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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Gigography - Part 3: 1999

I was expecting to go to a gig this evening, but it's been cancelled, so thought it was about time I posted another one of these.  Let's go back to 1999...

SANDKING + Freeride + South – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 6/1/99
EDISON + Soundsmith + Moksha – The Louisiana, Bristol 14/1/99
THE BLUETONES – V3, Newport 18/1/99 (This venue had only opened a few days previously and I'm not even sure if it still exists as it's the only time I've been there.  Rather bizarrely, the bar was underneath the stage.  I remember catching the coach to Newport and my friend Katie smuggled 'gin & bluetonic' on board for the journey.)
U.N.K.L.E. + Idlewild + Delakota + Llama Farmers – Bristol University Anson Rooms 19/1/99
WITNESS + The Junket – The Louisiana, Bristol 21/1/99
SENSELESS PRAYER + Mantra + Rat Salad – The Rummer, Bristol 26/1/99
KENT + Spectrasonic – The Louisiana, Bristol 27/1/99
DAVID McALMONT – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 31/1/99
MADDER ROSE + Darkstar – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 1/2/99
ANNIE CHRISTIAN + The Middle Twenty – The Louisiana, Bristol 4/2/99
CHA CHA COHEN + High Coin – The Louisiana, Bristol 5/2/99
MOKSHA + Assembly Communications – The Louisiana, Bristol 10/2/99
SPIN + Senseless Prayer + The Psychodaisies – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 15/2/99
ASSEMBLY COMMUNICATIONS + Veto + Bill Cargill – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 18/2/99
DREAM CITY FILM CLUB + Baby Jane – The Louisiana, Bristol 25/2/99
GENE + Muse – Bristol University Anson Rooms, 27/2/99 (Yes, that's some band called Muse supporting Gene.  I don't remember too much about it, but I do remember having previously dismissed them as a Radiohead tribute band and something causing me to change my mind, so I think it may have been this gig.  I've lost interest again in recent years, but they've certainly had their moments...)
MOOZ + Keyop – The Louisiana, Bristol 3/3/99
SYMPOSIUM + Fungus – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 9/3/99
PYROFLOW + The Psychodaisies – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 14/3/99
THE JELLYS + Moksha – The Louisiana, Bristol 17/3/99
dEUS + Witness – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 25/3/99
SPRAYDOG + Milky Wimpshake – The Louisiana, Bristol 27/3/99
THE YOYOS + Lux + Sandking – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 29/3/99
SAYAMA – The Rummer, Bristol 31/3/99
ULTRASOUND + Lowgold – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 14/4/99
RACHEL STAMP + Stimulator – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 22/4/99 (This was one of the very few occasions when I actually went to a gig completely on a whim, without having heard the band.  Ended up seeing them several times!)
EL NINO + Medal + One Lady Owner – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 27/4/99
CUBE + Sofa – The Louisiana, Bristol 6/5/99
HONEYPOT – The Salisbury Arms, Hoddesdon 8/5/99 (This probably doesn't really count as a gig - it was a covers band in a pub - but it remains the only time I've seen a live band in the town where I grew up, so worth a mention for that alone, I suppose!)
DODGY + Moses – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 12/5/99 (Probably the only gig where I've heckled as it was so bad.  This was the brief period when Dodgy carried on with a different singer - thankfully they've since returned to the original line-up.)
PROLAPSE + Terris – The Louisiana, Bristol 14/5/99 (Terris.  Good grief.  'Next Big Thing' claimed the NME...they weren't.)
SUBCIRCUS + Angel Tech – The Louisiana, Bristol 18/5/99
MOKSHA + The Physic Garden + Echolectric – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 19/5/99
AIRBUS – The Louisiana, Bristol 20/5/99
WHISTLER + Chris Starling – The Louisiana, Bristol 22/5/99 (Ah, the sadly overlooked Whistler.  They featured Iain Dench, formerly of EMF, but couldn't have sounded less like his previous band.)
FUNGUS + Box Of Frogs – The Louisiana, Bristol 28/5/99
OOBERMAN + Keyop – The Louisiana, Bristol 10/6/99
MOON + The Radon Daughters + Moksha – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 12/6/99 (Moon were a very short-lived band featuring Patrick Duff, ex- of Strangelove, before he carried on as a solo artist.  As far as I know, they only released one 7" single, which I didn't buy at the time, but ended up getting hold of some years later when someone on a Strangelove messageboard saw my post about not having it and got in touch with me as they had a spare copy.  They sent it to me for free as well - whoever you were, it was much appreciated!)
CAY + Serum + Mo Solid Gold – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 16/6/99 (Another band featuring someone who is sadly no longer with us - Anet from Cay died in 2011.  RIP.)
ASH + Crashland – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 23/6/99
HEFNER + Lucia Libre + Assembly Communications – The Louisiana, Bristol 2/7/99 (I was convinced I had only seen Hefner as support for Billy Bragg.  Somewhat disappointed that I don't remember this gig!)
ANGEL TECH + Bronze Age Fox – The Louisiana, Bristol 3/7/99
ASSEMBLY COMMUNICATIONS + Dustball + The Screaming Orphans – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 5/7/99
