Thursday, 26 November 2009

Top 50 Albums of the deacde

With the noughties coming to a close and NME giving us a terrible representation of the records they thought should grace the decades top 50 I decided to put my own list together in no particular order.

Top 50 Records of the Decade

At The Drive-In – Relationship of command

Anti-Flag – Underground network

The Bronx

The Slackers – Self-medication

Adequate 7 – Songs of innocence and experience

Justin Sane – Life, love and the pursuit of justice

The Cribs – The new fellas

White Stripes – White blood cells

Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs – Fever to tell

Flaming Lips – Yoshimi battles the pink robots

Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip – Angles

Gogol Bordello – Gypsy punks: underdog world strike

Hell is for heroes – Transmit disrupt

Weezer - Maladroit

Beastie Boys – to the 5 boroughs

Los Copesinos – Hold on now youngster

The Rapture – Echoes

LCD Sound system

Radio 4 – Gotham

Bright eyes – I’ wide awake it’s morning

Ben Folds – Songs for silverman

Ben Folds Five – Whatever and ever amen

Soulwax - Any minute now

Frank Turner – Sleep is for the week

Captain Everything – It’s not rocket science

Alkaline Trio – Crimson

Howards Alias – Beat Heart Beat

Matthew Reynolds – Wreck of the Hesperus

Rival Schools – United by fate

Eels – Electro-shock blues

Rodrigo Y Gabriella

The Go Team – Thunder Lighting Strike

Moby - Play

Moldy Peaches

Capown – Civil disobedients

The Strokes – Is this it


The Shins – Chutes too narrow

Rueben – Race car is race car backwards

Hot Club De Paris – Drop it like it pops

Sonic Boom Six – A rough guide to genre terrorism

AFI – Sing the sorrow

Hot Chip – The warning

Bloc Party - Silent alarm

The Macabees – Color it in

Queens Of The Stoneage – Rated R

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – Madonna

Badly Drawn Boy – The hour of the bewilderbeast

Distillers – Sing,sing death house

Dandy Warhols – Thirteen tales from urban bohemia

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Frank Turner, Fake Problems & Beans on Toast, Wulfrun Centre, Wolverhampton

Bean’s on Toast kicked off the night with an individual blend of lo-fi folk, politics and humour. Frank Turner repeatedly described him as ‘The future of music’ which is high praise from the man you are supporting.

Fake Problems from Florida, were the second support act. They warmed the crowd up ready for Frank Turner with an energetic set, filled with folk-punk and alt-country songs. Most importantly the band looked to be having a great time on stage, this energy soon transferred to the receptive audience.

Once Frank Turner took the stage the temperature within the venue increased as the diverse crowd filled the room. Frank balanced his set perfectly between songs from his early records, which generated his strong and loyal fan base, with songs from the critically acclaimed ‘Love Ire and Song’ and the new album ‘Poetry Of The Deed’ which have attracted newer fans.

Throughout his set the audience sang along to almost every word until the debut of an ‘old but new’ song which had not been played anywhere before, silencing the crowd as everyone looked on in awe.

It is rare to see an artist enjoy playing a show as much as Frank Turner, the pleasure and pride he takes in his work is truly inspiring. I am proud to be part of one of the audience’s that have made ‘his mother proud’. If you ever get the opportunity to see Frank Turner live you should grab it with both hands, if not you should look him up and buy his records

Monday, 21 September 2009

Club NME presents The Mystery Jets and Myriad Creatures > Magnet Club, Berlin > 11th July 2009

It’s always a strange experience seeing a British band playing abroad as you’re never sure how they'll be received by a foreign audience or how their reputation has traveled. I was pleasantly surprised to arrive at Magnet Club practically straight from the plane to find the Mystery Jets taking the stage.

I was even more surprised to hear the new sound that the Mystery Jets have taken on. I had read about the new 80’s inspired sound but had not got round to buying the newest record (Twenty One) and only heard the first single from this album (2 Doors Down). It is very hard to formulate an opinion based on words and a single track but surprise is always a good thing.

The new sound captivated the audience within seconds and did not spit us back out until the introduction to the third song. By which time my worries on the atmosphere had been blown out of the window, the crowd reception would have been welcome at a hometown gig or one of the infamous Eel Island parties that helped to launch the band.

