By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.

Music - Page 5

  • Top 25 Tracks of 2014

    Me again, with my top 25 tracks of 2014. As always its a good mix of genres and will almost certainly not coincide with anyone else's. This is not to say mine is correct but I do think it is rather splendid. 

    Rules are the same as last year, 25 tracks, not more than one per artist and all have to have been released as either a single or part of an album in the past 12 months.

    25. Mark Ronson - Uptown Funk

    24. FKA Twigs - Two Weeks

    23. Peace - Lost on Me

    22. Bipolar Sunshine - Daydreamer

    21. Hozier - Take me to Church

    20. Maximo Park - Leave this Island

    19. Superfood - Mood Bomb

    18. Royal Blood - Figure it Out

    17. Azealia Banks - Chasing Time

    16. Bellowhead - Gosport Nancy

    15. The Rusty Suns - Lover Not a Fighter

    14. Jack White - Lazaretto

    13. Sigma - Nobody to Love

    12. Circa Waves - Stuck in my Teeth

    11. Eugene Quell - Weird Purr

    10. Milky Chance - Flashed Junk Mind

    9. Native Sun - Solei

    8. Dominique Young Unique - Throw it Down

    7. The Holloways - Goodnight Irene

    6. Spring Offensive - Speak

    5. John Legend - All of Me

    4. Bombay Bicycle Club - Carry Me

    3. Beaty Heart - Lekka Freakout

    2. Jamie T - Zombie

    1. Many Things - Dear One

    Number 7 technically breaks the rules as it wasn't officially released, it was actually an unreleased demo that became available to the public shortly after The Holloways former member Rob Skipper died earlier this year. And as it is my list I will allow it!

    You can listen to most of it should you wish at the following Link; Ant D's 2014 Singles Playlist
    To hear the Holloways and Native Sun you'll have to dig a little deeper as they aren't available on Spotify.

    And so we have another 12 months gone. They are getting ever quicker




  • Best Albums 2013 Edition

    2013 has been over for all of two hours and rather than being in an alcohol induced stupor parading my dancing skills (or lack thereof) on the dance floor, I find myself sodden and sober after a fairly tedious work shift. When better then to discuss in length my favourite albums of the previous year. This year unlike the last I made sure I listened to as many new albums as I could so that I could compile as comprehensive a list as I could and I've got to say I am not displeased with it. So in reverse order;


    43a9bec07b9bde0b576ca83329ad4e24.jpg10. HAIM - Days Are Gone.  This entry by the Californian Family Trio squeezed into the top ten, relegating the likes of Kanye and Laura Marling to the outcast pile. A solid début from the much hyped Haim sisters is fuelled by four top quality singles and a number of album tracks that aren't too shabby either. For me the stand out track is Don't save me which was released as a single towards the end of 2012 but still holds strong into 2014.




    bcf2bf4ab81649366a8f21ddc271cb9c.jpg9. Frankie & The Heartstrings - The Days Run Away. A favourite of mine since 2011, this Mackem four piece have had a busy year. Not only have the band released their 2nd full length album and toured extensively throughout the UK, they have also opened their own multi-purpose store Pop Recs Ltd. The flamboyant front-man Frankie Francis lays his vocals over tracks which aren't ground breaking (in fact they often sound dangerously close to plagiarism) but provide an easy to listen to fun half hour of indie pop.



    3a85e4add0cc21132699b0d1cf970848.jpg8. Death Grips - Government Plates.  The Controversial Dance/Rap act released what they call a mixtape but to all extents feels like an album proper as a free download in mid November. Despite being their third album in 2 years it feels like it has been worked on in great detail and is possibly their most fluid sounding to date. This release will by no means be to everyone's taste but it is certainly different to most things that I listened to over the past 12 months, I would recommend This is Violence Now (Don't get me wrong) as a track to ease yourself in to their world but in truth it needs to be listened to in full to provide the desired effect.  