SCOTT 4 + The Pudding – The Louisiana, Bristol 6/7/99 (Apparently, The Pudding featured a rather young Sam, later of SJ Esau.)
MILES HUNT + Carina Round – Fiddlers Club, Bristol 8/7/99 (My first ever visit to Fiddlers.  It's now the nearest venue to where I live, but sadly they rarely seem to book anyone other than tribute bands nowadays.)
STEVE + Whirlwind – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 11/7/99
KEYOP + Steve – Bristol Comedy Pub 15/7/99
BRISTOL COMMUNITY FESTIVAL 1999: The Marys + Mooz + The Radon Daughters + Keyop + Assembly Communications + Angel Tech + Feeder + Magick Pink Mission + Edison + Steve + Dive + Subgod + Doves + Moon + Def, Dumb & Blondie + The Experimental Pop Band + Darkstar – Ashton Court Estate, Bristol 17-18/7/99
ANGEL TECH + Banacek + Ricky Spontane – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 5/8/99
STEVE + Panic Button + Plastic Eyes – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 11/8/99
V99 FESTIVAL: Manic Street Preachers + Super Furry Animals + Supergrass + Faithless + Kula Shaker + Regular Fries + Suede + Ian Brown + Happy Mondays + The Cardigans + One Lady Owner -  Hylands Park, Chelmsford 21-22/8/99 (My first ever festival.  Faithless were possibly the biggest surprise of the weekend, as I went to watch them somewhat reluctantly and ended up really enjoying their set.  I cheated somewhat by staying with friends' parents in South Woodham Ferrers and being driven to and from the festival site, rather than camping.  Thanks again, Mr. & Mrs. Peach.)
READING FESTIVAL 1999: The Charlatans + Reef + Space + Gene + The Dandy Warhols + Blur + Catatonia + My Life Story + Mansun + The Offspring + Hefner + Terrorvision + Feeder + The Auteurs - Richfield Avenue, Reading 27-29/8/99 (Even all these years later, Blur's headline set at Reading '99 is still up there with the best festival sets I've ever seen.)     
ASSEMBLY COMMUNICATIONS + Halo – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 1/9/99 (It appears this was the first time I saw Halo, the local band who came so close to cracking the Top 40.  Seems ridiculous it was so long ago.)
THE NEW ACOUSTICS + Sean Snook – Bristol Comedy Pub 4/9/99
SANDKING + Cruiser + Soundsmith – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 7/9/99
AIRBUS + South – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 11/9/99
MOKSHA + High Coin + Stuntdoubles – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 16/9/99
ARAB STRAP + Dot Allison – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 22/9/99
RACHEL STAMP + 5th Amendment – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 28/9/99
T-REXTASY + Bill Cargill – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 1/10/99 (I think this is the only time I've paid money to see a tribute band, but it feels more acceptable to me when it isn't possible to see the real band anymore.  They were excellent.)
CAMPAG VELOCET + Lying Boss + Sandking – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 7/10/99
THERAPY? + Rico – Fiddlers Club, Bristol 12/10/99
MOON + Mooz + Moksha – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 13/10/99
MY LIFE STORY + Younger Younger 28s + The Dum Dums – Fiddlers Club, Bristol 14/10/99
BRASSY + Moodydood – The Louisiana, Bristol 15/10/99
GUIDED BY VOICES + Beulah – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 17/10/99
SAYAMA + Rat Salad – The Rummer, Bristol 26/10/99
LONGPIGS + Darkstar – Bristol University Anson Rooms 30/10/99
COLDPLAY + Bellatrix + Mercedes – The Louisiana, Bristol 2/11/99 (In terms of seeing a band early on who ended up being stupidly huge, this is probably the best example.  Coldplay were originally billed as the middle band out of the three, but were moved to headliners as they started to pick up attention.  Chris Martin had big hair back then, and his parents were stood at the back.)
SUPERIOR + Steve – Moles Club, Bath 4/11/99
MOON + Angry Dolphin – Moles Club, Bath 11/11/99
THE FLAMING LIPS + Spectrum – Bristol University Anson Rooms 12/11/99
ROYAL TRUX + The Make-Up – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 15/11/99
BANACEK + Nemo + Sayama – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 30/11/99
BLUR – Wembley Arena, London 11/12/99 (An early birthday present, this was on The Singles tour - an edited version of the set was later released as the extra CD in their 'Best Of'.  Following his bizarre appearance at The Seahorses gig at the Bierkeller the year before, I spotted Keith Allen at this gig, too.)
SAYAMA + Grebo – The Rummer, Bristol 14/12/99
SUPER FURRY ANIMALS – Cardiff International Arena 20/12/99 (Thanks to transport issues, I missed the support for this gig and also failed to get hold of a heat-changing mug from the merch stand afterwards as the person in front of me snapped up the last one.  Great gig, though!)
MANIC STREET PREACHERS + Super Furry Animals + Feeder + Shack – Millennium Stadium, Cardiff 31/12/99 (Now, most New Years Eves blend into one, but this was a bit special.  Only slightly let down by insane queues at the bar - I didn't see Shack as it took around an hour to get served - and having to sleep outside Cardiff Central Station afterwards as inevitably there were no trains.  In the morning, I left a couple of drinks for the homeless man as a thank you for lending his spare blanket - hope you soon got off the streets, mate.)  

