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The Amazing Life of Ant D

  • Best Albums 2017

    Even finding time to write this is difficult now so I will get to the points quickly, enjoy my top 10 albums 2017

     

    LOW_IN_HIGH_SCHOOL_900X900.jpg10. Morrissey - Low in High School
    A late entry to the list, this album from the former Smiths front man is truly miserable and pessimistic but strangely enjoyable. I first heard lead single "Spent the day in bed" on the radio on my way to work and it really resonated but that was an easy win but some others from the album are a lot harder hitting and won't be to everyone's taste but definitely worth a listen.

     

     

     

    wonderful wonderful.jpg9. The Killers - Wonderful Wonderful

    It has been a long time since The Killers have made an album that has come anywhere close to making it onto my best of lists. It is not that they have been bad, just not exciting. This year when I heard 'I'm a Man' it got me into the band again. Others on the album that I enjoyed were 'Rut' and single 'Run for Cover'

     

     

     

    wheels to idyll.jpg 8. John Hassall & The April Rainers - Wheels to Idyll

    John Hassall's first album with his new band The April Rainers is a long way from his work with The Libertines but not a million miles away from his previous band Yeti. Wheels to Idyll is a compilation of chilled out, 60's influenced ditties that are easy to listen to, my favourite of which is 'Persephone' but other good tracks include 'Intercity 125' and 'My New 2nd Hand Shoes'.

     

     

    75278-almost-home.jpg 7. Keston Cobblers Club - Almost Home

    A band that I have been following for a couple of years since I first saw them as a warm up to Bellowhead. Since then they have released a couple of albums and this, their 3rd full album is the most professional sounding yet full of upbeat folk music that gives you a warm feeling inside. Title track 'Almost Home' is probably my favourite but 'Concord' and 'Bicycles' come close.

     

     

    black kids rookie.jpg 6. Black Kids - Rookie

    The VERY long awaited second album from the California band. Black Kids debut came out in 2008 and was one of if not my favourite album of that year and so when I heard 9 years later that there would be a follow up I was very excited only to be greeted with opening single 'Obligatory Drugs' which is easily the worst song on the album but I persevered and really enjoyed most of the other tracks especially 'IFFY' and 'If My Heart is Broken'. The only other negative being the awful album artwork.

     

     

    Gang_Signs_&_Prayer_cover.jpg5. Stormzy - Gang Signs and Prayer

    Stormzy was one of the most exciting prospects in British music emerging last year and he took 2017 by storm, releasing his debut album in January. From then he has gone from strength to strength, collaborating with some of the biggest names in pop. For me I would have preferred him to go down a less commercial route as I have seen this before with British Grime acts and it tends to produce sub par music but we shall see. As far as this album though it is a mixture of your typical fast paced British rap and some slower more prayerful numbers. 'Big for your Boots' though for me stands up as the best by some way.

     

    Kele Okereke - Fatherland art.jpg 4. Kele Okereke - Fatherland

    The third solo album by the Bloc Party front man but the first using his full name, this is clearly to distinguish this from his previous 2 which were much dancier. Fatherland is completely different, a much more mature sound which incorporates a bit of folk and jazz and gave me something that I really wasn't expecting but loved. 'Capers' was my favourite track but the whole album was very strong and far better than anything he has released recently either solo or as part of the band.

     

     

    Blaenavon-Thats-Your-Lot.jpg3. Blaenavon - That's Your lot

    My favourite album this year was really hard to choose between the top 3 but I had to make a choice and unfortunately Blaenavon come in at 3. This is the debut from the Hampshire 3 piece who unfortunately I didn't get a chance to go to see despite them playing my beloved New Slang but this year as mentioned a few times has been a bit different, I have seen only one band live all year. I was listening to this album though non stop at the start of the year and with songs such as 'Orthodox Man' and 'Prague '99' I am sure I will be listening for years to come.

     

    Love_in_the_4th_Dimension_TBM_LOW_Res.jpg 2. The Big Moon - Love in the 4th Dimension

    Again this year it really was close, any album that I listened to as much as this one by all female, London 4 piece The Big Moon, would normally be my top album but I am sure they will get over it. The Big Moon have been around for a few years but 2017 saw their debut full length release and it is a banger from start to finish, they remind me a lot of the Long Blondes from the mid-naughties, angular guitars accompanying vocals full of attitude. As it was my track of the year it unsurprising to say that 'Formidable' is my favourite track but they are all good, other favourites include 'Sucker' and 'Pull the other one'.

     

    declan mckenna what do you think about the car.jpg 1. Declan McKenna - What Do You Think About The Car?

