H&H // BIG FAT REVIEW OF THE YEAR ’14
Originally posted on Hooting & Howling
2014 has been a mammoth musical year by all accounts, from its literally endless list of incredible album releases, tracks and gigs (all of which made my life a nightmare when it came to just picking a few of each – I’ll probably change my mind in about 10 minutes) to it’s superiority despite the sheer lack of releases from the usual suspects that dominate my musical tastes (Suede, say no more), and somehow all the more better for it, but when seeing the year close in whilst pouring over a friends record collection at your parents own self proclaimed “Jools vinyl NYE party”, and ending it sat in a cold London flat surrounded by guitars, playing a new demo and counting down the days til the next gig having finished your first term of music school, it wasn’t going in any other direction but intensely musical. These are my minimal selections of the best things to happen…
My Top 10 Albums Of The Year
#1. Softly, Softly // The Hosts
An unexpected choice from even myself considering my more usual tastes, and a more unexpected discovery was that of another incredible Sheffield band in that of The Hosts deep in a forest in Norfolk back in June. Having quickly delved into the odd few top rated tracks the night before as often done with support acts, they seemed listenable, but once seeing them live twice in the space of 2 weeks and another the next month for good measure, it was safe to say I was sold on them. Softly, Softly is an album worth listening to on repeat for about a month solid before you truly realise how good it is – and once you do, you won’t be able to resist.
#2. Eagulls // Eagulls
#3. Junto // Basement Jaxx
#4. Luminous // The Horrors
#5. Hendra // Ben Watt
#6. Soapbox // The Crookes
#7. The Age Of Fracture // Cymbals
#8. Trouble In Paradise // La Roux
#9. Lost In The Dream // The War On Drugs
#10. Breakfast // Teleman
My Top 10 Tracks Of The Year
#1. Tough Luck // Eagulls
To give the crown of track of the year to anything else in this list, as tempting as it may be, would be shamefully inaccurate. Since ‘Tough Luck’ was released back in February it has dominated my listening and not yet ceased to sound no less than absolutely brilliant everytime it’s played. From tearing guitars to George Mitchell’s angsty vocals, the track is infectious, and without a doubt the best thing the outfit have come up with yet.
#2. Crash ’14 // Menswe@r
#3. Never Say Never // Basement Jaxx
#4. Bound // Night Flowers
#5. I Wanna Stay Away // The Black Tambourines
#6. Simple Things // Felt Tip
#7. Making Breakfast // Twin Peaks
#8. Money // LIFE
#9. Lights // Trans
#10. What You Isn’t // The Brian Jonestown Massacre
My Top 5 Gigs Of The Year
#1. Suede & Eagulls – Royal Albert Hall – 30/03/14
Despite the sheer lack of Suede in my life this year, it’d be only right to crown them top in a least one list, and despite the mighty effort poured in to travelling to the depths of forests in Norfolk and Westonbirt (nope me either) to see them this year, one of their finest points yet – and the best live experience of my year – was undoubtedly their mega ‘Dog Man Star’ celebratory night at the Royal Albert Hall. Tearing through the full album, the rarely aired b sides and, of course, everything else in between, they promptly reduced everyone including myself to a largely appreciative mess, and – not to mention the stellar support slot from Eagulls – it ended up arguably one of the best nights of 2014 and no doubt another legendary date etched in Suede times.
#2. Chic – Bestival – 07/10/14
Having spent the past 3 years totally in awe of Nile Rodgers and everything he’s ever done, finally seeing Chic was more than an honour – particularly at arguably the best festival of them all – and after 2 hours of sheer disco hits and glitter, my life was far better than it was before and remains so – to the point where I went to see them on a whim a week later for exactly the same amount of genius. 3 years was nothing, Nile Rodgers is a man to be admired for eternity.
#3. The Fall – The Garage – 27/11/14
Starting the year as ultimately not a great Fall fan – i.e. not really knowing who they were or why I needed to, 2014 has seen me catch up, and them settle into my top favourites, and finally seeing them in a cosy venue in Islington was frankly an essential to the end of the year – the band were phenomenal, MES was his usual brilliant self and the beloved PINS were roped in to support, a night of pure musical bliss.
#4. Tramlines – Sheffield – 25-27/07/14
I’ve been promising to go to Tramlines for years and, regardless of the fact I live blatantly nowhere near Sheffield, it has always seemed a must, and this year I finally got that chance – in perfect timing for a stellar line up too. With, as always, enchanting sets from the likes of The Crookes, PINS, The Hosts etc, I also got the chance to throw myself into a vast array of new music, with incredible discoveries including Night Flowers, The Black Tambourinesand Best Friends, all whilst being able to get drunk in roaring sunshine all weekend. As festival vibes go, Tramlines is without a doubt one of the best, and in one of the greatest musical cities in the country, roll on next year.
#5. Franz Ferdinand – Birmingham 02 – 21/03/14
From what now seems a lifetime ago, last year’s BFR was looking very much forward to this gig in particular – my inner 8 year old finally got a chance to relive a 2004 revival, on top of all the impressive stuff the band have produced since, and it was utterly ace – not to mention again another killer set from Eagulls in support.
Things I’m Looking Forward To In 2015
#1. New Bands
Every year throws up a million fine new talents and it’s almost always the best thing about every year – 2015’s looking to be no exception.
#2. New albums from old bands
Endless bands are gearing up to release more good stuff in 2015 (including everyone’s favourite Britpop-pers) which will no doubt make it another brilliant year for ears all around.
#3. (Is this allowed?) Bleak House ultimately taking over the world
As it’s Christmas and the unspoken highlight of my year being finally getting myself into a band, I figure I can get away with some shameless self promo, and with the EP release impending and shoegaze taking an unexpected turn for revival, 2015 might see your favourite News Ed become your favourite bassist too (This may not be entirely factual, but it’s nice to have goals, have a nice Christmas).