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Gigography - Part 2: 1998

So, somehow almost another year has gone by without another post - if starting this blog was a New Year's Resolution in 2012, then...maybe I should try again.  Time for a bit more nostalgia - here's the gig list from back in 1998, which seems to have been a year full of injuries, ill-health and meeting celebrities in bizarre circumstances...


MIDGET + Glitterbox + Idlewild – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 21/1/98 (Back in the good old days when Idlewild were shouty and full of energy, although admittedly their later stuff has grown on me in recent years.  Maybe I'm mellowing with age like they did?)
THE STEREOPHONICS + Asian Dub Foundation + The Warm Jets + TheAudience – Bristol University Anson Rooms 24/1/98 (Sophie Ellis-Bextor on first, doing her pre-making it 'indie band' thing.)
GREEN DAY + D Generation – Brixton Academy, London 31/1/98 (My first ever experience of the sloping floor of Brixton Academy - having my toe knackered by scary 30-something punk types jumping around at the front.  In hindsight, I probably should have had it properly looked at rather than just putting up with it when the initial dose of antibiotics did nothing - and the loss of many a multi-coloured toenail - for years afterwards.  Too much information, but I still don't need to cut the nail on this toe as much as the others - it's never really recovered!)
SANTA CRUZ + Mainstream – The Thekla, Bristol 5/2/98 (Speaking of injuries, my only real memory of this gig was Santa Cruz's drummer gamely still playing the gig, despite having his leg in plaster.  Good effort Mig!)
THE PSYCHODAISIES + Victor + Mantra – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 7/2/98
SIX BY SEVEN + Formula One + Soeza – The Louisiana, Bristol 10/2/98
HURRICANE #1 – in-store, HMV Bristol 13/2/98 (I still have the, ahem, cassette of their first album, which I had signed at this in-store gig, including by a post-Ride, yet-to-join Oasis Andy Bell.) 
RA RA RA + Stick Boy + Scooby Does – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 19/2/98
ULTRASOUND + Dawn Of The Replicants – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 23/2/98
MANTRA + Brilliant Blue + CoupĂ© – The Rummer, Bristol 26/2/98
THE CANDYSKINS + The Hormones – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 3/3/98
THE PSYCHODAISIES + Stone Pony – The Louisiana, Bristol 7/3/98
URUSEI YATSURA + Prolapse + Magoo – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 8/3/98
KRIMO + Antenna + Breaker – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 9/3/98
THE YOUNG OFFENDERS + Crashland – The Louisiana, Bristol 13/3/98
MONSTER + Kerb + Mantra + The Millicents – The Rummer, Bristol 16/3/98
CARRIE + Crashland – The Louisiana, Bristol 20/3/98
CLASS A + Mantra – The Bristol Brewhouse 21/3/98
THE WARM JETS + Six By Seven – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 23/3/98
DREAM CITY FILM CLUB + Copter + Assembly – The Louisiana, Bristol 24/3/98
JOLT + The Pecadiloes + Satellite Beach – The Louisiana, Bristol 27/3/98
THE MONTROSE AVENUE + Mo – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 29/3/98
CAMPAG VELOCET + Melys + Bug – The Louisiana, Bristol 2/4/98
MANTRA + Bamboo Chicks + Skydive – The Bristol Brewhouse 4/4/98
THE PSYCHODAISIES + Chaser – The Louisiana, Bristol 7/4/98
LIBIDO + Glitterbox + Ballroom – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 13/4/98
CHINA DRUM + The Pecadiloes – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 14/4/98 (There seems to be a theme developing in this year's gigs - as far as I recall, this is the only time I've seen someone leave a gig with a nosebleed - not me, but some unfortunate chap who must have been caught with an elbow/foot in the face.  It was a bit 'lively' down the front.)
THE UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH + Mark Mulcahy – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 16/4/98 (A band who rather unfairly suffered with the expectation of having Thom Yorke's brother Andy as their lead singer - no, they weren't Radiohead, but a decent enough band in their own right.)