    So onto the number one album, I was convinced that this spot would be taken by one of Blenaevon or The Big Moon until late summer when my Spotify recommendations put me onto Declan McKenna who had never been on my radar previously and I couldn't stop listening. My favourite track on the album kept changing initially 'The Kids Don't Wanna Come Home' then changing to 'Humongous' before eventually settling on 'Why Do You Feel So Down?' but in reality it could have been just about any track from the album and that is why despite the strength of the other two that Declan McKenna had to be my number one, his songs are angsty indie pop, what is not to like 

     

    So there it is for another year, special mentions go out to The Arcade Fire and Superfood who nearly made it onto the list but were pipped at the post and the wooden spoon goes out to RAT BOY whose album wasn't bad but I think I was just looking forward to it too much and then when it came out it didn't quite live up to the expectations I had for it. 

    Until next year

    END

     

  • Top 25 Tracks of 2017

    Helloooo Internet, it is that time of year. This year has been crazy with you know fatherhood so I haven't written any blogs since last years best ofs. Its been an alright year in terms of music but to be fair I think I didn't have as much time to peruse as I usually would. For me it has been a year more for new artists than returning ones but anyway enough of the waffle and onto the list - same rules, 1 song per artist and released as a single or album track in 2017;

    25. Nova Twins - Thelma and Louise

    24. Arcade Fire - Everything Now

    23. FREAK - No Money

    22. Azealia Banks - Queen of Clubs

    21. Bipolar Sunshine - Are You Happy

    20. Grouplove - Adios Amigo

    19. Dave - Question Time

    18. Jon Boden - Bee Sting

    17. RAT BOY - Revolution

    16. Kendrick Lamar - Humble.

    15. Morrissey - Spent the day in Bed

    14. Superfood - Unstoppable

    13. John Hassall & The April Rainers - Persephone

    12. Black Kids - If My Heart is Broken

    11. Childcare - Kiss?

    10. Skipinnish - Ocean of the Free

    9. Johnny Flynn - Raising the Dead

    8. Everything Everything - Can't Do

    7. Kele Okereke - Capers

    6. Keston Cobblers Club - Almost Home

    5. Blaenavon - Orthodox Man

    4. Declan McKenna - Why do you Feel so Down?

    3. The Killers - The Man

    2. Stormzy - Big For Your Boots

    1. The Big Moon - Formidable

     

    So slightly controversially ( to no one but me) the top track was released as a single in 2016 but it was on the album in 2017 and that is when I got into it and here it is, top of the tree. As I said a good year for new artists, 7 of the top 10 have never made any of my lists before and soon enough you may see a similar trend in the album stakes. Until then you can listen to the playlist HERE.

     

    END!

  • Best Albums 2016

    After the Libertines release last year, 2016 had a lot to match up to musically for me and on the whole.. it didn't but hey there were still plenty of good albums out there. So lets just get straight into it;

    trib.jpg10. The Tribe - Tribal Wave

    A Reggae-Rap fusion group from Swindon, who I saw at a SoFar sessions concert earlier in the year. If you haven't heard of SoFar sounds, look it up, the chances are they do something near you, wherever you are living right now. The Tribe were the headliners and they impressed me with their good humour, sometimes (but not always) deep lyrics and smooth rap skills. A good, fun album to start the list, my favourite tracks include Jump Up and Footprints.

     

     

    09.jpg9. Spring King - Tell Me if you like to

    Spring King are one of those bands who had been on my radar for a year or so and this album was one I was looking forward to greatly and the singles I really enjoy. Their first single 'City' I enjoyed from first listen and it didn't take much longer for follow ups 'Rectifier' and 'The Summer', the only problem is the limited variation on the album. It is quite samey but still enjoyable and thus goes in at number 9.

     

     

    08.jpg8. Jamie T - Trick

    Only 2 years since his last album, Jamie T is back with something which retains the darkness of 2014's carry on the Grudge but contains a lot more of the rap associated with his earlier two releases. In theory that sounds like the perfect mix and possibly it could be but for some reason this album did not fully grab me in the way I have been in the past. Each single came along and passed and I liked them; Tinfoil Boy, Power Over Men and TescoLand but it just wasn't quite enough for me to be any higher on the list.

     

     

    07.jpg7. Grouplove - Big Mess

    Grouplove are a band who I have been listening to for over 5 years now and Big Mess is their third album. Similar to the previous albums on this light though I wasn't sure at first;  Welcome to Your World, the first single was a lovely tale of the couple who lead the band's first child and that resonated but as for the rest of the album, I didn't get into it until later in the year when I listened back. Then the track Good Morning stood out which is lively and exiting and in the end I couldn't stop listening. 