    684770a2caf2e7c109a40437624f39d4.jpg7. The Strokes - Comedown Machine. 2013 was the year of surprise releases and this effort from The Strokes was no different. After releasing comeback single One Way Trigger in early March, the New York bands 5th studio album came shortly after. What was seen by many as a return to form after 2011's Angles is still not their best but is yet very listenable and deserves its place in the top 10. Track 50/50 is one of the highlights despite sounding like something that The Paddingtons (anyone remember them?) would have released in the early 2000s 

    f2b71366fff63f5cb7039eb00c70a717.jpg6. Franz Ferdinand - Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action. This 4th Album by the Glasgow four piece unlike the above two was very much expected having not released an album for more than 4 years. Unsurprisingly this did not disappoint, I was lucky enough to see this band twice in a week in August this year which really helped cement the album as one of my favourites of the year. The final track on the album, Goodbye Lovers and Friends, provides a great end not only to this release but most likely every Franz show for the foreseeable future with the last line stating "This really is the End". Either that or they have announced the end of the band which I really hope isn't the case.

    bf8e67a60f67ed280f06bed3efb30ba0.jpg5. Daft Punk - Random Access Memories. From the 10 second advert during the Super bowl to the slightly longer advert at Coachella Festival to the rumours of its first full play being at a farmer's festival in Australia the PR team working on Daft Punk's 4th album got everything right. By the time Random Access Memories was released it was the only thing that anyone in the world was talking about and what it provided was a completely new sound from the band, a sound that at first I wasn't too sure about but quickly became accustomed to. Having ditched their previous sample heavy melodies in favour of real instruments they may have lost a couple of their original fans but seemed to have gained an a whole lot of new ones. The stand out track for me is the initial release, Get Lucky featuring Pharrell Williams but again the piece works best for me when listened to in full.

    fa03a1fc6f99e41d8f545b4c9432f517.jpg4. M.I.A. - Matangi. Very much a make or break album for this local hero of mine and for me it hit all the right chords. Maya Arulpragasam's last album MAYA was without putting too fine a point on it terrible but with Matangi she has got the balance right between her political message and making good music to listen to. The Track that really got me into this album was Come Walk with me which immediately has a much more listenable quality than some of her previous work and this is echoed across the album but it doesn't take anything away from the personality that she has built up across her previous three studio and numerous mixtape releases.

    e998572c8521fe15b26d3c1635c1e0d6.jpg3. Drenge - Drenge. For me this is the most surprising entry into my list as it doesn't really fit into any category of music that I tend to like. Sure if you listen closely you can hear that it has influences of The White Stripes and Nirvana but at its most basic it is a straight out rock album, something which doesn't usually interest me. Nevertheless in Bloodsports you find my top track of the year and in all its self-titled glory this début from a couple of posh brothers from Derby have made one of my favourite albums. Having seen the band twice this year I do unfortunately have to say I think they are better on CD than they are live but this said I am not rating live performances so top marks to this effort.

    8327e22b734d465bf08141d6d1e63d9c.jpg2. David Bowie - The Next Day. Probably the biggest surprise to hit the music world this year was the release of the single Where are we now? on Bowie's 66th Birthday. I had heard rumours of ill health for the ageing star, so to see that he was in fact thriving and writing some of the best music that he'd released in years was an extremely pleasant turn of events. For me this really was the year of Bowie, this released spawned a new found desire for me to listen to all things the Essex wordsmith had made and this coupled with the exhibit in the V&A has enlightened me further to his talent and made him one of my all time favourite artists. Title track The Next Day as well as being one of my favourites on the album became one of the most controversial singles of the year with its video being banned from a number of TV and Internet channels for its less than favourable religious imagery.

    2012PalmaViolets180Press171212.jpg1. Palma Violets - 180. So we come to my number 1 and it is the début release from Lambeth Four-Piece Palma Violets. 180 is without doubt one of the shoddiest recordings on this list but in this it tries to keep the raw emotion and energy produced by the bands live performances. Unfortunately for me having seen the band three times this year and once in 2012 I have to say that it doesn't quite catch that but nevertheless it has enough to it to make my number one spot. It is obvious to me why I rate this band so highly as they embody all the good things that make the Libertines my favourite all time band and with that is the worry for me that their shelf life could be as short as my Arcadian heroes. I fear that this album could well be a fleeting moment which will soon be gone to soon which makes it that little bit more special. Unsurprisingly for an album that I have rated as my favourite of the year I like every track even the ones that on first listen I was unsure about but if I had to name a couple Best of Friends and Tom the Drum would probably just about pip it.