ARNOLD + Copter – The Louisiana, Bristol 17/4/98
60FT DOLLS + The Hormones – The Louisiana, Bristol 27/4/98 (I think this was the first time I went 'backstage' at The Louie.  Richard from 60ft Dolls offered me a drink, but I opted for a soft drink as I was on antibiotics for the aforementioned toe and still believed the myth that alcohol should be avoided! Two of the band signed my 'Pig Valentine' 7", but only on the premise it was for me and not because I wanted to flog it - I missed out on a third signature as their drummer was already on his way home to Newport...)
LINGERIE MASTERMIND + Moksha + Curly – The Rummer, Bristol 28/4/98
FEEDER + Everclear + Carrie – Bristol University Anson Rooms 29/4/98
IDLEWILD + Dustball – The Louisiana, Bristol 1/5/98 (Dustball later became Dive Dive, who later became Frank Turner's backing band.)
EARL BRUTUS – The Louisiana, Bristol 6/5/98 (I remember being slightly aggrieved at there seemingly being no support for this gig when the ticket cost something like £6.  Seems daft now.)
SPEARMINT + Saltlake – The Louisiana, Bristol 8/5/98
WHITEOUT + Everbloom – The Louisiana, Bristol 9/5/98
HEATHER NOVA + Lee Griffiths – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 10/5/98
HEADSWIM + Seraphim – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 12/5/98 (Several weeks gap in between gigs after this - having struggled with inexplicably low energy levels for the past few weeks, I finally took myself to the doctors and a blood test revealed I'd had glandular fever 'for some time'.  Only I could drag myself to gigs without realising I was that ill - not recommended.)
KENICKIE + Seafood – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 1/6/98
BRONZE AGE FOX + Oil Experts + Mantra – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 2/6/98
SYMPOSIUM + ‘A’ – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 3/6/98
BALLROOM + New Rising + The Animal House – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 8/6/98
THE PSYCHODAISIES – The Louisiana, Bristol 10/6/98
SCOOBY DOES + South – The Louisiana, Bristol 11/6/98
SPLITSCREEN + Mantra – Moles Club, Bath 15/6/98
SANTA CRUZ – The Louisiana, Bristol 19/6/98
MANTRA + Splitscreen – The Louisiana, Bristol 24/6/98
BLUR + Idlewild – The Pavilion, Bath 25/6/98 (First time I ever saw Blur live - at a Glastonbury warm-up gig in Bath.  I don't remember too much about it, other than Graham getting irritated by technical problems.  Sadly, Idlewild didn't take the opportunity to play their shouty cover of 'Girls & Boys' which they'd recorded for a radio session and, as far as I know, have never released.) 
RUTH + Krimo + Swill – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 9/7/98
OKAPI + Blueprint + Chaser – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 14/7/98
AFTERGLOW + Beaker – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 15/7/98
BRISTOL COMMUNITY FESTIVAL 1998: Chaser + Crashland + Spiritualized + Santa Cruz + Howlite + Dayshine + Bug + Rodney Allen + Carrie + Portishead – Ashton Court Estate, Bristol 18-19/7/98 (Oh dear.  That Saturday at Ashton Court became something of a 'lost day' as a result of far too much, shall we say, 'over-indulgence'.  I seem to remember that Chaser were on first, by which point I'd already consumed far too much cider - eye-witness accounts allege that I was down the front singing along, then collapsed in a heap and at some point when they weren't looking, disappeared.  My friends only bumped into me again several hours later, glowing like a beacon thanks to being vividly sunburnt and still rather the worse for wear.  I only saw three bands all day, as a result of several hours either passed out or being looked after by a girl from Nailsea called Megan.  Thanks, Megan, wherever you are now...)   
SPARKLEHORSE + The Paradise Motel – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 21/7/98
COPTER + Butcher + Moksha – The Rummer, Bristol 23/7/98
THE PSYCHODAISIES + Moksha – The Louisiana, Bristol 25/7/98
THE SILVERSTONES + Cupid – The Rummer, Bristol 29/7/98
THE SILVERSTONES + Kayto – The Frog & Toad, Bristol 6/8/98
