Category: stuff

The Scottish Bloggers and Music Sites Award 2012 (The Scottish BAMS)

BAMS

 

A few weeks ago we tied up our albums of the year for 2012 and mentioned at the time that our entry was one of 41 entries in this year’s annual BAMS Album of the Year vote.

The BAMS list has now been announced and three of the albums on the Elba list have made the BAMS Top 12. You’ll find the list in full below as well as a list of all of the websites, DJ’s and writers who took part. Well done again to Lloyd at Peenko for putting this together.

9= We Are The Physics – Your Friend, The Atom
9= Paul Buchanan – Mid Air
9= Chris Devotion & The Expectations – Amalgamation & Capital
9= The Twilight Sad – No One Can Ever Know

8. Admiral Fallow – Tree Bursts In Snow

7. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp

6. Miaoux Miaoux – Light Of The North

5. Errors – Have Some Faith In Magic

4. RM Hubbert – Thirteen Lost & Found

3. PAWS – Cokefloat!

2. Django Django – Django Django

1. Meursault – Something for the Weakened

neil_bams2012_2

 

Scots Whay Hae!,  Jim GellatlyDetourJock N RollHoudidontblogRave ChildFusion New MusicFish In A SubManic Pop ThrillsKowalskiy17 SecondsNet SoundsThe Steinberg PrincipleSongs Heard On Fast TrainsPeenkoHercules MomentsDauphin MagJockRockPlay That Song For MeThe SpillThe Tidal Wave of IndifferenceHPInverness GigsElba SessionsFresh AirScottish FictionTenement TVMarion Scott MFRLast Years GirlDear ScotlandBlues BunnyThe Pop CopVic GallowayAlly McCraeGlasgow PodcARTI Hate Fun, AvalancheEdinburgh ManEverything FlowsNicola MeighanAye Tunes and Song, by Toad

test google.com

My Top 5 Albums of 2012 (and joint 6th's)

We usually do an Elba Annual in December where we ask people their ‘best of’s’ from throughout the year but seeing as we’ve had a particularly quiet year on here, we decided it probably was best to give it a miss and hopefully get it going again next year.

I did however, want to share my Top 5 albums of the year with you. I am asked each year by Peenko to submit my albums of the year for inclusion in the yearly BAMS (Blogs and Music Sites) list and this year when Lloyd from Peenko realised he’d run out of fingers to count up the albums, he called on me for my ninja spreadsheet skills. That list is still to be announced however, so I thought I’d get my list up before A) I forget and B) The BAMS list spoils my thunder.

Limiting albums to a Top ‘whatever’ is always quite hard I think. It depends on mood or the time of year, so in my Top 5, I could probably interchange about 3 of the 5 that are included below. In fact, in the three weeks since i sent over my albums of the year, I’ve changed the order in my head several times. However, I’ve gone with my original list but a few albums which on any other day would have made my Top 5 were;

6= Yusuf Azak – Go Native
6= The Pure Conjecture – Courgettes
6= Laurence & The Slab Boys – Lo-Fi Disgrace
6= Beach House – Bloom
6= RM Hubbert – Thirteen Lost & Found
6= Stars – The North
6= Randolph’s Leap – …and the Curse of the Haunted Headphones

But anyway, to the Top 5…

20120329091325-9fb56d05-d412-4294-acb5-b2d3f8e3d18d

5. Best Coast – The Other Place

“Summertime in 11 tracks”

 

FrancoisAndTheAtlasMountainsEVolvoLove600Gb190112

4. Francois & The Atlas Mountains – E Volo Love

“I find it hard not to love this album as it is but having seen them play live, it takes them to another level altogether. A highlight of 2012”

 

arm27-cdex-artwork-LST092750_1

3. Chris Devotion and The Expectations – Amalgamation and Capital

“heard it prior to 2012 (just) and it still gets frequently aired in my house. There’s no messing about here. Catchy, two minute rock n roll tunes.”

 

meursault-2

2. Meursault – Something for the Weakened

“I loved Meursault’s first album. I love Meursault’s second album. ‘Settling’ = shivers”

 

Django-Django-Django-Django-300x300

1. Django Django – Django Django

“Another that I can’t seem to put down. Just a really great listen that I never seem to tire of. Again, have seen them a couple of times over the last year and a bit and they are always excellent.”