The set list moved effortlessly between tracks from the newest record with only one from ‘Making Dens’ which was a slight disappointment as much like the music press I was very taken by this album. Unfortunately for me the band seem to feel this record was terrible and said when playing the one track from it ‘This one’s from our first album. Does anyone here own it? Poor You!’ The highlight of the set was the single 2 doors down which had the entire crowd dancing and singing along. Overall it was a set from a band that have found the sound that makes them happy, which in turn makes the crowd happy and music and performance sound better.

The night took a slightly strange turn as the Mystery Jets left the stage as the support act then took the stage for their set. Myriad Creatures were a catchy indie five piece playing 3 minute tracks with a chorus you only needed to hear once to sing along to. They played with a great deal of energy and had the crowd onside within seconds. It can’t be too hard to have the crowd onside when the headliner has warmed them up for you.

The night then ended with Club NME’s finest DJ’s playing until 6am, we lasted until about 3am but after a whole day waiting around in the airport bar to fly out it’s not surprising we were drunk and tired. I really enjoyed the Mystery Jets and would recommend finding them in the smallest venue you can.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Treeprog presents > Baddies, Jim Lockey And The Solemn Sun, The Divine Secret and Che

The Baddies are a band currently gathering hype from the music press, I haven’t read a bad word about the Southend four piece. The gig was organised by two of the gentlemen that bring the two thousand trees festival to Cheltenham each summer operating under the banner Treeprog. The idea is that they will bring big acts to this fine town with support from the best local talent.

The night opened with a performance from Che who blended rock with incredibly tight vocals. As they played to the ever filling room the audience were being drawn into the performance. The tight vocal style of Che was followed up by The Divine Secret, who blend a heavier breed of rock with dramatic vocals to a very high standard. Their style is backed up with huge stage presence from all 3 members. Obvious comparisons to early Incubus or Desa come from the vocal style but elements of post hardcore and metal create an individual sound.

The next support act were Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun who are creating waves within music which will put Cheltenham on the Map. The obvious comparison to Frank Turner will always greet any artist/s who make the punk styled folk that Jim has become accustomed to, the band are by no means a one trick pony . The lyrical styling mixing a Bright Eyes styled beauty and a Billy Bragg styled political message is both entertaining and inspiring.

The live sound of Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun is deep and soulful with a mixture between quiet slow songs to make you think, and folk punk to get the audience on their feet. The band has been mentioned in many must see lists and I would certainly agree with this, if you can see them live this summer, or ever, do.

The headline act Baddies entered the stage to a curious crowd; most people seemed to have heard of the band by reputation alone and came down to see what the hype was about. The stage presence presented made it almost impossible not to watch the performance. Within three quarters of the first song of the set the singer had entered the crowd to up the mood.

Throughout the entire set Baddies seemed to increase in intensity and whip themselves, and the crowd into frenzy. Front man Michael Webster locked the crowd in death stare as he delivered lyrics in an aggressive style usually associated with Punk or even Hardcore. To put Baddies into a scene or style would be almost impossible they mix the modern Indie sound with aspects of Stooges and Ramones punk and straight Rock ‘n’ Roll.

The band have a distinctive look and sound which will aid them in their festival performances throughout the summer. I would, as with almost every band I see live, recommend watching them play and formulating your own opinions.

Monday, 15 June 2009

The Slackers

The Slackers stopped at Bristol’s Thekla during their recent European tour and I was fortunate enough to interview Jay from the band and watch them play. Please check out the previous post for the video interview with Jay, I’ll keep you posted on when this has been written up and is ready for our first issue.

Support on the UK leg of the tour was from The Skints, who put a modern twist on the ska genre, taking aspects that make UK Ska and Skacore. The live sound offered by The Skints is tight and their performance was full of energy. I would recommend seeing them live if the opportunity arises and expect big things from them in the next few years as they are slowly catching some media attention.

There was a huge amount of anticipation for The Slackers and they did not disappoint. The band describe their brand of music as Caribbean Rock ‘n’ Roll which perfectly describes the genre twisting style they play. Their sound perfectly fit the description from the deep bass, great brass, bouncy guitars and organ, and the contrasting vocals from Vic and Glen.. They played the perfect mix between tracks from old records, the current album ‘Self Medication’ and even threw a Lulu cover in for good measure.

