I feel privileged that over the past 3 years living in London I have managed to see most of the bands I have wanted to live. Midlake were one who managed to elude me for several years – I discovered them at what must have been the end of their touring for previous album ‘The Trials Of Van Occupanther’, and have since looked forward to the opportunity to see them live. I recently found myself with several opportunities to see them in a fairly short time.
Here’s a handy set of links to my 2009 round-up posts if you missed any.
Happy New Year to you all, and I hope that 2010 brings plenty of music and gig fun!
As Christmas approaches, and I have yet to compile my ‘best of 2009’ lists (but I have until the end of the month for that, right?), I thought I’d point you in the direction of some free Christmas themed downloads. Just got a few to start things off but if you know of any more let me know and I’ll add them up here.
As well as my 2009 round-up I’ve got a few more gigs to review (David Ford & James Yorkston) so keep an eye out for those over the next few days (hopefully!).
So, on to the downloads…
Revere – Silent Night/The Escape Artist
If you know me or have read my reviews of them (here and here) you’ll know how much I love the band Revere. I’m massively excited about the release of their debut album ‘Hey! Selim’ next year, but in the meantime the good people at Maps Magazine have posted a free download of their festive cover ‘Silent Night’, which features the equally brilliant Gabby Young. Even more generously they have offered up previous single and album + live standout track ‘The Escape Artist’.
There’s a whole advent calendar worth of other free downloads too so go check them out!
Get Revere downloads here
Oh! Canada presents: Ho! Ho! Ho! Canada
Just spotted this one and not had a chance to listen yet. The Line Of Best Fit have teamed up with Oh! Canada to bring you a 25(!!) track compilation of Christmas tracks by some fantastic Canadian bands. Many are unknown to me, but with some of my live highlights of the year including The Acorn and Ohbijou on there this looks like it’s well worth a listen.
Get Ho! Ho! Ho! Canada here
Rounding off a successful 2009, Gabby Young & Other Animals took to the stage one last time at London’s Borderline. After building a great live reputation throughout the year, things really seem to have accelerated for Gabby during the last few months. The band’s debut album ‘We’re All In This Together’ was officially released last month (and launched with a triumphant sold out show at Bush Hall), but before that fans were given the opportunity to sign up to ‘become an animal‘, selecting from 3 different packages with different benefits (free gigs, merchandise, signed items, and even the chance to get involved in songwriting and band rehearsals), and receiving the finished album a month early. This innovative scheme has resulted in a lot of positive press (including a feature on Sky News), with stories focussing on emerging bands using new ways to generate interest and income outside of typical record deals.
I Am Kloot are a band I never seem to tire of seeing live. Thankfully, regardless of whether they have a new album to promote or not, they seem to manage several live outings each year (both as a band, and John Bramwell solo gigs), especially for those of us living in London or Manchester. The original reason for this short solo tour was to promote a re-release of John’s solo mini-album ‘You, Me And The Alarm Clock’, originally released nearly 20 years ago under the name ‘Johnny Dangerously’. Sadly a problem with the pressing meant it didn’t happen in time for the tour.
So, how did the start of my busy gig week go? Very good. In fact, superb at times, just not consistently.
As a live band Modest Mouse do a fantastic job of recreating their busy & layered recordings. The six members indulged in a lot of instrument swapping to recreate to rich sounds of their records, including at various points of the gig trumpet, double bass, and violin. Oh, and two drummers, which worked to great effect on some of the louder tracks like ‘Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes’, which itself was a gig highlight with an all out assault of heavy bassline, screaming guitars, and double drumming.
It’s getting to that time of year where everyone is publishing their ‘albums of the year’ list, and so I’ve started thinking about mine. I’m starting to become aware of the many albums getting lots of praise that I have yet to hear, so thought it was worth asking the question – what should I listen to that I might have missed this year?