Snow

Honestly, I’m not just cashing in on the snow buzzword. Whether it’s all you can talk about or it’s the last thing you want to hear about, the fact is that snow is the thing that is making me write this post. Well, and a couple of songs.

I go to lots of gigs, not enough in my opinion, plenty in my better half’s opinion. I’d say that I enjoy 90% of them. I mean, sometimes you just can’t help pulling a dud out of the bag.

I’m never sure if I have the same relationship with music as others. You see, I take some music really personal. Sometimes the lyrics will mean something to me, sometimes I just like the music and other times it’s to do with a time and

place. However, there are times when elements just click and I can’t fail to be affected by what I am seeing and hearing. A couple of years ago, myself and Chris (sometimes of this blog) saw The National at the Carling Academy in Glasgow. Yeah, I know, you were all there, it’s a badge of honour saying you were there, right? Anyway, it was incredible, from start to finish. The memorable parts though were towards the end of the gig. Whether it was the rip roaring rendition of Mr November which nearly blew the house down to the ‘unplugged’ version of Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks which tore the roof off the venue, this gig was incredible, and I had ‘a moment’. It’s not easy to describe but if you’re reading this, I guess you have some sort of indescribable relationship with music and you too have had that moment that you can’t wipe the grin from your face because everything just seems so perfect in that moment. Sure it’s maybe not the most in tune version of the song you’ve ever heard or the most groundbreaking, but there’s nowhere you’d rather be.

And looking back on that night two years ago now, when we eventually left the venue, after a few post gig tipples in the bar, it was snowing. And something about the memory of The National’s final song of the night, and stepping out to a silent and white night, made that gig one of the most memorable gig-going nights that I’ve had.

Of course, fast forward to now, and you’ll question the connection. Why dredge up The National after a couple of years? It’s because I went to a gig last night, had one of these moments and when we exited the venue, the snow was falling.

I first heard Stars about 8 years ago when they released their ‘Set Yourself On Fire’ album and since then have counted the track ‘Your Ex Lover is Dead’ as one of my most favourite songs. I’ll not delve into why but when Stars played it last night, it sounded perfect. The band seemed to think it sounded perfect and so did everyone around me. I’m still smiling now. And then, to top it off, I exit venue, the snow is falling…

Guest Post: Why I Love Record Stores And Why You Bloody Should Too

To put this post in context, I recently wrote a story in Aberdeen’s Evening Express newspaper about the potential closure of One Up, the city’s sole independent record store. One Up has been dealing with the same difficulties faced across the board, not just by indie record stores, but the music industry as a whole. I had discussed the issue with One Up’s co-owner/manager Fred Craig and wrote the article in the hope that people, knowing that their local independent was under threat, would pull their fingers out and make a special effort to give One Up their custom again.

It has been pointed out to me that many music fans nowadays know exactly what they want to buy, and getting it from amazon or downloading it on itunes is both cheaper and faster than going into town and getting it from the shop (if they are even willing to pay for it at all). Why should they not only make the effort, but lose a few quid as well?

Also, it’s a sign of the times isn’t it? Survival of the fittest, adapt or die, things have changed for the better. Are independent record stores, hell, even huge, corporate record stores part of a bygone age? Are they deserving of the scorn given to 8-tracks or the cassingle, to be loved only by creepy purists needlessly clutching at a past best forgotten?

We music fans have it made post Web 2.0. Even I, writing on the side of the indie, seriously rate Spotify, last.fm, The Hype Machine, music blogs (much like the one you are reading), podcasts and the myriad other ways in which discovering music has become a simple, effortless joy. They’re all brilliant, fantastic services which have introduced me to some incredible music and with regards to last.fm, what music nerd wouldn’t love their own automatically compiled weekly chart or knowing what they’re all-time most listened to Top 10 was?

I am as guilty as anyone for relying on Spotify or amazon to get my music in these cash strapped times but the truth is, ultimately, no website, blog aggregator or streaming service will ever replicate the sheer fucking brilliance of browsing in a quality record store.