The performance whipped the crowd into a frenzy which was perfectly finished off with the final song of the set, where they got the entire crowd to kneel as they slowed the mood right down before speeding up for the finale. As you will see from the video below the live performance was a fine example of a band enjoying themselves on stage, making it impossible for the audience not to enjoy the night.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The Specials

I was one of lucky few people who got to enjoy the specials playing live on their reunion tour. It was amazing to see so many people united to see such an important band. Although there were worries at the back of mind that the band would not live up to my expectations.

Seeing such an inspirational band live after many of the audience had waited longer than my lifetime to see them was an honour. The music and political themes although written 30 years ago are still relevant, I know as a country we have come a long way but racism is still an issue for many people. Especially in the current political climate the anti- racist message was at its most inspiring when the entire audience were singing the chorus of ‘It doesn’t make it alright’ to hear thousands of people united in expressing racism is the ‘Worst excuse in the world’ was something I will never forget.

The night was by no means focused on politics and seriousness; the band were having a great time onstage and seemed to be honoured to have the opportunity to play in front of such a big audience again. There is nothing more enjoyable than watching a band who you love enjoying themselves on stage. Although the band are all 30 years older than when they were releasing music they played with more passion and energy than I have seen from many bands half their age play with.

The only aspect of the night which was not perfect was the choice of support act although the Dub Pistols were reasonably good I would have liked to see the Specials give a younger band the opportunity and exposure.

All in all the Specials were fantastic to watch and it was a true honour to whiteness such an important event.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

A1 Reccords

A quick note to recommend that you get yourself over to the A1 records website and check out the great records now available to download. I would personally recommend the Gregory Kraj albums and EP’s (there’s loads of them) and the Spades however everything I have downloaded is great.

Those of you who have some money and are feeling generous should also donate to keep the label running. I have a feeling we will be expecting great things from A1 in the future especially with the existing music they are realising.

You can check them out here

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

SANZARU is born

As mentioned in previous posts I have been working towards releasing an independent music Zine. I finally have good news on that front our website is in progress and as soon as it’s done we will have our first issue available for your reading pleasure. There is also soon to be a video interview with The Slackers and Vic Ruggiero talking about his solo records.

There is also going to be a Sanzaru blog on the way which will be updated regularly by Jamie and myself with special guest blogs appearing as often as possible.

If you want to get involved in any way please do not hesitate in getting in touch.

A Beginner’s Guide To Dance

I am no expert on dance music and only listen to a few artists mainly recommended to me by friends and reviews. I generally listen to relaxed styles mainly with real instruments involved; there have been plenty of artists developing styles incorporating a dance influence in differing styles.

The most documented style recently discussed has been the New Rave scene which started in the USA with the LCD Sound System and The Rapture both influencing the style that emerged in the UK last year with The Klaxons, Hot Chip and Enter Shakiri. The scene has obvious comparisons to the Radio 4 and Cooper Temple Clause but Test Icicles have been credited with starting the style. Recently NME described them as 'the most important influence to music in the last 10 years' (a comment to take with a pinch of salt).

As with any scene there are good artists and bands who ride the hype. The Klaxons were victims of their own success and released a great album but singles being forced into our ears made it hard to respect the creativity of the record. Hot Chip also got tied into the New Rave scene, although released one of the best dance albums of the year with a follow up that made my top albums of the year.

Although I am not an expert there are plenty of ‘dance’ albums I love including Air’s Moon Safari which is an album that never fails to relax me but includes all the elements you expect from French dance music. New Forms by Roni Size and Reprazent is again a stunning record, made with a mixture between live instruments and electronic beats creating an individual sound. Mr Scruff’s Keep It Unreal displays a truly original take jazz inspired dance which is hard not to love.

The genre is far bigger than my knowledge but there are a load of important bands to be considered.