     

     

    06.jpg6. The Divine Comedy - Foreverland

    The Divine Comedy have been around for more than two decades with famous hits such as National Express and the theme tune from Fr. Ted, Songs of Love. Foreverland was the groups first album since 2010s Bang Goes the Knighthood and like that it is full of wonderfully quirky little ditties. The one that I liked immediately was Funny Peculiar which is a very cute love song about the imperfections of the one you love being the very reason you love them but other songs such as Catherine the Great and My Happy Place are well worth a listen on two. 

     

    05.jpg5. Lost Under Heaven - Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing

    Lost Under Heaven (LUH) is the new project of former Wu Lyf front man Ellery Roberts who is unmistakable by his unique, raspy voice. LUH like Wu Lyf are a little preachy in places with its political messages and in others a little emo but its got a good sound. I saw them early in the year in a very empty venue which was a shame for them but fun for me as I had plenty of room to dance. My stand outs were the lead single I&I as well as Lament which was a reworking of Robert's solo release fro ma few years ago.

     

     

    04.jpg4. Peter Doherty - Hamburg Demonstrations

    I couldn't realistically go another year without something by one of The Libertines being on my album list (Heads up it looks like there will be at least one more next year). Monsieur Doherty put out a single The Whole World is our Playground out for Record Store Day and soon after confirmed he would be releasing the full solo album. A number of the singles that followed I Don't Love Anyone and Kolly Kibber were amongst my favourite songs of the year which is unsurprising coming from my favourite songwriter but even with this and a number of other good songs, for me it wasn't a top quality album as it felt a little unfinished with 2 versions of the same song, a couple of reworks of old tracks and one song even professing to contain "Demo Vocals". Still very enjoyable though and worth a listen.

    03.jpg3. Xylaroo - Sweet Tooth

    This was one of the big unknowns of the year for me an acoustic duo consisting of two sisters. I first heard of them through a recommendation on either Spotify or Last.fm I can't remember which and I thought they sounded like something my sister would like but after a few listens I got really into them myself. To my joy and surprise they were one of the last bands announced to play the Beautiful Days festival which I was at and I got to see them perform live in a very small tent with a delicious frozen cocktail. In a slightly drunken haze I went up to them after he show and I THINK I told them that they were great but I can't be sure. My favourites from the album include Sunshine and Narwhal but they are all quaint and lovely with an undercurrent of something a little darker in places. Definitely a group I will be on the look out for over the next few years.

    02.jpg2. Kano - Made in the Manor

    The Grime master has been around for over a decade, I remember watching him, although briefly in my University days shortly after his 2nd album had come out. Made in the Manor is Kano's 6th and a marvellous return to form after his previous two had been fairly dire. Grime has come back in a big way this year with Skepta winning the Mercury Music Prize and Made in the Manor also nominated. It also saw the returns to form of people like Wiley and P Money and the introduction of new talent such as Nova Twins who would be on this list no doubt if they had released a full album this year. Kano tells a story throughout Made in the Manor and although not necessarily original in subject matter it is told well and kept me listening throughout the year. It ranges wildly from party tunes such as New Banger and Flow of The Year to sombre numbers such as little sis and my favourite A Roadman's Hymn. 

    01.jpg1. Blossoms - Blossoms

    And finally to my number one album of the year. I first heard of Blossoms when I saw that they were supporting the Libertines on their arena tour at the end of last year and I started to listen to some of their early stuff including Charlemagne. I was immediately seduced by the indie dance music that they produced and when Getaway was released early in 2016 I was really excited for the release of the album. I saw them live the same week as the release of the album and the live show was good if not outstanding but I went back after and the album has not been out of my playlists much since. My favourite tracks have changed several times from the aforementioned singles to my most recent favourites; Blown Rose and Smashed Pianos. This band started the year as unknowns but ends it as one of the biggest rising stars with a number 1 album in the charts along with the more important top spot on my end of year list. 

     

    As I say this wasn't my favourite year in music (or world) history but there were still some good finds, there were also good releases from MIA and The Pixies that didn't quite make this list. And obviously a shout out to David Bowie's Blackstar which although wasn't entirely to my tastes musically has to go down as one of the finest works of art of this year being such a perfect and fitting way for him to leave the world. As for the wooden spoon, well that came early in the year, I was not impressed by the Mystery Jets album as it ditched their usual Indie Pop for something they admitted was more influenced by Pink Floyd. 

    Buy yeah, that's 2016 done with and next year will be a very different one, maybe after March I won't be able to listen to as much music or maybe I will as of yet I don't know but its going to be fun finding out. Until next year..

     

    END