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The Amazing Life of Ant D

  • Best Albums 2018

    Hey Whats up? Looking for the Best albums of 2018 you say? Well, I can't promise that I'm afraid, I did not listen to a particularly huge pool of the music released in 2018 but I can offer you the best of what little I have listened to. 2019 is looking better though, I am really pushing myself to make time to listen to new music, a resolution if you will. But anyway, enough of the ramble and into my favourite albums of the few that I did listen to in 2018:

    10. wave pictures look inside your heart.jpg10. The Wave Pictures - Look Inside Your Heart

    So the Wave Pictures have been around for a long time and the Leicestershire 3-piece have released too many albums to count. For me the band always encounter the same problem that their songs are individually very good but when you put them together it begins to sound a bit samey and this album.. is no different. There are though a good number of songs from this album that I do really recommend giving a listen to including Roosevelt Sykes and my personal favourite Sugar. Lyrically fun and easy to listen to.

     

    09. JP - postcrads.jpg9. Julia Pietrucha - Postcards From The Seaside

    So I had just come back from a boozy stag do in Poland with the name Julia Pietrucha saved on my phone with no recollection of what it was. I was worried. One google search later I found Polish singer/songwriter Julia Pietrucha and vague memories came back of a recommendation made by our tour guide one evening. A good recommendation it was too, JP is a piano led singer not too dissimilar in styling to Regina Spektor. Postcards from the Sea is her 2nd studio album and is a mix of songs in both English and her native Polish, some of my favourites including Sailor and Under Da Sea.

     

    08. patv - street safari.jpg8. Public Access T.V. - Street Safari

    This album was one of the first that I really listened to in early 2018, the band has been around for a number of years and I had enjoyed their previous releases. Street Safari though saw them take a slight detour from their traditional indie rock sound to a funkier feel. I heard first single Lost in the Game on John Kennedy's radio X exposure show and really enjoyed it. Street Safari is the New York bands 2nd album and although not a classic it is a good listen.

     

     

    07. tg lighting matches.jpg7. Tom Grennan - Lighting Matches

    Tom Grennan has been floating around for a few years, I first heard of him when I saw him warming up for the Libertines at Brixton Academy. Back then I thought he sounded a bit like a cheap Kid Harpoon rip off, now in 2019 he is ten times more well known than Kid Harpoon ever was and to be fair to him his songs have now got a very different and more unique feel even if he still does share a very similar voice. Sober is by some way my favourite song from his debut album Lighting Matches but I do quite like Barbed Wire and a number of the others too. I saw Mr Grennan perform live again at Community Festival and he was one of the days highlights for sure.

     

    06. goat girl.jpg6. Goat Girl - Goat Girl

    Goat Girl are an all female four-piece from London who apparently put on a very good live show. The band were one of the most hyped new bands on the Indie scene in about 2016 but I never really understood what the appeal was but then I had never and still haven't seen them live. Their sound is quite droney both in music and in the vocals and I think that what I didn't get in 2016 was that possibly the production on early tracks such as Country Sleeze wasn't as good. By the release of their eponymous debut the sound quality was much improved and the album as a whole is a much more enjoyable listen with stand out tracks The Man and Cracker Drool.

     

    05. raz.jpg5. Razor Light - Olympus Sleeping

    Olympus Sleeping is the first album from Razorlight in 10 years since the release of the much maligned 2008 album Slipway Fires. Front man Johnny Borrell has had a few projects in the meantime that have never really taken off. The opening to the album is a spoken introduction from 2000s Indie stalwart Adam Green asking for "A Razorlight album that doesn't completely suck" this self deprecation is something that has possibly come with age to Borrell who was a notorious pain in the arse in his heyday. But Green has got what he asked for in Olympus Sleeping, this album is a real throwback to mid 2000s indie music which of course is my favourite time so it wasn't too much of a surprise that I really enjoyed this album. Top tracks include Carry Yourself, Sorry? and Got to let the good times back into your life. 

    04. am - tranq.jpg4. Arctic Monkeys - Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

    You couldn't move very far without hearing an Arctic Monkeys song in early 2018, TBH&C was without doubt the most talked about release in 2018. The album is a concept based around a fictional hotel on Mars but still manages to hold onto a lot of Alex Turner's lyrical charm. Its hard to believe but its been 13 years since Arctic Monkeys first release and this is now their 6th full length album, personally I am always going to prefer the early stuff more but I still had a good number of listens to this one. My favourite songs Four out of Five and the title track, Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino.

     

    03. FT - be more kind.jpg3. Frank Turner - Be More Kind

    This album was a very hard one for me to rank in this years ratings, I love Frank Turner and have seen him live many times and for me some of the songs on this album are the best he has ever done. Be More Kind and 1933 are both brilliant in different ways, the first a call for love, the latter a bit of political satire. If the whole album was at the quality of those tracks this album would almost certainly have been number 1 on this list. Unfortunately not all tracks on this album were made equal and tracks like Make America Great Again and Going Nowhere are some of my least favourite he has ever done. MAGA is just very lazy writing in my opinion, its catchy and has a good message but it has no real depth and Going nowhere has the lyric "I'm in there like swimwear, I'm going nowhere" nothing more needs to be said. Not including greatest hits and compilations this is Turner's 6th album and it is one that I have such mixed feelings about but because I really do like some of the tracks this position felt right.