LCD Soundsystem

Radio 4

Mr Scruff

Roni Size



Bloc Party (Particularly most recent record)

Hot Chip

Test Icicles

Thursday, 26 March 2009

A Beginners Guide to Acoustic/Solo

This is another genre my Dad can take credit for me now enjoying so much, he has put the grumpy man with a guitar into my ears from an early age. Unlike him the artists I choose to listen to often come out of bands either as a side project or after the split of the band.

I particularly love the surprise element of artists who have come from this background . Most notably the difference between Lightspeed Champion and Test Icicles or Frank Turner and Million Dead is astonishing. Both have gone from making heavy music with shouty vocals to breathtaking beauty. Other fine examples of the element of surprise have been Albert Hammond Jr. and The Nightwatchman(Tom Morrello) both guitarists who came out with a solo record proving not only they can sing but they can also write a great record.

The inclusion of acoustic allows for a wider track selection including one of the tracks from the fantastic acoustic part of the most recent Hot Club De Paris and the incredible Rodrigo Y Gabriella who if you ever get the chance to see live you should. The fact they can make the level and depth in sound they do using only an acoustic guitar each is truly amazing.

This is a genre where more than one CD could be put together, there are some great artists that didn’t make it onto the CD but are more than worth a listen for example Babar Luck, Liam O’Kane, Jim Lockey, Matt Reynolds and Robb Blake.

Obviously as with the previous lists history plays an important part in the genre it would be a crime to not include Lou Reed or Iggy Pop and strong arguments could (and should) be made for Elvis, Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly and even Bob Marley fortunately there will be enough time for me to add them to the mix in due course.

Although I find the history of musical genres fascinating and important the solo scene is currently growing stronger than it has been for a long time so if there is one genre to get my sister into this is the one. The key artists included are:

Lou Reed
Iggy Pop
Moldy Peaches
Jeff Buckley
Lightspeed Champion
Ben Folds
Bright Eyes
King Django
Vic Ruggiero
Albert Hamond Jr.
Justin Sane
Badly Drawn Boy

Friday, 13 March 2009

Vic Ruggiero Bootlegs

Just a quick note to point you in the direction of Vic's website, his blogs are a good read and the discograpghy is huge and full of suprises. You should check out the bootlegs section which includes free downloads of live performances the 2 currently up (Dead in Brooklyn and Volume One Live Europe) are really good.

Check out the bootlegs here

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

A Beginners Guide To Indie

Indie music is a non-genre as it seems to include anything that is popular without being a boy/girl band or fitting into R&B, Hip Hop, Dance, Rock or Metal. Indie music seems to be defined by appearing in NME or being played on the radio. The genre doesn’t exist in the USA (it’s called Alt Rock or similar) but American bands fit the UK definition so get branded when they come over here.

This is the music my sister currently listens to, mainly because this is the genre that describes the taste in music my Dad now has. She particularly likes the Ting Tings and Razorlight’s bland take on the genre. I would like to show her there is more to Indie than that style and with any luck she can see them as an influence which helped her get into better music.

I’m sure part of the reason I dislike the popular Indie sound is down to my love of independent music. In my opinion there are far better bands not enjoying the success they deserve. With this in mind I will be including my favorite Indie bands that inspired me when I was younger along with the bands that still inspire me now.

When I was at school/college I listened to a lot of Radio 1 especially John Peel and Steve Lamaq in the evenings. This influenced my taste in music by putting bands like Ash, At The Drive-in, Radiohead, Supergrass, Beastie Boys, The Rapture and The Libertines in front of me. Each artist represents a different style categorized within the Indie Genre.

The current breed of UK Indie has given us some great bands including Hot Club De Paris, The Holloway’s, Dirty Pretty Things, Dead 60’s, Bloc Party, Klaxons, Dustin’s Bar Mitzvah and many more to accompany the bands that originally inspired me. The newer breed of Indie includes so many styles of music that would fit into many different genres, making defining the genre almost impossible.

The USA also has some of the best Indie bands around at the moment all of which have a completely different sound to the UK scene. Bands like The Shins, Strokes, Dandy Warhol’s, Weezer, MGMT, LCD Sound System, Moldy Peaches and Radio 4 are keeping the genre as diverse as it has ever been. The American style often has noticeable comparisons to influential artists such as The Velvet Underground, Stooges, Ramones, Johnny Cash, Bruce Spingsteen and Elvis Costello.