The ambience, the music playing in-store, the vinyl and second hand sections, signed albums and merch and most importantly, passionate staff who know their stuff, are just some of the things that indies offer that you can’t get elsewhere. Whilst the idiosyncratic and autonomous nature of blogs lends them personality and taste free from the constraints of the industry’s PR system, 90% of them are written by snobs and charlatans, or are devoid of any charm or personality. The snobbish record store worker (as depicted here and here) has become a cliché, mainly because, well, it’s true. But you know what? The men and women who continue to find employment in this ailing industry do so for a reason: they know their shit and continue to work, despite the uncertain future and low wages, because they love music (OK, maybe they love belittling Beiber, Bublé and Sting fans as well, but stay with me here).

Sad as it may be, the immensely smug feeling that washes over you when a record shop worker compliments your purchases is second to none. There are other small pleasures to be found within your humble indie too. Without indies you’ll never get to experience the fun of discovering an obscure gem of a record that you only bought because it had a funky cover. Or discovering that rarest of jewels (depending on where you live), a local band that’s actually pretty damn good! Or having a favourite band or artist play a free instore gig (I have seen both one of my favourite bands, Sons & Daughters, and one of my favourite singer/songwriters, King Creosote, play sets wedged in front of

One Up’s tills and the experience was, simply, brilliant).

If you are sitting there thinking to yourself, well, I only listen to music on my iPod anyway, to you youngsters who have never even owned a CD, I say this: you’re missing out. Even if you just buy an album to take home and rip, having your own tangible music collection is a lovely thing. It’s like making a mix CD or Spotify playlist…it’s just not got the same warmth or fun as making a mixtape once had.

Finally, if my rambling is still just shouting into the void at this point, then watch High Fidelity or Empire Records. Both these movies are love letters to the record store and, I hope, could convince even a fervent p2p user to give their local indie a go.

Let’s not make these films period pieces. It doesn’t have to be a choice between old and new, we, the music fans, CAN have our cake and eat it. You just need to support your local record store. Go into your local indie this week and buy two albums, one you want and one for entirely whimsical reasons (the aforementioned funky cover say, or whatever’s playing in-store, or something staff recommend you, or something local, bloody hell, even a sodding remix or, god forbid, a b-side album, whatever). You’ll thank me.

Kyle Reid has been a music fan since a CD single of “Boom! Shake the Room” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince came into his possession in 1993, a fact he is neither ashamed of, nor apologises for. He spent the majority of his teenage years, and his pocket money, in One Up and hopes to continue to do so. You can read his blog, here, and follow him on twitter, here, if that’s your kind of thing.

New Adventures in Hi-Fi

Accessibility is an ever expanding advantage of our time, or so we have accepted it to be. I certainly have been a proponent of the availability of material previously difficult, sometimes impossible, to acquire. Recently, I had encountered two problems with this facet. One: the lack of restriction can prove to be overwhelming. Two: my attention span had become ashamedly short.

Let me provide the context to the above realisation. The last few years have passed and my exploration of music had almost ground to a halt. I began to grow concerned about this because despite forays into new music, film and television I felt restless and bored. Now, you would have to know me well to understand how alarming this might be for me. Music is everything to me. The hyperbole in that last sentence is only slight. To find myself becoming gradually dispassionate was confusing.

Skip past a lot of self reflection/woe-is-me-ing and I began to have my suspicions regarding the affect of accessibility on me. A very strong case for my dilemma is that I am terrible at multitasking. I must focus on one thing at a time or I will undoubtably forget or miss something. My lack of allegiance to any particular artist in recent times led to me putting songs on shuffle a lot. Whilst skipping through numerous tracks that I had listened to time and time again I frequently found songs that I had no recollection of that I should have embraced upon first listen.  There is a definite upside to quick attainment.  However, I found the downside can often be even quicker dismissal.