THE SEAHORSES Bristol Bierkeller 19/8/98 (Odd 'celeb'-spotting fact - I left this gig at the same time as a very drunk Keith Allen stumbled out of the door.  Being slightly 'tipsy' myself at the time, I wasn't sure if I'd imagined it, only for the local paper to report the following day how he'd been drunkenly singing 'Vindaloo' at people in the bar nextdoor later that night.)
SOFA + Career – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 29/8/98
PURESSENCE + Fanducci – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 3/9/98
OKAPI + Moksha – The Louisiana, Bristol 17/9/98
MAGOO + Snow Patrol – The Louisiana, Bristol 18/9/98 (That support band, Snow Patrol - whatever happened to them...?)
GORKY’S ZYGOTIC MYNCI + The Olivia Tremor Control – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 30/9/98 (A decidedly off-form and recently dropped by their label Gorky's were completely upstaged by The Olivia Tremor Control, who as far as I know, never played Bristol again.)
TIM KEEGAN & THE HOMER LOUNGE + Sand – The Louisiana, Bristol 2/10/98
RED FRIDGE + Bikeshed + Moksha – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 5/10/98
TOPPER + Assembly – The Louisiana, Bristol 5/10/98
THE DIVINE COMEDY + Pelvis – Bristol University Anson Rooms 6/10/98
DREAM CITY FILM CLUB + Assembly + Sandking – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 7/10/98
STONY SLEEP + High Coin + The Middle Twenty – The Louisiana, Bristol 9/10/98
ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT + You Am I – Bristol University Anson Rooms 10/10/98
BERNARD BUTLER + Arnold + Mojave 3 – Bristol University Anson Rooms 14/10/98
MANSUN + Gay Dad – Bristol University Anson Rooms 17/10/98
KERB + After All + Sandking – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 23/10/98
MOKSHA + Magick Pink Mission + Audio Cloud – The Rummer, Bristol 27/10/98
LINOLEUM + Sofa – Moles Club, Bath 29/10/98 (As stories of meeting 'celebrities' go, this is a decidedly strange one.  Various groups of excitable, whispering girls gave away that something was afoot, but to say I wasn't expecting to meet a member of Take That at a Linoleum gig in Bath would be something of an understatement - Mark Owen had been recording solo material in the studio at Moles and popped down for the gig.  My opening line when I said hello? 'I didn't expect to see you here!'.  Cringe.  To his credit, he laughed and said, jokingly, to pretend I hadn't seen him as he 'shouldn't be seen in dives like this - I'm meant to be famous!'.  Nice bloke, but very surreal to see him dancing to The Charlatans after the gig finished.  In retrospect, I think 'my sister's got all your records' would have been a preferable opening line...) 
REPUBLICA + Gel – Bristol University Anson Rooms 30/10/98
GRIP + Moksha – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 1/11/98
SHED SEVEN + Puressence – Bristol University Anson Rooms 4/11/98
ELECTRASY + Moa – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 8/11/98
ALTASTATE + Franklin’s Tower + Mantra – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 10/11/98
THE PSYCHODAISIES + Bill Cargill – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 11/11/98
BILLY BRAGG + Hefner – Bristol University Anson Rooms 14/11/98
BILLY MAHONIE + Seafood + Tiny Too – The Louisiana, Bristol 27/11/98
DRUGSTORE + Annie Christian – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 3/12/98 (Not quite up to the standard of the Mark Owen story, but this was the first time I went backstage at The Fleece.  I mentioned I was hungry as I hadn't had time for dinner and the singer from Annie Christian gave me some cheese.  Rock 'n' roll.)
ALTEREGO + New Dandy Sugar + Moksha – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 7/12/98
AIRBUS + Lube + Bronson – The Rummer, Bristol 11/12/98
MILES HUNT – The Fleece & Firkin, Bristol 13/12/98
MANIC STREET PREACHERS + Catatonia – Cardiff International Arena 21/12/98 (Somewhat belatedly, I finally saw a band live who I'd been listening to since 6th form, albeit already a member down by this point.  A good way to end an eventful year!)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Recent purchases...