It is hard to have an essential list of artists for a genre that is so diverse with influences from almost every scene that took place before the definition was decided. The list below features as many of the bands that inspired me as a teen and important bands of the current scene. I can leave the early stuff to my Dad who I'm sure already has brought the Smiths, Pixies, Blur, Pulp and Suede to my sister's attention.

Bloc Party
The Shins
Hot Club De Paris
The Strokes
White Stripes
Flaming Lips
Rival Schools
Shout Out Louds

A Beginers Guide To Punk

I totally agree with the popular opinion that punk died in the eighties when bands like The Exploited and GBH took the torch. The death of punk was the birth of every great sub genre that now exists, making punk as diverse as it now is.

Again the history of punk is very important as was the case with the last post about Ska. The start of the punk scene is something that will always be debated were The New York Dolls responsible for the birth or was it the Stooges, MC5, Ramones or even the Velvet Underground. I personally do not like the NY Dolls or MC5 so will be leaving them out and sticking with the other three. The UK scene is far less debated with the Sex Pistols, Clash, Undertones, Buzzcocks, Sham 69 and Stranglers all pioneers of the genre.

As the scene developed further the 80’s style seemed to kill off the genre as it sounded in the 70’s. Bands like the Misfits, Bad Brains, Joy Division, David Bowie and The Velvet Under Ground breathed new life into punk taking it to new levels and creating new genres. These styles were followed up by the birth of the sounds now classified as punk The Decedents opened the doors for NOFX, Rancid, Greenday and Bad religion to create Pop Punk and Skate Punk.

The hardcore scene also evolved into a more melodic style through Hüsker Dü, Satanic Surfers and Strike Anywhere. The melodic hardcore and pop punk scenes also combined to become Emo which in turn has a long list of sub genres.

The current 2nd generation Melodic Hardcore coming out of the ashes of Satanic Surfers in the form of the Enemy Alliance and Indecision Alarm is going further towards the punk sound and slightly away from the melodic style. This Is A Standoff have also developed in style after the break up of The Belvedere taking a step towards Hardcore. The retro sound currently being carried by The Gaslight Anthem and Zatopeks is yet to be given a name but with the success both have achieved it won’t be long before they are fronting a scene of there own

The Punk genre has spilt off into so many sub-genres you could almost connect it to every type of music released after 1976 and most music before will have a connection if you look hard enough. With this in mind the essential bands to offer inspiration have to be:

The Stooges
Velvet Underground
Sex Pistols
Satanic Surfers
No Use For A Name
Captain Everything
Mr Zippy
The Bronx
At The Drive-In
Enemy Alliance
Indecision Alarm
Gogol Bordello
Gaslight Anthem

Thursday, 5 March 2009

A Beginers Guide To Ska

I personally think Ska is one of the most important of all music genres (partially because I love it). As a genre it is completely multi-cultural and responsible for a change in mindsets within music. Ska has developed over the past 30 years moving from the slow reggae style of the Skatalites and other Jamaican Ska bands, to the Specials, Bad Manners and Madness who were at the fore front of the UK scene in the 70’s and 80’s, to The Mighty Mighty Bosstones developed the Skacore/Ska Punk sound paving the way for the next generation of Less Than Jake, Rancid and Mad Caddies in the USA and Capdown, Adequate 7, Howards Alias in the UK.

As far as looking into Ska with an eleven year old girl in mind there are 2 bands that were essential in my love of Ska Less Than Jake and The Specials. Both are fantastic bands and offer very different styles but will ultimately inspire the listener.

To accompany this playlist I’m also going to make a copy Ska Is Dead from Household Name Records which is a sampler that covers all the bases. Unfortunately some tracks will have to be substituted as I do not want to face the wrath of my Mum when she hears bad language coming out of my sisters room (or mouth).

As mentioned the play list will start at the beginning and work from there although not everything will be in chronological order as each track should move onto the next nicely. The Playlist will include all of the following:

The Toasters
The Specials
The Clash
Mighty Mighty Bostones
Less Than Jake
Mad Caddies
Voodoo Glow Skulls
Streetlight Manifesto
Chris Murray
Howards Alias
Adequate 7
Dead 60’s
Buck O Nine
Sonic Boom Six
Shootin’ Goon
The Pie Tasters

If you want to suggest tracks or artists that should be included please give me a shout.

