the European Cup Winners Cup in 1995. While the original EP and this track don’t sound the same, there is a similar vibe to both pieces. The track is juxtaposition of beautiful vocals against a stark and discordant guitar with almost free jazz drumming.



Considering that Taylor made his name in the electro-indie-pop band Hot Chip, at times this album is as far from their winning formula of dance floor friendly tracks as you can get. However the emotive and wistful lyrics still remain. This is an album that gets better with each play as you pick up more of the lyrically gold that Taylor serves up throughout the album.







Obscure sitcom from maverick creators



In 1992, after Twin Peaks finished, David Lynch and Mark Frost were commissioned for a sitcom. The resulting series was On the Air. Set in 1950’s Manhattan at a fictional television station ZBC, the show follows the network as they put on The Lester Guy Show.



Seven episodes were made, but only three were ever shown, in the US. As with other Lynch productions Angelo Badalamenti was in charge of the music. While the music ever gets as kooky as his other scores, it isn’t a score by numbers. It’s full of Badalmenti’s usual charm and motifs.



While On the Air never hits the level of perfection that Twin Peaks hits, it’s better than it was given credit for, at the time. As Twin Peaks has been re-commissioned let’s hope that it hidden gem gets a an official release.









The classic Boxing Day. Football and then a poker night in the evening!



What better way to spend a Boxing Day then watching live football, in an actual stadium, with actual people, and actuals teams? As the match isn’t over I’m full of optimism and day dreaming about three points. After the game it’s a quick turn around and then back home, picked up some things and head to a mates for some good old fashioned poker.





If I was the kind of person to say that you’re all lose money to my cards, than I would be saying things like “I’m gonna win” “You’re gonna lose” “Compared to me all of you have no game and I’m going to beat you” “You all suck worse a whore with no teeth” and “I’m gonna beat you so bad your kids will be born with the imprint of my winning hands on them”.



Luckily I am not that kind of person, so I would never say anything like that to anyone or thing.








For once and for all the Top 5 Christmas Films



  1. Bad Santa


First up is Bad Santa. This is the Anti-Christmas film. Look away if you don’t like crass humour, profanity, excessive drinking, profanity, Christmas Bashing, er, did I say profanity.





  1. Yogi’s First Christmas


Next up is a childhood favourite. I don’t know why my parents bought me this video as a kid, other than it was Christmas cartoon, as I’d never liked Yogi and is kleptomaniac ways. After watching this film Yule (see what I did there) definitely be full of Christmas cheer and definitely wanting your Christmas Dinner…





  1. It’s a Wonderful Life


If you’ve never seen this film you should. It’s usually in the Top 10 of Greatest-Films-Ever lists, and that’s in the Summer, so you know it’s a solid film. At times this film is a hard watch, as it gets pretty bleak, but overall it reminds us what Christmas is all about.






  1. Scrooged



There have been a lot of re-tellings of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. This is one of the better versions of the story. What I really like about this film is how meta it is. Who doesn’t love a film about the making of a film? Bill Murray is at the top of his game playing Frank Cross, a single serving TV Exec who gets visited by three Ghosts who show him his past and future.





1. A Christmas Story



So now we get to my #1 Christmas film of all time. A Christmas Story is about a nine year living in Post War America at Christmas. What I love about this film is its total normality. Just because it’s about Christmas not everything Ralphie does is Christmas related. Life carries on. I will not ruin any of the details for you, but I will say if this doesn’t thaw out your heart, nothing will!












One of the best Christmas songs, from one of the best Christmas films ever



In the history of Christmas specials, there are winners and losers. Yogi Bear. Winner. Community. Winner. He-Man. Loser. Chipmunks. Loser. In the bastion of winners a few are above even them. One of them is A Charlie Brown Christmas. The crux of the episode simple. Charlie Brown hates how commercial Christmas is and wants to find it’s true meaning. Hilarity ensures and through Charles M. Schulz’s pathos, Vince Guaraldi’s score the story comes to a heart-warming conclusion.





As with the original Charlie Brown cartoons, Vince Guaraldi’s score is an important part. What makes this special different is that Guaraldi adds Christmas motif’s in with his usual blend of cool smooth jazz. It’s these motif’s and covers of classic Christmas songs that makes this song, and respective album, so playable.



If you are hosting Christmas cocktails, why not play this in the background and have a Cool Christmas…










More Alt-12-Days-of-Christmas fun. On the elevenenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me twelve Campy One-liners





Eleven clips of Piper





Ten Lordz of Brooklyn





Nine Ravers Raving





Eight Owls a drunking



Seven swinging couples





Six rappers guesting








5 Cold Beers

5 Cold Beers



Four Cool Birds





Three boozy Friends



Two songs by Love





And a Christmas card from the Partridge Family