Last week I paid a visit to my local hi-fi retailer in order to pick up a new turntable, something that I have been surviving without for some time.  I’ve finally pieced together a decent audio set-up to which the belt drive would be the proverbial cherry on top. I can advise that this small change has made a much greater impact than I had expected. The joy of the un-boxing, of weighting the arm and placing the first twelve inch down was celestial. Much of that Friday evening was spent listening to albums anew; in natural tones long missed. The week that followed featured stops in many stores to riffle through vinyl. A danger had returned, an element of risk at

investing in a product. I took my time, I walked slowly round the collections and then swiftly doubled back just incase I had missed something. There was process.

Music should be tangible. Whether that be buying and playing records, venturing out to seek live music or dancing to your favourite songs, late, after a few. The experience of music is something that needs to be embraced. A passive connection is not enough for me and the age of streaming and download is disheartening. I want to spend my time engaged with, embracing and interpreting music, not tenuously absorbing it.

If you too are this way aligned you might find the excellent sophmore year of the Grapefruit Record Club of interest or if you, like me, celebrate food almost as much as music then Turntable Kitchen‘s pairings box is worth a little look too. If not, spin on it.

*Voting Open* for The Scottish Album Of The Year

This year sees the inaugural award of The Scottish Album of The Year. With just days until the longlist is whittled down to a shortlist, the general public are being given a chance to have their say with a nomination for one album to go on the judges final list.

The list can be viewed on the SAY Award website or on the iphone/android app. And public voting is open TODAY ONLY, so get involved!!

A month or so back, we put

together a little mixtape including some of the nominated artists which you can stream over here.

Love Streams 1.1

You may have noticed that we’ve had a couple of blogs from Chris about books recently. We’re not going for a change of tack, it’s just that we’ve got through that difficult adolescent phase (for the most part) and are finding that we don’t particularly have to please anyone or conform to a certain type of

writing, we can just be who we want to be.

I’m quite enjoying putting the mixtapes together and hopefully a couple of people will give them a listen at some point, we’ve even installed a wee link at the top of the page where all the mixtapes are stored.

The mixtapes were originally going to be weekly but I sometimes find it quite a task to put together each week depending on what I’ve got on and at the end of the day there’s no point in putting undue stress on yourself, something I’m trying to manage both personally, and on the blog.

In which long winded way takes us back to the point of this post. I’ve been really enjoying some albums recently and find myself on NPR quite a lot streaming forthcoming releases so I guess this post is another one of those semi-regular posts that we have which will appear when we deem there to be enough information to post!

First up is the album which along with Lightships has the potential to my album of the summer, who knows, maybe even year. ‘The Only Place’ by Best Coast follows the same patterns and themes of the first album but there’s just something a bit more shiny and polished about it. That’s not to say that because the lo-fi scuzzy-ness has gone that this album is any less charming.

Best Coast – The Only Place – stream on NPR

Next up, also on NPR, is the band I used to frequently mix up with Best Coast, Beach House. Coast-Beach-Best…you get the idea. We featured the track ‘Myth’ on our most recent mixtape. You can stream the full album, ‘Bloom’ from the link below.

Beach House – Bloom – stream on NPR

The aforementioned Lightships’ album ‘Electric Cables’ can still be streamed over at the Guardian, and like I said, this is up there with one of my favourite albums this year.

Lightships – Electric Cables – stream on the Guardian

And finally, a little closer to home, you can hear Glasgow-based French Wives debut album ‘Dream of the Inbetween’ streaming on The 405. This is a really enjoyable album and got my feet tapping under a pile of spreadsheets in the office the other day.

French Wives – Dream of the Inbetween – stream on The 405

Music Travels

As some people may have picked up on from some photo’s Phil has posted on my behalf, over the past 5 months I have been travelling around Europe & North America. Just before I left, over a beer, Phil & I discussed how we could incorporate my trip into the Elba blog with me writing about gigs i’d been to or any new music that i’d got into whilst on my trails…well things don’t always pan out how you expect and travelling can be unpredictable so this is a post

to let you know how difficult I found our plan and how one man and his iPod (or mp3 player of your choice) can form a bond over hidden gems & unsuspecting tuneage (that’s a word!)…

So, obviously from my lack of posts our grand plan didn’t come to fruition, this isn’t due to not going to gigs or looking for new music but more to do with the digital age we live in. Any new music I came across was already out and about before i’d even had the chance to mention it to someone it was already appearing somewhere else. Conversely in Berlin & Toronto I was pleased to see Glasgow-based artists being the hidden gems getting promotion from local magazines & websites (RM Hubbert & Chris Devotion respectively).