A Beginners Guide to ….

These next few posts follow on from last week where I mentioned educating my little sister in good music. I am hoping to nurture her into listening to a varied diet of music with as many genres as possible. As an education each genre will start from the beginning and will pretty much become a musical history lesson. If you think I have missed any artists give me a shout and I will get them on the list.

The only thing to remember is my sister is an eleven year old girl so I need to find tracks that are free of swearing and risqué themes. It is safe to say there will be no beginners guide to gansta rap and I’m not sure she is ready for New York hardcore (or any hardcore for that matter) just yet either.

Keep your eyes peeled for the play lists in the next few days.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Help Save The Youth Of Today From Exploding

Please excuse the Less Than Jake misquote in the title, I took the title for this post from the Album one of the most influential records I owned as a teen. I bought the double pack which included ‘Hello Rockview’ and ‘Loosing Streak’ in one box, after recent rediscovery I still can’t decide which is my favourite as they are both fantastic albums.

The shuffle feature on iTunes has a habit of reminding me of great albums I have not heard for a long time, I recently rediscovered ‘Milo Goes To College’ by the Descendents which is one of the best punk albums ever made. Howev
er the record is not the best value for money considering all 15 tracks are over within 23 minutes with only 3 tracks over 2 minutes on the whole album. I also recently rediscovered my two favourite punk albums of the 90’s (‘Underground Network’ by Anti-Flag and Rancid’s ‘…And Out Come The Wolves’) looking back on albums I loved as a teen made me wonder if taste in music is nature or nurture.

As a kid I listened to the music my Dad played me, luckily this was pretty good mostly the Clash, Jam and Stranglers all of which I still listen to now. My Uncle also h
ad a huge influence with Lou Reed, The Specials, Velvet Underground and Ramones. As I grew up popularity influenced my music tastes, as most peoples Dad’s were older than mine Dad music was known to be shit so I didn’t want to disagree. When I was about 12 I went through a stage of listening to gansta rap mainly because my older cousin from USA was into it and I wanted to be ‘cool’ like him. After that my friends at the time who were all NME/Melody Maker readers had an influence on me and lead me to Indie, Steve Lamaaq and John Peel. Through this I discovered the Ska and Punk scene that was developing mainly through going to local gigs.

At this time I saw some of the best gigs I have ever seen with line ups I still dream about, my personal favourite was an all dayer featuring Captain Everything, Adequate Seven, Howards Alias and Kenisia. This gig blew me away so I pledged allegiance to Household Name Records and got myself to a barber for a Mohawk. As I grew older and wiser I realised that music was so broad it was crazy to stick to one genre and developed into the well rounded music snob I am now.

I often feel my music taste is superior and try to nurture people into listening to my favourite bands to mould them into better people. This musical arrogance tends to surface after a few pints but the thoughts are constantly at the back of my mind. I am lucky enough to have a sister who is 11 and as with my youth I want to be a positives influence on her musical choices. So when she realises that Dad music which she currently listens to is un-cool with her friends she can look to the ‘cool’ older brother for an escape from terrible pop music.

With this in mind to save her from the chart dance or any other rubbish I want to introduce her to the music I love genre by genre. I believe with any kind of music you have to start from the beginning or at least include the influential old stuff. For example what would a ska compilation be without the specials or punk without the Clash.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Fell In Love With A Girl


I hope you are good! As you might assume from the title I am posting about Valentines Day it may be a bit late but as this blog would have given away what I was giving.

I am wondering if the mix tape has died with the cassette, or if people other than me still make play lists, CD’s etc. for friends, other halves or whoever. I made my girlfriend 2 CD’s full of love songs for Valentines Day thinking that the effort that goes into this process is better than a bunch of roses or some chocolates. I also made a box and artwork for the CD’s saving me from making or buying a card. Fortunately my girlfriend was happy with the gift and could see the effort I went to.

I am just wondering if this is a cheap cop out or a romantic gesture, what’s your opinion? Leave a comment or whatever then we can spark a debate.