    Other honourable mentions go to Kanye West and Laura Marling as mentioned briefly above as well as the likes of CHVRCHES, Billy Bragg, Earl Sweatshirt and Peace to name but a few who only just missed out on a place in the top 10.

    The wooden spoon this year unfortunately is handed to the writer of of one my all time favourite albums, Akala. In his 'Thieves Banquet' album that he released in May this year I'm sad to say he shot and missed quite badly.

    And so we have it another year over, another year just beginning. Scary really how fast these things are going these days. By the end of 2014 I will be married and it will have been 10 years since the greatest year in my musical life. Crazy. Here's to another 12 months of great releases!


  • International Women's Day

    Hey, I haven't blogged in a while and its International Women's Day this shouts out to me that I should be writing a piece on my favourite women in music both old and new! If you don't agree then I would ask you to go elsewhere. 

    I was going to try and do a list of 10 singers/groups, a mixture of both old and new but that felt a bit constricted so I have decided to go for 15, they cover a variety of genres and eras but then that really does show a cross section of my musical taste.

    Regina+Spektor+p13lg_.jpg1. Regina Spektor - Born in Moscow in 1980, Spektor has been present on the world music scene since the early 2000's. To date she has released 5 studio albums the most recent being 2012's 'What we saw from the Cheap Seats'. Her most successful album to date though and the one which saw her become one of the most recognisable female voices in world music was the 2006 record 'Begin to Hope'. I really can't fault that album at all and that is why I would possibly regard her as my favourite all time female vocalist.. Big statement I know!


    2. CocknBullKid - North London's finest Anita Blay, born to Ghanaian parents, she has been active in the music biz since 2010 and already she has gone under a complete style shift. Before 2011 she was know as  theCocknBullKid and although dropping the 'the' seems trivial it saw her music shift from a very lo-fi electro sound to the pop masterpiece that was 2011's 'Adulthood'. I like both eras of Blay's work which unfortunately seems to have dried up of late but hopefully she will be back.


    Noisettes+Shingai+Shoniwa.jpg3. Noisettes - Although a 3 piece consisting of 2 men and a woman, Shingai Shoniwa is the member that really stands out and so justifies Noisettes place on this list. Noisettes first album, 2006's 'What's the time Mr. Wolf?' was a raucous Rock'n'Roll work which I was forced into purchasing after seeing the band at the 'Electric Gardens' festival in 2007. Despite this being what I regard as their best album the band did not find commercial success until 2009's 'Wild Young Hearts' which was good but like CocknBullKid saw them take on more of a Pop image. Last year the band released their 3rd studio album 'Contact' which was a bit of a dip in form but nevertheless worth a listen.


    4. HAIM - The next big thing in 2013 as described by the BBC and many others, HAIM are the most hyped band
     around despite only having 3 singles to their name so far. The band consists of 3 sisters from Los Angeles who used to tour with their parents in a family band but have since gained independence and a lot more credibility. The Single 'Don't Save Me' released at the tail end of 2012 was an instant classic and their Debut full length is eagerly anticipated by me and many others.


    The+Pipettes.jpg5. The Pipettes - This mid naughties 3 piece were everything that was good about pop music, dressed in 1950s attire and fun songs the epitome of which was their 2006 album 'We Are the Pipettes'. After this album unfortunately the 3 piece became a 2 and since then their music has suffered and although they did release a follow up album in 2010 it really was nothing to shout about and the band have faded into obscurity although theoretically they haven't broken up the band.


    Nina+Simone.jpg6. Nina Simone - A singer you wouldn't necessarily assume to be in a 25 year-old English blokes collection but after hearing her take on 'Feeling Good' I had to hear more of her work. Simone was much more than just a talented musician, she was also an ardent Civil Rights activist in her native USA. Simone passed away in 2003 but her music will forever be a lasting legacy of an incredible woman.