Then the mp3 generation came to bite me on the ass when we were out near The Bowery in Manhattan and got ‘conned’ into some local hip hop by buying a CD of some guys before realising I had nothing to play it on…you never know it may become a hidden gem when I finally have a CD player again.

What I also found was that songs followed me about literally everywhere I went, yes Adele i’m looking at you! Not all were that horrific though… in the tracks of the year I surprised Phil with Kanye West & Jay-Z, but that stemmed from the album & specific tracks meaning so much to me last year after appearing in different locations. The biggest track that seemed to be everywhere for me from November onwards was M83 – Midnight City. In clubs, pubs, shops, this track appeared and stuck in my head, a band I admittedly knew very little about and still know nothing outwith this one track (I’ll need to see Kim for some tutoring)

And finally my iPod came to my rescue, here I listened to full back catalogs from start to finish, had eerie moments when listening to Bon Iver when on a bus through snow covered country roads when Perth came on whilst driving through the small town of Perth in Ontario and of course had some special times with Mr Springsteen like visiting Erie Canal in Buffalo & driving up to NYC whilst listening to New York City Serenade…

… which brings me to an interesting point, and one I couldn’t resist posting about. Bruce Springsteens new album ‘Wrecking Ball’ is released today… you didn’t think I could write a post without mentioning Springsteen did you, especially after seeing his performance on Jimmy Fallon the other week!

Behind the Seen

I enjoy listening to cerebral podcasts; a dialogue of the cultivated.  I refer, of course, to cultural capital here. It is reassuring to locate a consistent source of information amongst the fleeting world of media, music and the meme flooded internet.  Seen Your Video is such a treat.  Chris Ward has been a reliable source of opinion in the many years that I have known him. Whether you agree with them or not (and I don’t at all times – this can be verified upon hearing an appearance of mine on his radio show Left of the Dial) his thoughts are undoubtably his own, which is an honourable quality.  Below is an exchange with Chris over Seen Your Video and its origins.  I eagerly await its return.

Where and when did the initial idea for Seen Your Video arise?

I’d been doing Left Of The Dial, my show on Subcity, for three years and reached 100 episodes, which seemed like a nice round number to finish on. I was really proud of what we’d achieved in that time, but kind of felt like the show was getting a bit formulaic week in, week out – I’d developed a structure that I could essentially just slot bits into: song, talk, song, song, talk, song, etc. On top of that, I’d started working shifts, which made it really hard to stick to one timeslot in which I would definitely be able to put on a show weekly. So a podcast seemed like the easiest way to get around both problems: the change in format would shake me out of my rut, such as it was, and I’d be able to record it at any time during the week that suited me and stick it up whenever.

The name Seen Your Video is, like Left Of The Dial, borrowed from a Replacements song – I wanted to keep some kind of continuity between the two shows, but make sure people knew that this was very much its own thing. Plus, because I’m now covering film as well as music, it felt right to have a title that referenced the visuals as well as the sounds, in however derogatory a fashion.

Has your involvement with Left of The Dial and Scots Whay Hae influenced the direction of the project?

Mainly in trying to maintain the eclecticism of what gets covered. Left Of The Dial didn’t really fit in with a lot of Subcity programming when we started it, because whilst we weren’t a niche show like the kind Subcity has historically done really well – we weren’t just playing Northern Soul, or 90s American indie (even if that was originally going to be our pitch and we were considering calling it Chasing Pavement), or chiptune, or grime, or whatever – we also tried not to be as haphazard as other shows that didn’t have that one laser-focused area of expertise. We played a broad range of stuff, but that’s only because our record collections contained a broad range of stuff, and we loved it all. We still tried to give it the care and attention and thematic links of a niche show, only our niche was everything – one of my proudest moments was playing “Sister Ray” by The Velvet Underground in its entirety one Friday morning in October, but a week or so before I’d done a potted history of the Wu-Tang Clan, later mounted a spirited defence of “Maggie May” by Rod Stewart, and on a few occasions crammed local bands (Admiral Fallow, John Knox Sex Club, Johnny Reb – not all at once, sadly) into the studio for some shambolic knees-ups. With Seen Your Video, I wanted to keep that same attitude of everything being worthy of consideration: if something catches my interest, or I feel there’s something worth saying about it, or see or hear something that I think deserves wider attention from people, then it gets covered. That’s all there is to it, regardless of what genre it is or where it comes from.