Going to gigs so often tends to mean that I'm always playing catch up when it comes to buying CDs, so for 'recent purchases', read 'things I've bought recently', rather than necessarily stuff that's recently been released.  For the record (no pun intended), I'm still one of those people who would rather buy a 'physical' album rather than downloading it - I tend to only download something if it's the only song I like by a particular band.  I used to go to less gigs than I do nowadays (believe it or not) and buy more albums - it's certainly gone the other way in recent years, but I still buy a fair few and my flat is littered with piles of CDs everywhere you look...

Anyway, December includes the double whammy of my birthday and Christmas, so it's become tradition to give a CD shopping list to my parents to pick from as presents.  I tend to get the odd voucher, too, so that normally adds to the listening pile in the days afterwards.  The list of albums I 'need' grows and grows each year, to the extent that I already have a list several pages long on my PC.  As you would no doubt expect from the geek tendencies I've already demonstrated, it's in alphabetical I may as well continue in the same vein:

Alkaline Trio - Agony & Irony/Crimson/Good Mourning/Maybe I'll Catch Fire/Remains

It's strange how some bands pass you by, or you hear a song, dismiss them as 'not your thing', then several years later hear something you like and find yourself changing your mind.  Alkaline Trio are one such band.  I think the turning point came when they were due to play Bristol with a band I'd previously seen (and liked) as support, which led me to listening to more of their stuff online to decide whether I should go.  Needless to say, I ended up buying a ticket - ironically, the support band were a disappointment that evening - but I enjoyed Alkaline Trio and have been catching up on their albums ever since.

