H&H // Big Fat Review Of The Year 2013

..Originally posted on Hooting & Howling..

I started this year stuck in a small village in France where music didn’t seem to have yet been invented yet so to end it safely back home immersing myself in some of the best music to be produced in a long, long time is, understatedly, a relief. In the past 12 months I’ve snapped my head outof the 80s, jumped into new stuff and become gradually awestruck at all kinds of bands, from Palma Violets to The Crookes to This Many Boyfriends and of course, my favourite person of the year, the marvellous Gabriel Bruce, as well as rediscovering my love for the older generation, in the forms of Blur, New Order, Pet Shop Boys and everything & anything inbetween. To sum it up in minimal lists was an incredible task but here’s the best of the best of the best….

My Top 5 Albums Of The Year

#1: Graham Coxon – A+E

After much um-ing and ah-ing, I have come to the conclusion that Graham Coxon’s ‘A+E‘ could be the only rightful winner of  my album of the year. I stumbled accross Mr Coxon’s solo work almost by accident during the summer, and am yet to stop listening to any of it. ‘A+E‘ is the perfect combination of alternative guitars and experimental synths that create one hell of a sound and, complete with some great lyrics, it’s onto a winner. You can’t help but feel for such an established member of the music industry; he’s rather underrated in these cases, but maybe that’s just me.

#2: Sharks – No Gods

#3: The Crookes – Hold Fast

#4: Saint Saviour – Union

#5: Crystal Castles – (III)

My Top 10 Tracks Of The Year

#1: Gabriel Bruce – Dark Lights, Shine Loud

This was a no brainer for me, I have become the world’s biggest Gabriel Bruce fan in the past year and this song is most definitely his crowning glory to date.  The vocals just blow me away everytime I hear them, the lyrics are just brilliant, and everybody loves a bit o’ brass, right?

#2: Palma Violets – Best Of Friends

#3: Placebo – The Extra

#4: Graham Coxon – Advice

#5: Sharks – Patient Spider

#6: This Many Boyfriends – I Don’t Like You (Cos You Don’t Like The Pastels)

#7: Holograms – ABC City

#8: Saint Saviour – I Call This Home

#9: Blur – Under The Westway

#10: China Rats – (At Least Those) Kids Are Getting Fed

My Top 5 Gigs Of The Year

#1: Pulp – Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield, 8th December

After not realising their genius until halfway through their set at Reading, I had been desperately waiting for 2 years just to catch another glimpse of that elaborate dancing. Months after the homecoming was sold out & I hadn’t even attempted to get tickets, I’d finally resigned to the fact I was not going – travelling to the other side the country to see a band was madness! – but far too early on a December’s Saturday morning, I found myself on a train, travelling a ridiculous amount of miles to finally catch that glimpse from the very top of the Motorpoint Arena, and it was FAULTLESS. I will never cherish a gig as much as that night, spot on Jarv.

#2: The Cure – Reading Festival, 24th August.

#3: Grouplove, Two Wounded Birds, The Static Jacks – The Haunt, Brighton, 16th February.

#4: Spector, Gabriel Bruce, Braves – The Boileroom, Guildford, 12th May.

#5: Enter Shikari, Fine Young Firecrackers – The Hippodrome, Kingston, 17th January.

5 Things I Am Excited For In 2013

#1: Gabriel Bruce and other assorted debuts

Since March I’ve been championing the bloke wherever I go and after seemingly endless release dates, ‘Love In Arms‘ should reach us in the new year and I cannot contain my excitement for it. Not only that, but all the other upcoming debut albums from the likes of Palma Violets, Johnny Marr, and so on make for some rather incredible stuff to look forward to.

#2: Even more live music

After topping my 100 band record this year, 2013 can only get bigger and better in the way of gigs, and with the unexpected festival routes that those such as Reading & Leeds seem to be taking, who knows what’s instore for us all?

#3: Suede at Alexandra Palace 

I’ve waited far too long to see this band and Alexandra Palace is most definitely the venue to do just that. After finding it hard to flaw anything Brett Anderson & Co have ever laid their mitts on, the new album is going to be something rather grand to look out for.

#4: One last Blur reunion?

What with all these new European dates, and after successfully missing every single gig before, I am holding out for that one extra chance to see them, and have some sneaky (hopeful) suspicions that their UK gigging schedule may not be over,  just yet anyway. My inner Britpop heart is showing in this list, isn’t it?

#5: New bands 

Next year has a lot to live up to and I have complete faith that, whether they go unnoticed or not, it may just conjure up even more brilliant musical talent than before.

So there you go, 2012 was an ace year for music, probably one of the best for a while, but I have a feeling 2013 might just top it, provided I wake up in the right country that is.