As for Scots Whay Hae!, that’s how I cover my arse for not exclusively covering Scottish stuff, which seems to be de rigeur for a lot of Scottish blogs and podcasts. My mate Ali writes it all single-handedly, and he hosts all the podcasts too – I only chip in now and again as a guest – and he does a brilliant job of it. There’s a lot of great music being made across Scotland, and better films than we’ve made in years, but I think I – and everyone else, frankly – would be lying if I said that’s where my interests lay exclusively. There’s not really a Scottish equivalent of Pitchfork (thank fuck, says the readers), one site that covers stuff from all over the place with a very distinctive, recognisable voice. That was the kind of thing I was interested in doing – approaching global pop culture in a Scottish voice, and talking about it in terms that might make it more meaningful to a local crowd than an American blogger who’s been raised on a completely different indie tradition (like being able to compare The Weeknd to an R&B Arab Strap). Not that I want Seen Your Video to be completely free of Scottish content, but doing Scots Whay Hae! means I can feel free to talk about Yo La Tengo on Seen Your Video and rest easy knowing that I can continue to talk up The Twilight Sad next time I record with Ali.

How do you feel leaving the music content behind and moving to an almost exclusively dialogue based podcast?

An hour suddenly feels like it takes much longer to fill when you’re not stopping every five minutes for a song. Honestly though, this is a direction I’m happy to move in. As Left Of The Dial progressed, the episodes I was most pleased with were usually episodes like our year-end best-ofs, where we’d get a few guests in and just talk for most of the episode about what we’d been listening to and watching, in a bit more detail than we’d be able to get into when we were trying to cram it all into the links between songs. My only worry is that it turns into a monologue – I’ve only done one episode so far that didn’t have a guest on it, and while it was only about half the length of a usual episode, I was still very self-conscious about potentially rambling. And besides, who wants to hear another guy on the internet’s opinions about movies and music? At least with a guest there’s a hook for the conversation, whether they’ve got some kind of qualifying credential or you just know you’ll be able to get something of interest out of them.

The content so far has been quite diverse depending on who you are speaking to, despite some loose ideas of what you want to cover, are you pleased with how well it is developing organically?

Yeah, I am. The original plan – which seems to have been deviated from quite quickly, I have to say – was ‘inspired’ (ahem) by Julie Klausner’s podcast, How Was Your Week?, in which she literally sits her guests down, asks them what they’ve been doing lately, and then takes the conversation from there. I wanted to do something similar, but specifically ask what they’d been watching, reading, listening to, etc., and then let it spin off at any tangents that may arise. I think on some level I haven’t been confident enough to let that happen yet, just because I’ve been keen to avoid the above-mentioned just-another-guy-who-has-opinions label, so most of the guests have had some sort of hook to their interview related to their own areas of expertise. Ali came on to talk about what the STV series Scotland’s Greatest Album had got wrong. My friend Anthony, who writes horror movie reviews for eatmybrains.com, came on to talk about all-night horror movie marathons at Halloween, The Skinny’s film editor, Jamie Dunn, came on to talk about British film off the back of The Deep Blue Sea and We Need To Talk About Kevin. But yeah, I don’t go into any of the chats with any kind of structure in mind, so I suppose the principle is the same as the original plan: find a starting point and take it from there.

Are there any areas that you haven’t yet managed to cover that you would like to become a regular focus of the podcast?