Having already bought their self-titled compilation of EPs and the albums 'From Here To Infirmary' and 'Goddamnit' some months earlier, the Amazon birthday voucher (cheers Chris!) went on five more of their albums, bought cheaply secondhand.  Incidentally, is buying CDs secondhand any 'better' than downloading them illegally? I suppose they at least would've got the money first time around...and I guess it makes more sense to 'recycle' an unwanted CD than buy a new one.  I digress.  Of these five albums, 'Good Mourning' is probably the one I like the least, which isn't to say I don't like it at all, but it's hard to pick a standout song.  Here are a few of my favourite tunes:


Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

Quite often, it seems to me that award-winning, critically-acclaimed, millions-selling albums are a disappointment.  Happily, this is an exception and deserves all the plaudits it's been given, in my humble opinion.  One advantage of not buying an album on the day of release: I ended up getting the 'deluxe' edition, with two bonus tracks, a code to download two more and a DVD.  Anyone who bought the 'normal' version was probably (rightly) peeved when this came out a few months later...

Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare/Humbug

Speaking of disappointing, millions-selling albums - definite 'second album syndrome' on 'Favourite Worst Nightmare', which for the most part, sounds like all the songs which were rejected as not being good enough for the first album.  It's not awful, but there are only about an EPs worth of decent tunes on here.  Funnily enough, the Arctics were another band I voiced my dislike of early on, but then eventually I came round (much to the amusement of certain friends), although I'm sure several less well-championed bands in a similar vein released ignored albums which are better than 'Favourite Worst Nightmare'. 

'Humbug', on the other hand, is far superior - it seems less like a rehash of what they had already done, a bit different and all the better for it.  I expect the first album will remain a millstone around their necks, though.

Ash - Twilight Of The Innocents

You kind of know what you're going to get from an Ash album, which is both a compliment and an insult at the same time.  They stick to what they know, but sometimes that can be a good thing.

Boy Kill Boy - Stars And The Sea

Anyone remember this lot? They seemed to be The Next Big Thing for about five minutes, but split up shortly after this second album was released to general indifference.  A shame, as they're certainly no worse than some other bands around at the same time who got lucky and lasted a lot longer.  If anyone happens to be interested, their singer Chris Peck recently emerged with a new band (Chris Peck and The Family Tree), who are somewhat folkier than Boy Kill Boy.

Brakes - Touchdown

I blimmin' love this band.  It seems they are something of an acquired taste and polarise opinion, but those who like them seem to rave about them.  The 'jokey' songs of their earlier days have lessened in number, but they still have a sense of humour.  I have three of their albums now and still couldn't pick a favourite.

Bromheads Jacket - On The Brain

Bromheads' first album was arguably my favourite of the year in, er, whichever year it came out (2006?), so this had a lot to live up to.  Inevitably, it's not quite as good, but still a pretty decent effort.  'Speaker Box' seemed a rather odd choice for a single.

Gaz Brookfield - Live From The West End Of The M4 Corridor

Unquestionably my 'local' artist of last year, who I first saw at the Acoustic Music Festival in January, a possibly-restraining-order-inducing number of times after that and culminating in a triumphant headline gig at the Fleece just before Christmas as a launch gig for this live album.  If you haven't seen him yet, there's really no excuse - Gaz played 170 gigs in 2011 and intends to better this in 2012...

Emmy The Great & Tim Wheeler - This Is Christmas

It feels a little odd to be writing about a Christmas album in February, but still...I bought this after their in-store performance at Rise Records in December.  Here's the Christmas number 1 which never was:


Belated Happy New Year, one and all :)