I often find that memories are stored in particular bands/songs which give every aspect of my life a separate play list. There are rare occasions where a song sparks a memory which can make you feel emotions so strong the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, below are a few that trigger this for me.

Boy Awaits Return Of The Runaway Girl by Hot Club De Paris

This song reminds me of times I have made mistakes or said the wrong thing and waited for the ‘runaway girl’ to come back and get the problems, I caused, sorted.

P.S You Rock My World by The Eels

This was chosen as a foot note mainly for the title, however the lyrics focus on the moment you realise you are in love. In E’s case this dawns on him at a funeral and makes him realise life is too short to be alone.

61C Days Turn To Night by Justin Sane

The lyrics here remind me of times spent away from my girlfriend whilst she was studying abroad. The description of how different everything feels when you are used to spending all your time together is now comforting as we have overcome the hurdle. I still think it’s important to remember low points to see how far you have come.

Perfect Day by Lou Reed

In a relationship there are a few perfect days that you always remember and choose to look back on. Although I have never enjoyed sangria in the park (or at all to be honest as I can’t stand red wine) I can relate to Lou’s perfect day and any excuse to remember good times is welcome.

Boy by Rueben

Lyrically and musically beautiful, this is one of the 2 Rueben songs that make the hairs on my neck stand up. It represents those times when a partner comforts you in bad times, some of the most beautiful and defining moments in a relationship come when guards are lowered in this way.

Picture Of You by Mr Hudson & The Library

Another song reminding me of separation in my relationship, most people carry a picture of a partner in their wallet. I find it comforting to always have a reminder close to me at all times.

Fell In Love With A Girl by The White Stripes

A musical reflection of falling in love, fast and loud like falling head over heals in love. The speed and length of the song perfectly represents the intensity of falling in love, the simple lyrics also describe the feeling.

Cheers for reading more soon!


Friday, 13 February 2009

Top 20 records of 2008

Blog number 2 for the day I'm an eager beaver!

I’ve been meaning to get this underway for a while as you might guess. I know it’s a bit late for this but after reading Big Cheese for research I noticed how far downhill it has gone since I last read it. The last time I bought a copy Capdown were on the cover and there was a free Household Name Records sampler, the current issue features Slipknot, HIM, Bring Me The Horizon, Mindless Self Indulgence and less depressingly The Gaslight Anthem.

Here are my top 20 Records of 2008

Albert Hammond Jr. > Commo Te Llama

The second album from the surprising Strokes guitarist, takes the Velvet Underground style of the Strokes but mixes in some Ska and Reggae to give it a unique sound.

Los Copesinos > Hold On Now Youngster

The first of the albums they released this year, full of happiness and a truly independent spirit.

Hot Chip > Made In The Dark

Follows up the warning perfectly with slightly higher levels of production, it’s almost impossible to listen to this without dancing on the inside at least.

MGMT > Oracular Spectacular

The best pop album you will hear this year, like rainbows from your speakers.

TV On The Radio > Dear Science

A deep and soulful record with electronic beats, funky guitars and dub undertones mixed together perfectly.

Hot Club De Paris > Live At Dead Lake

This Album is as good an indie record as you will hear all year with the addition of a free acoustic CD which is so good I wish they had recorded the whole album rather than just 4 tracks. HCDP mix pop punk effortlessly with clever lyrics, musically it is hard not be happy with each 3 minute slice of happiness. The acoustic CD includes a cover of Straight To Hell by the Clash which is the Best cover I have heard all year

Mad Caddies > Keep It Going

The move away from Ska Punk and Skacore towards a more UB40 Reggae angle has benefited Mad Caddies with this release. The slower sound has more depth but still holds onto the incredible brass sound that you would expect.

Bloc Party > Intimacy

When they hinted at a more dance angle for this album in interview I was a little worried but the electronic sound has benefited the developing style of Bloc Party well. This is no Silent Alarm but would you really want to hear the same style over and over.

12 & 11
Enemy Alliance/ Indecision Alarm > The New Wind and The Second Wave

A split so good each part deserves a place in the list, both bands include parts of the Satanic Surfers and continue the style of melodic hardcore played by them for so long. Each band has different twists on the genre with EA providing a faster approach with more melodic vocals and IA with raw vocals and a slightly slower back ground. I can’t wait for full lengths from both.