Maybe other podcasts, actually, but that might be too meta. I listen to a lot of American alt-comedy stuff – Comedy Bang Bang, Who Charted?, The Pod F. Tompkast, all that kind of thing – so in any given week they’re comprising anywhere between five and ten hours of my cultural intake, depending on how much solo travelling I have to do (they’re my commute accompaniment). That’s a pretty big chunk of time to devote to a medium that I’ve barely mentioned on my own podcast, when I could fit roughly five movies or ten records into that same space of time. Even if I just spent one episode getting into some recommendations or something, I could see that working. Other than that, I’d mainly like to get back to the above-mentioned original idea, and let the guests dictate what gets covered. I’d quite like to find a co-host too, to stave off the fear of monologuing, and also because I feel like I’ve already worked my way through everyone in my immediate circle of friends who’d be comfortable talking about something on-mic for up to 45 minutes at a time. If I’m going to have to start bringing in repeat guests anyway, might as well make one of them a regular.

Are there any guests planned for the coming year?

I haven’t actually put out an episode in 2012 at all so far, and whilst that’s largely because I’m trying to figure out just what the hell I want to do with the damn thing, it’s also down to trying to arrange what I think has the potential to be a really cool segment. I used to write a webzine with my mates Steve and Gavin, who have both since moved to London

for work and subsequently found themselves out of the loop musically. So last summer, in a bid to get back in the game, they asked me to e-mail them one album recommendation a week, that, being as disconnected from the blogosphere and the hype machine as they are, they would come at with completely fresh ears and no idea what to expect. I sent them recommendations for both new titles (Real Estate, The Roots, Fucked Up) and classics that, knowing their tastes, I didn’t think they’d have heard (Guided By Voices, The Dismemberment Plan, The Feelies). What we’re hoping to do is find a time that suits all three of us to get on Skype and talk about what they thought about each of the recommendations, and stick it up on the pod. The only problem is we haven’t yet been able to find that particular time, and there’s no sign of it on the immediate horizon either. So other than that, guests-wise, I’m not sure. Any takers?

Looking ahead, is there anything that you already hope to feature?

Put it this way: if I make it along to a particular gig, or I see a film on which I have a strong opinion, or there’s some zeitgeist-capturing album doing the rounds, odds are it’ll get covered, at least in some fashion. When I finally get round to putting a new show up, I’ll have at least two months worth of stuff to cover. I’ll probably look at albums like the new Cloud Nothings record, which I love, and maybe Craig Finn’s solo album, because The Hold Steady are one of my favourite bands currently working. Gigs-wise, I’m heading down to London to see Jay-Z and Kanye West at the O2 in May, then rushing back home later that week to see Philip Glass and the Kronos Quartet play his soundtrack to the Bela Lugosi Dracula live alongside the film. So that should be a particularly eclectic episode. If I get my shit together enough to be able to record interviews or sessions with touring bands that’d

be cool too, but I think I’ll have to do a bit more to build an audience before that happens.

sad songs and waltzes aren't selling this year

So, we’ve had some ‘database issues’ over the last couple of weeks so we’re declaring January a bust. No blogging in Jan, for various issues. It’s pleasing however that one of these reasons isn’t that there was no good music to listen to, the reasons are another story however, and I’m leaving it at that.

I’d started writing this post in the first week of January and had got to 800 words but now it’s Feb, I’m not going where I was going when I wrote it anymore but I am keeping the title to this post, cos I like it. If you don’t know it, it’s the title of a Willie Nelson song.

I liked the idea that at the start of the year when we are besieged by ‘ones to watch’ lists that we have no idea what’s selling this year. In fact, I hope sad songs and waltzes are selling this year, because those type of songs are fucking great.

That’s all really, we just wanted to say hello, for the new year, assure you that we hadn’t nicked off anywhere and we’ll try and write about

better stuff this year. I’ve added some things from Jan that I’ve enjoyed below and we’ll resume normal service over the next week

* Go and download yourself the latest single from Dad Rocks! It’s free to do so.

* Check out new albums from RM Hubbert, Django Django and Chris Devotion & The Expectations

* On that last point Chris Devotion and the Expectations are launching their album tonight at Captain’s Rest in Glasgow. If you’re on the east coast, they will be playing at Henry’s Cellar Bar in Edinburgh on Feb 18th as part of Song, By Toad’s ‘Ides of Toad‘ gigs.

* And finally, whilst mentioning Song, By Toad. His latest Toad Session with Josh T Pearson is available for download/perusal over this direction