    02. jack white.jpg2. Jack White - Boarding House Reach

    Jack White is someone who never ceases to amaze me, he clearly is completely mad and a complete genius and has shown this as a member of the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, his solo stuff and in owning a record label; this latest release of his encapsulates this madness and sounds like nothing he has ever done before. Boarding House Reach is White's 3rd solo album and is released under his own Third Man Records. I will admit some of the songs on this album took me a few listens to really appreciate such as Everything you ever learned with its repetitive tannoy like sound to start but when you get into the meat of the song (strange choice of phrase for a vegetarian) it is great and that is not nearly my favourite track on the album. My top tracks would be Respect Commander, Corporation and the real stand out track Connected by Love which sounds almost anthemic with its Gospel Choir in the chorus. A really great album that might take a couple of listens to really get into it but it is worth the push.

    01. Art-Brut-Wham-Bang-Pow-Lets-Rock-Out.jpg1. Art Brut - Wham! Bang! Pow! Lets Rock Out

    In truth this was by far and a way the easiest decision on this list, I absolutely loved the silly rock'n'roll stylings of Eddie Argos and the Art Brut Gang. Wham! Bang! Pow! Lets Rock Out is the bands 5th album and their first for 7 years as they took a hiatus in between presumably to take a break from their rock'n'roll lifestyle which is regularly touched upon throughout the album. Art Brut are band that definitely do not take themselves too seriously and at least sound like they are having a lot of fun doing it. I listened to this album so much I could quote individual lyrics from every song but I won't bore you and instead will gloss over a couple; in tracks Hospital! and I Hope You're very happy together the band take the sombre subjects of Addiction and Heart Break and deal with them with humour and fun, and possibly my favourite lyric on the whole album (although not from my favourite song) comes in Awkward breakfast where Eddie states "Last night you were being rude with me, now we're eating bowls of muesli". If you are looking for a beautiful singing voice with brilliantly played instruments and deep and thought provoking lyrics you are very much in the wrong place but if you just want to have fun and Rock Out then this really is an amazing album to do it to.

     

    So there we have the end to the 2018 journey (although I finally got round to finishing the writing of it in April 2019). It was a mixed ride. I really do think that I didn't have the best sample size but I am happy with my picks nevertheless. Honourable mentions go to The Voidz (which is Julian Casblancas from The Strokes fame) and the Von Bondies who just missed out on the top 10. As far as the Wooden Spoon its a hard one, nothing was truly awful in comparison to what I was expecting although both Shame and Blossoms failed to excite me as much I was hoping. Anyway that's it, see you in the future.

    END.

  • Top 25 Tracks of 2018

    Ahh 2018 is drawing to a close and what has it left as its legacy? Brexit confusion, England in a World cup semi final and some decent music of which 25 songs I will list for you here today. My music consumption wains year on year due to other commitments, I went to but one live music event this year, usually a cornerstone for my lists. This year my new music has mainly come from John Kennedy on radio X and Spotify's algorithm of what I might like which although has many haters is pretty good at doing its job. Anyway enough of the babble, 25 songs, maximum one per artist and released either as a single or album track in 2018;

    25. Arctic Monkeys - Four out of Five

    24. George Ezra - Shotgun

    23. The 1975 - Give Yourself a Try

    22. Crewel Intentions - Youth In Overload

    21. Franz Ferdinand - Always Ascending

    20. Childish Gambino - This is America

    19. Gently Tender - 2 Chords Good

    18. Alfie Jackson - If I Could Be An Astronaut

    17. Public Access T.V. - Lost in the Game

    16. LUMP - Curse of the Contemporary

    15. Julia Pietrucha - Unda Da Sea

    14. Blossoms - I Can't Stand It

    13. Jack White - Connected By Love

    12. Childcare - Man Down (King Kong Shake)

    11. The Wave Pictures - Sugar

    10. Graham Coxon - Walking All Day

    9. Lauren Hibberd - Call Shotgun

    8. Frank Turner - Be More Kind

    7. The Coral - Eyes Like Pearls

    6. Tom Grennan - Sober

    5. Alice Merton - No Roots

    4. Razorlight - Carry Yourself

    3. Vistas - Tigerblood

    2. Art Brut - Hospital!

    1. Jerry Williams - Grab Life

     

    So there we have it one song from each half of the now defunct Palma Violets, two songs with shotgun in the title and a song on top of the tree by an artist I had never heard of before. The list is very light on rap this year which is a shame, not sure whether that is more due to the quality of music not being as high or just my exposure to the right stuff hasn't been there. Maybe the algorithm isn't so perfect after all. Anyway I will try and rectify this for 2019, if you want to listen to this years HERE

     

    END!

     

     

  • 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