    Cur+de+Pirate+Screenshot20110912at95048AM.png7. Cœur de Pirate - English translation Pirate Heart is the stage name of Canadian singer songwriter Beatrice Matin. Despite my meagre knowledge of the French language and the fact that majority of the singer's back catalogue is sung in the language hasn't stopped me enjoying her piano led indie-pop works. To date she has released two studio albums 2009's self titled 'Cœur de Pirate' and 2011's 'Blonde'. Neither have been officially released in the UK but can be found if you look hard enough.

    Kimya+Dawson.jpg8. Kimya Dawson - Originally one half of the cult favourites 'The Moldy Peaches' she is known mostly for her work on the 'Juno' film soundtrack. Dawson though has released a large number of stripped back acoustic albums filled with extremely quirky, occasionally crude but always heart warming tracks  both before and since the film. Her most recent album 'Thunder Thighs'  was released very quietly in 2012, it is extremely honest and open and definitely something that I would recommend listening to.

    MIA.jpg9. M.I.A. - This list definitely would not be complete without Maya Arulpragasam, like the majority of people I only became familiar with her work after the 2008 single 'Paper Planes' but since I have gone back and listened to her previous works and enjoyed them thoroughly. It is hard to place M.I.A. into a genre, she fits somewhere between Indie, Hip-Hop and authentic Asian music which is what makes her truly unique. Her latest studio Album MAYA wasn't up to the standard of the previous two but she has since released the 'Vicki Leekx' mixtape which showed a resounding return to form.

    Grimes.jpg10. Grimes - Canadian Electronic Wizz-Kid Clare Boucher has been recording self produced records for years but only came to prominence in 2012 with her album 'Visions'. I wasn't overly enthralled by her live show but on record I do enjoy the chopping and changing beats and rhythms she produces and I was not on my own as Visions made its way to the higher end of a lot of 2012 Best of lists.

    Corinne+Bailey+Rae.jpg11. Corinne Bailey Rae - I was addicted to her debut, self-titled album when it came out in 2006 with tracks such as 'Put Your Records On' and 'Like a Star' having that ability to just make you smile when listening to them. Unfortunately since that record was released she suffered a staggering chain of personal problems which meant that her music took a back seat, she has released a full length and an EP since but nothing in comparison to her debut.

    Azealia+Banks+ABanks.png12. Azealia Banks - If you are easily offended look away now, this New York rapper knows how to shock people with her lyrics just listen to her debut single '212' if you don't believe me. She created a massive hype around her in 2012 despite only having released a few mixtapes, but the hysteria has died down somewhat as we are now well into 2013 and we still haven't received her debut album. Her influence is still very strong though with numerous copycat female rappers coming to prominence after her success.

    Stealing+Sheep+Stealing_Sheep.jpg13. Stealing Sheep - This Scouse 3 piece have released 2 studio albums although only gained recognition after last years 'Into the Diamond Sun'. Their sound has been described as lo-fi psych pop which I suppose does them justice with lots of swirling guitar and synthesisers. This band were one of my finds of 2012 and I look forward to hearing more from them.

    Patti+Smith+__.jpg14. Patti Smith - The Original Punk rock female, her raspy vocals really broke the mould of what was expected of female singers. I will be the first to admit I haven't listened to nearly enough of her vast back catalogue but she deserves a place on this list purely due to her brilliant debut album 'Horses'.

    The+Skints+tumblr_m2xrxx7emf1qjfm75o1_500.jpg15. The Skints - It was touch and go whether or not I would allow this female fronted Ska/Reggae band into this list as 3/4 of the band are men but I think Marcia Richards deserves it. She is an extremely talented multi-instrumentalist and singer and without her I believe the bands 2 albums to date would be far worse. The latest release 2012's 'Part & Parcel' gained the band a cult following across the UK and also a place on my personal best of 2012 albums list.

    So there you go, in no particular order a list of my favourite female artists! Happy International Women's Day everybody