Zatopeks > Damn Fool Music

The Zatopeks have a similar style to TGA but play faster and loader, like a vintage inspired Captain Everything. The album also includes a couple of great slower songs and a great song about the Daily Mail.

Gashlight Anthem > The 59 Sound

This album deserves the critical acclaim it has achieved this year, catchy punk with a vintage style. This album has rarely left my Ipod or stereo since I bought it, I hope they can follow it up with an equally good next album.

Howards Alias > [EPI.PHAN.IC]

This is an album that has no peer in music, I have never heard a ska band play music fuelled by so much emotion. This album is sadly the last from Howards Alias and in my opinion the best they ever made I am still gutted I didn’t get to see this record played live.

Alkaline Trio > Agony & Irony

Another top draw album from Alk3 dark pop punk at it’s very best, I didn’t they could surpass Crimson but they proved me wrong. It’s my favourite Alk3 album and shows maturity and Matt Skiba’s continuing obsession with all things dark and gloomy but he somehow still writes music you can relate to.

Vic Ruggiero > Something In My Blindspot

The head of Ska institution The Slackers released an album that radiates cool and beauty in equal measures. Lyrically the mix of emotion and sarcasm is perfectly balanced; musically it has everything you would expect from a solo record with regular exchange’s between Vic’s deep raw voice and regular contributor Lisa’s prettier tones balance perfectly.

Milloy > Creating Problems While Practicing Solutions

This album balances raw vocals fast guitars and clever lyrics into in my opinion the best rock album of the year. Once this arrived on pre order it didn’t leave my side for at least 2 months.

Frank Turner > Lover Ire & Song

The Second of four solo records within the top 10 showing how good a year it was for solo albums. Frank mixes humour, passion, politics and heart felt emotion together in his own unique style. His voice is both soulful and honest as are his lyrics, he deserves a mention for his tear jerking single ‘The Queen Is Dead’ which he released and gave all the proceeds to charity.

Lightspeed Champion > Falling Off The Lavender Bridge

Dev Hayes went from fronting inspirational art punk three piece Test Icicles to writing one of the tenderest heartfelt records of the year. Musically it is as far away from the snarling fast sound delivered by Test Icicles as possible with Violins and acoustic guitar creating a fantastic sound. Lyrically the album is honest and genuine with hints of humour. 2009 will see a second album which I’m sure I will be writing about as highly.

Ben Folds > Way Too Normal

An album that was well worth the wait, a return to the sound explored with Ben Folds Five this record delivered everything I have come to expect. Politics, Sarcasm, Emotion and great piano this album sounds better with every listen.

Dan le Sac vs. Scrobbius Pip > Angles

This is UK hip hop at it’s finest an album that could quite easily be a quality dance record and a book of poetry or short stories. Where else would you find hip hop that covers issues such as self harm and revenge killing. Words cannot do this record justice I can’t see another hip hop act coming out with a better record in the genre ever.

A virtual handshake

Hi how’s it going?

Firstly I would like to introduce myself: I am Ben Adsett 22 from Cheltenham in the Cotswolds in the UK. I love music especially independent music on tiny record labels that nobody else listens to. I also like to watch bands on small record labels play live as often as possible.

My love of independent music has brought me together with 2 people who share my interest in music and the independent scene. We all agree that the current, market for music magazines does not cater for our needs.

We have decided to create our own music zine, to attempt to return to the zine culture that existed before the internet and social networking. We will be creating a pointed and online edition once every two months, the online edition will be available for download and if you like what we are doing you are welcome to print and distribute copies. There will also be a website with regular blogs written by us and guests.

Everything will get underway in April, with the first issue being a solo artist special. I have already got confirmed interviews from Frank Turner, Liam O'Kane, Robb Blake, Barbar Luck, Matthew Reynolds and Mike Park with more to follow.

In the meantime please feel free to read my thoughts and opinions and I’ll keep you up to date with what’s going on with the zine.

If you like the idea please feel free to contribute in any way you see fit; we are currently looking for designers, photographers and writers if you want to get involved please get in touch. You can email me >